Jeff and my friends Tegan and Christine talked me into signing up for this race—even though it was 6 days post Chicago. I knew it wasn’t going to be one of my best races, as I was still quite sore, but it was for a good cause, and I would get to run in Jeff.
This was the most fun I’ve had at any race, regardless of distance. I also experienced more pain during this race than any race I’ve run, even the ultras. Perhaps most interesting to note is that, from start to finish, this was the most relaxed I’ve been at any race. I even managed to relax, i.e., disassociate, during the very painful last miles.
Jeff and I visited the expo on Saturday, and it was the best expo we’ve been to. Getting my bib and chip was a painless process, and took less than five minutes. The aisles were wide enough for the large crowds, and there were numerous exhibitors giving away lots of goodies. The official race tee is very nice, too (a Nike technical, and the small isn’t too, too big).
I had no trouble falling asleep, and slept soundly until the alarm went off at 4:30. I even pushed snooze once, and didn’t get out of bed until 4:39. I went through my typical morning routine, and even took some self photos, as to not wake up Jeff.
From head to toe, I was pleased with every piece of clothing: Sugoui skull cap, new sunglasses, Nike sleeveless tee (with Bull City Running logo), Moeben sleeves with (wait for it) pockets for gels, Brooks throw-away gloves (that I didn’t throw away), 2XU compression shorts, Yaso compression socks, and—of course!—Mizuno Ronin racing flats. I experienced no chafing or blisters. I walked the 4 blocks to the start, and the crowd was already massive. It was also 30 degrees, and I was concerned that I would get too cold and not be able to warm up. I made my way to the bag check, and this, too was painless, as I was the only person in line at the time. I then made my way to the corrals. As I was assigned corral A, I had to show my bib to get through corrals D, C, B, and then finally to A. They had porta-potties just for us. Yeah! I used the porta-pottie one last time, as they announced that all runners had to be in starting corrals. It was 7:15. The Star Spangled Bangle was sung. (I always think of my father when I hear the National Anthem. I remember to take off my hat or cap, and to not applaud at the end.) I was not the least bit nervous. For that matter, I wasn’t overly excited, either. I knew that, with my persistent injuries, I had not put in the necessary training for an exceptional race. If truth be told, I was somewhat dreading this race. I had almost talked myself out of running it at least a dozen times. Nonethess, and as always, I set my goals in ascending order:
1. First and foremost, finish
2. Have fun
3. Finish sub 3:30
4. Finish sub 3:15
5. Finish sub 3. I honestly didn’t think this was possible.
The gun went off and we began. While there were many, many racers, I didn’t feel crowded or pushed around. The streets were wide, and the runners were all running at nearly the same pace.
My feet were frozen, and I could hardly feel them hit the ground. I certainly could not feel any toe-off. I didn’t get any feeling in my feet until about mile 6. For the first half of the race, my heart rate was relatively low, and my breathing was not at all labored. I felt very, very good.
Race: Fitness World 5K
Date: September 26, 2009
This is the second time I have run this event. As I’m still not feeling 100%, and I haven’t been racing much, I was concerned that I wouldn’t have a very good race. Given that I won this race last year, I was that much more concenred.
The CGTC website stated that the race began at 8, so I arrived at 7, only to discover that the organizers have just arrived. I registered at the front desk, and discovered that the race didn’t begin until 9. I had two hours to kill. Knowing that Jason P. would be leading a group of runners from his store, Bull City Running, I drove there (just across the street from Fitness World). He was kind enough to give me a pair of Mizuno Ronins with the promise that I would pay for them after the race. I ran 2.5 miles with him and another runner, and then ran back to my truck for a total of 5 miles. I then went back to Fitness World, and there were now many runners, volunteers, and Carolina cheerleaders awaiting the start of the race.
The race course is somewhat unusual, as it did not start at Fitness World, but on a road in the middle of a neighborhood. As CGTC Thursday group runs travel through this neighborhood (and since I had run the race last year), I knew what to expect.
I also had the opportunity to talk with Christine, a friend and one of my yoga instructors. She was running the race with her friend, Jim.
It was almost 9, so we made our way to the starting line. A man on a bike, who was to lead the runners, said to me, “So, you’ll be the person I’m leading, right?” I said, “I hope so.” There were a good 20 or so boys and girls under the age of 12 at the starting line; thus I feared it would be a crowded start.
The gun went off. While there were a few runners who took off too quickly, I gained the lead within the first 100 meters. I lead the race to the finish.
I could, however, hear a runner close behind me. He had just about caught me at mile 1. I surged on the downhill, and he wasn’t able to catch me.
Jason and Kim P., owners of Bull City Running, were supervising a hydration station at mile 1.5. I heard Kim shout, “Run, Paul!”
I could still hear the eventual second place finisher, and he may have even been gaining on me. (His finishing time this year would have beat my time last year.) I sprinted to the finish, got a quick drink of water, and ran back to run in Christine and Jim, as I had promised.
I met this with about a ½ mile to go. I was their rabbit, and they both picked up the pace. They passed quite a few people. Jim had a very nice finishing kick.
It was a rather uneventful race. I did win a big-ass trophy and gift certificates to Bull City Running and X-pert Nutrition.