Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spring Fling Success

All I can say is WOW! What a great event, especially considering how it started this morning.

I volunteered for the set up crew and got to the High School at 6am. It had started sprinkling rain when I parked on the lot. I had flashbacks from last years race where we ran the last part of the race in a downpour. Well, it got worse than that. Luckily this year the school allowed us to set up in the field house which was very nice. Some of the guys and I set up some tables and pretty much waited for orders on what to do next. Several of us had parked in the main parking lot and decided that while we were waiting we would move our vehicles closer to the field house. I was no more than in my truck when the bottom dropped out! It was raining so hard I couldn't even see the drive way.

At this point everything was waiting on the weather. The race was scheduled to start at 8am and by 7am only a hand full of runners had showed up. I was thinking this might be good. If none of the fast bunch shows up we could win more awards! Ha....wishing and getting are two different things. I pulled up the radar on my phone and gave Brenda reports. At about 7:30 the decision was made to move the start time up till 8:30. No big deal and it was a very good decision.

By 7:45 the field house was packed. Around 8 I took the water stop crew to their location on the course and as we were leaving the bottom dropped out again. At that point it looked like we were going to get very wet running. No sooner than it started it stopped again. This time for good thank goodness. I made a quick run down to the track to see if the finish line crew needed anything else, made a bathroom break and ran back to my truck to get ready. As I got my warm up pants off everyone started heading to the start line. The race was on!

I really didn't have a set plan for this race till this morning. I had had a stressful week at work and really had not had time to figure out my times for this race. I found my previous PR and picked a goal time. I don't remember what time I picked but the average pace had me figured at an 8:49 per mile pace.

It was very cool at the start. I had shorts, a tech t-shirt and my Cabot singlet on top of that. I forgot my gloves and I was already chilled from being in and out of the rain. I knew once the race started I would feel great as it was almost the perfect running temp for a 5k.

We took off and I felt really good. It seemed like everyone was going out fast as usual. After maybe a 1/4 mile I looked at my pace and I was running low 8's. I thought man, this is too fast for mile one. I need to slow down. I had picked an older gentleman to somewhat pace by. I knew he was faster than me but I figured if I could keep up with him I would at least have a good time. Before I got all the way past the elementary school, Bailey comes running by. She was flying! I asked her, why did you start way back there? She didn't hear me. Then another girl ran up beside me and it was Josh's wife Kellie. We ended up running side by side quite a bit during this race. I hate that I didn't really get to carry on a conversation but at the speeds we were going it was hard to talk! I did offer words of encouragement several times as I knew she was somewhat of a new runner.

I hit mile one at 8:30. I thought wow, I am way too fast. I should have been running about a 9:00 and then pick it up later. It actually felt pretty good and I could have gone faster but not very long. After making the loop and turnaround I wanted to slow down. I had to make myself a little as I knew I couldn't hold what I was running. By mile 2 my average pace had dropped some and I was down to about 8:40. Thats when my left brain started messing with me. I knew that around 2.6 or so I had an uphill. I wanted to run that hard. So, I took a quick walk/shuffle to catch my breath. I guess it helped. When I stopped Kellie kept going and I figured that would be the last I saw of her. But when I started back I was able to catch back up to her. I ran up the hill and passed some people. Thats when I heard Kevin S. behind me. It kind of freaked me out because I knew Kevin was a very fast runner and there was no way he could be behind me. I actually slowed to a walk to let them catch up. It was him and some of his friends. I guess he was waiting till the end to sprint it in or something. We talked a little and I stayed with them for a few hundred yards. Again I was right there with Kellie. I had commented to her earlier to chop down that hill. Thats one of the things we learned at the clinic.

Finally we were at the downhill that led in to the stadium. I was really wanting this to be over at that point. All I could think about was I can't walk now! As I got to the turn in to the parking lot I could hear my name. Since the Cruisers were manning the course, they were all yelling encouragement to me. It was actually pumping me up. I ran on to the track and then all I could think of was man, I still have almost 400 meters to go. But, after this weeks speed work, I knew what running 400 meters was like and I knew I could make it with no problem.

At some point I had passed a father and his 6 or 7 year old son but as I started to round the corner heading to the finish line, I could hear the father yelling to the son, pick it up, pick it up. Well, there was no way I was going to let them pass me. I was behind Kellie again and I told her to keep pushing. I didn't try to pass her, I probably couldn't have anyway but I sure didn't want the father son to take us out. As we made the last sprint to the finish, I was pumping my arms and trying to do everything that Dennis had taught us. I can honestly say that after I finished I had given all I had at the end.

Net effect. A new PR! I finished with a 27:20 official time/8:49 pace which was 18 seconds faster than my previous 5k PR set in October. My race time on this exact course last year was 30:11. Old guys can get faster!! All I can say is that I am very happy. My goal this year is to PR in every race and so far it has happened. I really didn't expect it to happen today. I had a little bit of a cold and I just really wasn't feeling it but there is something about races that bring out the best in me. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe its the competition. I know I can always run better and faster when I am with other people. Some people hate races but I love them. We always have fun before and after with the group. I guess this is what makes it so special. We do have some really great friends. Thank you all so much for your encouragement. Without you guys I would not have the motivation to do this.


Kirsten said...

Congrats on an awesome PR! Your story made me feel like I was running the race with you, great details!

Randy - Maniac #788 said...

Hi Arland, that sounds like a great 5k. I'm still getting over my knee problem but I've managed to get 2 marathons under my belt for 2008 and am training (sort of) for a third that takes place at the end of April...the OKC Memorial Marathon...I did get thru the Little Rock Marathon..were you there? I feel bad that I didn't let you know I was coming over...

Cheryl said...

EXCELLENT!! I knew you would PR!!