Pre-race picture...something to remember me by, just in case.
Before it was over, I would pass those three
Approaching the 5 mile mark
Yo Mick, Yo Pauly, Yo Adrian.....I did it!
Today I completed something I have thought about doing for most of my adult life. I complete at 10K run! It was record time too....at least for me (ya see, since I've never done one, this is a record)
Actually I run at "no wake" speed, which is boater talk for 5 MPH or less. My time was 1:14:30 or so, the official results aren't on the website yet. Given that it was my virgin race I was surprised at everything the organizers had for us. We traveled the hour or so from our home to St. Pete last night and stayed in a hotel. We missed the pre-race beach party and bon-fire in favor of getting a good nights sleep. The fear of temps in the upper 30's was relieved by some prevailing winds of 10 knots that kept the temp at 45 degrees during warm ups. The registration check-in was well organized, although they were out of the XL shirts, even though I had pre-registered and gave my size. I took the large in hopes I can continue slimming down and get into it. They had these computer microchip stickers that you loop around your shoe laces so the track timers can capture my blazing speed! I dressed in my running shorts, that Reebok shirt thingy that keeps me dry, my sweat suit and disposable nitrile gloves (two pairs). I stretched for close to 30 minutes, much more so than my normal routine but this wasn't a normal workout. I did some brisk walking in loops around the parking lot of the hotel and started to warm fairly quickly. There were some whackjobs out there in shorts, shoes and nothing else and I thought of my online running friends, the Northeasters and their sub-freezing workouts. This actually helped me feel warm. I did some slow, exaggerated, high stepping for about 5 minutes to stretch out my hamstrings. I was imitating something I saw Anquan Boldin (Cardinals receiver) when he was working out his injured hammy.
Four minutes before the start time I peeled off my outer layers of clothing and was surprised how light and energized my legs suddenly felt. I guess that's the race day adrenaline? Speaking of adrenaline, there was a vendor there selling shoes and I saw my next pair of Brooks for only $69. Because of my starting weight, back in September, the sales guy at Runners Den put me in a heavy pair of Brooks Beast model. I remembered him saying that my next pair after 6 months or so should be Brooks Adrenaline and they were listed at $120 back then. I decided to try and buy the new ones at my next event in March, if the vendors are there.
I walked the back of the pack, where I belonged and got some laughs from the others when I loudly asked if this was the "no wake" area. I didn't bring any gels or anything special on the run but I did accept a cup of water at each watering station on the way and forced a mouthful or two down. The cool weather really ended up helping keep me hydrated, I think. My goal for this race was to finish, without walking. The only time I had timed myself during training showed me doing about a 13 minute mile pace and I wanted to improve on that but wasn't overly concerned with it. I did achieve a pace of 12:01 today. I set little goals during the run, like when I would see someone ahead of me walking I tried to catch and pass them. After mile two, I decided to try and not let anyone else pass me if I could. When people would come upon me from behind, I upped my pace to stay with them and all but one of them ended up dropping behind me. After mile 3, no one passed me again and that felt really good.
One of the things I'd like to work on is learning how to open up my stride or increase my speed without burning out too early. I know there are speed walkers who go much faster than my run pace, but where I've come from in my training...in my own head, I view walking as a step backwards now. Remember, one of my primary goals with this whole lifestyle is weight loss and control so I need to pound the pavement hard as much as I can.
Nearing mile 5 I could see my wife waiting on the sidelines and I still had the energy to wave and get her attention. She shot my picture as I "flew by". You will recognize me in the pictures cuz......well, frankly....I'm the only one in the picture. Everyone else was like done or being tended to by paramedics somewhere behind me.
As I neared the 6 mile mark sign, I eyeballed the last few people I thought I could catch and pass. Two of them were guys I was trying to catch since the half way point. I figured with two tenths remaining, I may as well leave it all here so I busted out in a full out sprint. To my credit, I was seriously moving. Some folks in the crowd started shouting and cheering, making comments about a strong finish so that energized me even more. As I crossed the finish line I briefly wished I would have turned it on much earlier, but alas...this was my first big one and I didn't really know what I would have left. I think look on my face seconds after the finish says it all.
The post race party featured lots of free food, fresh fruits; heathfood samples; some great rice & pork dish; FREE BEER; and free massages. How great is that?
Last summer I weighed 280 pounds and really, really didn't like what I was becoming. At 43 I have now lost 34 pounds, enroute to my goal of losing 80, and I just finished my first 10K! No diets, no drugs, no money. I gave up fast food, of which I was addicted and I started exercising. Thanks to my nephew for losing 75 pounds last year, this same way, and showing me it can be done. Thanks to his mom, my sister Shannon, for turning me on to the Couch to 5K program. Thanks to my wife for supporting me and letting me buy these $135 shoes that she admits she didn't think I would use. And thanks to the guys and gals on coolrunning.com, for continuing to inspire me and keep me accountable. Up next, the Bay to Bay 12K in March.
7PM update: official race results are in. see them here.
My official chip time was 1:14:06
My average per mile pace was 11:56
I came in 483rd place out of 530 finishers