Sep 13, 2008

My first honest 2aDay - a long-time 5K goal achieved, then a 14 mile LSD with Rizzo!


At mile 6 of our 14 miler!

2aDay part 1: The Dumont, NJ Run for Fun 5K
I can't tell you how long I've wanted to run a 5K in under 30 minutes. Maybe 10 years? maybe more? Whatever, it's been a long time.

Well, today I did it. Official time: 29:47.6. (Results link: http://www.bestrace.com/results/08/080913du5.HTM)

(By the way, if you're wondering why this relatively slow time is so special to me, that probably means you don't realize that I weigh 295 lbs.)

Indulge me for a minute while I go over my race details..
My official time was 29:47.6
I came in 177th place overall out of 225
My pace per mile was 09:36
I was the 8th male age 30-34 out of 10
I was the 128th male of any age out of 142

To be honest, I probably could have done this 18 months ago - and I have in fact run the distance in under 30 in my training a couple of times. but I don't run a lot of official 5K races - in fact, the only 5K i've done in the last two years was the Teterboro airport 5k this summer where I just had a bad race.

Hell, indulge me for another minute:
2008-09-13 Dumont NJ Run for Fun 29:47.6
2008-07-19 Teterboro Airport 5K 31:50 (I was very disappointed with this time - even though it actually was a PR)
2006-09-23 Jones Beach 5K 32:23
2006-07-15 Teterboro Airport 5K 35:58 (I ran that race as hard as I ran today's race. It was very hot..)
2005-04-17 Rockland Lake 5K 34:50 (which isn't bad considering I was 350lbs at the time.)

Ok Race report.
Getting to the race was a pain. I won't go into details but we thought we had more time than we did and ended up getting there at 8:45 - registration was supposed to have closed at 8:40. They let me sign up anyway, so I was cool - but Joe missed his kids race and I never saw a coworker who was supposed to be there - her event finished before I got there and I guess she went home. Oh well.

Race start
Man I was frazzled. Trying to sign up, find my wife, find my friend.. it was just a mess. And the race started a minute or two early, which actually turned out well. I did find my wife and handed her my stuff (there was no bagcheck at the race) so the practical affairs were all settled. I didn't have time to emotionally cool off and just zone before the race started, however, and that might have made a difference.

First Mile
I seemed to pass a LOT of people in the first quarter-mile. It concerned me a bit but my pace was OK so I got over it. I guess it's basically because started dead last.. so I guess I had to pass about 50 people since that's how many people finished after me.

I did start out just a tad quick but not by much. I think I was at a sub-9:30 net pace for a while. That's faster than what I needed for my goal, but I knew it wouldn't kill me so I just went with it. That quick pace evened out when we hit the first hill of consequence at about 3/4 of a mile in.

Yes, Dumont has some modest hills!


It actually wasn't a big deal for me. I've been hitting hills hard lately and especially after the GT50 I seem to be a bit of a hill warrior lately. That came in quite handy in this race, I wouldn't have had the sub-30 finish without it. Also of note is that I passed a lot of skinny people going uphill.

Mile 1
The guy calling out times confirmed that my GPS watch was accurate.. still going uphill, so I concentrated and skipped the aid station. I thought I was nearing the top of the hill as it started to level off, only to for it to get even nastier and steeper after a left turn. I was starting to get winded but hit it strong enough that I managed to pass a few more people here and basically settle into the spot that I'd be the rest of the race.. that is, there wasn't a lot of passing going on around me after mile 1.5. I was racing against myself.

The hill finally leveled off but there wasn't a downhill stretch for a couple hundred meters so I while it was nice not to be running uphill I didn't immediately get the vindication of a downhill stretch. Nor was any downhill as steep or as long as the uphill I just overcame. Since I was unfamiliar with the course, all I knew is that I'd have a net downhill over the next 1.5 miles, but I didn't know if that'd come as rolling hills, or as just long sustained easy running, such as it was. Turned out that it was a little bit of both, generally downhill with a couple of speedbumps. But not steep enough to make me want to run any faster.

I did notice, however, that those hills came with a price - not only was I pooped, my net time was pushing 9:40 - which is cutting it way too close. I was starting to hurt.

Mile 2
As RATM was motivating me to keep going for ten more minutes, I was really feeling hurt. My playlist was intentionally set up to allow for a couple of mental tricks at this point of the race. "I won't do what you tell me" became a metaphor for denying my body the rest it was screaming for - it was completely planned from the night before, and I like to think it worked in retrospect.

I don't remember much about the race itself at this point - I was completely focused on my running, my pace, and the mental tricks I was playing to keep going and not slow down. My watch was indicating the neighborhood of 9:35-9:37 net pace and I knew I didn't have enough leeway to compromise much.

There is a certain techno song (Sandstorm by Darude) that I have played many times in my interval workouts and it has almost always motivated me to go really strong at a certain point in my workouts. Its "energy" builds up, holds a maximum, then backs off, before building up again and holding the maximum for twice as long, then backing off again. I have run myself ragged to this pattern many times and owe so much to that song it's not funny. NAturally, I put it at the end of the race.

As the song started, mentally, I was thinking, "You've had this goal for ten years and you can get it NOW if you can just manage the next 5 minutes. 5 minutes. A stupid 5 minutes. Then your done and you can write long blog posts about it tonight. 5 minutes. That's all you need."

The energy was building and so was my speed despite exhaustion. And when it maxed, I went very hard, reducing my overall net pace for the entire race by a second or two. When it finished, I allowed myself a very brief break (there was a small hill there anyway) while the second crescendo started to build. I may have gone 15 seconds at an 11 minute pace, and it was the only time I backed off the entire race. As the music started to build, I gradually sped up and, while I wasn't going anywhere near a full sprint, I was definitely not going slow (for me) either. It's a good thing the song holds its second maximum twice as long, because I really needed that motivation. And just as it was about to finish, I could see the balloons of the finish line, still a decent distance away.

At this point I think I may have had someone pass me. I don't remember, and I didn't care. All I had on my mind was the intense concentration: I have to cover about two fast minutes of ground in about two minutes. the first minute was Sandstorm, it takes a minute to end. Then I put in more psychopath music, just to give me that one-minute warning - it wasn't needed however.

Even though I was completely exhausted, my motivation no longer came from my ipod, but instead from that finish line - and when the clock came into view, I knew I could make if it I just didn't slow down. I didn't have any energy to for a finishing kick, I just had to keep going at the pace I was already going at. It wasn't easy. I wanted to slow down so badly. And that last minute took it's sweet time going by, too.

The clock read 29:50 when I crossed, and the scoring company game me a 29:47 score.

Sat down on a curb and just gazed at the asphalt. I needed a whole 20 minutes to recover and my 4-year-old, excited because he knew I had reached this goal I talked so much about, wasn't getting much response from me. I gave the race 100% of me and did what I had to do, but after the race I was just dead.

It was hot outside, too. 100% humidity. I didn't notice the heat, however, until I was seated there.. and that is what finally got me up off that curb to seek shade, which was much cooler.

here's the GPS log of the 5K race: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/6755860.

I celebrated with pancakes at a local diner and met rizzo. That afternoon, we did a long run..

2aDay part 2: a long run with rizzo
The first part of the report was very long, so I'll keep this short.

We went to Rockland Lake. We went around twice. We then did the hill route, and opted to "buy some miles" by doing hook mountain - a steep decline down to the hudson river - which commits you to coming back up. After 2.5 beautiful miles on the hudson, we returned up hook mountain (It's a lot smaller than I remember, but it killed rizzo) and went back to the car. We had quite a bit of non-moving time (mostly adjusting shoes or getting pebbles out), but that's ok. Took about 4 hours to go 14 miles. Had a great time.

I could leave it at that, but that wouldn't do the circumstances justice..

This is one of the first times I've ever run with someone else. Because I'm so slow, I've never even bothered looking for a running partner. Since Rizzo is slower than even me, I eagerly took the opportunity to go with him and make some miles go by faster. I would do it anyway, but since I didn't have much left after such a hard effort at the 5K, I was even more glad to go nice and slow today. And we had fun! it was amazing.

The only thing I would change about today is.. I would use bodyglide. I mean, it was 100% humidity! What was I thinking?? stupid stupid stupid. and ouch. This is going to hurt for a couple of days.

had a great time..

here's the GPS log of the long run:
http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/6755861