Running With the Wolves 5K Recap
Today was the day where I finally tested myself in a race situation. This was not part of the original plan; the Minneapolis Half-Marathon was to be my racing debut. Thanks to my marathon running friend, Kenny, he informed me of ‘Run With the Wolves 5K‘ early this week. Upon hearing about it, I instantly signed up. I have not timed myself once since I started running; this race was going to provide me with the benchmark to establish my goal for future races.
Leading up to this morning, I did not get the night of rest I had hoped for. Staying out a little later than I had planned, my phone kept ringing after 1:30am. Not in the mood to talk, I finally fell asleep around 3am. Race time was only 6.5 hours away.
I woke up only getting four hours of sleep, but I felt really good. I chose to take two days off from running to allow my body to be fully rested. I had a banana and wheaties for breakfast around 8am, leaving me an hour and a half until race time. Check in was easy since I had preregistered. I grabbed my bag of goodies which included a game ticket for the Wolves/Nuggets game tomorrow, a 2008-2009 team yearbook, some Gatorade products for after the race, and other promotional propaganda. Before the race, there was a contest to see if anyone could guess how many hours of sleep current Timberwolves player Mark Madsen got last night. After a couple minutes of guessing, I guessed ‘4:15’, which was close enough, winning me a $50 gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Bling!
After some relaxing with the crew, it was race time. My goal was to not take any walking breaks. Based on pure guesswork, I had myself pegged for running ten-minute miles (had not been timing my runs); start, run, finish; that was the plan.
I had never run around Lake Harriet; I am used to the flatter confines of Lake Calhoun, or the flatlands of Hopkins. Lake Harriet has some decent uphill parts to the course which were a nice test for me. I used the downhill parts as my ‘break’ within the race, a strategy I will use in future runs. I kept a nice, steady pace throughout the race. My legs never felt fatigued, further verifying I need to start pushing myself further. I kept seeking out landmarks along the course to use as a ‘checkpoint’. I hope I do not have to keep doing that to motivate myself. At the end of the race, I felt a sense of accomplishment, finishing the race how I wanted to: start, run, finish. I now know how it will feel to cross the finish line.
Now for the analysis of the race: I felt good during the whole race. My right trapezius felt tight from the halfway point on; that has happened a couple times before, not sure what that is from (there is no soreness now), my lungs felt good, my pace was consistent; overall, the experience was solid. The only negative to come of this: there was a guy that was sprinting as far as he could, then walked when he was tired. This was repeated four or five times. I thought the tortoise (me) would beat the hare (other guy). Unfortunately, sprint walking guy sprinted past me in the last 50 meters. I was not too happy about that.
My official time was 30 minutes and 14 seconds for a 9 minute and 45 second per mile pace. That slightly exceeded my expectations of ten minute miles. If I was to keep that pace during the half-marathon, I would complete that race in 2 hours 7 minutes and 40 seconds. Long term, I would like to get below 9 minutes per mile; that might take a little while.
After the race, Ken, Alex, and myself got the chance to talk with Mark Madsen about twitter (he’s now following me… bling!), basketball, and other random things. He’s a very nice guy and was very accessible. We also got a photo with him. I can not wait to get the photos of today from Brit. Thanks to Brit and Marlee for taking pics!
Thanks to everyone for the kind and encouraging words. Today was a step closer to the half-marathon. 57 days away, but who is counting?