Monday, June 4, 2018

Run For the Animals 10k 2018 Race Recap

When I ran the Run for the Animals 10k in 2013, I won my age group despite the fact that I was the oldest person in it - as the race was held the day before my birthday. As I mentioned in my previous post - I would be in a new AG for the 2018 edition of the race. In fact, this time I would be (at least tied for) the youngest runner in my AG since it was to be held on my birthday.

After a practically sleepless night due to some sudden bug that I had gotten from god-knows-where, I finally gave up on sleep went out the door at 5 a.m. for a shakeout run of one mile in the city. I didn't trust my stomach to do a two miler and be far from home, so I just did one mile. After walking the doggies, I jumped in my car and headed out to the 'burbs. My dad had picked up my bib along with his bib (for the 5k) earlier in the week, so I met up with him at his house, put on said bib, and we headed over to the race in downtown Wheaton. On our way to the start area we met up with my sister and her two kids. My nephew was running his first 5k ever and he was super pumped. My sister was running with him. I did a few warm-up strides, then slid into the corral. The national anthem was sung beautifully, but at a low volume such that runners in the back of the corral kept chatting for the duration. Oh well. The temps which were in the upper 50's were were quite pleasant for early June. The horn sounded and we were off!

The Race
Mile 1: This was a dual 5k and 10k, so I started a little ways back. I'd forgotten that this mile had a gradual downhill for the first half mile, so I was running just slightly faster than plan. I felt okay to start, but once I sped up to pass a couple of runners, my lungs were feeling the effects of a cough I'd had all week. There was a skinny teenager just out in front of me with a bouncy stride who seemed to be running strong and about my pace. I decided to keep him in my sights.  6:15/mile.

Start of the Run for the Animals from last year. I'm in the neon hat and shirt.
Mile 2: I felt like I was pushing things a little too much early on, but had faith that I was at around the right pace. I could feel the congestion in my lungs which bugged me, but tried not to think about it too much. 6:19/mile.

Mile 3: The masses soon parted ways as half the 5k runners headed for the 5k finish line and I continued on the 10k course. 6:17/mile.

Mile 4: Still followed behind the teenager guy. I leaped frogged him, but then he passed me soon thereafter. 6:14/mile.

Mile 5: The second half of the 10k course is cool because it contains a mile or so loop around a nice little lake. I closed the gap between the teen to about two yards. We ran by three of his friends and they were cheering him on and warned him that "there is a guy literally on your heels!". I made the "shhh" sign at them by tapping my index finger to my mouth! 6:15/mile.

Mile 6: For the final full mile the course heads on a very gradual uphill, which helps to kill most momentum and really made me work when I didn't have the will or the energy to do so. The only thing that was keeping me motivated was to keep contact with the teenager just ahead of me. Suddenly, about a half mile from the finish I urgently had to go to the bathroom. This had never happened to me before during a race. There were no port-potties in the suburban neighborhood we were running through, so the only two options would be to knock on someone's front door and ask to use the bathroom, or "gut" it out to the finish line where I knew exactly where an indoor facility was. I was still behind the teenager and started to slow slightly, not knowing if running fast would give me the fast runs or not. The one thing I was certain of is that I didn't want a picture of my finish to become an Internet meme, so I decided if I couldn't reach the finish line before nature called, I would drop out of the race and drop in some bushes! 6:20/mile.

Mile 6.2: I decided that looking at the finish line in the distance would only remind my intestines of the fact that there were facilities just beyond it, so instead I just focused on the teenager's shoes turning over in front of me. I wanted to do a big kick at this point, but only did a small one as I didn't want to tempt fate. The teen accelerated as well and we flew stride for stride to the finish (according to the results, I beat him by a second, but I don't remember as my mind was focused on more urgent matters)!  I held up five fingers with one hand and made a "zero" with my other hand, thinking there might be a finish line photographer somewhere! 5:37/mile.
Finish line from 2016!
Race Summary: 
  • Official Time: 38:58 (only 10 seconds slower overall than last year)
  • Official pace: 6:17/mile
  • Overall Place: 16th out of 484
  • Age Place: 2nd out of 25 (first 2nd place CARA finish ever - thanks to my new AG!)
  • Fourth fastest 10k ever (out of 25 races)
I was completely "wiped" out but kept running past the finish line. I kept running a block and a half right until I got into the indoor facilities. Unfortunately, the indoor facilities were all occupied so I quickly made another dash to a bank of port-potties, praying that at least one was available. There was - and disaster was narrowly avoided!

Anyway, after that was done (whew), I went over to the 5k finish line to meet my sister and nephew. He ran a PR (naturally) and my dad finished 1st in his AG in the 5k. He also found out the joys of chip time vs. gun time when we looked up his results. His official time was a minute faster than he had read on the finish line clock because he had started so far back. Score!

We went over to the kids' race to watch my niece compete in the half miler. After her fast finish and getting her raccoon medal, we all headed over to breakfast at a nearby diner.

Running Family!
Race Takeaway:
Here were my splits:
6:15, 6:19, 6:17, 6:14, 6:15, 6:20

My fastest mile was 6:14 and slowest was 6:20. For some reason my paces have really flattened out lately. Maybe I'm getting a better feel for things now that I'm older? Take a look at my splits from five years ago and see how much I've improved since then:

6:23, 6:18, 6:28, 6:36, 6:45, 6:56

Anyway, my effort in this year's race was about as fast as can be expected, given my persistent cough and the inability to let loose and run a fast last mile due to the "unforeseen circumstances" during mile six! Also, it was the first time I finished 2nd in my age group in a CARA race which is pretty cool. I think I would have finished 7th in my old age group had the race been held a day earlier!

Next up:
RnR Half?