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.


  1. Congratulations! Sounds like a fun day.

  2. Congrats on your PR! That's great, and you'll knock off those extra 16 seconds soon enough. It's so awesome that you set a PR, your daughter did an excellent job running her first 5K, and your son won the kids' track race! Most importantly, you guys ran for a great cause and it sounds like you're taking a wonderful approach toward your kids' running. Great job with all of your progress over the last few years and getting even closer to your goals!

  3. love that you guys had people sign your race shirt for encouragement. Very cool! Sounds like a great race for both of you. Congrats on a speedy PR!