A Finish Line

I titled my first post here “The Starting Line.” I think I started regretting that title about 5 minutes after I published it. I’ll still stick with that theme for this post, with a minor variation, since “The Finish Line” would imply that I’m done with running or blogging (or both).

I ran a marathon. Some days, I still have trouble believing it.

Some days it’s been fun, some days it’s been terrible. Sometimes it starts raining at Mile 19. Sometimes you see a friend from college at the finish line of your first marathon. Sometimes your ankle blows up after 9.5 miles. Sometimes you run the race of your life, see that you had about a 15 minute PR, and get emotional. Sometimes, you’re on the treadmill, and it’s mentally excruciating. Sometimes, the ankle specialist tells you all you need are some custom orthotics, and you can keep running. Sometimes they serve Shotgun Betty after the race, sometimes they serve Michelob Ultra.

Lots of stuff over the past not quite two years. I wish I was a better storyteller. I wish I was a better runner. But I think I did the best I could with what I had, and that’s really all I can ask for. That, and another chance to get it right.

And the new site is…*drumroll* The Key Runner. (Someone owns keyrunner.com, and they want $2520 for it. They can keep it. I paid $2507 less, and they even threw in “the” for free.) I figured, if I’m going to take a picture with my car key after every race, why not incorporate that into the name of the site?

Farewell for now, and see you at the next Starting Line.

Final Weekly Running Report: June 20-26

Since I’m planning on starting the new site next Saturday, and I normally publish my weekly reports on Sunday, this is the last weekly report I’ll be posting here. I’ll post one last time here to plug the new site and say goodbye.

I liked putting in some random item besides the Weight Check in the Weekly Report that isn’t necessarily related to running, but alas, I have nothing this week.

Weight Check: 171.0, down 1.3 pounds from last week. My initial reaction is relief. I fell off the wagon this week. As great as last weekend was, with celebrating Father’s Day with Dad, and then meeting my new nephew, it was also pretty draining. Then I went back to work and was on call, which is the most demanding part of my job. Finally, my typical strategy if I got really tired at work and was tempted to get a Mountain Dew was to go for a walk. Well, while I’m on call, I need to respond pretty quickly if something comes up, so walking isn’t really an option. I did manage to limit the damage to one 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew each day I was in the office, Monday through Thursday. I didn’t have any peanut butter cups, and I didn’t have any beer, either. (It was an odd week where I didn’t actually get together with my friends at all, so avoiding beer was pretty easy.) So I did pretty well other than the Mountain Dew.

I think my increased running (with pretty freaking high humidity late in the week) helped offset the Mountain Dew. Also, it’s possible that I was finally seeing the results from my previous 3 weeks of effort.

I don’t really see a good Spotlight Run for this week. Besides, when I first started doing Weekly Reports, I just wrote about each run in order, so I’ll stick with that for the finale. Of course, it’ll be a little longer than usual, because I succeeded in running 5 times this week.

Monday: 4.01 miles, 10:41/mile.

The humidity was low, and it felt really nice out there. I wanted to cut back a little on the mileage, since I’d have 5 runs for the week, so I went with just 4 miles. I managed a reverse split.

Tuesday: 4.11 miles, 10:18/mile.

For the last time here, I have to say it: The treadmill is mentally excruciating. (I do plan on taking this phrase with me to the new site.) Since I had run Monday, and was planning on running on Wednesday, I went with a slightly slower pace. I started at 10:43 for Mile 1, dropped down to 10:31 for Mile 2, then sped up a little, eventually ending at 9:51. So, faster than my outdoor runs, but slower than my usual treadmill runs.

Wednesday: 4.03 miles, 10:47/mile.

It was my first time running 3 days in a row in almost 4 months. (The last time was February 22-24.) My legs held up OK. The weather wasn’t terrible, and I managed a reverse split.

Friday: 6.26 miles, 11:05/mile.

Since I was on call this weekend, I went with a Friday long(-ish) run. The humidity was pretty freaking brutal. I did not get a reverse split. I stopped to walk several times. I survived.

Saturday: 4.61 miles, 10:36/mile.

The weather still sucked. I wanted to make sure I got over 23 miles for the week, and I just barely succeeded. I’m kind of surprised to see that this ended up being my fastest outdoor run this week.

For the week, I ran 23.02 miles at an average pace of 10:43/mile.

Next week, I’m doing 5 runs, and I’d like to do a 10 mile long run. Also, I’ll be wrapping things up here and launching the new site. No pressure.

Delayed Weekly Running Report: June 13-19

I have a good excuse for being late.

New Nephew Update: That’s right, I’m an Uncle for the 2nd time. My sister had a baby boy, Quinn, early Sunday morning. I was already at my parents’ house for Father’s Day (Side note: My sister gave my father a grandson for Father’s Day. Showoff. I can’t compete with that.), so I made the trip over to Raleigh to meet my new nephew, and didn’t get back home until just after 10 PM. Sadly, I didn’t have time to see my other nephew, Jack, but I heard he got to meet his new baby brother, and called him Kin. (In a way, he’s right.)

Website Update: I’ve decided to start up the new website on July 2. Of course, that means my ankle will blow up again on July 1, because as we all know, my ankle ruins everything. (My Ankle Ruins Everything isn’t going to be the name of the new site, but I have to admit, I’ve considered using that as the name.)

This week was mildly frustrating until I started my long run.

Weight Check: 172.3. Same as last week, and the week before. This is part of the mildly frustrating stuff. I weighed in Saturday before my long run, so maybe if I hadn’t left town and weighed in on Sunday, I would have seen a loss. Of course, I did leave town to see my parents, but other than frozen yogurt Saturday night, I think I did OK.

Outside of the trip home, I stayed away from Mountain Dew (but did drink a Coke on the drive Saturday, and another during the drive on Sunday, because any ill effects from soda pale in comparison to what might happen if I doze off behind the wheel), stayed away from junk food, and only had 2 beers. Well, I did have a large bacon cheeseburger when a former co-worker took me out to lunch. I feel like I’m on the right track. It would be really nice to see some results, but I have to remind myself how long it took to get from 199 to 161. Patience.

For the first time since February 28, I have a spotlight run. Normally, I’d start with that and then do a brief summary of the rest of the week, but I want to switch it up to give the spotlight run some context.

Monday: 5.12 miles, 10:44/mile
Wednesday: 4.66 miles, 9:39/mile
Thursday: 5.02 miles, 11:20/mile.

Monday was hot and humid and I felt so miserable I had to take two walk breaks. Wednesday was on the treadmill and it was, as usual, mentally excruciating, but for some reason, my legs didn’t have their usual energy, and I couldn’t speed up as much as I wanted to at the end. Thursday was hot and humid and I felt so miserable I had to take three walk breaks. (And I didn’t even try to hit any of the neighborhood hills during Thursday’s run.)

Spotlight Run: Saturday, 7:16 AM, 66 degrees, partly cloudy, windy.

It wasn’t humid. This was encouraging.

So here’s the thing with McMullen Creek/Four Mile Creek. I’ve got two options, One is 1.75ish miles out to Rea Road, get water, run back, then if I want more water, I have to go up the hill to Johnston Road to the water fountain. The other option is 4 miles to 51, get water, run back. That’s 8 miles. My longest run since Tobacco Road is 6.2 miles. Could I do it?

I decided to try. I took it easy at the start, which, with much better weather conditions than during the week, wasn’t easy. I took a planned walk break around 2 miles, stopped for water around 4 miles, then took a planned walk break around 6 miles. My legs still felt OK, so I sped up a little for Mile 7. I didn’t know exactly when I’d stop, so I didn’t know if that was the last mile, or maybe just part of the last mile if I ended up stopping at, say 7.5. When I got to the 7 mile mark, I still felt pretty good, but I wasn’t 100% sure I had a full mile left in me. I took off anyway, and my legs held up. I didn’t stop until I hit 8.02 miles.

My splits were 11:34, 11:13, 11:45 (walk break), 11:24, 11:42 (water break), 11:06, 10:51 (walk break), and for the last mile, 9:22. Wow.

Total Distance: 8.02 miles. Average Pace: 11:07/mile.

For the week, I ran 22.82 miles at an average pace of 10:47/mile.

This week, I’m on call, but I’m going to try for 5 days of running anyway. I need to be able to run 5 days a week before I start marathon training. I’m going with shorter runs (today was only 4 miles), with a long-ish run on Friday before my on call for Friday into the weekend starts). We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Running Report: June 6-12

It didn’t go exactly as I had planned, but I got to 20 miles for the week, wore my orthotics on every run, and finished my longest long run (on Saturday!) since Tobacco Road. Sometimes, it all works out in the end.

Weight Check: 172.3, exactly the same as last week. It’s a little disappointing. I ate OK this week. I successfully avoided Mountain Dew, although there were three nights where I went out for beer. I think the biggest problem is that I did some snacking on Friday and Saturday when I ran in the morning and then was at home most of the day with easy access to my fridge and pantry, and a slightly larger appetite due to my morning run. I guess I have to work on that.

Let’s take my runs in order.

Monday: 4.51 miles, 9:37/mile.

With the notable exception of the orthotics, this was pretty much my usual Monday treadmill workout run, although I did manage to stretch it out to 4.51 miles. I ran the first mile in 10:43, sped up to a 9:22/mile pace until around 3.5 miles, and then gradually sped up the rest of the way, finishing at under a 9:00/mile pace.

I just realized I haven’t said it in about a month, so I’d like to confirm that yes, the treadmill is still mentally excruciating.

Wednesday: 5.11 miles, 10:42/mile.

57 degrees with no humidity in June? Score.

I still took it easy, since this was my first outdoor run in orthotics. I managed a reverse split. Overall, I felt pretty decent.

Well, I felt decent until Thursday morning.

I had wanted to run on back-to-back days this week. Since Monday would be a treadmill workout (and my first run in orthotics), I figured it would be a good idea to rest Tuesday, then run Wednesday, and if I had no issues, run on Thursday. I had no ankle issues Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday. Thursday morning, however, was a different story. Left ankle.

Well, crap.

I decided to wait until Friday to run, and also, I figured I’d go with the slightly less physically punishing (but extremely mentally punishing) treadmill on Friday, and if my ankle was really bothering me, I could always switch to the elliptical or stationary bike. And I kind of resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to push my long run back to Sunday.

Friday: 5.01 miles, 10:29/mile.

Two treadmill runs in one week. Ugh. My ankle was a little sore, but not as bad as Thursday morning, so I went with it. I stayed at 10:43/mile for most of the run, but I did speed up on the last mile or so.

During the day Friday, I noticed two things:
1) My ankle was feeling better.
2) Sunday’s forecast was predicting a high of 99.

Sure, I’d be out there early, but still. Saturday was looking not quite as bad (only 95), and I started wondering if I could go back out there on Saturday morning.

Saturday: 6.21 miles, 11:04/mile.

I got out there early for a Saturday run (6:50 AM), and didn’t want to waste an extra 20 minutes or so driving to Freedom Park, so I just went to the McMullen Creek/Four Mile Creek Greenway. I started slow, ran to the end of the Four Mile Creek Greenway, stopped for water, and came back. I then ran about 1.35 miles (I missed the marker at 1.25 miles) and came back (but ended up stopping about .2 miles from the finish, so it all worked out). Other than the water stop, I took a short walk break just before I got to 5 miles, and then sped up for the last 1.2.

My splits were 11:49, 12:00 (water break), 11:01, 10:48, 11:11 (walk break), 10:02, and for the last .21, an 8:37/mile pace. Much better than last week.

I do wish I could have gotten to 7 miles, but with the impending heat, I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, so I figured as long as I could get to 10K I’d be OK.

I was a little worried that my ankle might wait a bit before complaining, but as of Sunday morning, everything feels good.

Also, I wore my visor for only the second time. The first time, it kept the rain off of my glasses. This time, it kept sweat out of my eyes. So, yes, I’m officially in love with my visor.

For the week, I ran 20.84 miles (Over 20! Woohoo!) at an average pace of 10:31/mile.

Next week, it’s Father’s Day weekend, so I won’t be here for a Sunday run, and I definitely need to do a Saturday long run. I’d rather not do a run the day before my long run, so I’ll shoot for Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday runs. Maybe I can get up to over 7 miles on my long run. We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Running Report: May 30-June 5

The running wasn’t great, but my ankles aren’t hurting, and I finally may have figured out a way to keep myself from drinking Mountain Dew that doesn’t involve drinking Coke or Pepsi instead.

I wore my orthotics all week when not running, but stuck with the heel inserts for running. My feet and ankles seem to have adjusted well, and the only issue was some skin irritation at the front of my feet due to lack of padding. I covered the area with a band aid, and then it was OK.

Weight Check: 172.3, down exactly 3 pounds from last week. More importantly, zero ounces of Mountain Dew. OK, Monday was a holiday so I wasn’t at work, but still, this is a big deal.

I finally figured out that I needed to reward myself for not drinking Mountain Dew (or any other soda). I came up with two things this week. At the end of each work day, as a small reward, if I made it through the day without any Mountain Dew, I’d eat a single dark chocolate peanut butter cup from Trader Joe’s. That’s 67 calories, about 100 less than even a 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew (170 calories), and let’s face it, most days I was drinking much more than 12 ounces.

I did something else, though. I figured Tuesday and Wednesday would be the toughest days. I also had plans to go out with friends Wednesday night. So I promised that if I had any Mountain Dew (or another soda) on either day, when I went out with my friends Wednesday night, instead of drinking beer, I would only drink water. Well, I succeeded in avoiding Mountain Dew, and I really enjoyed my Harpoon UFO White.

I still have a little bit to go. 172.3 is still too high. But this week was (I hope) a good start in the right direction.

This concludes the good news portion of the report.

Tuesday: 4.41 miles, 9:32/mile.

The treadmill for the first run of the week is a thing now, I guess. I’d like to go a little further on the treadmill, but for now, 4.41 seems to be my distance. Like last week, I ran the first mile in 10:43, 3 miles at 9:14/mile, and sped up for the last .41. Apparently I sped up more this week, since I covered the same distance 3 seconds faster, so there’s that.

Thursday: 4.61 miles, 10:52/mile.

Ugh. Hot (70 degrees) and humid. I survived and somehow managed a reverse split.

Saturday: 6.05 miles, 11:35/mile.

Double Ugh. Really hot (73 degrees) and humid. I took it slowly, and only had 5 walk breaks, 4 of which were at water fountains. I took a pre-emptive Gu before I started, because I didn’t think I would go far enough to justify a mid-run Gu. I was kind of hoping to get to 7 miles, but with these conditions, I didn’t want to push it.

The problem with fewer days running is that I haven’t come close to acclimating to hot weather. Yes, it will still suck even after I (sort of) get used to it, but I feel like if I had been exposed to heat and humidity during a few more runs, I would have had a better shot of getting to 7 miles. (The treadmill doesn’t help either, but it’s kind of nice to see I can still finish a run with a sub-10:00/mile pace.) Maybe next week I can hit 7.

For the week, I ran 15.07 miles at an average pace of 10:46/mile.

Next week, I guess I need to run in orthotics. Here’s hoping it goes well. If I don’t have any major issues, I should be able to get 4 runs in. I’d really like to try running two days in a row, just so that my long run ends up on Saturday, and then I can run (at least) 4 days the following week.

Also, I’d really like to break 20 miles for the week.

Weekly Running Report: May 23-29

Do I have to?

The one bright spot of this week was that I bought a visor. It fits my large head, and it keeps the rain off my glasses (spoiler alert for my Sunday run).

I had two runs after I got my orthotics. I didn’t use them for either run. I’m still getting used to them.

Weight Check: 175.3, up 3.8 pounds. Horrible, horrible, horrible. Bad eating, too much Mountain Dew, and some beer. My weigh-in was before my Sunday run, but as you’ll see, I don’t think that run would have made much difference.

OK, I guess I should go over my runs.

Monday: 4.41 miles, 9:33/mile.

I did the treadmill for this one. I slowed down a little from last week. I stayed at 10:43 for the first mile, then sped up to 9:14/mile for the next 3 miles. I did speed up to around 9:00/mile at the very end. So I guess this one went pretty well.

Wednesday: 3.11 miles, 10:48/mile.

Ugh. I don’t know what happened, but my legs felt like lead the whole time. I had planned on running at least 4 miles, but the way I felt I barely made it to the 5K mark.

Friday: 6.03 miles, 10:32/mile.

OK, so in a vacuum, this looks like a good run. I finally hit all the hills in my neighborhood for the first time in months. By .02 miles, it’s my longest run since Tobacco Road. I kept a steady pace in spite of the hills.

But I may have hurt my ankle during this run.

I woke up Saturday morning, and my right ankle was sore. Not my left ankle, the one that had all the problems. I don’t know whether it was the run, or being on my feet Friday night, or the orthotics, but my right ankle didn’t feel so good.

I was a little worried, and also disappointed, because I had wanted to run on Saturday to avoid the rain on Sunday. I stayed off my feet most of the day, took some ibuprofen, and decided to test it out Sunday morning.

Sunday: 2.03 miles, 10:54/mile.

The test did not go well. It’s a bad run when the rain isn’t the worst thing about the run. The rain was light but steady during my run (it was heavier at other times, so I lucked out there). And like I mentioned earlier, I had my new visor to keep the rain off my glasses.

My ankles, however, were unhappy. Yes, both ankles. I guess the right ankle was a little worse, but they were both bad. I had to stop after 2 slow, grueling miles. That’s not good.

For the week, I ran 15.58 miles at an average pace of 10:21/mile.

Next week, well, I guess it depends on my ankles.

Orthotics

My orthotics arrived on Wednesday. In my mind, I thought that once I got them, everything would be back to normal. It’s not exactly that simple, of course.

I need to learn to walk before I can run. So, I’ve been wearing them for a few hours each day so far, a little longer each day. I haven’t used them on a run yet, but eventually, I’ll try them on a short run.

They feel weird. I had to remove the soles of my shoes to put them in, and they only cover about half of each shoe, so the first day the bottoms of my toes were sore due to lack of padding, but otherwise, no complaints so far. The bad news is that I have no idea how I’m going to be able to wear them with my Teva sandals.

I’ll go back to the podiatrist in a couple of weeks to check in and see how things are going. I didn’t get to talk to him this week – I just picked up my orthotics from the receptionist – but I definitely have questions. (There’s gotta be a way I can wear my Tevas.)

I’ll be tweaking my training a little bit, because I really need to increase my mileage before I start marathon training in July, but more on that in my next weekly report.

Weekly Running Report: May 16-22

I turned 43 on Tuesday, and ran on my birthday for the first time ever. I ended the week with a trip to see my parents.

On Friday evening, I watched a movie called Desert Runners, about these 4 people who ran a series of 4 races through deserts around the world, and each race was 250K. It was really good. Sadly, the reason I watched it Friday was because it was going to leave Netflix streaming on Saturday. But if you get the chance, I recommend checking it out. It put Saturday’s run into perspective.

Weight Check: 171.5, down 1.1 pounds. It’s a miracle. This week, I drank too much Mountain Dew, ate some Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy for my birthday, drank some beer, and I’m still not running as much as I’d like. My weigh-in was on Saturday morning, before I went to visit my parents, though, so things may get worse before they get better.

Only 3 runs this week. (I want my orthotics to be done yesterday.)

Tuesday: 4.31 miles, 10:15/mile.

I lucked out. It was supposed to rain, and I was worried that, on my birthday of all days, I’d be forced to choose between running in the rain and running on a treadmill. Luckily, it didn’t start raining until after I finished my run. (I found out later, when Mom called to wish me Happy Birthday, the day I was born was a beautiful sunny day, and I don’t think I knew that before.)

I stayed dry, but it was still pretty humid. Somehow I managed a reverse split and finished strong.

Thursday: 4.41 miles, 9:17/mile.

I planned on a treadmill run, and I’m glad I did, because it rained all morning. I decided to start out at about a 10:30/mile pace, then after a mile, speed up to around 9:00/mile.

Initially, when I had to stop at 4.41 miles, I was disappointed. Then I figured out my average pace was 9:17/mile, and I also realized that I’ve only had two races and one workout that had a faster average pace than that. So maybe I need to dial it back a bit. I do want to increase my mileage, and to do that, I’ll probably need to slow down a little.

Saturday: 6.01 miles, 10:25/mile.

I was a little nervous about rain, but luckily, the rain stopped before my run. It was still humid, though. I knew McMullen Creek/Four Mile Creek would probably be flooded, so I drove up to Freedom Park. As I expected, the greenway was flooded underneath East Boulevard, so I had to stick to the section from the park entrance down to Park Road Shopping Center.

I did that, and when I came back I was at around 4.7 miles. I knew I wanted to get up to around 6, and maybe even 6.2 for a 10K, so I headed back out and turned around at 5.45 miles. If I made it all the way back, I would have gotten to 6.2 (or very close to it, math while running is hard). However, as I was closing in on 6 miles, I knew I was pretty much done. The humidity was getting to me, and my legs were still tired from Thursday’s slightly too fast workout, so I stopped at 6.01 and walked back to my car.

For the week, I ran 14.7 miles at an average pace of 10:02/mile.

Next week, I’ll get 4 runs in. If I have no orthotics, I’ll run Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. If I get my orthotics and the go ahead to run back-to-back days, I’ll move my long run to Saturday.

Weekly Running Report: May 9-15

I retired one pair of shoes and broke in another. Circle of life and all that.

Weight Check: 172.6, same as last week. I was surprised, too. I didn’t really cut back on Mountain Dew, but there wasn’t a whole lot of junk food, so there’s that.

I should point out that I weighed myself before today’s run. That’s one of the reasons I prefer to run on Saturday and rest on Sunday, it makes the weekly weigh-ins easier. But I’m still in every-other-day mode (except when I run back-to-back days leading up to a race), so some weeks, I have to run on Sunday.

Monday: 4.51 miles, 10:17/mile.

I decided to recover from my race with a treadmill run. (Also, with my parents visiting last weekend I had fallen behind on my podcasts.) I took it easy, staying at 10:32/mile for most of the run, and I didn’t really speed up until the last half mile. I felt OK, I guess.

Wednesday: 4.61 miles, 10:32/mile.

It was really freaking humid for this run. I survived. I even managed a reverse split and was able to finish strong.

This was my last run in my 3rd pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15s. That pair has been through a lot. They got me through my first ever 20 mile run, the 2016 Charlotte 10 Miler, the Teal Diva 5K, and, oh yeah, my first marathon. They served me well. Also, they were black with red and silver trim. They looked really freaking cool.

Friday: 4.16 miles, 9:40/mile.

I’ve been trying to start my week with a treadmill run that’s kind of fast. Well, this week, I took it easy on the treadmill on Monday, and I wanted a faster run. I figured I’d be better off running fast on a treadmill than in my neighborhood.

I warmed up on the first mile, with around a 10:30/mile pace. Then I sped up to around 9:30/mile. I was hoping to go a little farther, but I started to get tired. I still managed to speed up a bit at the very end. I still felt like I should have done better.

Sunday: 5.26 miles, 10:23/mile.

This is where I broke in my newest pair of shoes, my first pair (OK, I’m assuming I’ll buy at least one more pair before the end of the year) of Brooks Adrenaline 16s. Adrenalines are the only shoes I’ve ever worn, and so far, they’ve served me well.

Anyway, it cooled off this weekend. It was 52 degrees when I started my run, and had I gotten out there earlier, I probably would have caught the upper 40s. Also, no humidity. It was pretty close to perfect. I drove over to the McMullen Creek/Four Mile Creek Greenways.

I wanted this to be like a long run, so I started out slow. I ran about .75 on the McMullen Creek side, then turned around and headed out on the Four Mile Creek Greenway, turning around past the end at Rea Road. Coming back, I saw I had one mile to go right around the time I hit 4.25 miles, and that’s when I sped up. I hadn’t felt great during the slow stretch, but once I pushed it, I did pretty well. My splits were 10:42, 10:40, 10:50, 10:28, 9:40 (the mile where I sped up around .25 in), and for the last .26 miles, my average pace was 8:33/mile.

It ended up being my longest run since the Tobacco Road Half, but with a much happier ending. Overall, I’m pretty pleased.

For the week, I ran 18.5 miles at an average pace of 10:14/mile. It was also my highest mileage week since my injury.

Next week, unless my orthotics come in, I’ll only be able to run Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I’d like to increase my mileage a bit on each run since I’ll only get 3 of them.

Race Report: Teal Diva 5K

Well, I ran well, and helped raise a bunch of money to fight ovarian cancer, so that’s good. The weather was pretty nice. And I had fun.

I’m a little disappointed that it wasn’t actually a 5K though. I only ran 2.85 miles, so it was a full .25 short.

The race was in Mooresville, which is a haul for me, about a 50 minute drive. There was no Thursday packet pickup, only Friday, but it was all day Friday. Really, I can’t criticize too much because I would have had to get to Mooresville on a Friday afternoon to pick up my packet, and with traffic, it would have easily taken me about an hour an a half each way.

Since the event was a run/walk, and it was really a fundraiser first and a race second, there were a lot of walkers, including my parents. (Had my injury recovery not gone well, I would have been a walker, too.) They stayed with me for the weekend, arriving Friday afternoon. We ate pizza for dinner Friday night.

Saturday morning, I got up and showered, ate two chocolate chip Clif bars, brushed my teeth, used the bathroom, and drove up to Mooresville with my parents. I actually drove my Dad’s car (basically it was more convenient that way), so I could have left my car key in the car during the race, but of course I had to bring it with me for the post-race picture.

We got there a few minutes before 8. They had separate lines for packet pickup for the runners and walkers, since the walkers didn’t get bibs with timing chips, just t-shirts. The race t-shirt (which everybody got) was sadly not a tech tee.

2016-05-08 19.47.20

It really is teal, even though the light makes it look more blue.

I got my bib. They had safety pins available, but I brought my own because I have too many already.

At this point, if I had been alone, I would have started doing a warm-up run. We were at a high school, and the end of the race involved doing a lap around the track, so I had a place where I could run around and not have to worry about missing the start. However, I was part of a fundraising team. (I didn’t do any actual fundraising, I just paid the race entry fee and made a separate donation.) And we had a team picture scheduled for 8:15, 15 minutes before the race was scheduled to begin.

I waited around for everybody to get there. My sister, brother-in-law, and nephew got there, which was cool. My sister was walking, but my brother-in-law was going to race while pushing my nephew in a stroller. Of course, my nephew would be strapped in so he wouldn’t try to chase after me again like he did during the Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon. (My nephew is the best, by the way.)

It was after 8:20 before we finally got the team picture taken. I felt like I didn’t have enough time to do a formal warm-up, but I still ran around a little bit. Eventually, I made it over to the starting line. I noticed that there was no timing mat, so I figured it was gun time only.

Apparently, there were still people in line for registration and/or packet pick-up as we approached 8:30, so they delayed the start by a few minutes. I got this picture while I was waiting.

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I moved up pretty close to the starting line after I took that picture.

At 8:38, after a really short countdown from 3, we were off.

Mile 1: 8:56

I started out pretty fast. There was a gradual downhill early that helped. My legs didn’t feel great, though. My pace started out somewhere around 8:30 and slowly crept up.

Mile 2: 9:47

Garmin says there was 23 feet of climb on this part, but it felt like more than that. My legs didn’t have much, but it’s still a decent time.

There was a water stop was around the 1.3 mile mark, but I skipped it because I was holding out slim hopes for a PR, and didn’t feel like water would help.

Last .85: 7:56 (9:20/mile pace)

Again, legs didn’t feel all that great, but I tried to hang on.

The course ended with a lap around the track. As I started my lap, my Garmin said…2.60 miles? OK, I guess this is gonna be a little short. I crossed the finish line, and got a medal, a water, and a banana. My official time was 26:41.

The medal makes it more difficult to take my post-race car key picture. After a few tries, I got it.

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I got to see my brother-in-law and nephew finish. (33:38, which I’m not convinced I could do while pushing a stroller, even with the short course.) They gave my nephew a medal, too, which I thought was cool. (Even my parents, who finished about an hour after the start, got medals.)

There was no post-race beer. I won’t fault a race if they don’t have beer. (Since it was at a high school, they may have some rules about that.) I’ll only criticize a race if they have crappy non-local beer like Michelob Ultra.

Considering everything, I really can’t complain about my performance. I missed 20 days of running due to injury, and have had to seriously cut back on my mileage since then, so I wasn’t at my peak. And yet, it was the 4th fastest average pace I’ve ever had on a run, behind my two fastest 5Ks (2015 Joe Davis Memorial 5K, 2015 Yiassou Greek Festival 5K) and one time when the Y was strictly enforcing their 30 minute time limit on the treadmills, so I went all out and made those 30 minutes count.

I guess I’m on my way back.