Monday, September 26, 2016

Oui Run 5k Race Recap

I'm in the middle of my four week Chicago Marathon taper and I normally like to reserve my tapers solely for rest and recovery. However, I couldn't pass up running the inaugural "Oui Run 5k" during my taper since it was taking place so close to my house. Besides - I figured running a 5k during this time frame would not only inject some life into my tired legs, but at the same time it would be a confidence boost if I could run a 5k in a sub three hour marathon equivalent time (sub 18:28) heading into October.

Over the last two months I have pretty much run all slow, marathon training type miles and not anything near the speedy miles that a 5k demands. In fact, I hadn't run a fast (i.e. sub 6:00) mile since the Rock n Roll Half Marathon in July. Would I be able to run three in a row at this race?

Pre-Race:
After walking the dog, I ran a 5.3 mile shakeout run. Then I got my dad and we ran another mile over to the race. Once there I ran around the block and used the facilities which surprisingly had no lines.

The Race:
The Oui Run 5k starts and finishes on the campus of the Lycée Français de Chicago on Wilson where the students speak French all day in each of their classes.

"Oui Run" Start (I'm on the right side of the middle pylon) (src)
Lining up at the start line, French was essentially the only language I heard as I was packed in with the students from the school. It was strange to hear so many American kids speaking to each other in French. I sensed a lot of excitement in their voices as pretty much everyone knew each other and were anxious to tear down the street and race right in front of their school. I stepped forward right behind the line and then the race director sounded the horn and we were off!

Mile 1:
So many kids shot out in front of me at a 5:00/mile pace that I intentionally sped up so I didn't get passed by too many more. I knew it was foolish for me to start so fast, but I really don't like getting boxed in by runners who had gone out too fast. After the initial mayhem, I wove my way up to about sixth place by the half mile mark. As I settled in behind the runners ahead of me, I started to evaluate my competition. The fourth and fifth place runners were wearing headphones, so I immediately took them off of my mental list of those that would be competitive and passed them with confidence. I tucked in behind the second and third place guys, and as I glanced at my Garmin, I noticed that we were actually starting to slow down ever so slightly. This was a good sign for me, as I knew I could easily hold my current pace for another two and a half miles and that they were already slightly fading. I passed them and was soon in 2nd place. The lead runner was still out in front of me as we passed the "Mile 1" marker in Lincoln Square and we headed east on Lawrence. 5:46/mile.

Mile 2:
As the first place runner and I began to head eastward on Lawrence, I decided to make my move to get into first place. I stepped on the gas and slowly passed him. He sped up to match my surge, but when I noticed this, I poured on even more speed. Suddenly I was leading the race all by myself! I then tucked in behind the four bike escorts. Since I occasionally like to chase after bikes as a fartlek exercise on the Lakefront Trail, I locked my gaze on their rear tires and started to fly along with them, just like I was running on the trail. As we headed south on Ravenswood Avenue, a car from the east started to make its way onto the course. One of the lead bikers sounded a really loud horn and chased the car down and got it to turn around. He rejoined the other bikers soon thereafter. Whew! Most of the volunteers along the course were shouting encouragement in French: "Allez Allez!" 5:36/mile.

Mile 3:
Once I had established the lead - the pressure was on to not relinquish it. Not knowing how far ahead I was, and not wanting to look backwards, I mentally timed how many seconds it took for spectators who cheered for me to once again start cheering for the second place runner. At first it was a few seconds, but as I kept up a fast pace, eventually I could no longer hear cheers for the second place runner behind me. Since I hadn't run a sub-6:00 mile in over two months and was in the middle of my third consecutive one - my lungs started to feel the strain! However, my legs felt great and I knew I could at least hold on to my pace until the finish. 5:46/mile.
Making the final turn (src)
No one behind me (src)
Starting to raise my arms (src)
Mile 3.1
Still by myself, I made the final turn back to the campus and saw the finish line ahead. I poured on what remaining speed I had because I didn't want someone to come out of nowhere to challenge me. Before I crossed the finish line, the announcer said, "there is no one behind you at all!" and "dude, were you wearing roller blades out there?" I raised my arms up and was done!  4:45/mile.
La victoire! (src)
Results: 


  • Official Time: 17:54
  • Age Group: 1st out of 36
  • Overall: 1st out of 559
Analysis:
Second fastest 5k ever and the third time I've ever won a race in my life. 10 seconds per mile faster than plan, but I'll take it, especially since I won the race. I think the mid-race surge to take the lead explains my (somewhat) uneven splits. In any case, so much for worrying about how slow my "marathon legs" had become! 

Post Race:
The race director ran over to congratulate me and to make sure I was okay. After telling him I was fine, I grabbed a banana and Gatorade and watched a few runners cross the finish line before I headed back out onto the course to run with my dad. I caught up with him and ran with him to the finish.

We had to wait about an hour before the awards ceremony due to the three kids races that were being held after the 5k. So we enjoyed some of the post-race goodies which included french pastries, ham and cheese baguette sandwiches and cold foamy espresso on tap! Finally the ceremony started and they called my name and I accepted my medal on the stage. My prizes included a free entry to the 2017 Shamrock Shuffle, a gift certificate to a running store and a three month pass to the local gym! 
Accepting my Medal
My dad won his age group and got his medal on the stage as well. After he got his award we walked home. 

It was fun to race a local 5k and was a great feeling to attain and actually hold onto the lead for a mile and a half for the win! However, my real goal race has always been the Chicago Marathon. My 5k time bodes well for a sub-3:00:00 marathon, but it doesn't mean I will definitely do it. Racing 26.2 miles is completely different than racing 3.1, so I need to keep that in mind when I do the conversion. Over the next 13 days I am going to focus as best I can to be rested and relaxed so I can set myself up for success on October 9th!

Next Up: Chicago Marathon in 13 days!

21 comments:

  1. I chuckled when you wrote off the other runners due to their headphone wearing. Great race! Is this the first race you've won overall! The winning prize pack sounded awesome! Congrats!

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    1. Thanks! It's actually the third race I won overall, but definitely the largest race I've won. Yes, pretty cool prizes! Thanks again! :)

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  2. YOU WON THE RACE?!?? What happened to those planned 6:00 miles from your last post? :)

    Way to beat out all those kids who started too fast! The pictures of you running all by yourself are awesome!

    Those prizes sound great! Is the membership to LSAC? I used to go to the one in Evanston - those are nice gyms.

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    1. Yup. Won it. I guess I was telling myself 6:00/mile pre-race so I would mentally hold back a little wouldn't go out at a PR clip (and I didn't). Looking back at it, I could have won the race with my goal pace, but oh well, I feel good today! Yes, it's to LSAC. I actually might lose access to my current gym due to my job changing. So, it may be a fortuitous gift!

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  3. OH. MY. GOD. You WON THE RACE!?!?!?!?!? Can I get your autograph now before the paparazzi get out of control??? CONGRATULATIONS, PETE!!!!! As per usual, you never cease to amaze me with your mindblowing speed and your exceptional race strategies (even if you "screwed it up" by going 10 seconds per mile faster than plan, LOL). Do you have jet-fueled rockets hidden in your shoes??????

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    1. Yup. Won it! My autographs are half price all this week, so get them while they're hot! Ha, ha! This was a fun race, since I did have a pre-race plan, but by the second mile my plan went out the window and I just focused on maintaining position. I didn't have much pressure since it wasn't a PR attempt, but at the same time once I was in the lead, I sure as heck didn't want anyone to pass me! Shhh! Don't tell anyone about the shoe rockets! :)

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  4. I felt bad not getting up to go cheer on this race since (a) my niece and several friends and neighbors ran it and (b) it's right down the street from me too. Now I feel extra bad since I would have been able to yell Allez Pete! Great job.

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    1. You'll have to run it next year! It was pretty cheap by city standards and everyone seemed to be having a blast. It's even two blocks closer to me that the Ravenswood Run. Thanks! :)

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  5. Woo hoo! Congrats on winning overall!!!! That is funny how you were calculating how close #2 was by the cheers! Ha! So tell me, how is headphones a dead giveaway that someone is not competitive?

    I think it's fantastic that you were under goal! Hopefully this means you will be a bit under 3:00! :)

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    1. Thanks! Yes, that's one problem with taking the lead in the race early - you don't always know who is lurking behind you and how far away they are. I need a rear-view mirror. I guess I figured my headphone comment might raise an eyebrow or two. As karma for writing that - I'll probably get beaten by someone wearing headphones next year! To explain my mid-race stream-of-consciousness logic: I figured that the headphone wearers weren't really planning on being so far out in front since they thought listening to music/podcasts/whatever was more important than monitoring their breathing, listening to the bike escorts instructions and getting energy from the cheering spectators. Also, the race was on "closed" city streets, but a car did try to swerve onto the course so being fully aware of my surroundings (i.e. being able to hear the on-coming car) might have helped me avoid an accident if that car had headed towards me a few seconds earlier. Anyway, that was my evaluation in real time during the race and it turned out to be correct, although it could be wrong next time! Thanks! I am going to give it my all to be under 3:00 next weekend! :)

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    2. Your logic makes sense on the headphones! LOL @ podcasts though. I can't imagine listening to one during a 5K! I've raced with music and w/o - my latest PRs were with ;) But I also was not winning the race!!! And luckily, not interacting with cars trying to come on course. Eek!

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    3. When there's spectators, I pop one of my earbuds out so I can high-five them and stuff :) And you know I'm a pretty competitive runner.

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    4. Maybe you've found the middle ground in the race/headphone debate: Only run with one earbud in! :)

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  6. Oh! Is that what you speedsters think of us headphone wearers? Ha!

    Great race Pete! I continue to be wowed by your successes. Truly amazing. I'll see you at mile 13!

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    1. Ha, ha. It was a momentary assessment of my "competition". I might get beaten by a headphone wearer sometime, so I guess it depends. Thanks, see you at 13! :)

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  7. Congrats on your win! That is awesome!

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  8. You're so awesome, Pete. I love how you determined how competitive the other lead runners would be, based on the headphones (and yea, I agree). I'm glad you got to do this race and have one last little hurrah pre-CM! Congrats again on the win and on the most excellent prize package! Very cool your dad won his AG :) (good job to him!)

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    1. Thanks! Yay, at least I have one other runner on my side of my headphone opinion! Thanks again. :)

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  9. Wow! First overall?? Amazing!! Congrats!

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