Saturday, November 2, 2013

Race to Rid SIDS 5k - October 2013

Race to Rid SIDS 5k - Herndon, VA - October 2013

On the run!
I was originally supposed to run the Wilson Bridge Half Marathon this weekend.  Unfortunately, the government incompetence shutdown forced that race to be postponed, as part of the course involved federal parks.  

I found out about the race postponement on Wednesday night of this week.  To add to my annoyance, the race was postponed to one week before the Philadelphia Marathon, so I would not be able to do it at all this year.  Luckily, I was able to defer my entry to 2014 so I did not totally lose out on my registration fee.  

I was pretty frustrated that the race had been postponed, so on Wednesday night, I started frantically trying to figure out a backup plan and find some alternate races.  Luckily, I found another half marathon only a week later - the Heritage Half Marathon in Gainesville, VA.  But I was still antsy to get out and race THIS weekend.  I didn't have much luck finding 10ks, but I was able to find a nearby 5k - the Race to Rid SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) 5k.  The race was conveniently close to my house, and the course also ran right past my friend's house - twice!  

On Friday afternoon, before the race, I was scheduled for a 5 mile recovery run with some quick striders.  So, I decided to head over to Oak Hill Elementary School (where the race starts), to do a course preview.  While running the course, I ran into my friend and stopped to talk with him.  He is a runner too, but would not be able to run (or watch) the race because he was coaching at a cross country invitational the next morning.  But he said his wife would try to come out and cheer me on!  

During the preview, I realized that the course was a little hillier than I thought it would be (See elevation map).  I was in pretty good shape though, and thought I should be able to run a decent time - maybe in the low to mid 18s.  Although with marathon training, I was not exactly in "5k shape." Marathon training is mostly long runs and lactate threshold work - not VO2 max workouts, which are the key to a fast 5k.  After the Philadelphia Marathon, I'd like to focus more on faster speed work, and running some fast 5ks and 10ks - maybe try to get under 18 in a 5k.
Race to Rid SIDS 5k elevation map

Race to Rid Sids 5k race t-shirt
So, after a crazy week, with a lot of reshuffling of my marathon training plan, it was finally race morning.  I headed over to Oak Hill Elementary and registered for the race. The volunteers were very friendly and helpful.  The race shirt was a tech tee, which pleasantly surprised me.  For a "cause" race, starting at an elementary school, I honestly would have expected a crappy cotton t-shirt with some ugly design on the front that was chosen from an elementary student design contest. This shirt was actually decent!

After a one mile warm-up, I headed over to the start line.  It was fairly warm for October - mid 60s on race morning, and it rose into the 80s later in the day.  Luckily I was only racing 5k today, so it shouldn't effect me too much.  I would probably be finished with the race before I overheated.  It honestly would have been pretty lousy weather to run a half marathon - too warm and humid.  Maybe the shutdown race postponement wasn't so bad after all!

Encouragement along the way
Glancing around at the competition at the start line,  I thought I had a good chance to finish in the top 5.  The race began, and I got off to a good start, settling into 2nd place.  One super fast runner was there, and he headed out into the lead.  After about a half-mile, one other runner passed me, which put me into 3rd place.  I settled into a nice pace, and clocked a 5:47 first mile.  I passed my friend's house on the way out, and his wife was there to cheer me on!  When I circled back past the house the second time, she was still out there cheering, and I saw something written on the road.  I honestly was running too fast to read it, but I figured it was something encouraging.  After the race, I ran back there for my cool down, and talked to her some more.  She had used some chalk and written 'Go Duane! In it to win it!' on the road in front of their driveway for me.  How nice!

1st place 30-39 age group award!
I ran the 2nd mile in 5:53 - still in 3rd place, with the 1st and 2nd place runners out of striking distance.  However, I could hear footsteps and breathing right behind me.  Then I heard a spectator yell, "Way to go! First place female!"  Oh crap, the person behind me was a girl!  I'm not really too sexist or anything, but I just don't want to let anyone beat me...ever...especially not a girl.  She ran really strong though, and stayed right on my shoulder.  After a couple of hills, I was able to put a little bit of distance on her.  The third mile was definitely the most challenging, with a couple of steep hills, but I still managed a 6:06, and crossed the finish line about 5 seconds ahead of the girl.  I finished 3rd place overall out of 177 runners, and 1st place in my age group, in 18:18 (5:53/mile pace)  (Race Results)  However, when the results came out from Amazing Race Timing, there were two mistakes.  One - my time said 18:25 instead of 18:18.  I started my watch exactly when I crossed the start line, and stopped it right when I crossed the finish line, so there should not have been that much of a discrepancy.  They were wrong.  Second, the results said that the girl had finished ahead of me - even though I crossed the finish line before her.  This could have been because she started farther back, and it was chip timed.  But I thought she was standing right next to me on the start line, so I'm not sure where that timing discrepancy came from either.  So, Amazing Race Timing was not so amazing in my opinion. But the girl did not effect any of the male race results and awards, because I was still the 3rd overall male.  My prize was a hydration pack from Eastern Mountain Sports (retail value of $59.99!!).  I don't think I would ever use it, so I will probably sell it on E-bay.

Overall, the Race to Rid SIDS 5k was a great experience, and I would recommend it to anyone - nice volunteers, nice shirt, nice awards.  Even though I didn't get to run the Wilson Bridge Half Marathon, this turned out to be a good back up plan.