Monday, November 12, 2012

A Five and Dime

Yesterday, I attempted something I never have before, and I'm not certain I ever will again. While I have been tempted to do this for years, something always held me back. I registered to run back-to-back races, a 5K at 9 a.m. with a 10K to follow at 10.

The Burn Run, which benefits the Clark Burn Center at Syracuse's Upstate University Hospital, is in its sixth year. This year they decided to add a 10K, which made me very happy; so, I originally signed up for that. Then, they offered a $10 discount to any member of the Lake Effect Run Club--what the heck, I thought; it's for a good cause and I can do something I never have done in 30 years of racing--the back-to-back thing.

Yeah, baby! (Charlie Bowers Photo)
Now, I certainly have raced plenty of 15Ks, but that's meant 80 minutes or so of continual running, finding your groove and then maintaining it. By splitting it up into two different races, with a 30-minute gap in between, I had no idea how my legs would react. I wasn't quite sure what to do in the time between finishing the 5K and then starting the 10K, either, but I sure knew what not to do--sit down, eat or drink too much, or head outside where it was sunny but a little chilly. I didn't want to stiffen up, risk a cramp or get cold. So I paced, stretched and tried to stay loose.

I ventured out once, to check the 5K results, and was happy to see I had placed first in my age group (yippee!), with a best-of-2012 time of 26:04. Then I made my way to the starting line. The first few miles I felt a little stiff, and my legs were not happy. They weren't sore, exactly, and not tired, but had a dullness to them--tough to describe. But by mile 3, my inner runner kicked in and I was able to maintain a decent pace until about mile 4.5. The fact that a woman, who appeared to be in my age group, passed me then didn't help. I tried to draft on her for a bit, but she lost me. (Turns out she finished third in the 50-54 age group, so my sense about her age was accurate.)

I successfully passed one person before the race finish, but she got me back in the chute--dang. Still, my finish time, 57:17, is leagues better than the last 10K I ran, in an hour. So I am making progress toward regaining my form (I know the weekly track work has a lot to do with that).

While running the 10K so soon after the 5K, I had an epiphany that only such proximity could have rendered. Bear with me here, because it's gonna sound gripey, but here we go. Remember that I have children, that I love it when children run and are active. BUT, what is it about kids--especially boys--running races--especially 5Ks? I always know there is a kid approaching by the flap-flap-flap of his shoes hitting the pavement. Hope he learns some running form soon, or he won't have any arches left!

And then there's the kid(s) who sprint to pass you, and then either stop to walk or slow down considerably right in front of you. And they'll do that for all 3 miles--it's maddening!!!! I am always so happy when I leave those kids in the dust, and finish the race ahead of them.

So back to my rant--parents, it's great that you entered your child to run the race. But please, just like in real life, teach them some etiquette. When they slow down or stop, make sure they know to get to the shoulder of the road as soon as possible.

Rant over; thank you for listening.

So, with the combined races, I actually ran this "15K" a full five minutes faster than the most recent race of the same distance. Racing back-to-back was different, but I'm not sure it's for me. . .until the next time I see one on a race calendar.