Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Second Empire 5k Classic 4/17: Race Report (Updated)

Michel, Stephane, Hiroko, and I before the Race
 Despite the tornadoes touching down in Raleigh on Saturday, The Second Empire 5k Classic was still held on Sunday.  Driving around town, you can see trees uprooted, broken branches, and minor wind damage across the city.  The parts of town that were hardest hit have entire houses destroyed and most of the residents are just thankful to be alive.  Hiroko and I spent Saturday night on edge because our friends Stephane and Michel were traveling down from Canada, straight into the path of the storm, and we were unable to contact them until morning.  To our relief, they were just fine.

Both of them had planned on running in the race with Hiro and I, but after a tense night of driving Stephane had a splitting headache and decided not to run, but Michel did run in what would be his first 5k.  We arrived at the race very early because we needed to get Michel registered and  figured that we could take some time to show them a little bit of the downtown area.  The weather was so perfect, 68° with clear blue sky, that it was difficult to imagine that the weather had been so deadly just the day before.  After our tour, I tried to loosen up a bit and see how my legs were feeling.  Surprisingly, my legs felt much better than they had before the Cary Road Race last week.  I felt none of the stiffness that has plagued me since my misadventures in Umstead two weeks ago, but my legs weren't as springy as I had hoped. 

Regardless, I didn't have any real complaints going into the race and was pretty hopeful that I might be able to challenge my PR.  I felt very comfortable with the course, which was flat for nearly the entire first mile.  The second mile consisted of two long slow inclines with a short decline between them and the turnabout.  The remainder of the course was on a decline except for the short decline of from the second mile was now a slightly steep little rise.

The race started of well and there was very little jostling at the start and since this race was part of  the Second Empire Spring Race Series, there were more experienced runners in the field, so most people seemed to have lined up appropriate to their level.  There were no costume runners to deal with, and few people sprinting out at the start and dying a half a mile into the race, so it was a nice start to the race.  I got out well and was right on the pace that I set for myself.  We ran east on Hillsborough Street towards the state capitol building.  Michel went past me just as we took the first turn to go around the Capitol building and Hiroko was still running just over my shoulder as we completed out loop of the Capitol building and head back onto Hillsborough street.  The first half mile had gone by quickly and we were now preparing to pass by the start/finish area again.  The crowd gathered there gave us a good cheer as we went by.  Michel was still a little ways ahead of me, but I could tell that I would be catch up to him soon.  Hiroko was still over my shoulder, and Iknew she was going to pass me pretty soon, which she did just after we caught Michel at the mile marker.  My first mile was nearly exactly where I had wanted it to be.  8:07.96.  I had felt a little soreness inside of my pelvis around the 3/4 mile mark, but I wasn't worried or effected by it at all and it soon passed. 

We began the first incline just at the mile mark and a soon as we did were hit with a strong headwind that would last until the turn around at the traffic circle just in front of the NC State bell tower.  Hiro was in front of me and pulling away a bit as we came down the decline.  I was only shocked by this because she hadn't been running at all prior to this race.  I am well aware that as it stands, Hiroko would easily smoke me at every race if she only trained more (or at all).  But, as we began the second incline, I was fairly confident that I would pass her at some point in the third mile.  The front runners came past us heading towards the finish line as we were passing the mile and a half marker.  A guy running somewhere around fifth bonked right in front of Hiro and I.  His knees went all wobbly, and I thought that he was going to hit the deck, but instead he just puked and staggered on.  I  turned my head a kept running on toward the turn around.  This wasn't the first time I had seem someone puke in a race, but it was the first time I had been face to face when it happened. 

I tried to just focus on my race because I knew that I was off my pace and wasn't sure why.  The incline on this portion of Hillsborough street is deceptive, the wind was fairly strong, but I wasn't sure if they accounted for my being off by so much.  I did the second mile in 8:57.61, which was nearly 45 seconds off my goal pace. 

I passed Hiroko just after the we rounded the traffic circle and began our run back toward the finish line.  I had expected her to either fight me or fade, but she didn't do either and hung with me until I began my kick.  The third mile was mainly me trying to figure out where to begin my kick.  I felt that perhaps I had run the second mile too conservatively, and wanted to try to get everything out of my legs that I could over the remainder of the course.  Michel was still hanging tough but had fallen well behind Hiro and I.  After the rise, I picked up my pace with about 800 meters to go and went into a my kick at 400, by 100 meters I was in a sprint.  The crowd had noticed my kick and began to cheer me on as I tried to run down a guy much younger than me and in much better shape.  He was wearing a green shirt and I was wearing white.  I began hear people yelling "Go WHITE!  GO WHITE!"  He heard me coming in picked up his pace but I was closing fast and easily passing the three or four people between us, but the Green shirt edged me out by a second. 

I did mile three in 8:17.6 and the last .13 in .49.48  My time was 26:12 and a pace around 8:26.  I fell short of my PR by nearly half a minute, but I felt like I ran fairly well.  Hiroko PR'ed the race and never really fell off like I thought that she would.  She came in at 26:34, which is frickin' awesome when you consider that she has run only once in the last month!  I effin' hate her!  Michel came in at 28:19, which when you consider that this was his first 5k, and I don't think that he trained a lick, it is pretty frickin' solid!

As for me, I think that my confidence failed me in the second mile and could have run harder, but I know that I am carrying 30 pounds more than I want to be carrying.  And, I know that if that weren't the case, my PR would get CRUSHED!  Currently, I am singed up to run a race on June 11th.  That race is the Komen Race for the Cure and will mark my birthday as a runner.  The Komen was my first race and began my love affair with running.  I've decided that I will not run another race between now and then, in order to focus on conditioning.  I know that I can't lose all the weight that I need to by then, but I can sure as hell put a big dent in it, which is what I plan to do.  Overall, I am happy with this race.  I am happy that the stroms didn't do more damage than they did, and I am pretty thankful for the chance to do something I love with people I care about!


  1. Well done! I was going to say you'll crush the PR @ Komen, but if it's anything like the ones I've run there'll be too many other bodies in the way.

  2. Yeah, the crowd is one problem. Also, the course is really hilly, so it will take a lot for me to get it. I just want to run strong there. More importantly, I can't fool myself into thinking that I will get faster without focusing on getting stronger, leaner, and lighter.

  3. Slay that beast, you'll do it for sure! Great job to you all in this race, as well.