Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Every Mile a Memory: Cardinal Pump and Chase 5K 4.2.17

The 4th Annual Cardinal Pump and Chase 5K was my first 5K for the year and also my first time participating in this particular race. It is presented by a local gym called Anytime Fitness and held at our high school. Initially, it was started to benefit the high school's track team but this year it also benefited a scholarship fund named for a boy at one of our elementary schools who passed away from cancer last fall. It's called the pump and chase because you can earn 1-10 minute credits off your 5K time based on how much you can bench press using the formula weight x reps x 10. For woman, the minimum is 450 for a one minute credit and maximum is 900 for a 10 minute credit. So for example, since the bar is 45# alone, you would have to do 10 reps to get at a minute off. For men, the minimum was 1,500. You don't have to do the pump part, you can just run the 5K, you just start with those who didn't earn credits. The "chase" was a staggered start and everyone was lined up by time credits on the football field. Those who got 10 minutes toed the line on the track at the timing mat first and started as soon as the clock did and then each group would move up and start every minute after that until everyone was out on the course. It's kind of a neat concept because typically people who can lift heavy aren't usually very fast and people who are very fast aren't usually power lifters so it kind of levels the playing field in a way. Case in point, none of the XC boys earned credits that I know of but they are so fast, they really didn't need to.

Getting Pumped

I work out regularly but I haven't done bench presses since before my surgery four years ago and I have no upper body strength so I've never been interested in doing this race. Not to mention, knowing the main sponsor is a gym, the inferiority complex I have kicks in big time and I never thought I'd stand a chance with the women in my AG because they would either be strong, fast, or both. Even when my son learned he had to run the race as a track requirement a couple weeks ago, I wasn't really interested in joining him but eventually decided we don't get to run too many races together so why not. It was for a good cause, too, and I love races for good causes, especially when it comes to cancer. Plus, it would be first 5K of the year and I was kind of curious where my 5K time looked like. Finally, I've run the course before so I was familiar with it.

I decided to sign up Thursday but online registration was closed. Probably a good thing because later that day, my son sprained his OTHER ankle at track (he severely sprained his right ankle towards the end of XC season this past year which almost required surgery) so he was out of the race. I am beginning to think I am jinxing him because on the day he got hurt in XC, I had just signed up for the Nike Cross Regionals Community 5K, a race that took place before he and his teammates would run the actual Nike races. Maybe I need to start signing up for races on the weekends when he's not at practice! Anyway, he was going to help out at the race, it's fun having him there to cheer me on, and I had kind of "pumped" myself up for the race (pun intended) so I asked the race director on Friday if I could take his registration and she said it wouldn't be a problem.


For every race I do, I like to have goals. I looked at the stats from last year and it was a small race with only five in my AG so my usual goal of making the top 10 for any new race would be easy assuming there wasn't a huge amount of ladies signed up. Based on the times of top three in my AG from last year, there was a chance I could get at least 3rd but certainly not 1st if the woman who ran last year was there (her time was 15:57 Yickes!). Gotta check out your competition, right? The one thing you don't know looking at the results though is what the point credits each person had. Like the woman who ran 15:57. Did she actually run a 25:57 5K with 10 minute credited or did she run faster and not lift as much? Makes it hard when you are trying to size up your competition LOL. Since you never know who will show up on race day, I really wasn't worried about where I ended up and was just going to go have fun. My other goal was to PR the course. I was pretty confident with that one given my other two race times on this course (which I talk about below). A lifetime PR would have been a nice bonus but I wasn't expecting it given the course it was not 100% flat and I'm not particularly fast on it, not to mention my goal race is in June so I wasn't looking to PR anyway.

The course

The course is the exact same one used for the race benefiting the XC team that's held in July called Friday Night Lights (FNL). It starts on the high school track with one and half times around, then through the school driveway and parking lots to the paved bike/exercise path that has some nice rolling "hills", then into the stadium again where you run 3/4 way around on the track to finish. I've run the bike path many times in addition to races so I fully knew what to expect. The FNL race is always at 9 pm and is ALWAYS hot/humid so needless to say, it's always my worst race time of the year. Just to give you an idea, in 2015, I ran it in 27:40 and in 2016, I ran it at 26:34. SPOILER ALERT: even though I did PR the course, I'm not sure it's really a fair apples-to-apples comparison since this was a 9 am race and cold and not 9 pm race in sweltering heat and humidity so if anything, it just proves my point of how worthless I am running later in the day.

Not really hills to some but still a challenge to me

We're going to pump <clap> you up

People think because I do weight training that I'm strong but that's not the case. I don't work out so I can move cars, I work out to be toned and fend off where my genetics is taking me as I get older if I didn't work out so I'm not strong, not by a long shot. With that said, I decided I should probably have an idea where my abilities were so on Friday, I asked a couple of the guys at my gym to help me. We started out with just the bar and added weight as we went along and determined 60-70# would probably get me the most minute credits. Thing is though, since I had been pushing for awhile, my arms were tired so I thought maybe 80# would be doable on race day but as me and my "coaches" kept talking, we decided it would be best to go for the sure thing. If I tried 80# and could only do say three reps, that would only be 240 points and I'd miss the minimum requirement of 450.

What to wear, what to wear

The low Saturday was in the 30s and by race time at 9, it wasn't supposed to be that much warmer...sunny, but cold. This is where running indoors so much is a disadvantage: knowing how to dress when it's not "perfect" weather conditions. I used to have a pretty good grasp of it before the TM and I came to an understanding last year but now I'm definitely clueless. I have a running jacket that matched that I wanted to wear but if I got too hot once I started running, I’d be distracted, same with a long sleeve shirt, but I hate when my arms are cold so when I picked up my bib and t-shirt on Saturday at one of the local running stores, I purchased a pair of SmartWool PhD arm warmers to wear with my tank top. I have to say after wearing them for a race, I LOVE THEM, well, except the only color they come in is black.. BORING! LOL) .
Not shown, shiny purple headband and yes,
there is purple in my capris to match my purple tank top.

Look friends, proof that I DO own running closes that aren't pink!!!! LOL Jacket or no jacket was debated right up until race time. Originally I was just going to have Rick hold it, my phone, keys, etc. right before the race started but they wanted him out at the water stop so had to put everything but my keys in the Jeep when I did my warm up run.

Let's do this

The bench press portion was from 7-8:30 am and the race was at 9. I woke up at 6 and had my usual two cups of coffee. Since I had my outfit picked out the day before and the school is only five minutes from my house, I had lots of time to putz around. I checked the race registration online and was concerned they didn't have me listed for the race, even though I saw her change Rick's info to mine when I picked up my race packet. Rick and I got there shortly before 7:30 so I asked them to double check and make sure I was in the system. Sure enough, I was. Whew! The weight room is huge with lots of benches so you could do warm up reps before you did the ones that counted. I was told you had two chances to get your best weight/reps in but I was kind of confused about the process and I didn't want to tire out my arms too much so I decided to try a couple practice reps of 75#. I wasn't sure I'd be able to get the most bang for my buck with that so I dropped to 65# and I felt confident I could do 10 reps which would get me a five minute credit. Yep, mission accomplished. It was fun watching people cheer their friends on when they were attempting their reps. My friend from work who usually does races with me and signed up last minute for this race arrived and she wasn't going to try for credits because she doesn't lift weights at all but when she saw that it wasn’t just a bunch of beefcakes but people of all ages, shapes and sizes, she decided to give a go. She was able to get a three minute credit. Since I could technically try one more time, I almost decided to attempt a 70# bench press but decided five minutes was good enough and just stuck with that. A couple of the parents from the XC team who were running the race arrived as well so we chatted for a bit. It was pretty cold outside so just about everyone hung out in the weight room until closer to race time.

Annnd they're off

About 8:40, I decided it was time to make a decision on what I was wearing, hit the restroom one last time, and get my warm up run in so my friend and I walked over to my Jeep so I could get rid of my stuff. Holy Moses was it cold when I took my jacket off. Even when I did my warm up run I was freezing. I am SOOO thankful I had those arm warmers! I wish I would have had gloves too! With about three minutes to spare, I found my group on the appropriate yard line and we all chatted for a bit. None of the races I've ever done have ever had corrals so I assume this is kind of what it's like? The race starts but you don't move until it's your time? It was a tad warmer on the football field because it's artificial turf and the sun was "heating it up" a bit so that was good but it was still COLD! Thank goodness there was no wind our I would have been MISERABLE!

The race started and eventually it was my turn to toe the line. The good thing about this staggered start is you don't have the sea of people you have to try and get around. The bad thing is you don't have a sea of people to get around so you take off waaaay faster than you should…and of course, I did exactly that. And then my stupid iPod Nano kept coming unclipped from the bottom of my tank top as I was trying to run and it was dangling and bouncing around. Great, this is how it's going to go I guess, huh? I flutzed around with it and finally was able to clip it to the top of my tank top and get the wires from my headphones stuffed down my shirt so they weren't flapping all over the place shortly after I exited the stadium. Right before I made the turn to head down the driveway to the bike path, I saw Paul. What a surprise! He was going to come to see me finish so I was completely not expecting to see him. It was almost like he was put there at that moment on purpose because I was pretty flustered about the Nano ordeal and seeing him made me totally forget my frustration.

The race itself was pretty uneventful. Having the staggered start made it nice because there was no congestion out on the course and you almost felt like you were running alone. But I just didn't feel very good about the race in general at all. It was cold so my lungs weren't happy, my legs kind of felt "blah," and all those thoughts of self doubt that I get when I'm not "feeling it" were in high gear. Of course, being up until after midnight Saturday night didn't help matters so I was tired. I'd look down at my Garmin and see numbers consistently in the upper 7s and lower 8s which totally blew my mind but also concerned me because I knew there were the rolling hills between miles 2 and 3 plus a very sneaky incline at the end of the bike path and I thought for sure I was going to bonk. Just like all my other races, I quit looking at my watch after a couple minutes into it and just concentrated on running. I remember a woman from the running club saying her coach told her the only time she should look at her watch was at the mile splits so that's what I did and was in utter disbelief I was running as fast as what I was when I saw them because I certainly wasn't feeling fast.

Boosts a plenty

I knew Rick was out on the course but I didn't know where so it was perfect timing when I saw him working the water stop between mile 1.5 and 2. A much needed mental boost hearing him and another one of the XC boys cheer me on. Speaking of them, I mentioned earlier none of the XC boys had credits so they started the race last with all the other people who didn't have them either. At mile 2, the first XC runner blew past me and soon I could no longer see him. I knew it was only a matter of time they'd catch up to me LOL. It was shortly after that that the bike path takes you into the woods where you encounter a somewhat short but steep hill going into the woods and you come to a "t": go left and continue on the race course, go right and it's a "short cut" back to the stadium. Of course, there were no short cuts for me and I was dreading this part of the race because once you take the hill out of the woods, you're not "out of the woods" because shortly after that, there is a subtle but tiring incline on the bike path that takes you to the school property where you head back into the stadium to finish. EVERYONE who knows this course HATES this part of it because of that dang hill followed by the incline! Anyway, at the "t" I could see some of the XC parents standing there and sure enough, there was Paul again. They all cheered me on as I ran past and I got another much needed boost. I really thought I would end up walking the hill out of the woods because I felt so tired but surprisingly, I didn't. Shortly after I got to the top, another pack of XC boys went flying past me. Again, before I knew it, they were out of sight.  I would have loved to have analyzed their running form more but they were too fast. I was really feeling tired by now and as I ran the incline, I really felt like my pace had slowed way down. I didn't want to look at my watch so I just kept running. I would learn afterward that slowing down definitely was not the case.

Home stretch

As I approached the stadium, I was quite certain there was going to be no fast finish for this girl and it seemed my legs were barely moving as I made my way around the track. Since they were playing music and had one of the local DJs (who also runs all the races around here, too) MCing the race, I turned off my music so I could hear. It was actually pretty entertaining and quite motivating so as I rounded the corner to the straight away where the finish line was waiting for me, I kicked it into overdrive and finished as fast as my legs would move. I couldn't believe my eyes when I stopped my Garmin and it said 24:44! Sawwwweeet! I certainly wasn’t expecting that! I was extremely out of breath and having a hard time regaining my composure and there were a couple of times I felt dizzy and by the time I found Paul, I was feeling better but needed something to eat. Unfortunately, there were no post-race goodies, just water, which was a first and somewhat of a disappointment. Even just a granola bar would have been nice.

Unexpected victory

Since this race had live results, we went to where the computer was set up to check my time. They were having problems with it so I had Paul look on the timing company's website. Sure enough, I was 3rd in my AG with a chip time of 19:48 (remember I had a 5 minute credit so my run time was actually 24:48). Not only did I PR the course, but I only missed a lifetime PR by 21 seconds and THAT was a complete shocker because I was certainly not feeling that fast. I was stoked!! We went back onto the field to wait for the awards and met up with the other XC parents, a few had run the race, too. By that time, my friend was just finishing up so she joined us. I ended up being awarded 2nd in my AG because #1 won 3rd OA female so that was a nice surprise. Even my friend from work won an AG placing: 3rd out of 3 but hey, a placing is a placing! After the race, there was a fundraiser at the sponsoring bar/restaurant but I was tired and Rick didn't really want to go either so we just went home.

Final thoughts

  • Yet again, another race I wasn’t feeling it and I did better than I expected. I am super stoked to see what this year brings.
  • Bring a snack in the car just in case a race doesn't have anything to eat. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • LOVE the arm warmers. They were awesome! At one point I almost wanted to take them off because they were almost too warm.
  • My splits were 8:03, 8:04, 7:56 Again, total shocker, especially with how I felt during the race and especially on the hill and incline. I have to think while running on the TM in detrimental in knowing how to dress for the weather, it has been beneficial "teaching" my body how to run at a consistent pace, even if my brain doesn't think that I am.
  • I will definitely do this race again next year. I think the concept is unique and a lot of fun, not to mention it has a fun race vibe in general. I'm even thinking of doing another race on Mother's Day with a similar format. It'll be harder because you have to lift a percentage of your body weight rather than you getting to pick what weight you want to do but hey, why not. I may not be able to lift heavy but what I lack there I can make up in speed.
  • Having my guys there was awesome and it seeing Paul at the beginning, especially after having difficulties with my Nano, really helped my mental state. The timing could not have been any more perfect!

Oh, and #1 in my AG? She ended up being the same woman from last year. Her time was 15:26! Funny thing is I talked to her briefly when we were in the weight room having no idea who she was. I found out later when I posted my mileage on Facebook for that monthly contest some people in my running club are doing that she was that woman because she liked my post and said she loved my tattoos LOL. Hmmm, maybe I'll have to ask her how much she lifts and how fast she runs now that we're friends so I know what I can work on for next year.

Thanks for reading!


Overall 32nd of 172
Female 13th of 71
Female 45-49 3rd of 7