Monday, October 23, 2017


Reenacting the Iwo Jima flag planting, part of the pre-race festivities.
I signed up for this race just about a week before it took place. Now that I am back running semi-regularly again I felt the need to do a race and get that energy going again. So this run fit the bill. A 5k that honored a fallen classmate of mine that wasn't too expensive. Sign me up! When I signed up it showed it dumping buckets on race day and sure enough, on race day, it was expected to dump buckets. Fortunately, the bulk of the rain held off and it was mostly just showers.

The race started at 9am in Tualatin, so it wasn't a terribly early wake up call. Anything before 11 on a weekend is not preferred, but I can't complain. The alarm went off at 7:45 and I was there in plenty of time to pick up my packet. The race has a definite military theme, so the junior ROTC was there and there were a number of things before the start. Reenactment of Iwo Jima, some Marine reciting, pledge of allegiance, national anthem, etc. Once those were done it was off to the races!

MILE ONE (8:21)

This whole race was going to be kind of weird and a learning experience. I hadn't run a 5k in some time, since before my arthritis really flared. Since then, ironically, I've only done longer stuff that I wasn't trained for. So it was kind of odd to be doing only 5k and something that was totally doable that I was ready for. Because of that, I knew I needed to set some sort of goal. I had two goals... first and foremost, I needed to get below 30 minutes. Secondly, the "stretch goal" was to beat my first 5k time of 28:01. That was 9:07/mile and a good target for my current fitness.

The start line (can't find a picture of myself).
Anyways, I mostly went with feel during the race. I did check my watch from time to time but since I don't really know my paces anymore, I just needed to run on feel. That's what I used to do before I had a GPS watch and just had to wing all the races. So it was back to the basics there. I just needed to listen to my body and push to an appropriate 5k pace. I remembered what that felt like, so I just tried to achieve that old feeling.

The race day adrenaline definitely caught up with me at the beginning of the race. I looked at my watch at one point because it was feeling too hard and I was doing 7:35. So I throttled it back a bit. I was able to do the rest of the mile just fine, I knew my pace was somewhere in the mid 8's, and while I didn't know if that was sustainable, it felt good for the time being. I could always slow it down if I needed.

MILE TWO (8:16)

This course was really flat, so hills were not an issue at all. The biggest hill was just over the pedestrian bridge across the Tualatin River at the beginning of the race. Otherwise we just ran through Durham and Cook Parks, and all the flat parts of those parks. So easy peasy route wise. As you can see, I sped up a little. I was feeling good! I was in a groove and it seemed like an appropriate pace. I was working hard but confident I could keep it up for three miles.

Somewhere along this mile a man in all black passed me. He was going just a tiny bit faster than me and I decided to use him as my bunny. So I started to follow him and match his pace. I kind of feel like he slowed down to my pace as soon as he passed me though. So I'm not sure if I was going any faster, but I could just brainlessly follow him. During this mile I went back and forth with a few others. I'm not sure which of us wasn't maintaining a steady pace!


Getting even faster! Alright! During the race I had no idea I was running negative splits. I missed my watch beeping at miles two and three. I didn't feel like I was speeding up and the increase was small enough that it makes sense I wouldn't really pick up on it. But good none the less! By the last mile we were sharing the path with people going the other way, the course is a big out and back pretty much, so it was fun to see all the other people.

This guy won it (let's pretend it's me!).
I started stepping on the gas with about a half mile to go. I felt good and I knew I could maintain through the finish so off I went. I overtook black and ended up chasing a 10(?) year old to the finish. Never could catch the little fucker, I got close, but he looked back, saw me, and stepped on the gas. Oh well, haha. Anyways, I did manage to catch some people, so it felt good to finish strong. I almost thought I started the push too early but right when I was getting tired I made visual contact with the finish line and that was enough to get me through it.

The final .11 was at 7:30/mile pace, so I definitely had sped up! I flew through the finish and saw my time of 25:21. Awesome! Phew! I took a few seconds to catch my breath and then went in search of water and food. Got some water and a banana and called it good. I cheered people finishing for the next ten minutes or so then got into my car to leave. I was hoping to see some people I knew there but I didn't see anybody.


I came into this race honestly not sure if I could run 28:01, so to smash that was very encouraging. I thought there was no way I could get an average pace of 8:11/mile. I hadn't run a single mile that quickly since Blooms to Brews in April 2016, let alone three in a row. That was was super awesome and encouraging! Hell, I hadn't run a SINGLE mile under 9:00 since July 2016. And I just ran three!

At the end I even felt like I could have gone a little harder too. I don't really have a good gauge of my fitness right now, so maybe I held back a little in fear of blowing up. That's good news though, I smashed what I thought I could do and still felt like maybe I could have done better! Awesome.

All in all it was pretty encouraging. My next race will be the Give N' Gobble 10k on Thanksgiving. That course is definitely hillier than this one, and double the length, so that will be a good challenge.

Official Results: 25:21, 8:11/mile. 57/429, 46/188 male, 5/24 M30-34.

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