CityFest 5K: Cancer survivor, Biggest Loser and a Masters

The CityFest 5K was quite an event for me.

It started while in line to pick up my bag and bib number. I met a woman behind me who was running her first 5K. She was a cancer survivor and said that running a 5K was on her “bucket list” of things to do while she was in recovery. Evidently she had leukemia and almost died. Now she was running her first 5K and even her doctors were amazed. I regretted not getting her name or picture so I could put it in the blog, but it was very inspirational.

Then the race. My Lovely Wife and JR came to cheer us on and TJ, RS and I ran warmups around the track and got ready for what we knew would be a tough course. TJ didn’t race, but paced me and kept me motivated. I really needed his help several times. The first was at the start. All the adrenaline of the start got to me and I began by running under a 6 minute mile and my goal in the beginning was to run a 7 minute mile. TJ kept saying, “You need to slow down”. I felt like I was walking by the time I slowed down enough.

Although we started at the front of the starting line, there were about 10 people ahead of us. We passed a few in the first quarter mile and one other teen about half a mile into the race. After that, we were on our own. There was another teenager ahead of us the whole way and I was passed by a teen about 2 miles into the race, but I was able to hold my own up and down all those hills. Not bad for a 50 year old.

As we got to the stadium where the finish included a lap around the track, TJ remarked that I was only 3 seconds way from a PR. Wow, that was exciting. Then the only bad part of the run happened. A gate was open going into the stadium and so we headed for it. Then a nice runner who was making his lap around the track saw us and shouted for us to run further around the stadium to find the entrance. So we had to stop and turn around and get back on the road that lead around the stadium (I noticed later that the gate was closed). So I lost a lot of time and missed a PR by over 30 seconds. It totally threw me off.

We entered the track and ran the lap and TJ peeled off and I finished 6th overall. It was a fun run. TJ went to find RS and help him to finish strong. After a few minutes we saw them entering the stadium and we cheered RS to a strong finish. Not a PR for him either, but 2 minutes faster than two weeks ago and he was running on 4 hours sleep because of work.

We all went in the gym for the giveaways and the awards ceremony. It was neat because Gina McDonald from “The Biggest Loser” was the MC. As many of you know my Lovely Wife has lost 86 lbs and I have lost almost 100 lbs in the past two years. Gina lost 113 in her quest. So it was a cool thing to hear her story. We don’t watch cable since I don’t think it is worth the price, so we didn’t know her when we saw her. But I can see why she was chosen. She is very vibrant and energetic and obviously worked hard to lose her weight. So that made things a lot of fun. My Lovely Wife got to meet her after the event was over and tell her how much she had lost. Very encouraging.

Okay, so overall I came in 6th and won the Masters division age 40 and up! I finished at 22:19 (36 seconds off my PR). RS came in 16th overall and 3rd in his age group with the only two others who beat him also beat me. Once again, I can’t thank TJ enough for all his help and motivation during the run. And it was fun seeing Neill Tyler @BigBigGeek (who came in 3rd in his division!) and @David_Topping at the race. It is always fun to run with friends.

I will definitely run this race again next year!

Now to marathon training. TJ says I need to get into the 50 mile a week range, so that is my goal for this week. I’ll see how it goes as it isn’t supposed to be as hot this week as it was last week.

Running never stops!

Neat view of beginning of race (circle around TJ and me and arrow pointing to RS)

Excited about our 5K today

I’m all rested and ready for today’s 5K.  I didn’t run or walk yesterday, just to give my body a break.

I woke up excited about the race today.  I don’t know why.  Maybe because it doesn’t really matter how I do since I just ran a 5K two weeks ago.  I’m not trying for a PR, however…  I would like to do well and will try.  TJ, as I said, will pace me and RS will run also, but had to work really late, so I don’t know how well he will be able to run on 4 hours sleep.

I am excited about my marathon training and trying coconut water for hydration.  It is going to be a long summer, but also a fun summer of training.

One thing about running, every day is a new adventure!

Spring Scramble 2013 5K race results – What a difference a year makes!

Wow, it was a fun race.  Although none of us (TJ, RS or myself) met our goals, we all did well.

Just a quick recap.  The Spring Scramble was the first race of any type we ran last year after we began running.  In fact, I had only run 3 miles a couple times before the race.  So this race has memories attached to it.  I figured I would first post how we did last year and then post this year’s results.

Last year’s race results were:

Me: Finished 83rd overall, last in my age group at 31:28 (10:07 pace).
TJ: Finished 11th overall, first in his age group at 22:27 (7:13 pace).
RS: Finished 90th overall, last in his age group at 32:35 (10:29 pace)

Really not bad considering I had only been running a month and TJ and RS had been running just a couple of weeks.  In fact, TJ ran in old sneakers that had to be glued the night before!

Okay, on to Spring Scramble 2013.

We arrived a little later than planned, but still had time to run our warmups and strides before the gun went off.  It was great seeing collegues from work and a couple of other new friends I’ve made on twitter lately.  I’m not sure they want their names listed so I am being a bit vague on purpose.

It was supposed to rain all day, but didn’t rain a drop.  It was very humid though which made things a little hard, but the temps were in the 70s and being overcast made it a good Spring race.

I did well.  I used my iSmoothRun app and wireless headsets to keep my pace.  I set the app for a pace of 6:30.  I was only 3 seconds behind after the first mile, but I knew by then I wasn’t going to keep that pace up.  The app did help a lot in keeping me running as fast as I could for the whole race.  Of course TJ was way off in front of me and RS dropped back behind me early.  I expected both, as TJ is a much faster runner than I and RS has just started getting over a virus that had him in bed for a week.  He did amazingly well as did TJ in this race.

I also decided not to wear my racing flats because I’ve only warn them twice and they killed my feet during my workout.  So I went with my Saucony Fastwitch shoes.  I love those shoes, but I wonder if I would have done better if I still had my A5’s.

Enough said… Here are our result for this year (the full results aren’t out yet, but this is what we know):

Me: Finished 5th overall, first in my age group at 21:42 (6:59 pace).
TJ: Finished 3rd overall – Wow!
RS: Finished ??? overall, second in his age group!

I don’t have TJ or RS’s times with me, but I will update this post after I ask them.  I know TJ was around 19 minutes and RS around 28 minutes.

So we all got metals, the first time that has happened.

For me personally it was a great race, even though I didn’t hit near the 20:00 mark.  I did PR my 5K by about 25 seconds.  Also, finishing 5th overall was just amazing for me.  Just guessing, there were probably 120 people who came.  I know over 170 signed up.  I think the weather kept some away.  So not a big race, but it was sweet to see the improvement we all had in just 1 year.  I am so proud of my boys!

That’s it for now.  I signed up for another 5K in two weeks.  I’m not going to push it for this one.  I’m just going to go out and have fun.  I don’t yet know if TJ or RS can get off of work to go with me, but I hope so.

Thanks for reading and for all the encouragement during my achilles injury!!!

First half marathon recap – It was fun

I admit I was nervous going into our first half marathon.  I didn’t really know what to expect.  The only races we have run thus far were 5Ks and now I’m looking at the starting line of a 13.1 mile race with thousands of people crowding around me.

It was fun.

The first 6 miles were easy.  They were relatively flat and it was amazing seeing all those people running through the streets of Birmingham USA. I was encouraged that my app was continually measuring my pace around 8:00.  My goal was 8:2o so I figured I was banking some time for what was ahead.  Then the hills began.  In fact it was more like on long 2 mile hill.  Not really, but that is what it felt like.  The people around me went from talking and laughing to breathing hard and being quite.  It was tough.  I was beginning to pace closer to 8:30, but I told myself where there are uphills, there are downhills.  Finally the downhills started and I was able to pick up some time.  The downhills seemed to last a couple of miles also and I was feeling much better.  I was also getting back into the high 7 minute pace.

The final leg of the race was the toughest.  It was three straight flat miles.  There was a small incline for a while and then just flat.  I knew I only had a couple of miles left and knew that the time I finished with would be the time I would have to live with, so I picked up my pace.  By the time I turned my last turn and had a half mile to go, I was shot.  I somehow kept my time up though.  With the finish line 500 yards away, I gave it my all.  I ended up finishing in 1:44.  I beat my goal of 8:20 with a final pace of 7:58.  I could have cried.  A month ago as TJ and I were beginning our workouts (hill, tempo and steady state runs) I really thought 8:30 pace was a dream.  Here I finished at a time that if I could have done that for the 26.2 miles, I would have qualified for Boston!  Thanks TJ.  It meant more to me that you will ever know.

TJ, by the way finished at 1:28.  How great is that for a first half marathon.  I was so impressed.  RS, whom I was worried about since he had been hurt so much, ran in Vibram 5 finger shoes and not only finished, but ran it under 2 hours!!!

It was an amazing day.  Now some much needed time off.  TJ is already getting our training together for the Spring Scramble 5K.  It was the first race we ran in when we started running last spring and so it will be great to run it again.

Just so you know, I LOVE RUNNING!