Sunday, November 18, 2012

Give a 5K for Diabetes Race Recap

I don't have pics of the race. I'm sorry.  As you will see below, this was the craziest 5K I have ever run. OK, it's the second 5K I have ever run but it is still the craziest by far. If I learned my lesson correctly, it will be the craziest race for a very long time.

On the way home, I managed to take this nice pic of San Juan harbor but that's it.

So the race was set to start at 5pm. I'm not going to get into the details but I was very late. Suffice it to say, it was all my own fault. I drove as fast as I could to San Juan and found myself in a traffic jam near the race. I decided to not wait it out and parked pretty far away from the race. It was 15 minutes before the start. I walked/ran as fast as I could to the park and worked up a pretty good sweat. When I got to the registration table they were putting everything away! I quickly showed my form and the lady begrudgingly looked for my bib. I apologized a bunch of times but she just told me to run to the start line because they were starting.

There I was, already panting, with my phone, headphones, race shirt, race info envelope, race chip and car keys all in my hands. I left the envelope stashed in some corner thinking I would go back for it. (I didn't) I joined the crowd of races and as soon as I found a place to stand the gun went off. As the runners in the front started I got down and put on the racing chip and started walking to the starting line while putting on my bib but it was too late. Turns out I didn't put my racing chip right and was right at the end of my lace about to fall off. There was no time. I "sewed" the lace to the part tied to the shoe and hoped it didn't fall off. I barely started RunKeeper right at the start line, put on my headphones and started my playlist. I had my arm band in my pocket but that was not gonna happen. I put the phone there as well. I tried once again to put on my bib.

Did I mention all this happened while I (and everyone else)was running?

30 seconds after putting the bib on,  It fell off on one side. This was just too crazy. I stopped running and while walking got myself together. Put the bib on right (sort of), put the keys on one pocket, the phone on the other and the race shirt... well there was no other way. I carried that the entire race. I got going once again.

It was a tough race with a particularly challenging hill after the first mile marker. In all the commotion I, of course darted off way too fast but I didn't have time to notice. Run Keeper tells the story: I ran the first mile in 13:30. Impressive, but WAY faster than I'm used to. The fastest mile I have recorded since I started running. After a start like that, you can only go one way. Down. The next two miles I ran in 15:27 and 15:28 with a mad dash to the finish on the last .1 mile. Total time: 47:30. I finished 551 out of 1,400 runners

There was much improvement from my first 5K but it sure could have been much better. If I could just pace myself better at the beginning, I could surely finish stronger. But after starting so strong I was just too tired. With a mile to go, a lady in her 70's passed me. She was power walking. Enough said.

I did run the whole thing as opposed to the previous race so I'm very proud that despite my fast start I was able to not stop. 

So lesson learned. It's one of the most basic of axioms in racing etiquette: Show up on time! Even with that, I had tons of fun. At the same time I have to face the facts: I have to take it easy. I'm slow. It's a fact. People (a lot of them) are gonna pass me. I have to deal with that. But it will get better. I know it will. It's the competitive spirit that drives you to improve and I want to improve. 

Next stop? In 2 weeks I run the Castaway Cay 5K. The race that got me into running. Can't wait!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Special Double Report

With the impending cruise looming ever-closer it has become a bit harder to keep up with the blog. Not only are we getting ready to leave but I'm trying to leave everything set at work which has meant a lot of meetings in the afternoon and night. Amazingly enough, I have only missed one run. Just one. And to celebrate, I'm running a 5K this weekend before I leave the day after Thanksgiving.

The "Give a 5K for Diabetes" race recap will be my final post before I leave for the cruise. I thought long and hard about doing two consecutive races in two weeks but my running in the last few weeks has convinced me to try it. As you will see, I keep improving my times despite the fact that I decide to not focus on speed. Last week I purposely took it a lot easier in terms of pace. Or at least I thought I was, yet my time in the 4 mile course keeps coming down. 

Tuesday, November 6 - 4 miles
After, deciding to not focus on speed, I decided to try and take this run as easily as I could. This had a very strong effect on the run. Energy expenditure is really something. My pace wasn't that much slower than before. I mean, how much slower can a turtle run right? But it did make a difference on the second half where I felt a lot stronger than usual. It is the only thing I can think of to explain that I ran faster than the week before because I really was taking it easier. No, really. I was! 1:02:16

Thursday, November 8 - 4 miles
Again, I went out with no delusions of grandeur. Taking it easy and not thinking about time. Until the end that is! At the final stretch I checked my phone and saw I was within my time on Tuesday and sprinted to the end. I could not help it. But the whole time before that I took it easy. No, really I promise! 1:01:55

Saturday, November 10 - 5 miles
Now here was the real test. With the long run, there really is no choice. You take it easy and finish or you act like an idiot and break down before you get there. While 4 miles has become a lot more manageable, 5 miles is still a bit of a struggle. This time I was able to finish a bit stronger than before so there is improvement plus I finished in less time too which means that where I ran weakest I wasn't as weak as last week. (Say that 5 times real fast.) Can't ask for more than that.  1:18:00

Thursday, November 15 - 4 miles
With all of this record-breaking and improvements, I needed something to keep me humble. Since I missed my Tuesday run and signed up for a race the next Sunday I felt I needed to come crashing down from the cloud. A wake up call if you will. I took off trying to break an hour on the 4 mile. Predictably, I ended up running the EXACT same time as the last time I ran 4 miles. If I'm not trying, I improve. If I aim for improvement, I crash and burn. Oh well, At least I found a sure-fire way to keep myself humble. 1:01:55

Folks, I'm 1 week away from running the race that started this whole fiasco. The Castaway Cay 5K was the race that got me off the couch and into running shoes. This is going to be quite an interesting ride.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The 13th Mile

Last week, I mentioned I was cool because I ran in the rain. Well, it turns out I'm not cool, I'm a geek. I am a running geek apparently. This week, I was supposed to run 5 miles on Saturday morning but for reasons I will explain  below I ran 3.5. I wasn't exactly happy about it and it nagged me all day so that night, I went out and ran the mile and a half that I didn't do. 

All told I ran 13 miles this week. The most I have done so far. That's a half-marathon. Now if I could only do that in one run...

I finally went to run with the guys from Coqui Runners. They invited me once again to go on Saturday morning. So I went and... got stood up. But it wasn't a total loss. I did run and the park were I ran was pretty awesome. It is a linear park in the town of Bayamón. It's got two lanes for bicycles and one for runners/walkers. It's got plenty of trees so you are running in the shade most of the way and there are several "stations" with restrooms and water. The route is challenging enough for me and if you run the entire thing, it's like almost 10 miles. The only drawback is that is not exactly close by. I wouldn't mind driving there once in a while but if I went there regularly it would add up. Gas ain't cheap these days you know.

Tuesday, October 30 - 4 miles
After doing some soul searching, I realized that I was focusing too much on improving my time as opposed to working on increasing my mileage which, of course, is supposed to be the point of all this as my main goal is to run a marathon at some point. So on this run, I tried to take it real easy and focus on slowly getting more adept at longer distances. However, as easy as I thought I was taking it, I still ran well within my previous PR in this distance. I am definitely getting used to running this distance. It seems a mileage increase is close by. 1:02:53

Thursday, November 1 - 4 miles
Bad days will come and so will bad runs. This was just one of those days where I just wasn't feeling it. The minute I started, my legs were complaining but I finished. You know, those "killer" hills in this course? They are becoming a lot more manageable.

Saturday, November 3 - 3.5 miles
This was the park run. I was plenty upset that I got stood up by my running "buddies" but hey, it's a beautiful park, a beautiful day... I walked up to one of the security guards there and asked him about the course. I told him I wanted to run 5 miles so he says "You need to go all the way to "Cambija" station and come back. That's 5 miles." So off I went. It was a nice change of scenery and it was great to see others running and walking along the route.  There are some short but steep hills that present a nice challenge. Once I reached the station, I made my way back. Almost at the end, it started to rain (Cool Runner:The Sequel) but when I checked my phone it said I had only run 3.5 miles. So much for the guard's info. Anyway, I spent the rest of the day thinking I fell short. I knew if I had run the full 5 miles, I would have done a personal best in terms of weekly mileage. So...

Saturday, November 3(evening) - 1.5 miles
After getting everyone fed, bathed and dressed I went out again and ran the missing mile and a half. This is important. A year ago I would have just let it go but it was important enough to me to go finish. By the way, running twice in a day... not the greatest sensation in the world for my body but what an awesome feeling for the soul! I was a bit sore I admit but after a few minutes it went (mostly) away. I also got to run my first running route from when I first started. I remember when this distance was a real challenge and that last half mile seemed like such a long distance to go. Sure, to some it might seem like going from 1.5 miles to 5 miles is not a big deal but for someone who less that a year ago was running zero miles, its a big moment.