Monday, September 20, 2010

El Tour de Tucson 5K - Race Report

After a long weekend, here is my race report for the El Tour de Tucson 5K.  Thanks for the encouragement.

I picked up my registration packet Friday and got my 2XL shirt.  It feels so weird that I can wear a 2XL, when I have worn 3XL for well over a decade.  At the last minute, I almost changed my mind and asked the lady for a 3XL, but decided to trust that I was indeed smaller now.  The 2XL fits awesome.  Someday, it will be loose.

The race started at 6:30 am and for a variety of reasons, this was my first race where my wife and kids would be there at the start and finish.  I was so glad to have my own cheering section.  It was another gorgeous day in Tucson, Arizona though a bit humid.

I felt good.  My first official 5K was last June when I walked it with my kids.  Good times, but now I am able to run the entire distance, so I was really looking forward to making the most of this one.
Waiting at the starting line. 

I stretched a bit, ran for about 30 seconds as a brief warm-up and quickly realized that I had no idea what I was doing.  How do you really warm-up?  No matter, I got there shortly before the race began and I just wanted to hear the countdown and go.

After we start, jockeying for position ahead of the walkers.
 We started and I wanted to get in front of the people with strollers and the people that seemed like they would be walking.  Lesley had suggested that I "push", so I wanted to start strong.

The race started at a school and the route quickly steered us to the soccer field.  We first ran the width, then turning and running the length.  I didn't expect this.  The grass was wet and really thick and it was slow, slogging through this cushy stuff.  I could hear some complaining around me, but I was just happy to be out there.  I was running at a pretty quick pace (but didn't have a Garmin or anything to give me details).

I may have been running too fast.  I had told myself that when I got to the last mile, I would increase my speed and then increase again near the very end.  But by the half-way mark, I was feeling pretty tired. 

Maybe it was my faster pace, maybe it was the early morning (I usually run at night), maybe ???, but I was breathing harder throughout this entire run than I normally do on my neighborhood runs. 

After the soccer field, the route was along the Rillito River.  We had to cross two bridges, which meant that we had two clover-leafs per bridge.  As I approached the 3rd mile mark, I found that I was breathing so hard (too fast of a pace), that I started to do some brief periods of walking (15 seconds at a time)...but I bet I did that 4-5 times.  I hated it.  I wanted to be running.  I was supposed to be almost sprinting at this point near the end. 

There was a teenage boy ahead of me.  He had it worse than me.  He would run fast, then I would catch up to him as he would be stopped, resting!   Then, slowly walking again and sprinting, then stopping.  Maybe he was doing drills, who knows.  But for the last half-mile, I was just jogging, but felt that I was working hard.

The final 100 yards!  The Fam is cheering me on!
 Here I am, off the soccer field in the home stretch...trying to pick up my pace and finish strong.
After the race, with mixed feelings at this point

I finished and the official clock read 35:54.  Un-officially, since we were not on ankle timers, I know that it took me maybe 10 seconds to get to the starting line after they said "go" and my name was not entered into the computer until they took the tag off my race number, so my real time might have been closer to 35:40, but I'm fine to just go with the official results.

On my neighborhood route (measured by, my PR is 34:13 and I was not close to beating that, so I initially was a bit disappointed. 

But there are a few things now that I will list out now, so that I'll remember how far I've come.
  • In May, I was struggling to even run for longer than a minute at a time.
  • In early June, I was doing this distance in about 45 minutes.
  • My wife heard the organizers announce that this was a slower course, compared to a different course last year.
  • The guy who won it this year (Brian Hall) did it in 20:05.  He won it last year as well and did it in 17:20.  When I compared other racers' times to last year, it seems that everyone's times were slower, so maybe it really was a slower course.
  • In my age/gender group, I came in third out of five.  A 72 year-old man did it in 29:00!  Oh, and Ellie (and 8-year-old girl) came in a minute earlier than me.
  • Out of all the 5K runners, I ranked 46 out of 147 total runners.  This huge clydesdale came in the top third!  That made me pretty happy.
So, after some initial disappointment with not beating my PR, I am now pretty happy with my results.  I am running now, I learned a bit about pacing myself, and it may have been a tougher course than my neighborhood run.

Now, I'll challenge myself for the next official run on 11/6 to see if I can beat 35:54!  I wonder what another 15 pounds lost will do to my time?!?  Hmm.

Big Clyde


TJ said...

Loved the race re-cap! CONGRATS! :) Hey was that the first time seeing you?? :) HI! :)

Jams said...

Awesome job Big Clyde!!!! I've always heard that you should start out slower... you'll be able to make your way around those who are walking or pushing strollers. It's better to pace yourself and be able to finish strong.

I would've hated running through the wet grass! I applaud you for finishing the race and for turning your negative thinking into positive thinking! That's HUGE!

Matty O said...

Awesome job!!! the fact that the winner was 3 minutes off says A LOT.

Keep your head up. After you get a couple races under your belt you can compare a little better.

Running in the morning is A LOT different than at night.

You did an awesome job and got REALLY close to your goal. Keep up the good work!!!

Allan said...

Awesome !

spunkysuzi said...

I think the running on grass might have slowed people down as well!
Congratulations you did amazing!!

Christine said...

I love that picture of you!! Congrats on doing the race! You did fantastically! WAHOO!

Beth said...

Oh how I love a race report!
You did great, you got out there and did something that a lot of people will never even try, I always remind myself of that when I am less than thrilled with my time.
I've run 30 -40 races in the past 3 years, from 5k to Marathon, and only placed in my AD one time! There's a local 5k I do every year and every year I have finished 4th in my AD (w/a 24 minute 5k, arg!) Be proud of your 3rd place in your AD, no matter that its out of 5.
Wet grass, 2 bridges (which usually look flat but are not), and navigating through the walker/stroller crowd....good job, man!
Congrats on the shirt size!

Katy said...

SO AWESOME! Congrats Clyde!

Andrew Opala said...

Great report Clyde - top third is a great achievement!

(But next time you're passed by an 8 year old - trip her!)

Lucas said...

HOORAY, CONGRATS, WOOT WOOT!!! Your proud mug says it all! And isn't it great having a cheering section? Makes such a difference and what a great example you are setting for the kids. I think your time ROCKS personally and I look forward to you running more races and getting comfortable in a 1X. :)

Kovas Palubinskas said...

What amazing progress and yes, running through wet grass will definitely make it harder and slow you down. Congrats!

Val said...

That's great - from this Clydesdale mare who rides an Arabian (long story) - my PR for a 5K was 33-something; unfortunately that was about 23 yrs ago! I clocked in a 5K last year at around 45 min (a lot of walking)...

Bruce said...

Great race!!!! I ran my first official 10K last July and I found that wearing my Garmin helped me keep my pace. I had some gas left to make it up the last hill and finish strong. It's hard not to take off to fast out of the gate for sure! Keep up the great work!

Patrick Mahoney said...

I think that's a great result. Forgetting the time for a minute, you can now run 35 minutes now when in may it was 1? That's the win right there.

15 pounds will make a huge difference in your running performance as well, as I have no doubt you will come to discover.

Just Me said...

Great post and FANTASTIC job. In May it was difficult to run for a minute and now this. Talk about a real victory. What an inspiration to others...and yourself and your family. My favourite post today.

Lesley @ said...

I think you did awesome! Congrats on getting through it! And I think the extra weight makes a huge difference in improvements. Try to run carrying a couple of 5 lb. dumbbells sometime. It's crazy how much more difficult even 10 lbs can make a run.

John Romeo Alpha said...

Congrats Big, that's a good run. That picture of you after the race is of a guy with something to be proud of.=!

Janet said...

Great Job Clyde! Keep on pounding that pavement!

Caratunk Girl said...

Awesome job Clyde!! Top 3rd overall!! 3rd AG!!! WAHOO. You rocked it!!

Keep up the great work, the more races you do and experience you get, the easier it will be to compare results and race courses. That is awesome, I hope you feel great and are ready for the next one. Sounds like it!

goingfor96 said...

Clyde, that is awesome! Congrats!!

Patrick said...

You have zip, zero, nil to be disappointed about. You ran the race! I didn't run any race this weekend, nope. You are a warrior compared to me, compared to many. And the best part, next to sharing all of this with your family, that the 2XL fits awesome!

You Da Man!

Bubba said...

Wow...sounds like you've come a long way. Congrats!

Bookgirl95 said...

Good job Dad!!!!

Remember how we did a 5K at the start of summer? (You, me, and Samson!) It took us over an HOUR! You just did that in 34:14!!! And the first time, we were passed by all the moms with the strollers. We're all so proud of you!

fatty blogsticks said...

you're so inspiring! fantastic job, bc!

TRI714 said...

I was on vacation and just got to read this . AWESOME !!! Thanks for sharing.