Sunday, June 24, 2012

Necktie 5k / Off Week / Angry Bird


I've been away from the blogging world for a couple weeks, but I'm back, baby! I've been reading other people's blogs, but just haven't been able to make myself write anything.

First, I want to talk about the Necktie 5k in Beverly Shores, IN, just west of Michigan City on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Knowing that I've been doing some running, my brother called me a couple months ago about running the Necktie 5k. It would take some travel, but I could visit him, my mom, my dad (for Father's Day), etc, so it wasn't a big deal. The Necktie 5k is a race where you wear neckties for Father's Day. You wear ties, the awards are ties and the starting line had hanging....underwear.

 The kids sprint was first and it was a very short sprint. Before we found out that it was really short, we were telling J- Man to pace himself like the week before. Once we saw it was maybe 50m, we told him to forget that and go for it. He is pretty fast, but we need to work on his form. He runs with his arms out like he's running from zombies and is in full panic.

He was proud that he won another race and got a little button for his efforts. I'm happy that he gets to feel a sense of accomplishment when doing these races.

For the 5k, this was going to be the first race ever where I didn't try to go all out. I was running with my girl, Lil' C (she needs a better blog name at some point, she's not so little, but always my little girl) and my goal was to help pace her for the race. I was able to keep her, for the most part, at the pace we had planned. It was pretty warm, even at 9am, and Lil' C was begging for water even before we got to the first station. The course also had a few small hills. Between the heat and hills, it was a little bit tougher for her than the previous week, but she ended up finishing close to the same time.

As for me, this was probably the most comfortable run ever. I didn't think about how I felt one time. Not an ache, pain, pull or single discomfort. While there was part of me that just wanted to take off running, it was great to see my kid doing so well. Next year, we may need to all race. Lil' C, J-Man and Baby Girl X in the stroller. That will be another Happy Fathers Day.

Lil' C ended up getting 3rd place in her age group for her first racing award, J-Man won his race, but what about Daddy? Well, I won an award too! It wasn't for running, it was for my tie! The kiddies made me a tie for Father's Day a couple years back which I wore during the race and I won a chocolate bar (kind of a weird prize for a hot day, but I'll take it).

It says #1 Dad with some little blue guys and says "Go U". I dunno why.


It the days after the race, I didn't run at all for 6 days. It wasn't intentional. Monday is usually a longish run day for me, but it was hot, I was at my Dad's house, I was tired, it didn't happen. The rest of the week was stressful, hot, busy, just not a good week to run. I don't believe I have had 6 days off from running since the "comeback" and honestly, I didn't like it. I tried to justify it by saying I was able to heal up, but I didn't have much healing to do. It didn't lessen my stress, in fact, without running, one of my major stress relievers was out of play. No more weeks off for me!


I was able to finally run at camp this Saturday while J-Man was still in bed. It felt good to be moving again. A lap around camp is about 1 mile and near the end of one lap, I met an Angry Bird. A hawk lives near the chapel at camp and she is beyond over protective. I knew she was there, but I thought I was safe until I heard a bird war cry and saw that she was coming for me. I don't know how close she got, because I took off fast. I don't know what would be the worst that a bird could do, but I didn't want to find out.

Did you ever have an unplanned lapse in your running or exercise program? 

Do you have a child, neice or nephew or other kid you were trying to train. How'd it go?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Julie Run 5k Race - Family Run Fun

We have been looking forward to the Open Door Julie Run for a while for many reasons. It supports a great cause (Open Door helps families in the "heart" of our county) and my daughter helped raise money. It is also the "payoff" race for her training over the last ten weeks. While not her first 5k race, it is the first race that she was planning to run the entire distance. Also, J-Man, my 6 year old boy, was going to participate in the kids track run.

This race is special to me for a couple reasons as well. People from our church have been long time supporters / volunteers for this race and it has a "family" feel to it for us. In 2008, this was my first 5k as an adult. I trained for all of a couple weeks and finished in just under 32 minutes. I did it again in '09 with even less training and finished in just over 32 minutes. While the running habit took until last year to really stick, these races put the idea of running into my head. Actually, it was a combination of enjoying the races and not liking to be embarrassed. While I had a respectable effort and beat everyone on the couch, I didn't enjoy getting smoked by a 10 year old girl at the end of one of the races, or being beaten by a teen from our church that didn't even realize I was struggling to try and keep up with her at another.

Last year, after a few months of training, I finished this race in 26:01.8 (boy did that 1.8 seconds really tick me off. It seems like I've had this blog for a longer period of time - but the post about last year's race is HERE). That finish really helped me gain more confidence to continue and assured that this whole running thing was not a fad but a lifestyle change.

OK, enough background. Here's today's scoop:

I got the family going early so that we could get to the race and warm up. I think I finally have the eating before a race thing down. No strange or overly spicy food the day before and breakfast is a small bowl of cereal and a half of a banana. My tum feels fine when I do this.

We got there early and took this picture:

This was the only good picture we got today. We both got shirts and had people from our church sign them for "encouragement".

We did a walking then a light running lap at the nearby track and still had a half hour before the race to mess around. I just tried to stay loose. The 10K race started a few minutes ahead of the 5k, so we watched them start and then lined up. I wished Lil' C luck and sent her back from the front of the starting line, for fear that she might try to keep up with me at the start and begin way too fast.

Once the race started, there were the obligatory kids that race out in front of almost everyone, tire after about 200 yards and then become obstacles that you need to dodge (at least no strollers or animals were in the way this year). I was right at my target pace through the first mile or so and the 10K people who started first allowed me to have the good feeling of passing a lot of people. I saw some people who seemed to be going at my desired pace and, for the most part, I was able to keep up with them.

I had a questionable strategy at the third mile. I didn't look at my watch much and was running "by feel". While this is good, I didn't really notice that I had slowed a bit. I was keeping up with a couple runners who I wanted to stay up with, but they had apparently slowed a little too. Coming up on the final stretch, I had one of the people I was trying to keep up with in my sights and was able to catch and pass him near the end. Unfortunately, once I passed him, a guy who I thought was further back smoked by both of us at the finish.

I finished the race in 22:16.7, a PR but just a bit slower than my 22 minute goal. I didn't pay much attention to my time at that point as I wanted to recover and go check on Lil' C. I walked back to the last water station and, after a couple minutes, saw her coming around the bend into the high school parking lot. She looked good and had a lil' red face. She got some water and walked through the last water stop (she only walked at water stations per her pre-race strategy), then took off for the finish. I took a shortcut back towards the finish and cheered her on as she crossed the finish line. I was guessing she would finish in about 34 minutes, but she was closer to 33. I would have been proud no matter what she did, but I was happy that she did so well.

Victorious J-Man chillin' after the race

After our race, I also found out that J-Man won the kids track race. They did two laps and apparently he was the only one to run the entire time. It looks like I may have another protege in the making. I would love to be part of "that family" that wins awards at all the races (you know "that family" where the grandpa, dad, mom and kid all win their age groups), but I won't push them too hard. I'll continue to push myself to get better and if they want to run, I'll be happy to help them. I've learned so much over the past year or so that I think I can be a pretty good coach.

I ended up finishing 2nd in my age group and won a little medal. It is probably the smallest medal I've won, but it means a lot to me for several reasons. First, it has taken a lot of effort and training to get to where I'm at now, and placing in this race is a symbol of that (in fact, by placing in this race, I've met one of my goals for the year). Also, it meant a lot to have the support of my family and friends for this race. A little encouragement goes a long way. Finally, the race in general means a lot to me. 

Today went so well that I'm not even all that disappointed that I missed 22 minutes. I'll save that one for another day. For today, I will celebrate with my family and enjoy our day.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Time to think about that baby stroller...

I haven't posted this before, but we're expecting our third child in October. We just found out today that we will be having a girl. I was afraid that our son was going to be upset (he wanted a boy), but he took the news much better than expected.

Soooooooo, I'm probably going to be needing one of them thar running strollers. (If you know of anyone looking to get rid of one, lemme know!) After all, mommy will need a break and the kid and I could use some fresh air once in a while. While I'm crazy enough to run in the cold, baby and I probably won't be doing any running until after winter. 

Happy Running Day! If you somehow missed it, today is National Running Day or something. I'm not sure who proclaimed it or when it was started, but I participated by running a practice 5k. It went pretty well, but I need to run about 50 sec a mile faster during the race to beat my goal. It is going to be tough, but I remain hopeful. I figure I ran the first and third miles at the necessary pace last race, so if I can take care of that middle one, I'll be fine.

Happy Running Day!!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Calling My Shot

Much like Babe Ruth pointing to the stands with his bat at Wrigley Field in the ’32 World Series prior to hitting a home run, I am calling my shot for the Open Door Julie Run 5k on June 9th. I intend to best 22 minutes at the race. This would be an improvement of 50 seconds from my PR and 4:01 from last year. For me, it’s go bold or go home. I am not setting any other (lesser) goals for myself for this race.

There are plenty of reasons why I both should and should not achieve this goal. In the “Pro” column, I would say that I am healthy, uninjured, well rested, have been improving each race, have great support from friends and family, have a good race plan, know the course and have the determination and will to succeed. In the “Con” column, it is hard to PR by 50 seconds (considering the last race was a couple weeks ago), the weather is a wildcard, I may worry about my daughter running during the same race, there is no chip timed start, I’m coming off my worst run of the spring this week (quit after fatigue and digestive issues), my mileage is down recently, I have been experiencing plenty of work and general life stress, and I may be putting a little too much pressure on myself (like making more than one bold proclamation on the internet today, such as saying I will break 20 minutes in the 5k by next year in response to a WatchMeGoRun post – not sure what possessed me to do that!)

I don’t think it is arrogance which it making me post this stuff. I’m not good enough to be that cocky and know plenty of local runners and bloggers who can and often do smoke me in this or any distance. (For example, I know one blogger who has a Spartan will, one that is faster than a turtle and one that runs for the D that I pose no threat to). I think I’m posting this stuff as self-motivation and as a show of confidence. I’m also trying to be a little goofy too.

But Joe Perry said there’s No Substitute for Arrogance…

When I started running again, I didn’t think about doing more than a 5k. (Now I’ve done a couple half marathons, have plans for a couple more and am strongly considering a marathon next year.) I had 3 time goals in mind when I started. The first was a 24 minute 5k. I figured once I was in shape, I would be able to do this. I finished 2 races and one practice run under 24 minutes thus far.

The next goal is 22 minutes. This approximates what I was able to do, more or less, at my initial cross country races in high school about 20 years ago. I am working on this now.

The big goal is to beat 20 minutes in a 5k. This would be close to my better runs in high school (I was barely varsity on a mediocre team) and, of course, is a nice, round number.

Then there is the U.S. Record of 14:17.36 for 40-44 year olds, which I hope to beat when I turn 40 in a few years (No, I kid, I kid).  I would ultimately like to get into the 18’s for a 5k, beat a 40 minute 10k, etc., etc., but my current goals are plenty.

Do you need to set goals for self-motivation (like I do)? Or… do you set easier or more reasonable goals? Or… Are you not worried about goals and just enjoy the race?