Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Running For Glory (Or Something)

What if I told you that someone completed a 5K without preparing (again) and got the motivation to finish by crushing a first grader. This is my 30 for 30 story.

It was a cold spring Sunday morning in Northern Virginia. The threat of rain had passed, but the ground was wet from an overnight storm. All of a sudden, I feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder has taken over Sean's Ramblings. Anyway, remember last week when I asked if it was possible to prepare for a 5K in five days? Well, I did absolutely zero training in those five days unless you want to count eating pretzels as training. (Most "experts" probably don't, though I think more scientific study of this is warranted.)

Let's go to race day. Many runners have a pre-race routine. Maybe they eat certain foods or do elaborate stretches. For me, I started Sunday morning with a quick waffle and then took the family to the 5K and 1 mile fun run/walk. Once at the race site, I ended up holding and carrying around about 35 pounds worth of a shy 4 year-old. For a break, I swapped holding the 4 year-old with a 20-something pound 1 year-old. Then, the entire family participated in one mile fun walk. Pushing a stroller partially uphill is not exactly fun, but I had good company. When we returned to the starting line, I retied my shoes, stretched for about 30 seconds, kissed my family like I would be going on an epic quest that could last for months, and got set to run. And now I'm going into notes form.

- I have no idea how major races like the Boston Marathon start. While there are thousands of runners in major marathons and only about 300 at this 5K, I almost knocked over about 5 people and managed to dodge about a dozen others during the first block of the race while jockeying for position.

- I borrowed my wife's IPod for the race so I could listen to music to motivate me. These are some of the songs that played:

Say What You Need to Say - John Mayer
Bubbly - Colbie Caillat
Catch My Breath - Kelly Clarkson
Just Give Me a Reason - Pink featuring Nate Ruess

The perfect mix for any adult contemporary fan. Not the perfect running mix. Fortunately, about 23 minutes into the run this song appeared:

I played this a second time as I crossed the finish line.

- They had water at the mid-point for the runners. I have no idea of the proper way to drink water from a cup while trying to run and ended up getting more on me than in me.

- I also felt bad for dropping the cup on the ground. That seemed like the only option though.

- Throughout the race, I passed or got passed by the same kid numerous times. When he was near me, he seemed to run at a bit of an angle as if to cut me off. Several times, I let him pass me and then cut behind and around him. About 1/3 of a mile from the finish line, he was slightly ahead of me. My competitive nature kicked in, and like Drago, I decided that I must break him. I flew by him and never looked back. Later, I found out that he is a first grader. I don't feel bad for DESTROYING him.

- This is the picture of me crossing the finish line. I was so fast that I didn't even need to have feet on the ground.

- Time for the statistics:

• I completed the race in 29 minutes and 57 seconds. While this is much better than my 31:34 time from three years ago on the same course, I feel like 17 year-old me would laugh at this time. Of course, 17 year-old me might also laugh at my hairline.
• I finished 95th out of 279 racers. As a comparison, I finished #215 out of 351 three years.
• I finished 66th out of 138 males.
• I finished 13th in the male 30-39 division (though there were five other men that finished ahead of me that did not have their age listed on the website).
• I turn 40 next month, so if I went to the next division, I would have finished 13th in the 40-49 division (again, not counting those five guys). I thought you were supposed to be slower as you aged.

- Either I need new shoes or I don't know how to run properly. Partially through the race, my ankles started bothering me, and I still had discomfort with my left ankle on Monday. If you click on that link above, you can see that I also had ankle issues three years ago.

- Finally, if run again next year, I'm wearing this shirt made by my friend Doug.

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