Thursday, February 17, 2011

NHL All Star Game 5k Race Report

Pictured: Sparky and Me sharing a moment before the race

OK, I am going to try my hand at my first race report, from the 2011 NHL Allstar Game 5K in Raleigh, NC on Jan 29, 2011. This was a fun race to run, kinda disappointed that not too many NHL players came out to watch / run, but hey, it was still a well put on event.Jen (my wife) and I left early (too early for her I think) and had to drive the 1 ½ hours to Raleigh, which I wasn’t sure I was going to make it for packet pick up in time, but alas we made it just fine. Parking was good, just amazed at how many came out, I was thinking a few hundred, but the overall turnout was around 2000! Oh ok, just a little crowded. Well picked up my packet, and then stood in line to get chipped up, and still had about 30 minutes to stretch, get my picture taken with some of the mascots (Like Sparky from the NY Islanders, who was stretching out too) and I had to get rid of my nerves. True I have toed the line many, many times over my running and racing career, but I still get the butterflies most times. But got them all worked out, kissed the wife and ran over to the start line to do some strides and pickups. Got back to the line area for the brief brief, and then followed the masses to the start line.

Uhhh, bad news, the start line was very tight, only a two lane road width, and I was a ways back. My last minute stretches were hard, because it was like stretching in a phone booth! But the gun went off, and oh about 30 seconds of standing around, I finally crossed the line (more on this at the end), so as I weaved in and out of “traffic”, I high-fived all the mascots, and then went wide right and on to the side walk (where no one was running) and picked up the pace a bit. The good part was I had great motivation ahead of me, all the slower runners that were in the chute ahead of me, I could reel in, so that was a great confidence booster right there.
Pictured: Me wayyyyy off in the distance before mile 1

A lot of folks were running in hockey jerseys, so when I ran past a guy in a Bruins jersey with a “4” in white tape, I gave him a thumps up and “Number 4, Bobby Orr!” and that made him laugh, since most folks don’t know the classic players, just the ones on the Canes. But I continued to pick off folks and I can safely say that I passed everyone that I could, and only got passed by one person, which we passed and repassed each other a few times (later, she passed me and I lost her). At the finish line I talked with her for a bit and told her good race (Mollie, thanks for stopping to chat after the race).
Back to the action, the last mile or so, I picked up the pace and was rewarded with a nice smooth downhill that a kid I was closing on decided was a good time to sprint. Well bad news bub, he made it to the bottom and was repassed by everyone he had passed in his “mad dash” including me as we went back up hill towards Carter-Finley Stadium. The final turn, I had a few folks that I could still pick off, so I turned on the burners and held them fairly well. At the finish line, I had to breath deeply so I wouldn’t toss the cookies (I had a spell of a few races dating back to the Rudolph Red Nose 7.2 miler in 2009, where after racing hard at the end, I puked. Unfortunately it was almost onto the “Crocs” of my Masters Swim Coach! Whoops). So my standing goals for every race is, don’t puke! I think it is just me being out of shape.
Pictured (T): Trying to pass the last few I could!
(B): Got all but one!

Ok, I digress. In the end, I clocked a 21:34 chip time (22:09 gun time) for 69th overall out of 958 runners. For me, that is a modern PR. I am not counting my faster college and high school days. But the two times I received were both MDPRs. Here in lies the rub that gets me, the results were ranked by the gun time, not the chip time, which was when you ACTUALLY cross the start line. I am only a little mad, since I would have moved up one whole place, but I noticed one guy was 20 places from where his chip time had him. Now that would suck! I hope he didn’t miss a podium because of that. But over all, it was a good race, my calves got a little tight, then the wife and I went shopping at the Cane’s gift shop and I picked up a sweet Nick Lidstrom All Star jersey and she got a light weight hoody. Good times!
Pictured (T): Me in front of the Finish Line with
my new Lidstrom Jersey (B): The finisher's medal

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