Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dennis Krzykowski Memorial 5K (aka DK5K) Run: Race Review

My dad and I ran the hilly DK5K in Cedarburg, WI on the Fourth of July.  Cedarburg is about 20 minutes north of Milwaukee. If you have never been to Cedarburg, it's a quaint little Wisconsin village built next to a creek in the late 1800s.  The town's main street is lined with art galleries, a winery and touristy stores.  My favorite places are Amy's Gourmet Apples for carmel apples and the Silver Creek Brewery for beer.
Beer Sampler at Cedarburg's Silver Creek Brewery

Cedarburg, WI

 The morning of the race, Cedarburg Residents had lined the streets with hundreds of empty lawn chairs to reserve spaces for the 4th of July parade.  They had also spread out lots of giant blankets throughout the town to get spots reserved for the fireworks that night.

Me an my dad before the race
Anyway, this is the third time in a row I have run this race, and the conditions were the hottest yet.  The temperatures were in the 80s with quite a bit of humidity. I had actually not run any race since the March Madness Half Marathon scorcher in March.  My training for this 5k consisted of three 40 mile weeks. Basically, I was just trying to get my racing legs (and mind) back and have a little fun.  So, my main goals were to run without getting injured and to not pass out due to heat stroke.

As I mentioned the race is very very hilly in comparison to anything in my immediate area in Chicago.  In fact the first mile is almost all downhill.  This should be good except that:

1) I have injured my shins in the past on the downhills
2) What goes down, must go up, so the last mile is almost entirely uphill

This is a low budget race and as such, there are no timing chips and they hand out cotton t-shirts.  That said, I like cotton t-shirts and the ones they have this year are pretty cool looking.

Mile 1:
Since this was a non-chip timed race, I was pretty much lined up at the starting line.  At 8 a.m. the starter's gun sounded and we were off.   Immediately about 40 runners shot past me as we climbed a short hill before the long, long downhill.  I thought to myself, "I will be seeing most of you during mile 3." It was way to early and hot to push the pace and I knew what was going to happen to everyone during the tortuous mile 3.  Mile 1 is relatively easy, since there is a lot of downhill stretches.  However, I tried not to accelerate, as I wanted to preserve my shins for future races and my energy for mile 3. Near the end of the first mile I passed about 10 of those early, hard chargers.  30 left to go...
The race had set out some hoses spraying water.  Ahhhh.  Mile split: 6:23.

Mile 2:
This mile seems to be the flattest of the entire course, and actually probably a net downhill.  Things were getting very hot.  I took my hat off and ran with it in my hand the rest of the way in.  I picked off another 10 runners of the initial 40, so about 20 people were still ahead of me.
Some neighbors pointed their lawn sprinklers into the street. Thanks Cedarburg residents!
Mile split: 6:24.

Mile 3:
This is the mile of doom.  Almost the whole last mile of this race is uphill.  "Park Lane" is uphill for about .25 miles, then immediately after that is a steep uphill climb along "Spring Street" for another .25 that takes runners near the finish.  I struggled on the uphill portions, but then again, so did almost everyone else.  I picked off a couple of runners, actually the two I picked off had turned into walkers. After Spring Street, I spot a guy that could quite possibly be in my age group.  I needed to pick him off to increase my odds of winning an age group medal.  There is another slight uphill after Spring Street. At that point I make my move and he is in my rear-view mirror.
Mile split: 6:55.

Mile 3.1
After all of my uphill struggles, there is one consolation: The last 175 yards are entirely downhill. In the last 100 yards one much younger guy ahead of me hears me coming up behind him.  He takes off and I can't catch him, but I fly down to the finish anyway.  I was struggling, which is obvious from this photo!  Mile split: 5:10.

Note: Holding hat for the last 2 miles. Note to self: Enter in the next "fugly" race photo contest!

My Results: 
  • Official Time: 20:23
  • Age Group: 4th out of 24

  • Posing by the Start/Finish line marked by balloons
  • Overall: 16th out of 254
This was by far my slowest 5k since the I ran the 2009 Ravenswood Run (20:30), but I am just getting started on my marathon training and getting acclimated to the heat.  I will see what logging a few extra miles in the next 2 weeks does to my finishing time in the Chicago Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon.

As far as the DK5K race is concerned, I wish the age group intervals were every 5 years instead of every 10 years.  That way, maybe I would have won a sweet medal. I know it is a small race, but is it really fair to have people who are 49 competing against 40 year olds?  It also would be nice if there were more "older  age groups" for people over 50 like my dad.  The last age group is simply "50+". 

Overall it's a challenging race which tests a runner's will to battle the last uphill mile.  The race can be a heart breaker if you haven't paced yourself well enough the first two miles.  For a flat lander like me, the race is a treat. That said, I am glad I only run a 5k this difficult once a a year!


  1. The giant age groups bother me too! At deerfield, my age group spanned 15 years! i am sorry, but 25 year olds and 39 year olds? different playing fields. Not that someone like me is in the running either way :D. That race sounds great, i love hills!

    1. Yes hills are fun. Next year I hope to do lots more "Cricket Hill" training before the race!