Sunday, October 10, 2010

Triangle Run/Walk for Autism 5k: Lessons Learned (race report) 10/9

OK, I set a new PR: 25:45!  This is 45 seconds faster than my last 5k, and this was on a much more difficult course, which make me happy.  However, I did not get my goal time of 25:00 mins flat, but I did learn a lot a valuable lessons. 

My motto for the race which is from Frayed Laces Blog.
 The Triangle Run/Walk for Autism 5k was a race that I had been looking forward to for about four months.  I signed up for the race sometime in June and had really big aspirations about, both running and civic.  I tried to organize a team for this race at work, but it never got off the ground like I had hoped.  I was able to put together a small team, but I had really hoped to have a lot more people take part in the race, and I was disappointed with this aspect of the race.  The people, who did join me were awesome, and I really want to thank them because this race was really for a great cause.  Being a team leader is something that I will do again, but I will make sure that I on those days I am running the race just for fun and enjoyment because I need to focus on either my individual goal or organizing my team -- not both.  Yesterday, I just couldn't get focused on running my race.  I am the type of person that internalizes a lot in order to get focused.  For about 20mins. before the race I need to just listen to my music go over things in my head and just pump myself up, which isn't really a good way to go about things when you are leading a team, so I won't try to combine the two efforts again. 

Prerace warm up
 Also, this race was my first competitive race with close to 1000 participants, and I really did not know what to expect.  I know that there would be some bunching up at the start of the race, but I was not prepared for the number of slower runners who lined up at the front.  I expended a lot of energy at the beginning just trying to weave my way through the crowd.  I should have expected this, and I did to some extent, but I just wasn't prepared for it.  I also should have lined up a bit closer myself, by my timing chip I can tell that it took 30 seconds just to reach the starting line, which is not bad when think about how long it takes a some Marathons, but for this event, I was clearly lined up in the wrong spot. 

Unfortunately, I let these distractions effect how I ran my race.  I really wanted to get clear of the pack, which led me to run the first mile at a much faster pace than I wanted.  Also my quad had started to tighten up the night before just enough to be a distraction.  I don't think that it effected how I ran physically speaking, but mentally I was distracted by the slight burning I felt in it.  At the one mile mark, I was doing OK and was optimistic that things would get better for me as the race progressed, but it just never happened.  The 1.5 mile marker was right at the foot of the on big hill on the course, which I went up fairly well, but the hill didn't level off.  Instead, you made a right turn and immediately went in to a slow incline, which just took the life out of me because right after that incline I started having really bad pains in my back right side on the edge of my rib cage.  I tried to run through them but right as the were hitting I was also running past a Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop/factory and smell nearly made me sick.  Eventually, just after the 2 mile marker I had to pull up for a few seconds to catch my breath and let the pain subside, which it did.  I was able to get going again, and recover most of the distance that I had lost, but the pain returned, so I had to do the same thing two more times before I reached the 2.75 mile marker, after that point I was able to gut out the rest of the way but I wasn't able to recover all of the ground that I lost from pulling up.  I would say that I lost about 20 seconds from pulling up. 

Hiro & I walking with our friends after the race: She is still smiling!
I know that these difficulties later in the race were the result of my bad start.  I just wasted to much energy, got flustered, and ran too fast.  My first mile should have been a 9min mile not an 8!  Hiroko on the other hand Had a great race!!  I am really proud of her.  She finished at 26:45, ran the whole thing, legged it out with some guy at the end who might have cross the line one second before her, but who she smoked on the chip time!  She said that she couldn't stop smiling the whole race because she was enjoying herself so much!  I am really glad because now I might be able to get her to run with me a bit more!  After the race we walked back and met some friends of our who were walking in the non-competitive race with their son, who has Autism.  Hiro and I were really happy that we could walk with them and support a cause that help provide their family and many other families with much needed assistance.  We all had a really good day and enjoyed our time walking together.

Greg how do you feel about the way you ran today?
After the race, I started feeling really hungry and got kind of cranky.  I didn't go and eat anything from any of the hospitality booths, which I really should have done.  My hunger and dissatisfaction were so strong that when Hiro offer to cook when we got home, I spent my time looking for and registering for another 5k which I'll run in 27 days!  The course for this 5k is going to be much more hilly, but is run right where I work so I can get practice on the course.  All in all this was a good experience.  I learned a lot about myself and how to be a leader vs. an Individual runner both of which are important to me.  I got to support a really great cause.  Hiroko was able to enjoy a race in a that she did not expect.  And, I was able to meet a lot new people that I expect to be running with again very soon!

Did you have fun today?  Of Course!


  1. Congrats on your PR!! Interesting observation about being either a team coordinator or racer but not both at the same time. That sounds like a mistake I would be inclined to make.

    Holy smokes, Hiro is a natural!! She did amazing!

  2. Thanks Irene!! You're right about Hiro! She is a much more natural athlete than me. She kick's my butt in nearly every sporting activity. The only way I win is if I can use my size, have more experience, or practice more than her. If she put any time into training, I wouldn't have a chance to catch her.