Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm not a runner

But I am a competitor (at least sometimes) and it felt good to compete in a race this past weekend. Alene has ran a few races in the past year and has really inspired me to give it a try. As I've documented here and there, I've been losing a lot more weight as of late (since November I've lost about 30 lbs). I've been able to maintain a somewhat regular work out plan and some of that included some running. So, I gave it a go and signed up for the 5k, worried that I would never be in shape enough to run a half marathon. I entered in the "clydesdale" division, which is for men over 200 lbs (my current weight fluctuates between 210 and 215 now).

Most of my training runs consisted of treadmill time. I've never been big on using the treadmill to really see how fast I can go; mostly just to burn fat by increasing the incline portion as high as it can go, then maintaining a brisk hiking pace. This typically helps burn fat. Once a week I'd give it a go and do a good 3 mile run. I had been disappointed as of late because my runs on the treadmill had resulted in HORRIBLE times and I was getting worried that I'd not be able to maintain the kind of pace I'd like to for the race.

As race day came closer, I just kind of gave it an "oh well" and didn't really worry about it too much. As the day approached, I got a little nervous, hoping I could run a better time than my earlier training times (initially when I'd run on the streets I could do 3 miles in a little over 26 minutes, but with my treadmill times slacking I kind of gave up hope on getting that). Alene had kept telling me that it won't matter come race day, you'll find something extra inside you that pushes you beyond what you think you can do. She was right.

She and I both arrived to the gateway (the finish line area) around 5:45am. I dropped her off at the trax station close by so she could get a ride up to her start line for the half marathon she was going to be doing. I hung around the gateway in the morning and just kind of took in the atmosphere and tried to psyche myself up and get my body stretched out enough to feel good about running. I have a really hard time getting my hips stretched out, so I was worried about that.

Here are a couple of pictures from the early morning start/finish line for us 5k runners.

04.17.10 SLC Marathon

04.17.10 SLC Marathon

As the race time got closer, I found my mother in-law (Merlene), brother and sister in-law (Sam and Alysha). Sam and Alysha had signed up for the race as well, so I was glad I had someone to start off with. With about 15 minutes to starting time, we decided to get in the race line. We were back about 150 yards from the starting line; there were a TON of people. Just as the race gun went off, you could see far ahead, heads bobbing as they started to take off. It was also then that I had to pee REALLY badly, and noticed a restroom hall just to my left. I told Sam and Alysha "sorry" and I ran inside to relieve myself. It must have been last-second jitters or something. I came out and just walked to the starting line because they have sensors on our bibs that don't start timing us until we hit the starting line. I pressed play on my 26 minute playlist on my ipod and started the run.

At first it was a mad-house just trying to weave in and out of people. A lot of the people were just doing a fun walk and had huge jog strollers and stuff like that. I found myself spending the first 1-1.5 miles just weaving in, out, and around other groups. It was kind of an awesome feeling knowing that I was passing up all of these people, even if they were walking/jogging (that's the competitor in me). As I got to the first mile, all of a sudden the crowd in front of me started cheering because the dude that was going to take first place was on his way back (the course was an up and back, so we were passing other runners on our way back). It was WAY impressive to see this dude on what looked almost like a sprint, heading back the other way so quickly. I couldn't help but cheer for him as well. He ended up finishing it averaging less than 5 minutes per mile!

The hardest part of the race was coming back up State Street. We ran down from south Temple to 300 south, kind of did a loop through the lower galivan center road, then back up 300 south to south temple again, so 3 blocks of up-hill running, which wasn't that bad. Again, it was liberating to be passing people going up hill and by this time we had thinned out from the walkers, to people that were mostly running. As I got to the top of State street, I knew it was all downhill from here and I really started to stride out. I had no idea how I was doing on time, but I could tell from my playlist I was doing pretty good. At this point not one person had passed me, but one dude began to kind of feel my presence and started to speed up. It kind of motivated me to speed up as well, and eventually I passed him too.

As we got closer to the gateway, I was so stoked. I rounded the corner to head up the main drive of the gateway and to the finish line. It was here that I had this burst of energy which was assisted by the following: The crescendo of the song "this too shall pass" by OK Go, the HUGE crowd of people lined up cheering you on, then off to the right I saw this sign with my name on it and I thought "hey, that's my name", then I saw my MIL, and my two nieces (Hanna and Abbey) holding a sign for me. It was an awesome feeling approaching that finish line and it was AMAZING to just feel all of your pain go away for that last 150 yard dash to the finish line. As soon as I crossed, all of a sudden all of the pain came back and I was hurting. They gave us water and sent us on our way to the racers hang-out area. Along that line they gave us stuff like bananas, chocolate milk, cookies, apples, etc.

I went back to find my family and ran into my mom, Caiden, and Bailey. I was happy to hear that they were able to see me finish as well (I didn't think they would be able to). It was at this point I had no idea where I had finished. They told me to just wait until the evening to find out on-line. I figured there were so many people out there, that I probably did good, but not good enough to place anywhere.

We waited around until it was time to watch for Alene. It was so cool to see her make that last dash down the main drag across the finish line as well. She was so focused and she SMASHED her previous time by about 10 minutes. So amazing and impressive to see that. She finished around 1:49.

Here is Alene and Bailey after her race. Bailey was not interested in wearing mommy's medal.

04.17.10 SLC Marathon

Here's Alene and I after our race

04.17.10 SLC Marathon

I was not able to hang around to see Alene's sister April finish the marathon because Caiden had a basketball game. April had overcome some serious obstacles in order to run this race and still did amazing (she did some serious damage to her leg about a month before the race after training for a LONG time).

Here are my total results:

5k (3.2 miles)
24:39 (7:56 average for my mile)
2/37 for my entrance division (clydesdale; men over 200 lbs); I was 4 seconds away from first
15/97 for men my age group (30-34 years old)
83/597 among all male runners
103/1836 among all runners

I still don't consider myself a runner though. I think I'd like to do a half marathon, but I doubt I'd ever attempt a full marathon. The most satisfaction I get is knowing that I can push my body to do things that I thought were impossible and that I feel healthy as I do things.