Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Race Report: Make a Difference 5K 10.25.15

For a race that I thought was going to be kind of "meh," the Make A Difference 5K turned out to be much better than I anticipated. It seems to be a common theme with most of my races this year; I go into them thinking I am not going to do all that well for various reasons and then surprise myself but this race was different in the fact I had been sick for the better part of the week and haven't been sleeping all that well. I only had a head cold with no fever and thank goodness, the cough that kept me up for the past several nights was just one of those annoying tickles and not one where I was hacking up a lung but this is the first race this year that I feeling completely run down. Plus, I had taken several days off from running and had spent more time on the elliptical at the gym because earlier in the week, I decided to try a new pair of running shoes and they screwed up my heels/ankles so I thought the break would help things get back normal. Yes, the shoes were returned and so did my pain-free running. So, knowing how I was feeling Sunday morning and that a PR would not be in the cards, I decided if I could finish 26:00, I would be happy. I was also resolve to the fact that this would more than likely be the race my husband finished before me. He has been quickly catching up to me since he started racing with me this summer and at the last race we did a month ago, had it not been for the last ounce of energy I found from somewhere to pass him, he would have won it.

Deciding what to wear for the race was a challenge due to the weather. It was 52 and cloudy which actually makes for nice racing weather but there was a pretty strong wind which made it feel a lot colder. I finally decided on my light Saucony running jacket (and when I say light, it is…my long-sleeve running shirts are thicker...I love it and wish I they still made them), a tank top, and capris. After my husband I did our warm up run, I decided I was going to be too warm for the race so I put the jacket in the Jeep before we headed to the starting line. For probably a good 3/4 of the race, I wished I had the jacket because my arms were cold due to the wind but I told myself it was better to be a little chilled than too hot and it would have really annoying had I needed to run with the jacket tied around my waist.

The race was a gun start and not chipped timed and seeing the amount of walkers as well as younger kids that were participating, I wanted to get as close to the starting line as possible. It served me well as there were only a couple of times I had to maneuver around those who aren't aware of race etiquette. I know that probably makes me sound like a racing snob which I'm not, but if you've ever run a race before, even if you weren't trying to win it, you know what I mean. The race started and ended at the middle school where both my boys went to and the course meandered in and out of the park next to the school and the surrounding neighborhoods so this race was a mix of roads and trails. I was a little worried about running on a trail at first because it was covered in leaves and I didn't know what (holes, tree branches, chestnuts, dead squirrels, etc.) was below the leaves but I have to admit, it didn't take me long to forget about that and quite honestly, I think I'd really like to do more trail running because it was quite lovely.

For a majority of the race, every time I looked over my shoulder when I wanted to move from one side of the street or trail to the other, I could see my husband right behind me and I kept waiting for him to pass but at one point when I looked back, he wasn't there. I found out after the race that his shoe became untied so he had to stop. Now he will say it wouldn't have made a difference but I think he might have finished this race before me had he not stopped to tie it.

Surprisingly, I didn't feel as bad during the race as I thought I was going to. Granted, I felt fatigued and such but not any more really than any other race I've done. I had a tissue on hand just in case a sneezing fit hit but thankfully I ran sneeze-free. I think things would have been a lot different had I been feeling as cruddy as I was on Saturday and/or if I would have had that nasty, hacking cough you usually get with a cold. So while I definitely wasn't 100%, I could have been feeling a lot worse. This worked to my advantage.

My splits were 8:26, 8:31, and 8:29. I have to admit, I still am not good at knowing what pace means what finish time I'll have as I'm running so when I heard Nike+ announce my splits, I thought I'd easily make it under 26:00. No such luck. When I had the finish line in my sights and noticed the clock was already at 26:00, I knew I wasn't going to meet my goal but I sprinted to the finish with everything that I had anyway. Official time 26:07:92. Despite not feeling my best, I still placed 1st of 16 in my AG, 34/158 overall, and even though I didn't finish in the time I was hoping, I DID finish 15 seconds faster than the last 5K race from a little more than a month ago so I think I am finally headed back in the right direction to hopefully reach my goal of a sub 25:00 by the end of the year.

One thing that happened after this race that has never happened before is how weird my vision was after I finished the race. For several minutes after I exited the shoot and walked around the parking lot to cool down, I had a hard time focusing on things. My vision wasn't blurred and I didn't feel dizzy or anything, my eyes just had a hard time focusing. It only last for about 10 minutes or so but it was just really weird. Perhaps it was just from being under the weather and having an elevated heart rate during the sprint towards the finish? I looked back at some of the peak HRs during other races I've done and they are usually in the mid 180s but for this race, my HR spiked to 194 right towards end. I know a lot of things can affect your HR so I’m not concerned or anything, it's just more of an observation.

All in all, I really enjoyed the Make a Difference 5K and it was a nice surprise to do so well when I was fully expecting otherwise. I will definitely do this race again next year.

Oh, and one more thing. I have to mention the post-race snacks. Out of all the races I've done, this race had some of the best post-race goodies ever. It sounds kind of silly to mention and maybe I am becoming a race snob after all but I'm telling you, for a small, community-type event, the amount and variety of snack afterward ranked right up there with some of the larger races I've done, like the Northern Ohio Marathon Relay and Half Marathon, 10 Mile Drop, and the Rock City 5K. In contrast, I ran the Fox 8 Fox Trot 5K in August, an event not only sponsored but advertised by a local TV station and all they had were bananas and warm bottled water (there were other things about the race I wasn't crazy about and sadly, I wasn't the only participant who felt that way and perhaps I'll save that for another time). Not the end of the world but when you look at an event like that and then and event like the one on Sunday, it's just kind of worth mentioning. When I saw the event coordinator, whose son is on the same cross country team as my son, at our school's last meet yesterday, I thanked her for such an awesome event and pointed out how much the post-race goodness was appreciated (also mentioning my experience at the Fox Trot 5K).  She said every single item there was donated and I know all to well from being involved in a non-profit youth organization for the last 10 years how hard it is to not only ask for, but receive donations so I thought it would be nice to let her know we appreciated her efforts (kudos to the local businesses that donated items, too).

Running a race with good friends is always fun.
John (lower right), placed 1st in his AG and his wife, Nicole,
PRd at this race. Paul, despite not having he best race,
definitely kept me on my toes.