Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Fallen Heroes 5K

Hey All.  This is my second blog post and my first "race" report.  I put race in quotations because I was doing all but racing today.

The race is the Fallen Heroes Memorial 5k put on by the University of South Carolina Naval ROTC that benefits the Wounded Warrior Project; a great organization by the way. 

The race started at ; therefore I wanted to be there by .  I got the wife and kid up at so they could wake their "no sense of urgency butts" up and get going.  Like a good runner, I had all of my essentials packed and my outfit laid out and ready to go.  I wore some Under Armour shorts that I love, and a "GASP," cotton Marine shirt.  Not the most comfortable thing to run in, but it fit with the military theme of the run.

We left the house at 630 with little setbacks or distractions.  Tyler was tired and cranky and was whining the whole way to Columbia.  Did our check in thing, and got our swag.  They gave Cindy and me our numbers; they didn't tell us which number was whose, they just handed me both of them and our swag bag.  The d-tag we used was the one that was tied into the shoe by the laces.  I did not know how to properly attach this thing, so I stared blankly at it for about a minute trying to figure out the best approach to this thing.

Once the tag was attached (right or wrong, still don't know) Cindy and I met up with the group of runners that we had signed up with the run.  The group consists of mostly people I work with and their spouses.  About 15 in all (got a discount on registration fee if we signed up in a 10 or more person group).  There was the guy who had completed his first marathon earlier in the year, me who just got into running, the Judge who ran the Boston Marathon the week prior, three strollers and the rest of the folks were running their first race ever or in a long time.

At about 5 minutes till the start the organizers moved us to the starting line.  There were about 200 people all together, which is not bad for a 2nd year event.  I had my Ipod set to the workout run play list, the phone with the I map my run app up and running and my Gymboss interval timer set to 3/1 ratio.  The gun went off.  Actually, I don't know what they used to start the race, I had Blackened by Metallica blasting in my ear and I couldn't hear a darn thing. So, I just started running when everybody else did.

The first thing encountered was a hill.  Maybe .10 miles long, not steep, but steady.  We then made a right and another .10 mile long, not steady hill lay ahead.  About that time my 3 minutes were up and was time to start walking.  Several of my group passed me, as well as 3 firefighters in full bunker gear.  I had found my motivation, don't get beat by the firefighters.  I began to lose some gas a little after the turn around.  I slowed my pace down for the next 2 intervals and then picked it back up.  The rest of the race was uneventful to say the least.  I just ran the out and back.  NO injuries, no pain just running. 

At about the 2 mile mark I saw my boss about 100 yards in front of me, and the firefighters about 150 yards in front of me.  My motivation had changed, beat my boss.  I noticed that he was walking as well and I was still in my 3 minutes.  I walked for my 1 minute and he began to run.  I had him in my sights but was unable to close.  The second hill from the start was approaching and I picked up my pace and tried to catch up, but to no avail.  He made the left down the second hill and toward the finish line.  I thought, I will sprint down the second hill and beat him.  I guess he had the same idea, because I rounded the corner and readied for the sprint, and he was gone.  Dammit, I thought I was going to beat him.  It didn't bother me, because I was there to have fun, not to win, but I still sprinted.

I finally crossed the finish line at 35:07, 194 out of 270.  Not fast, I know, but I had shaved minutes off of my time from my previous 5k and dropped my pace by almost a minute a mile.  I believe I did better because I went into the race with laid out plan and I stuck to it.  The improvement that I made showed me that I am getting better as a runner.  I had beat a couple of people from the group and the women with their strollers.

Cindy and I stayed around for the awards ceremony.  Some people from the group won some age group prizes and the boss won a month free to a gym from the raffle.  After that we headed back to the house, showered up and I went to Hardee's and grabbed me one of the turkey burgers; pretty tasty actually

All in all, I had a great time.  I improved, the course was fun and I got to do it with a group of friends.  I am ready for the next challenge, whether it's another 5k or something greater.