Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Petey's 5k Face-Off

Petey's 5k Face-Off Against Parkinsons (April 6th) is a first time event taking place in my backyard of Hendersonville and benefits the benefits the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson's.  Well, not really my backyard being that it's about four miles up the road, but close enough. I had my eye on this race since they announced the winner would receive a year's supply of Chick-fil-A.  Since they have been one of my wife's number one pregnancy cravings, I was a man on a mission.

I wasn't sure how hard I would run here.  I was slowly getting my mojo back after getting a little overfizzled and had a decent moderate workout a few days before.  But moderate workouts don't really show the chinks in your armor, so I wasn't sure how my body would respond to the intensnity.  However, my goal was to run around 10k effort and then see where that took me.

I was one of the first people there and started out on a warm-up of a few miles. I got to the starting line a few minutes before the race started and there were a lot more people.  When the race finally started, the usual youngans' started out really hard.  After a couple hundred meters I finally took the lead and tried to get a fast but slightly controlled effort.

After leaving the Streets of Indian Lake, the course ran down the left side of Saundersville Rd. before making a U-turn a little bit over a mile down.  Everytime I run a race on Saundersville Rd., I always get tricked. I run at least a couple easy runs a week on it and it always feels pretty flat without any noticeable hills.  But everyime I race on it, I am surprised to find myself struggling up the long, very gradual hills.  Today was no exception.
My wife actually knows that guy

The first hill started just before the mile marker and I could tell I was slowing down.  I went through the mile in 4:49 and felt like if I got focused, I could break 15:00. Running anything under a half-marathon takes a lot of mental focus and energy, so I had to keep reminding myself to keep the gas pedal down. I tried to not lose too much time on the hill, but I started struggling.  Finally I crested the top and was almost at the turnaround.  I went through two miles in 9:43 (4:54 split) and felt like my shot at sub 15 was out the window.  I knew I could make it if I ran flat out, but I didn't want to kill myself in this race. 

Fortunately, the uphill was now a downhill and I was gaining back a ton of time.  I was using my GPS to see my current pace (rarely ever use it in a race) and saw that I was under 4:30 pace for almost half of a mile.  I felt like my shot at sub 15, while running at 10k effort, was coming back in my favor.
Decent book, terrible movie

I made the turn back into the Streets and had to run up a long, ever so slight hill.  I started to get pretty tired towards the end of it but once it was done, I knew I would recover quickly.  After making the final turn, I saw the clock and knew sub 15 was about to become a reality. 

I crossed the line in 14:50 (4:40 last mile) and felt good at the end.  It was a huge confidence booster and made me feel like I was getting back on track.  A kid I coached for 1.5 years in high school, Tyler Taplin, finished second overall and another former athlete, Eric Rangel, was towards the front as well.  I may have whooped them today but they are insanely smart and will have the last laugh in a few years, come paycheck day.

The post-race refreshments were really good (I will say that about any race that serves fruit snacks) and then my expectations were exceeded when they brought out Chik-fil-A chicken biscuits.  I then did a five mile cooldown and came back just in time for the awards, where I gladly claimed my 52 Chik-fil-A vouchers.

This is an excellently run race that I see really growing in the future.  While the course is certified, my only gripe is that they only closed off one lane of a four lane road, so it was hard to run the tangents (had 3.20 on my Garmin, when a certified course is usually around 3.16 or so) but they said next year, they will close off the entire side.

I really enjoyed this race overall and plan to come back next year.  For a first year race (I'm pretty sure it was their first year), they did a better job than many annual races do. It's definitely a race to check out next year.  I'm also burning through the vouchers so quickly, that I'm now well recognized there.

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