Friday, May 20, 2011

#332:Running 4 the Sole: A New Personal Best!

This was the out-and-back course for today's 5K, "Running 4 the Sole."

So what's behind the funny name?

Here's the description from their Facebook page:

This is a shoe drive for kids around the world who don't have footwear. It's a great cause as your donation can prevent foot disease and send a child to school.
The registration fee was one pair of old shoes. I donated a pair of 13s that were a little short and narrow for me. Some big-footed boy is going to be very happy with them. By the time I got there, they had a pickup truck full. It was so inspiring! The event was organized by a Lexington 5th grader named Kasey. She did an amazing job lining up sponsors, organizing the marketing, and finding a lovely venue that was a fun run for everybody.
But man, was it hot.

As best I can figure, it was about 80 degrees when I arrived at 1:00 to warm up for the 1:30 start. "Warm up" may be the wrong word to use. I sure didn't need any warm up clothes. I had put on sunscreen at home, and was already wearing my Nike Pegasus shoes and knee stabilizers. When I left the house.  I drank quite a bit of water before the race, but I was glad I did. I used it all.

To warm up, I did a nice, easy walk/jog/run around the park. I probably did about a mile-and-a-half, including what I thought was going to be the last quarter mile, down the big hill that usually leads to the finish line. Throughout my warm ups, I had a little twinge in my right calf, so I resolved to start out very slowly and drop out if I couldn't get comfortable.

The race started a couple of minutes late, which gave me time to check out some of the other runners. There were a couple with baby strollers. I love these things. I always hope that the kid continues running once they're out and moving on their own. There were some beautiful dogs, A couple of setters and three Weimaraners in particular. The heat would have been murder for Jake, but those big old short hairs seemed to thrive in it. Most of their humans would have had much better times if they had just brought skate boards and let the dogs tow them.

"I hope that guy is wearing suncreen."
There was one young man in particular who caught my attention. He had the long-limbed look of a real runner and was not wearing a shirt. "A choice only a young man would make on a day like this," I thought to myself. It's probably a sign of my own geezerdom that my first thought was, "I hope that guy is wearing sun screen." He was doing some pretty esoteric warm ups, hops and butt kicks back and forth in front of the starting line. I wasn't sure if he was for real, or just showing off. But, judging from the way he looked when he passed me, headed back for the finish, right after I reached the 1 mile point, I'd say he was for real. I gave him a couple claps and an "attaboy." When you can run like that, you can look as goofy as you want before the start.

Instead of the traditional gun or air horn, the race started with two young girls counting down "Three. Two, One... GO!" . It really set the tone for what was a "Fun Run" from start to finish. I was a little thrown when the leaders did not make what I expected to be the first turn. We were not following the route I had run here in the past: the one I had trained so strongly on when I came out on Thursday. I decided to throw away my plans, and just enjoy the trip. I started the interval timer on my watch so I would know when to walk and when to run. After the first 90 second trot, I walked and took stock. I checked in with my right leg, and whatever was twinging earlier had worked itself out. The right knee showed no signs of complaint. Back? Straight and strong. Sunglasses? Staying firmly in place. Sweat band? Sopping up the drops and keeping my eyes clear. But what was going on with my shorts?

I have this pair of shorts. I really like the way they feel. They are a dark sort of pewter color with a black and yellow stripe down the leg. They looked fantastic in the store. Not as great on me, but I don't have to look at them, and they've always worn just fine. Thing is, today, they started to creep. Not creep up. The legs stayed down where they belonged, fluttering lightly against my compression shorts. It was the waist. For reasons I can't begin to explain, the waist of my shorts was moving in a clockwise direction around my body! Several times during the race, I would reach down and hike them back around, lining the back seam up with my own back seam. They would be OK for a while, then a few minutes later, I would feel them over on the right again. I assume this says something about my running form that someone with a trained eye is going to have to fix for me. For now, it's just part of the whole comical package that makes up Fat Man Running.

I used 90 second/30 second run/walk intervals, and that really seems like a good place for me. Sure, a lot of people zoomed past me at first, but, I caught a lot of them before it was over. I also discovered, after confirming the distance on that my Nike+ sportband measured this run about .16 miles shorter than it actually was. Not a big deal when I'm training, and in a measured race, I can always go back and do the math later.

I finished the race at a gallop, or maybe it was a gallumph, but it felt like galloping to me. I finished strong and well ahead of my previous personal best. I had done that crazy Krispy Kreme challenge on a cool, hazy morning in 38:36. Today, my time was 37:08. That's an average pace of 11:59/mile, which means that somewhere in there, I also met my personal goal of breaking a 12 minute mile, set back in the winter, when I could barely finish in 15. Time to move those goalposts out a couple more minutes.

I gratefully received my cold bottle of water at the finish, then took a nice long walk to cool down. After that, it was a quick drive home, get out of the wet clothes, find the ice pack for my knee, and pass out with Mrs P and the dogs for a few minutes.

What a great day! Sort of makes me glad the Rapture didn't happen yesterday after all. The little angels who put this race together would have been taken up for sure. And running in the blazing heat would have taken on a whole new significance.


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