Short Run on a Long Day 2017 Race Recap

When:  6/21/2016, 7:00pm

Where:  Frankfort, Illinois

Distance:  5K

Results:  20:45 Official, 20:42 Garmin watch – 16th overall, 3rd place M50-54

I went into the my fourth running of this race with low expectations.  I haven’t really focused on any sort of short speed work due to training for Ironman Louisville, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give a 5K a try.  And by try I mean gunning as hard as I can.  But the race ended up being somewhat educational for me.

For this race I decided to wear my heart rate strap and monitor my heart rate through the 5K to see if my max HR is anywhere near the 220 bpm minus your age.  This method is an easy way to determine your max heart rate, which you can then use to set your heart rate zones to train in.  However, many don’t trust the calculation for some reason.  I’m 53 years old, so using the 220-age formula I should have a max heart rate of 167.

So if you are going to use a 5K to see where your max heart rate is you should do a little warm up then go all out at max effort for 5K.  So I strapped on my Garmin and the heart rate monitor strap and let it rip.  Here’s what it told me:

 

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Not sure why there is a 10 second difference in the moving time and the elapsed time.  That may explain the watch time vs. the official time.  Maybe I lost a little satellite connection somewhere on the run.  I did not stop for anything until the finish line.

 

And the 5K field test revealed a peak max heart rate of 169 bpm, with an average of 163 bpm.  And the times that I glanced at my watch during the race I usually saw 166 bpm staring back at me.  I guess the 220-age is accurate enough for me.

 

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I was also surprised to see that the Garmin nailed the 3.1 mile distance exactly.  

 

Okay, enough of the scientific stuff.  Back to the race.  I got there much later than I usually do and parked in the neighborhood next to the park where the race starts and ends near my friend Dian’s house.  Lo and behold, Dian was actually outside!  We chatted up ourselves a little bit and she thought the race had started already.  Silly Dian.  I explained that the runners will warm up prior to the race.  She thought that was nuts.  Gave me a chuckle though.

Over at the park, the usual suspects were there:  Frankfort/New Lenox Running Club made a strong showing, Tinley Track & Trail was also present.  Mr. Mustache Runner guy was there, with his shirt tucked in as usual.  And many more familiar faces.  It wasn’t until the race was almost ready to go when Nate Troester showed up at the start line, and I knew our eventual winner was finally here.

The guy that starts the race stands right in the middle of the road, orders us not to run him over, tells us not to start until he says “GO!” then proceeds to say “Okay, let’s go” prior to saying “On your mark, get set, GO!”  Park district run races can be really strange. In the old days, races were run by runners who kind of knew what they were doing, and these park district guys don’t look like they run much.  Anyway, at GO! we all took off and tried to avoid the dumb cherry picker thing in the path of the race route that has a guy up there with a camera.  So dumb.  You never see the pictures on their website or Facebook page, but damn, they got to have a cherry picker right on the road with a camera guy taking pictures that no one will ever see.

I had picked my mark, a guy named Chris S. who is in my age group and started just in front of me.  I decided to hold his pace for as long as I could.  That didn’t last long.  I might have held on to him for about a half mile before I could tell I had maxed out my heart rate without even looking at my watch.  I watched him pull away.  That move of trying to stay with him got me through the first mile with a 6:18 split.  NO BUENO!  So much for the negative split strategy.  He kicked my butt again, as usual.

After the first mile I decided to dial it back a touch and find my race pace comfort zone and found myself running with a guy wearing a Ironman Racine 70.3 t-shirt.  We were pacing together pretty well.  We turned off the path together and on to the side street to head back and about 1.5 miles into it we got passed by some kid.  “Damn kids” I muttered, and Racine man agreed.

We ran together until the 2 mile split (6:47 min/mile) and he started to pull just a little bit ahead.  I tried to match pace but I had spent too much energy on that first mile.  He pulled ahead about 50 yards with about a 1/2 mile to go and that’s how it ended.  The third mile split was 6:53 min/mile for me.

I checked the race results and learned Racine man was in my age group.  He got 15th place overall, 2nd in the age group.  Since this park district run race only awards the top 2 finishers in each age group with a medal, whereas most races go three deep, I knew I wasn’t going to add a medal to my medal rack this time around.  You win some, you lose some.

Here is page one the results:  Shortrun

Overall, it was a good race for me.  I found that the 220-minus age max heart rate calculation is nearly exact to my actual field tested heart rate.  I got to race some good competition.  And there was pizza at the finish line.

 

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A tie dye participant shirt.  Yay.  

 

2017 Summertime Stride 5K Race Report

When:  6/3/2017, 8:30 am

Where:  Mokena, Illinois

Distance:  5K

Results:  20:57 Official, 10th overall, 10th Male overall, 1st place M50-54

http://www.thtiming.com/images/2017_stride_overall.pdf

When I show up for a 5K I tend to start scanning the people gathered around, looking for the usual suspects, the people I will key on as my competition.  Since school was officially over for the high schools, I figured I would see a handful of high school age runners, fresh off of their track seasons, and there were a few.  I also saw this kid who looked about 9 (the results indicate he was 11), and he had the “look.”  Short running shorts, a set of wrap around sunglasses, and New Balance shoes that looked like racing flats.  It was about 40 minutes until start and he went out for his warm up.  I knew a runner when I saw one.  I also saw a guy wearing a Calvin College Track Team singlet who looked fast as well (he was the eventual winner).  It wasn’t until I saw Nate Troester, a local guy who wins every race, that I knew for sure that I certainly wasn’t going to win this race!

My wife Kari joined me in this race as it is walking distance from our house.  We walked down to the park about 3/4 of a mile away and signed up.  It was starting to get warm, and the race start time of 8:30 am was not helping.  Much too late to start a summertime race, in my opinion.  I tried talking Kari into gunning from the start, but she’s happy to run the race her way.  I was already starting to build adrenaline for the start time.

I did some easy warm up and then headed to the start line.  I’m always amazed at the number of slow people and kids at the front of the line.  One guy said he’s staying back to let the rabbits go, but this guy was in the front as well.  I dislike the tight corral type starts.  They are too crowded, and filled with too many slowpokes at the front of the pack.

A couple of minutes later a horn sounded and we were off.  I was surprised that many of the kids were holding tempo pretty good at the beginning, but by the time we got a half mile into it the first small climb appeared, and they started to drop off.  It was also in that first half mile that I was surprised to see Nate Troester standing there clapping for everyone.  I guess he was just hanging around.  I was happy to see that I had just picked up a finisher’s spot!

At the first mile, a local kid named Merrigan was running along with me and not far off the first place female.  We went through the first mile in 6:25 pace and I thought she would be good.  But later I found out she had a sore knee from an earlier mishap and ended up dropping out.  I kept pace behind the first girl for the next mile, as I also chased the one grey haired guy up ahead of me.  He was moving pretty well and not showing any signs of letting up.

After the turn around, we climbed the few remaining hills and settled in for the last mile.  I caught the first place girl and passed her.  I could see the grey haired guy up ahead, but he was pulling away, as was the kid with the sunglasses.  That kid knew what he was doing, running the tangents and basically picking off more and more runners.

I tried using the last downhill to pick up pace, using it to pass an 8th grade kid, and then accelerate through the last turn for the last 10th of a mile.  I couldn’t catch anyone ahead of me, and there was no one directly behind me to worry about, so I glided in across the finish in 20:57.

I grabbed a water and dumped it over my head to cool down.  I then walked back to the turn and waited with my daughter Rebecca for Kari to finish.  She came by looking very strong, but I tried to tell her that she was getting out-kicked by a 5 year old!  She didn’t care.  To get beat by a 5 year old would have killed me.

When the results were posted I was surprised to see that I finished 10th, and first in my age group.  I would have bet that the grey haired guy ahead of me was in my age group.  It turns out he was 58!  Smoking fast for 58!  I also checked the results for Kari and learned that she medaled as well, taking 3rd in her a/g!  Well done!

In all, it’s a fun local race, and I thoroughly enjoyed the run with my wife.

 

2016 Short Run on a Long Day Race Report

When:  6/15/2016, 7:00pm

Where:  Frankfort, Illinois

Distance:  5K

Results:  20:52 Official, 20:45 Garmin watch – 17th overall, 16th Male overall, 3rd place M50-54

I enjoy racing at the Frankfort Park District Short Run on a Long Day 5K for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s held on a midweek evening which means most of the day has passed and all you need to do is worry about running and not the million other things you have to do that day.  I also enjoy the fact that it brings out some good competition and allows me to race against a higher percentage of my faster peers.  At another local race that was run in my town in late April I would have finished second overall, so this race tells me more about myself than placing high in a race that had no competition.

The race day this year was hot – 89 degrees – when I checked the car thermometer.  I decided to not let that bother me, and I decided that I would push myself anyway.  During warm-up I was jogging shirtless past a couple of moms who were pushing their kids in strollers.  One of the kids said “Daddy!” which prompted me to chuckle and say “Daddy must be hairy too.”  That seemed to get me in a good mood.

The start was typical, too many slowpokes in the front that I would have to navigate around.  One guy asked another what time he was shooting for and the guy said around 21 minutes.  That guy I thought had a chance at that.  But when he asked the other guy, said he wasn’t sure, “maybe 22 or 23” minutes.  I immediately thought of the movie Mr. Mom when he responded 220 / 221 – whatever it takes.  This guy looked like he would be over 25 minutes to me.

As usual my son Ben also ran the race.  He did his typical college runner thing in warm-ups, and then found an old high school buddy to run the race with.  He made his way to the front of the line at the last minute.  Must be cool to have the speed to back that up!  He finished second overall for the 3rd year in a row I think.  He keeps losing to the same guy.  Not really fair for Ben, as he is coming off a mandatory 2 week recovery period from track season.  And he had a head cold.  I’m guessing he’ll beat this guy someday.

The guy that starts the race likes to stand right in the middle of the road and warn people not to run him over when the race starts.  I find that to be the dumbest thing, but typical of a race that is run by the park district versus a race that is run by a runner or running club.  He hit the siren on the bullhorn, snapped a picture and we all took off.  I was hitting Z4 heart rate within the first 1/4 mile.  The group spread out pretty quickly and I focused on getting my breathing rhythm under control.  The first mile hit and I missed the water stop.  I was getting quite a dry mouth, but I didn’t worry about it.  For some reason the water stop was positioned on the left hand side of the trail we were running on, and in my opinion it should have been on the right.  When running on a trail, all users should stay right, and there were definitely other bikes and trail users on the trail that would force us over.  Matter of fact, one kid that passed me around the 1/2 mile mark shouted “BIKER UP!” which startled me somewhat, but had he not yelled that I may have not seen the guy.

When we hit the one mile marker another guy got on my shoulder and asked how I was doing.  Apparently he was feeling me out.  I said I was doing good.  He mentioned that he thought the split on the clock was too fast, and I agreed.  My watch split said about 6:15 for the first mile.  He tried to talk some more but I zipped it and focused on catching the next guy.  I dropped him and never saw him again.

When we made the turn off the trail and onto the side streets I started to catch a lot of guys that had gone out too fast.  From that point, about 1.5 miles into the race, I kind of fell into no man’s land again.  This happens to me a lot, I end up being the slowest of the faster runners or the faster of the mid-packers.  I don’t remember passing or being passed from that point on.

Around the two mile marker I saw a lady by a table that had cups of water on it.  Apparently she was the sole worker for that water stop, but it was on the far side of the road on a turn, which meant that I would not be able to take the tangent if I wanted to get some water.  Since I was really hot, I decided to make a try at it and she met me halfway.  I took the cup and splashed it on me.  What happened next was a surprise – I almost felt hotter!  Not sure if the temp of the water was an issue, or that I was just too hot for it to do anything.  I can remember my tri buddy Alex mentioning this once, and I took note.

I could feel myself starting to fade, but between mile 2 and 3 there are a lot of turns, which meant I could look back and see how close runners were behind me.  There was no one around that I was worried about.  I came upon a guy who said good job and was spraying a hose for us to stay cool.  But again, he was on the side of the street that would require me to move over from the straightest line to get relief.  It was too late to take him up on the water anyway, as I was determined to kick to the end.

Once I got to the last tenth of a mile I knew I had no challengers, but I pushed myself anyway.  My son was there yelling at me to go all in, a payback in a way for all the times I yelled at him in junior high and high school to push harder.  Now that he is a D-III runner, I usually just yell “Good Job!” or “GO Ben!”

My watch said 20:45 at the end, which was a little disappointing seeing that it wasn’t as fast as I thought I could run, nor as fast as I thought I was running.  But seeing that it was so hot, I guess it is a pretty respectable time, all things considered.

Race results:  http://www.frankfortparks.org/special-events/Short%20Run/2016%20short%20run%20overall.pdf