I thought I had managed to dodge the cough and cold that has been stalking our house the past month. The girls all had it and had recovered. I thought I was good. With the Addison’s, I’m already very conscious of sleep and hydration. I thought my chronic disease actually helped in this case. I’ll admit, I was feeling pretty good about myself. And then I got sick.
Wednesday morning, I found myself a snotty, coughing mess. The perfect condition to compete in Hunter’s Run, a local 5k, for a great cause, that weekend. My plan had been to use the race as a tune up for the duathlon in a few weeks. Yeah….
Hunter’s Run is named after a local boy in our community (he’s actually in Ce’s class this year) and a two-time double lung transplant recipient. Its mission is to bring awareness to the importance of organ donation.
The run itself is a fundraiser for the mission and a great way to bring the local community to celebrate Hunter’s life, organ donation, being fit. It’s a smaller race that is great for first-timers, people returning to running, or getting your kids to run their first 5k. There is also a 1-mile fun run.
For the second year in a row the weather really cooperated. Sunny and cool, it was perfect for a running, and at least trying to run fast.
Packet and bib pickup was held at the local health club (it was available Friday and Saturday if you wanted to avoid race day lines) so you were able to change and warm up inside if you choose. More importantly, you could use the bathrooms inside, so no porta-potties to report on in this recap.
There was a DJ outside with music to keep the energy high (maybe too high as it was really loud – or maybe I’m old).
The kid’s 1 mile fun run was first. Both our girls were running and they both really surprised me (there was no training) by just killing it. The course was no easy, flat out and back. There was a good sized climb to the turnaround point.
The 5k started after all the kids were off the 1 mile course.
Both my favorite and least favorite aspect of the 5k is the speed. It’s a short and brutal race. Basically a sprint from the line to the finish. The trick is finding out what sprint means to you so that you can hit that redline and hold it until the very end while leaving just enough in the tank to get there.
Last year, I completely blew up on the hill in the first mile and really struggled on the back half. This year I was determined not to get pulled into running someone else’s race.
I knew without any real dedicated training that anything under 6:20 was flirting with trouble. I wanted the first mile, with the primary hill, to be conservative. I was thinking around 6:30-:35 and then dial each subsequent mile down as I went. I knew there was a decent downhill near the end that could sling shot me to the finish with decent speed.
The first mile is the only one of the three with a net positive gain. After a flat start, there is a slow grinding climb of about 100 feet for the rest of the first mile. It’s easy to go out too fast when your legs feel fresh.
I really held back and tried to keep my breathing easy. I let the first four or five guys go and get a good gap and settled into the second group. I was constantly checking myself and reminding myself to slow down and save the legs for the second half.
Mile 1: 6:29 – Pretty much on target, though with the hill the GAP pace was lower. Maybe a tick or two quicker than I wanted but the HR was sitting at 139 so the body was feeling good.
Miles 2 and 3 are basically a slow descent around and back down the hill. After recovering briefly from the climb, I made a concerted effort to get the legs turning over and pick up the pace. While it was a net downhill, it felt mostly flat.
At this point, I pulled away from the trailing group, but wasn’t really making any progress on the front group, which I had strung out. For some reason, this is a common occurrence with me. I often run myself into voids where I’m running along. Need to do a better job of sticking with a person or group.
I was in sixth, fifth man at the end of mile 2.
Mile 2: 6:25
The last mile I was trying to keep my speed, could definitely feel the HR jumping up at this point, and close in on the two closet people. I knew the downhill was coming if I could just hold on long enough.
I caught the first guy pretty early in the third mile and closed on the second, the first woman, but she must have heard me coming because she upped her pace.
I closed her down on the hill but she was tough. Minor blow to my ego to later find out she was 12 years old. But that 12 year old was moving! I think another quarter mile and I could have gotten past her but she held me off in the end
Mile 3: 6:17
Total: 19:57 / 5/124 / 2nd AG
I did do a slight negative split and stuck to the race plan better than the previous year. Given the cold I was still nursing, I was pretty happy overall.
There was plenty of donated water, bananas, granola bars, and donuts to snack on when you finished.
Hunter’s Run is one of those small, local races that happen just about every weekend across the country. It’s less about the race and the results and more about the cause and the community.
As runners, it’s important, I think to support these types of races just as much as the big ones. These tiny races are what keeps our sport going and growing.