Saturday, March 28, 2009

My First Race - MD Anderson Cancer Center SCOPE 5K

March 28, 2009 – My first race, the MD Anderson Cancer Center SCOPE 5K Run, around the Houston Medical Center area. I’d been training at 5K or better daily for a few months, so the distance wasn’t an issue. My fastest 5K training times had been between 30 – 31 minutes, so my goal was to “break 30, even if it’s 29:59, just as long as it starts with a 2,” and a make a respectable finish for my age and conditioning level. I had a little scare; after registering, I thought I might miss the race with a bad plantar fasciitis flare-up in my left heel. I couldn’t run at all for two weeks, just bicycled every morning to keep loose and maintain some level of conditioning. My fault—running every day, pain or not, with no breaks; thought the pain would go away if I kept pushing and worked through it. It didn’t. Also, looking back later at my mileage log, I saw that I went from 17.75 miles/week to 25.5 miles/week, 3 weeks before my foot made me stop running. That was a 43% mileage increase; at the time I hadn't even heard of the "10% rule" yet. The week of the race, it felt a lot better; I ran Tuesday and Wednesday, still felt good, and took Thursday and Friday off so I’d have fresh legs on race day. Saturday, morning, race day—a perfect morning to run hard and make a decent time. An unseasonably late cool front came through the night before; 40 degree temperature; 30 degree wind chill with gusty North wind. Cool enough that I had to break out a light set of long sweats I thought I’d retired for the season. I felt good—well rested, fresh legs, cool weather—fell into a comfortable pace on the first mile a little behind a man around my age who seemed to be running a little better than my routine pace. Coming up to the Mile 1 aid station, they were calling out times as people passed by. Two men, probably late-thirtyish, running a good pace, passed me on the left. As I passed the aid station, I heard “8:39” and thought, “Hey, I may have a shot at a pretty good time.” (I’d calculated that I’d need to average 9:40 minutes/mile to break 30.) I passed my first-mile pacer and fell in behind the thirtyish pair for the second mile. Coming up on the Mile 2 aid station, the thirtyish pair was fading a little. The station attendant called out “16:47.” I passed the thirtyish pair. Still felling good, I was able to pass 3 or 4 more people in the third mile. Rounding the last turn and seeing the finish line, I had enough left to sprint home. I finished at 26:41.1, 8.61 minutes/mile pace, 86th out of 285. I guess everything came together right; the cool weather, fresh, rested legs, and the adrenaline rush from the competition. Now I'm totally hooked!  Link To Results

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