Monday, April 4, 2011

USO Run for the Troops 5k Race Report

Well, this is my last 5k for a while, which means I can sleep in a little on Saturdays, but I am a sucker for running for a cause, so go figure! Luckily this was a local race also, so that would help!

Saturday turning into a busy day with a race in the morning, then went to the Gun Show (not the "Gun Show", a real one), took the wife to the range to fire her new pistol and then dinner and a movie at night (She went to a play with a friend and I went to a movie with the friends son!), so that was a fun day. Well, on to the race report.

We got to the race somewhat early, since it was 15 minutes from my door, so we got there so I could pick up my packet, stretch and all that good stuff. The temps were a bit on the chilly side, right around 39-42*, so a bit cool, so I opted to wear the long sleeve shirt to race in, but it was nice and sunny.

The race was to benefit the USO of North Carolina, which was the first USO ever, and since they do not accept federal funds, they have to take donations, which is an awesome cause, because they do so much for the troops, both home and deployed. But the turnout was really good, with 320 runners and probably twice that walking, so a rather large race for the area. Nice!

Well I wasn't in my comfort zone since I forgot my heart rate strap and sunglasses, so I wasn't all warm and fuzzy, but I would get by. Glad I took my Claritin, because the azaleas, dogwoods and pine were a polinatin' and with out it I would have been a big, snotty mess. But I warmed up and headed to the start / finish line.

Well the line up was interesting, I was sandwiched between a bunch of bunnies (sorry guys, not Playmate bunnies, dudes with bunny ears) and a lady with no pants (she was old and wearing the "Speedo" style bottoms). Well the gun went off and I bolted out with the lead pack of about 20-30 and we cruised thru Fayetteville Tech's campus until we got to the first turn, which the leaders (about 15-18) went straight and I was in third (briefly!) until the lead pack figured it out. The lack of direction and course marking was going to be a reoccuring theme, so get ready for it!

I was feeling not bad and keeping within eyesight of the leaders on the winding roads near the campus and hung tough when someone passed me, I would get back with them immediately. I was moving well and not feeling too bad. I saw the leaders pass the waterpoint / turn around point (it was briefed at the pre-race) but I guess the volunteers didn't know to tell folks to turn around, and the two leaders blazed by them and most everyone turned at the waterpoint as the leaders came running back. Well, at least we know that there were no more surprises on the way back!
At around mile 2 1/2, I was getting a bit tired and lost my focus for a bit, but quickly regained it and kept motoring on. I figured that I was going to make my final push at the last turn (about 1/2 mile to the finish) until I passed the 3 mile mark. I really got confused then. So I went a bit early, and figured that the course was mismarked a bit, so I eased up to save that last match for the kick at the end.

I slowly rolled on the steam after the corner and passed a few more folks, but couldn't catch that last guy in front of me (he ended up being the 1st place in my age group), but I hit stop on my watch and looked at the time, 23:22, and thought, "Wow, I thought I was faster than that!", then looked at the distance, which was 3.54 miles. Whoops, just a little long there! A bunch of the guys that finished in front of me were bitching and complaining, but I looked at the map before the race and knew the turns, and even knew the turnaround point (race briefing), so even though the race was longer than advertised, they had all the information about the race, if they had paid attention. But oh well, I ran my race.

I jogged over to the port-o-lets and then back by the vendors, MuscleMax and the Spa, who was giving massages (which of course I took!) and then waited for the results (20th overall, and 2nd in my AG, by 5 seconds) and collected my medal and thanked the volunteers (USO, Purolator Employees, and the Red Cross) and headed out.

So not too bad of a race, just a little long, but like they say, everyone had to run the same distance. Guess I am not going to race until the end of the month at the Riverwood Sprint Triathlon in Clayton, so I can work on training and getting my ride and swim up to par now. But all is well! Take care everyone and I'll post a weekly workout list later today!

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