Shamrock 10k

Yesterday I ran in the 5th Annual ACS Shamrock Run for the first time. This race had a 10k (6.2 miles) and a 5k (3.1 miles) for runners to enjoy. I decided to do the 10k since I had nothing better to do, and an hour to kill.

It turned out to be a very beautiful morning – sun shining, blue skies – which was nice after a couple of days of pouring rain and even a little snow shower. I was kind of expecting it to be a lot colder than what it was, but it was about in the mid-40’s when the race began.

Coming into this race I was a little worried. I had heard rumors that this race was a real beast; that there were some massive hills in the middle of it. Since I had only gotten my lazy @$$ out on the streets once in the past two weeks to run, I was figuring that I was going to have to crawl across the finish line. I really was not in the right frame of mind to start the race.

Well, the rumors were right. Just after the 2nd mile marker the course went straight uphill. Okay, it was more of a winding uphill – it is a mountain after all! And this first 1/2 mile, or so, I swear was anywhere from a 70° to 80° incline. All joking aside, I literally walked for about 5-7 minutes during that third mile. It took all I had to walk up that hill, I really do not know how anyone was able to run up it.

The uphill portion went on for about another mile-and-a-half. We were up so high that there were still traces of snow on the ground, and I could feel the temperature drop! But, it was all worth it once the course flattened out. After all, what goes up must come down, right?! Once I hit mile marker 4 it was all down hill, and my body was loving it!

All-in-all, I was very pleased with my time for this race. My goal was to finish with an average 12 min/mile pace. I finished the race in 1:11:39 for an 11:33 min/mile pace. However, looking at my splits, had that hill not been in the middle, I wonder how quickly I would have finished? Three of the six miles I had a split time of 9:37 or better!

My splits were as such – start: 0:16, mile 1: 10:34, mile 2: 9:37, mile 3: 14:30, mile 4: 15:38, mile 5: 9:05, mile 6: 9:07, .20 finish: 2:52. Miles 3 and 4, as I stated before, were all uphill and a lot of walking was involved. Miles 5 and 6, unfortunately, I had to average since I did not see the 5th mile marker. I gave the sixth mile a couple more seconds than the fifth mile because it was more flat and had a couple small hills, plus there were a couple of seconds missing off my total when I entered all my splits into my log. The start time of 16 seconds was from the time the race started until I actually made it to the starting line.

So, had the course been flatter, I wonder if I could have held that 9:00 – 9:30 pace? I would have had me finishing in under an hour. I guess we will find out in future races if I can hit that pace and hold it!

I am happy with how good I felt when I finished the race, but I was kind of disappointed when the results came out. I finished 131/150 overall and 7/7 (dead last again) in my age group (the results page shoes 6/6, but the overall winner of the 10k was in my age group also). Part of me doesn’t care about where I finish, just that I do and that I am getting exercise. However, the competitive side of me, which makes up about 90% of me, is getting pretty upset because I keep finishing last in my age group, and pretty much as one of the last men overall in almost every race. This is something that I am going to improve upon by the end of the year! 🙂

Foot Rx Blackjack 5k – 1

Yesterday was my first Blackjack 5k. This event is put on by Foot Rx, a local running store, and is held at Fletcher Park in Fletcher NC.

Here is how this race works; runners gather at the location of the event, pay a $5.00 entry fee, and run 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) drawing a card at the start, the midway point, and again at the finish if needed. If the runners cards total 21, that runner wins the pot. If there are more than one runner with 21 then they all share the pot. However, instead of the winners receiving a cash cut of the pot, they receive a gift certificate to Foot Rx.

When I heard about this event I thought that it would be fun to do. Because of the location I knew that it was not going to be a road race, but I figured that it would take place on a paved trail. I could not have been more wrong. This event took place on grass and an unpaved trail. Personally, I am not a big fan of running off-road.

There were only about 56 participants at this event, so that also bummed me out a bit. I enjoy races more when there are at least a couple hundred runners. But, since I was trying to use this event as more of a “group run” rather than a race, I was able to get past the small amount of runner.

Prior to the start of the race I drew my first card, an Ace. That sat just fine with me, giving me a better chance, and better odds, at hitting Blackjack. After receiving our first cards, we all headed out to the starting line and got the pre-race instructions from the Race Director. Shortly thereafter we were off and running.

For some reason I was just not feeling the run yesterday. After only about 2 minutes I had to stop and walk. Usually I can last at least 5 minutes before feeling the need to walk. Even when training around the neighborhood I don’t need to stop until 3 minutes, and that is only because I have to stop at an intersection. So, when I needed to walk at the 2 – 2:30 minute mark I knew it wasn’t going to be that good of a run. I just decided to go the entire time with a cycle of running about 2 -3 minutes and walking 30 seconds – 1 minute.

At the half-way point I drew my second card (I made sure to get it from the same person that gave me the Ace, just a little superstitious about that. 🙂 ). My decision to grab from this person worked, I received a Queen! Blackjack!! I was guaranteed to win. 🙂 After seeing that I thought for a second about quitting the run. But, my ego wouldn’t let me. Even though I was feeling like crap, I was determined to finish the race.

I finally finished the race in 36:35, good for 48/56 overall and 28/30 men. Also, that time was good for about average for my road race 5k time. When I realized that it made me feel a little better about my run. Considering times are typically slower when running on grass/trails, I feel that I have improved my time quite a bit. However, I will not know for sure until my first road 5k. And hitting Blackjack, along with 10 others, gave me a share of the pot good for a $27.00 gift certificate, now I just have to figure out what I need. 🙂

So, other than confirming that I really do not like to run off-road, I learned a few more things about myself. I need to make sure I eat breakfast, running on an empty stomach makes me feel real sluggish. I need to make sure that I have enough water during the race. I forgot to bring a bottle of water with me, mainly because I thought there was going to be at least one water stop provided.

Next week is another Blackjack 5k; same time, same price, same location. And, although I said that I don’t like running off-road, I am going to do it all again. This time, though, my youngest is going to be joining me. 🙂 Also, I am going to make sure to eat and have plenty of water before, during, and after. Maybe this time I can improve on my grass/trail time. 🙂