Sunday, July 4, 2010

Denny's Challenge 5K

Blogging Marathon: Day 2

Yesterday, Shannon and I ran Denny's Challenge 5K. Shannon wanted to squeeze in a quick 5K before she left for Italy for 3 weeks.
The race was held in WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, which is very close to our house but for some reason we had never been there. There is a ~2 mile sandy trail loop around the park that serves as a "cross country" course. We got there early and ran it as a warm up. It is quite nice.

It was in the low 60's, which is downright chilly compared to what we have had the last month. But still, I was sweating pretty good and thought about taking my shirt off for the race. But I didn't want to be "THAT GUY".
You know, that one guy with his shirt off at the family-oriented charity 5K that benefits melanoma research.

Fortunately, when we got back to the start, "THAT GUY" was already there. So I took my shirt off. Because now I was just another "guy with his shirt off at the family-oriented charity 5K that benefits melanoma research". Which isn't quite as bad.

Shannon took pictures at the start line and made some new friends who had the same shoes as her, as evidenced above. A prayer was said, and then we were off with a blast from an air horn.

The start is about half mile down hill, and we all took off pretty fast. I have done a lot of races, but it still amazes me how a group can make me run much faster than I should. I looked at my watch, and it said we were doing a 5:00 min/mile. This is well beyond my ability so I slowed down.

There were 3 young women and 2 guys in front of me, and I was already struggling to breathe trying to keep up with them. I started to write a self pitying blog post in my head, about how I had passed my peak as a runner and had started the inevitable decline. Since I have turned 40, I have run two races, and both were awful. Not only was I much slower, but I felt terrible as well.

After a mile, shirtless guy #1 was way out in front but everyone else dropped back. I could hear one girl behind me for most of the race, but she never passed me. I knew I couldn't catch #1 and I wasn't going to PR, so I just enjoyed it and avoided looking at my watch.

The finish was across a field, slightly up hill, and quite painful. Expecting the worst, I looked at my time and was amazed. 18:52. Not a PR, but pretty good for me. Maybe I'm not quite over the hill yet!

The top 16 finishers got awards, which symbolized Denny's Challenge of a 50 mile race. You can read about that here. But we had to go, so Shannon could catch her flight to Italy.

Shannon got some really great photos while running, and they are here.