Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Corporate Challenge Race Report

Ten years...where have they gone? Ten years ago this summer I ran my first race: the 2001 Chase Corporate Challenge in Syracuse. Yesterday I ran the same race for the second time. Over the last ten years, I haven't worked for a company that has participated. A couple months ago I brought up the idea at our weekly Monday meeting and everyone agreed that we should participate. So, I designated myself as team Captain and started the process of getting MACNY registered.

Last Friday we were allowed to get out shirts and bibs for our team at Carousel Mall. I arrived at the tent outside the mall and they said I had to go inside to get our packets. I went inside and the lady informed me that I owed them money. I was under the impression we would get invoiced...rookie mistake! She made me go back outside to get the OK from the Race Director, so back to the tent I went. I made a pinky promise that I would go online and charge our entry fee as soon as I got back to the office, so I was sent back inside. Finally got the envelope with our bibs, then back out to the tent for our t-shirts. With t-shirts in hand, I finally was able to head back to work. That was a lot of work.

This race (including the one I did in 2001) used to be held in August. But, because of heat and humidity that time of year, they decided to move it to June. It didn't help much this year because it was hot (mid to high 80s) and humid all day. I tried my best to hydrate all day by drinking lots (about 4 bottles) of water. I was really hoping for a PR so I didn't want hydration to be a factor.

About a half hour before the race, I decided I needed to go to the bathroom. I saw some porta potties from a distance that looked available, so I headed over. Once I got there, I discovered quite a long line. I waited in it awhile, but with only 9 minutes until race time, I decided that I would just have to hold it. I hoped it wouldn't bother me.

*Let me start this section by stating that I thought this race was a 5K. All of my race decisions were based on this incorrect assumption.

Since this race was so big (almost 7,000 participants), they had signs at the start so people could line up according to their predicted pace. I was really hoping to PR this race since its flat. My PR for a 5K is a 10:06 mile. I decided to line up with the 9 minute milers. I figured they could help pace my way to a PR. The horn blew and by the time I reached the start line, about 1 minute had gone by.

I started running a bit and immediately my mouth felt like cotton. Crap! Maybe I didn't drink enough. I thought about wearing my fuel belt, but I decided not to...who needs a fuel belt for a 5K?!?! Ha! Not I!!! Besides, they'll have water on the course. (I've got to stop listening to that little voice in my head because it can really be an idiot sometimes!)

Occasionally I would look at my watch and every time I looked my pace was under 10 min. far so good. When I got to the 1 mile sign there was a guy yelling out times and he yelled out something around 10:45 which would be around 9:45 for me. Wow! I'm right on pace! Somewhere around this point was the first water which helped a lot.

During the second mile, I could feel the heat getting to me and I know I slowed down. I glanced at my watch and saw 10:?? as my pace. I told myself to go a little easier this mile then push it again the last 1.1 mile. But, just before the turn around point, I started to feel a little light headed and dizzy. I really started to get nervous that I would have to walk the rest of the way.

At the half way point, the person yelling out times said something like 18:??. Again, assuming this was a 5K, my final time would be around 35:??. There was another water stop right after the turn around point. Feeling bummed that I blew my PR, I walked a little while I grabbed water.

Not far after that water stop was the 2 mile point. The time yelled out was 20:?? which for me would be 19:??. Wait a minute?!?! I'm still running a sub 10-min mile?!?! I was completely confused at this point, so thinking I had 1.1 miles to go, I tried to pick it up again.

I don't remember if anyone was yelling out at the 3 mile point. All I thought was that I had 0.1 miles to go, so I picked it up. But that 0.1 miles seemed to go on forever. Where the heck is that finish line?!?! At this point my watch said something like 32:00, so there was no way I could PR this 5K. Feeling disappointed in myself, I slowed to walk for a few seconds. But, I decided that a slow jog was better than walking, so I did what I could to make it to the finish.

My watch read 35:39 which for a 5K was slow for me. After having such high hopes, I was really disappointed that I didn't make the most of my training with Kevin.

It takes a little while for my watch to reset and, once it does, it shows my distance. Once I got back to our company tent, I looked at my watch. The distance read 3.51 miles. Wait a minute!!! Where the heck did those exra 0.41 miles come from?!?!? Maybe I had a PR pace after all!!!

After some calculations, I discovered my pace was 10:10...4 seconds off my PR pace from October's LaFayette Apple Run. If I hadn't given up at the mile 2 water stop and in the home stretch, I'm sure I could have PR'd this race.

So, I've got lots of emotions about this race. Happy that this is my best pace since October and my injury this winter and happy knowing that I probably could have PR'd if I had the correct information in my head.

Disappointed that I didn't have the correct race distance (not sure if that's my fault or the information the race gave out) and that I gave up. Have lots to think about and fix before the next race.

My next running race is the Boilermaker 15K (9.3 miles) on July 10...automatice PR on this one since I've never run this distance before. My next 5K is the Save the River Run in Clayton at the end of July. Maybe I can PR this one...I'll definitely bring my fuel belt!


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