Sunday, May 15, 2011

Racing Update

I seem to have been neglecting my blog again. I started to update it a couple times, but everything I thought to write about seemed kind of lame, so I never finished any of those posts. In my last post, I unveiled my running race schedule, and since I've done two of those races, I guess it would be a good thing to share how they went.

The first race was the Dan Langdon Memorial 5k. It was the second annual race, started last year by Dan's family. Dan, a young man with a wife and three young kids, died on his 36th birthday in 2009 while running in the Detroit Marathon. I got involved in this race because the company I work for has sponsored the event for the past two years. Since I am in charge of administering these sponsorships, I heard about the race and decided it would be a good one to run.

I ran my first 5k in mid-June of last year, and I figured it would be a good day to go for a PR. (That "R" stands for "record," DG, not "recognizance.") Unfortunately, as it turned out, the cause was about the only thing I liked about the race. For some reason, it was at 2 in the afternoon, and happened to be on the first day we had any warm weather, after a spring full of cold temperatures and rain. The first mile went okay and I was on track to beat my best time. Shortly after I passed that mile marker, though, I began to seriously overheat. It was near 80 degrees and sunny and I was running on the cart path at a golf course. It began to be not so pretty. I became more and more frustrated, basically gave up as my pace got slower and slower, and ended up walking most of the last mile. So not only did I not beat my best time of 38:05, I ended up with a demoralizing 40:44, which was barely better than my first 5k.Ugh.

Yesterday, however, was my very first 10k, and things were a little different. The race started on Michigan Avenue in Lansing and was intended to be run primarily on the River Trail. Due to torrential rains the night before and the flooding that ensued, it had to be rerouted twice, replacing a big chunk of the course with streets and cutting off a portion of the River Trail.

It was overcast and spitting rain when I woke up and I debated whether to wear shorts or tights for a long time. I doubt if temperatures were even out of the mid 50s, but in the end I thought back to my severely overheated 5k from a couple weeks earlier and went with the shorts. While standing around waiting for the race to start, I questioned my choice, but as soon as I started running I realized I had done the right thing.

The weather was actually perfect running weather, much nicer than the previous race. I am not a very fast runner. In fact, I think you could easily say I am the opposite of fast. But I still wanted to have a goal for my first 10k, and that goal was to finish with a faster time than 1:25. I was really proud of myself. I have a Garmin watch that keeps track of my pace. I checked the watch often and whenever I started to get slower than the pace I was supposed to be keeping, I would kick it up a notch. I did this even in the last mile, when I didn't have much left. I ended up finishing with a time of 1:23:52.

Now, I'm certainly not going to win any world records with times like that, and I finished last out of 13 in my age group, but I still felt good about the race. It was an accomplishment to finish my first one and to be faster than the goal I was shooting for. I also was pleased that I didn't let myself slack off. There were times, especially near the end, when I was tempted to slow my pace and just let the fact that I finished be enough. Sometimes I use the fact that I am slow as a further excuse to be slow instead of pushing myself to be faster. Yesterday I didn't do that.

My next race is a 5k on June 5. Stay tuned.