10 August 2010

Another Five Thousand Meters.

I love it when a plan comes together.
- John "Hannibal" Smith, The A-Team
In this case, my hill training for the past few weeks paid off! I successfully ran the entire length of the Susan G. Komen 5K two days ago and even surprised myself by not being exhausted at the end of it. There were a couple of brief periods in the middle when I felt my lungs laboring a little bit during some inclines but they were very manageable.

My main improvement was definitely pacing. Last year, I varied my pace too much during training and subsequently gassed out on the race course, resorting to walking for a minute or two before resuming the run. Not cool. Also it didn't help that I trained on a relatively flat course -- but that had more to do with where I was living at the time. Bottom line, I wasn't fully prepared and it showed. I'd resolved to do better.

This year I don't think there was a concerted effort to organize a team from OMC so I ended up running solo, although it would have been great to participate with some friends. The weather was fantastic: even though it was already in the mid-70s at 7am, there was a nice little breeze and the skies were a brilliant blue. I parked at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial and walked down the gigantic lawn to Union Station, absorbing the vibrant, buzzing energy emanating from below. There were already thousands of runners and walkers getting ready for their respective races and the excitement was building to almost a palpable level.

rising with the sun

Threading through the crowd, I made a quick circuit of the grounds and dipped into Union Station itself, then paused as someone sang the National Anthem on the stage in front of the fountain. After that, the race announcements were made and I joined the people assembling on Grand Boulevard, a block away. The woman on the loudspeaker excitedly counted down the minutes and anticipation swelled. I saw smiles all around -- and then the starter pistol went off. Twenty-six thousand people slowly began surging forward.

course map

It was hard to tell, but there might have been 1000-1500 people in front of me as I began walking. Due to the sheer density of the crowd at the starting line, running was impossible at first and only after about a half-block could we begin to pick up speed. Throughout the race, it was still pretty packed but everyone gave each other enough space to run comfortably -- I didn't see any collisions :)

near the beginning

As I mentioned, I'd been working on evening out my pace for weeks and it helped me out immensely. For a minute or so at a time, I'd match speeds with one or two other people, then either fall back or pass as they changed theirs. As the course wound through downtown KC, past live bands playing upbeat music and the occasional group of cheering onlookers, I felt very consistent and happy with my form.

Since I didn't stop to walk this time around, and maybe because I ran by myself, the race seemed shorter than it did last year. After a curvy stretch on the West Pennway Bridge, we rounded the final corner and saw the twin balloon pillars that signified the finish line, only a few blocks away. Encouraged, I even picked up my speed on the last 40 meters or so (joined by a couple of other runners) and crossed the line at a fairly fast clip to the noise and cheers of the supporters gathered there. Slowing to a walk, I gratefully accepted a water bottle offered by a volunteer and stretched while thousands of other runners completed the race.

post-race rehydration

I had a great time! I stuck around for another hour or so, taking miscellaneous photos [see my Flickr set of the event]. After a quick shower, I celebrated with a French toast brunch at IHOP. I figured I deserved a few extra carbs :)

Anyway, that should do it for the running-based entries, at least for a while :) I'm glad to have achieved one of my goals for the summer. Next, I'll start working on timed runs (yikes.), and I'm definitely looking forward to running in more races in the future!

Now, about those new shoes ...

0 comment(s):

Post a Comment