Scandalous! If you have been following, today was my second 5k and the tail end of the third week of my marathon training. Let’s take a look at how the day unfolded.
6 AM: 2 Miles
To start the day of a race, I have been advised in the past to do a 2 mile warm up run. When I woke up I wasn’t hungry, only dehydrated. I decided to have a drink and head out. Since the temperature had dropped to thirty I decided to wear my winter running pants. The run and the pants warmed those legs right up. As you can imagine, on cold Sunday morning the roads were empty. I ran to Tron: Legacy again. Since my pace on Saturday went well with it, I thought maybe there was something to the album. I was a little worried about the Chipotle burrito. By the half-way point my body reminded me I was carrying the extra 2 pounds of spicy meat and salsa. I decided I needed to end the run before I vomited in my mouth. I know, gross. I pushed harder and shaved twenty seconds off the last mile. In the end, my pace was five seconds off Saturday’s pace. Considering I was a burrito-laden, breakfast-free, dehydrated, tired runner I am proud of only losing five seconds on a warm up run. Time for the race.
9 AM: 3.1 Miles
When leaving for my race this morning, my wife and daughter both wished me good luck. My not quite three year old son, who is into rhyming right now, said, “Good Duck.” He thought he was the funniest person in the world. My wife and daughter followed suit. After numerous “Good Ducks” I was out the door for my race.
The Run Like A Fool 5k for the Chester Community Physical Therapy Clinic was a much smaller 5k than the Shamrock 5k in Baltimore. A one hundred person race is far different than a five thousand person race. A couple things clued me in. There was no signage along the route save one turn with six traffic cones. At the turns volunteers and campus police directed the runners with no dividers. There were, however, more water stations than at the larger event. The starting and finishing lines (same place) were not well marked; it was just where some staffers stood with a watch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I think I was just spoiled by the Shamrock run being my first. The race and staff were fantastic, and I will most likely do that run next year as well. It is their second time running the event, and obviously do not have the budget for a large scale run. The volunteers had great energy and enthusiasm. I must have been ten years north of the median age of the other runners. Why is that important? I was pretty much guaranteed to win my age group! Since it is such a small event, there were no prizes for the age groups, but it makes me feel good to say I won my age group. I am glad six people from my office joined the run. We all wore matching company running shirts. It looked impressive.
The race started on a track. Looking back at it now, I don’t think I have ever run on a track other than gym class (I think I pretty much walked it then). Three of my coworkers bolted out at the start. Without realizing my pace I kept up with them for the lap of the track. Reviewing my run data, I was running a 6’47’ pace. Good duck, indeed! For me, that is a tremendous pace, and to maintain it for a quarter mile is fantastic. After the track I knew I could not keep up that speed without burning out. My goal was south of 10 minutes. Stick to the goal, and don’t over exert. Slowly, some other runners started to pass me. Soon it would be my turn to pass them.
After a parking lot and a long driveway, the race entered the open road. It moved through a neighborhood. Just past the first mile, I started noticing people coming back in the opposite direction. Shortly after that, members of my team were passing me heading back. We high-fived as we passed each other. At times the solo sport can be a team effort. By this point, due to the low number of runners overall, everyone had more than enough space. In fact, at some points I felt I was on a solo run.
Eventually, on my return lap I approached the walkers who were still on the first half of the race…They were walking after all. Not just walkers, walkers with dogs…little toy dogs, some of which were yorkies. In the last mile I started passing people. Several people had gone from running to jogging to walking. One person, whom I will now call Captain 170, was one such person. Captain 170 did not like being passed by me. The first time I passed him he was walking. He then picked up the pace and passed me, and then started walking when he was around the next bend. He repeated this process two more times. The last time I passed him he couldn’t pass me right away, not until the final hill. He caught up and nudged his way past me. We entered a narrow sidewalk where I could not pass unless I entered the street on the other side of the guard rail. You do what you have to do. Once on the street I started to catch him again. We entered the final parking lot. Cones were placed to guide you to run around the entire lot. He chose to cut across the lot while onlookers and staffers kept pointing and yelling at him. The shortcut gave him too much of a distance to fully close by the end. Through the last stretch, he kept looking over his shoulder to see how close I was. How do I know he was looking for me? The closest person behind me was at least a tenth of a mile. It didn’t matter to me so much; I found it funny that this college kid found it so important not to be passed by me.
I finished out the 5k with a new PR of 29’19”. The last 5k I ran was completed in 31’33”. Almost a full 2 minute drop! I can live with that. The goal for next time is below 29 minutes.
4:30 PM: 5 Miles
According to my training schedule I needed to run 10 miles today. Of course, Nike meant a single 10 mile run. So instead, I needed to have another run to make up the difference. I have never attempted a threesome of runs in a single day. I entered the run already tired. I didn’t care about the pace, it didn’t matter. All I needed to do was finish up the distance. I decided to listen to a funny podcast and hit the road. A Sunday afternoon is very different than a Sunday morning. The streets were filled with people enjoying the day. There were groups of children on bikes, a man creating a dust storm with a snow blower, ten year-olds playing shuffle board, and three roving bands of three teenage girls each.
One kid on a scooter raced towards me and asked me why I was running. That is the age old question often asked of runners, myself included. No, I don’t have an answer for you. I used to ask myself that question, and there has never been an answer that worked. So I have stopped asking it of myself. Why do I need it answered?
That completes the third week of marathon training. “Good Duck” with your running this week!
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What is the most number of runs you have done in a single day?