Monday, June 25, 2007

5K for Fatherhood Race Report

You know, you'd think a 5k race report would be something I could spit out in....oh....less time than it takes to actually run one. But as most everything in my (according to a friend of ours) "colorful" life there is ALWAYS a story to tell. So here's the story of last Saturday's 5K.

I love this 5K, it was my first ever race back in 2004. I still remember those nerves at the starting line, having no clue if I would be able to even run it since I had only been running for 2 or 3 weeks. Before those weeks the full extent of me and running had been the mandatory miles tests in high school gym class. This was new territory - a great way to be athletic in a sport that didn't care how insanely vertically challenged I am. And from that day forward I've been hooked, and every year we come back to this race. I have a collection of horribly fluorescent shirts from it that I wouldn't trade for anything. And the organization that it supports is fantastic - providing male mentors for inner city boys who don't have dads. So many of the boys run this race, and are out there encouraging the runners. You can really see the good things this Fund is doing.

And this race extends to more than just running for us. The park it's run in - Shelby Park - is just a mile and a half from our house. When we came down here for it in 2004 with a friend we were boring suburbanites. We didn't even know where this park was - we had to mapquest it. Running the race was the very first exposure we ever had to this neighborhood we now live in. We were intrigued by the quirky houses we saw that day that we never knew existed. And from that point we regularly came down to Shelby Park to run the greenway. I ran my first 20 miler in this park. The night before the Tom King half marathon in 2006 we actually drove past the very house we live in now looking for an Italian joint that we now frequent so much that they know all 3 of us by name. And last year - after running this 5K in the am - we saw this house for the first time, and made one massive decision. Truly this is a race that has really changed our lives.

Saturday morning I got up WAY too early. I just couldn't remember how much time I needed before a race. It was nice to not rush for a change, and we easily showed up a half hour before hand, got the best looking shirt of the 4 I now have from this race, and had a few minutes to kill before time to line up. There was another 5K in town Saturday morning that was promoted by the local running club, so attendance seemed to be a bit down from prior years. This is not a chip race, and normally they do colored dots to denote your division - which is great for scoping out your competition. This year they skipped the dots, so Brent and I were sort of trying to figure out who my competition might be. As we were walking around Brent heard a group of 3 people talking and the girl said how tough the F25-29 group is. From this point forward we will car her "Imported Thumbs". You'll understand why later. They were foreign, probably from France by their accents. She had ridiculous looking racing glasses on and her outfit would be best suited for a Nike dance video. I find it impossible to take anyone seriously if they have words printed across their ass. Hers said "Pink Lifeguard". I have plenty of items from the Pink collection, but I prefer to keep them where they belong - which is not the asphalt. Can you tell that I already was not a fan?

When we went to line up she marched to the very front of the line, further making me think she was the one to beat for my age group. One guy wasn't running, so he took a pic of her and the other guy in their posse. After some gun malfunctions we were off. I had to weave a bit to get around slow people, which is always pretty irritating, especially in a non-chip race. I decided to change up my mp3 player for the race, and I had some great tunes going. I was keeping it slow and steady, Imported Thumbs wasn't too far ahead. We headed into the greenway and the kids who take off like a shot were already falling back. I was pumping myself up and telling myself it would be over quick - just 3 miles!! My legs felt tired from more biking, running and swimming than I probably should have done that week, but I wouldn't back down. I easily passed Imported Thumbs about .6 of a mile in - she was fading big time.

From there I just kept picking people off one at a time. Around the 1 mile mark a guy just didn't want to let me go. He'd catch up, fall back, catch up. I finally lost him around a corner. At 1 mile my watch said I'd run a 7:37 1st mile. That's a little fast, and I was feeling fatigued. At this point we were on the sunniest, most miserable part of the course. Around 1.3 miles we were heading out of the greenway and I saw Brent cheering for other runners. For some reason he just absolutely was not noticing me!! Right when I got up to him he figured it out and started snapping away. When I talked to him later he said I had surprised him with where I was in the pack, but at the time the only thing going through my mind was "I am NOT about to yell at him because his sole job is to be watching for me and I am NOT going to use my oxygen up yelling at him". I grabbed some water at the 1.5 mile water stop and saw that Imported Thumbs was nowhere near, but her friend was just ahead.

I kept pushing, pushing, pushing and passed him before the 2 mile mark, in a time of 8:04. I don't know why I cared about beating them so much, but it really gave me something to do. By this point we were circling the lake and dealing with some small hills. I was soo ready to be done and out of the sun but I wasn't going to give in. I knew it wasn't going to be a PR, but it was also starting to look like it would be a decent time. I hadn't even noticed there were no women around me, but when I think back it does seem like a long stream of guys that I played cat and mouse with. Once I finished my lake circle I started pushing my pace, picking people to pick off. When I rounded the corner I saw Brent at the finish and I pushed with absolutely everything I had left. Mile 3 was 8 mins and the remaining portion I ran at a 6:33 pace. My official time is 24:39, 3 seconds slower than last year.

When I crossed over Brent came running up and said I was the 3rd female. Crazy!! Then he said the 2nd one was old (masters) so if they did top 3 then I would have 2nd overall! Very cool!! We cheered the other runners, got some grub, and waited for the awards. They only did overall top winners, so I ended up with 1st in my Division which was my goal for the race anyway. Since this is my last time in the F25-29 I had really wanted to defend my title. And Imported Thumbs? Well, she got 2nd in my division - but I beat her by 5 minutes. (There were only 7 people in our division.) Overall it looks like I was 32nd out of about 135 or so runners, not bad.

Afterwards they always take a pic of the award winners and volunteers. And guess who I was stuck next to?Yup, Imported Thumbs. Brent was cracking up the entire time we waiting and waiting and waiting for the pic to be taken. They kept calling more people up to be in the pic and so we stood 5 minutes for this picture to happen. It seems that Imported Thumbs really got her pose on - THE WHOLE TIME. Seriously, what's with the thumbs???? Sometimes she's not even looking near a camera - but she's got thumbs.

The closeup:

Look at me, I've got thumbs:

And, for your last bit of viewing pleasure - here is Imported Thumbs starting sprint. I'm not sure if she thought it was a 100 meter or what, but the way she takes off cracks me up. She is actually sprinting harder than the guy that won. (The guy that won - who ALWAYS wins because he is hella fast is in a light bright blue singlet near the orange cone, on the left.)

Have a great night!!!


At 10:12 PM, Blogger Just12Finish said...

That race report deserves a (domestic) thumbs up :-)

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Jack said...

Fantastic race and report. Number one in the division, way to go!

Thumbs up is just too funny, geez what a goofball!

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Darrell said...

How am I ever gonna erase that image from my brain? Too funny.

Congrats on running so well and keeping your thumbs under control.

At 4:35 AM, Blogger Jon (was) in Michigan said...

Nice job on hauling home the hardware, Rae!

I think your buddy there was doing the Borat imitation for the cameras. :)

At 5:57 AM, Blogger Firefly's Running said...

Great post, Rae!

At 6:38 AM, Blogger PLANET3RRY said...

Great Job on your first place age group award, YOU definitely get a thumbs up for your effort!

At 6:38 AM, Blogger Tiggs said...

rae- this is exactly why i love your posts! I love the look you are giving her out of the corner of your eye in her thumbs up close up! I can read your mind...LOL!

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Cliff Tam said...


U know i dont' think i ever done a 5 km race before..irony huh? :)

My first race is a 10 km i think. Maybe it is a sign that I am born to go long :D

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Running Jayhawk said...

Does wanting to snap off both her thumbs with a wrench make me a sick and twisted person? How annoying! But regardless, that was a great race report, Rae!

Okay...and I think I missed something in my temporary blogland absence...swimming and biking, too? Do I smell a tri in your future?!?

At 1:18 PM, Blogger E-Speed said...

I swear you are just like me, you attract the crazies at events ;)

Congrats on a great race!

At 9:56 PM, Blogger lainb said...

haha!! thumbs -- the facial expression you're giving in that picture is priceless!

At 8:02 PM, Blogger robtherunner said...

Nice race! I always love the people who sprint out at the finish with nothing left to follow. I don't get why they do it. Good luck with those swimming drills as well.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Lana said...

THAT is too funny. LOL. Congrats on a great race and the big 1st place!!

At 12:05 PM, Blogger jeanne said...

brilliantly written! you are hilarious! and congrats on 1st place, thumbalina!

At 8:58 PM, Blogger Bex said...

You made me laugh - great post! And I LOVED the pix - esp. the one of you looking at her in amusement. The expression on your face seems to convey to her: "You are such a dork. And a slow one, at that."


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