Thursday, May 5, 2011

Race Report: Illinois 5k and 1/2 Marathon

Illinois 5k

On April 29th I did my second 5k and on Saturday April 30th I did my first 1/2 marathon.  I did these two events on back to back days known as the I-Challenge.  This was part of the Illinois Marathon weekend.

A couple of weeks prior I was hesitant to go all out on the 5k Friday night because I wanted to leave some juice in the tank for the 13.1 miles I had to do the next day.  However, the weekend before the actual race I did a test run by doing a 5K then 13.1 miles the next morning and I felt pretty good.  So I was determined to give it my best on the 5k come Friday night.

As I arrived at the 5k race I was nervous.  I did my normal warm-up routine of drinking a Gatorade Prime, jogging 4 minutes, and then stretching.  After that was done I got in my chosen "projected finish time" corral, turned on my iPod, and started to get focused.  My goal was to get under 20 minutes and to do that I knew I had to have a consistent fast run.  I was able to monitor my pace with a GPS watch. 

I started really fast averaging about 5:50 mile pace on the first 1/2 mile.  I knew I had to slow down because I couldn't do that for the entire 3.1 miles.  My first mile was 6:12, second mile was 6:23, and my third was 6:38.  By the time I got around to mile 2.5 I knew I had a shot to break 20 minutes.  This kept me pushing as my mind started telling me slow down.  As I made the turn on Kirby a group of spectators lined both sides of the street.  Adrenaline is starting to kick in.  I go down through the tunnel into Memorial Stadium and more spectators filled the east side of the stadium and where screaming and cheering (not for me but it helped).  I knew I had to go 100 yards, run through the end zone, then do another 50 yard dash to the finish.  As I crossed the 50 yard line coming in I heard the announcer give out a race time.  I looked at my watch and knew I had to go into a full sprint for the last 100 yards or so to break 20 minutes.  As I turned for the last 50 yards I could see the race clock.  I ran as hard as I could and crossed the line right at 20:00 minutes. 

I knew I beat 20 minutes because I was a few seconds behind the race clock.  My actual chip time was 19:52 or 6:24/mile.  A NEW PR!  Very exited and pumped up about that.  I got my medal and some water and walked around a bit to get my legs back as they were a little wobbly.  Then I waited around for my wife to finish.  She had a great 5k time as well!  It wasn't til I got home and checked the official times that I realized I finished 37th of out 4,211 and finished 3rd in my age group!  Very happy with my 5k performance heading into my first 1/2 marathon.

Illinois Half Marathon

The next morning my wife and I headed back to Champaign for the second phase of the I-Challenge....the Illinois 1/2 marathon.  I wasn't as nervous for this event as I was for the 5k.  I did my normal warm up routine as I have done for every run in the 3 months prior in training. 

I ran 13.1 miles the Saturday before in 1:41.  This being my first 1/2 I didn't know how the running crowd would be at the beginning so I started in the "2 hr projected finish time" corral.  This forced me not to start too fast.  It worked.  My first mile was about 7:48.  After the first mile the crowd starting thinning out a little and was feeling pretty good at a 7:15 pace which is faster than I have done on any previous long runs.  As the miles went on I was able to maintain that pace for the first half of the race.  I knew I was in good shape as I passed the 1:40:00 Pace group around mile 6. 

At this point my calves were starting to hurt, but I kept trucking, because I knew that I would soon be at the halfway point.  The miles went on and the calves and legs got more and more tired.  It always seemed when my thoughts of shutting down come up there was always a group of volunteers/spectators there to cheer the runners on.  One cool thing is that your race bib also had your name on it.  It was really motivating to hear people you didn't even know shout out your name and encourage you.

By mile 11 and 12 it took everything I had to maintain my pace.  But I kept telling myself, "almost there...almost there".  As I turned into Finale Alley another group of spectators were there cheering the runners on.  Then made the hard right into the stadium tunnel where I could see the finish line.  Not sure where the energy came from but I went into a dead sprint the last 60 yards or so to finish strong.

I have always thought people that did these 1/2 marathons were crazy.  Why would they go through the pain of the race and be sore for days after.  Well now I guess I am one of the crazies.  For me it's the feeling I experienced before the race and the euphoric feeling I felt after crossing the line that will probably keep me doing these type of events.

I will definitely do more 5k's as it fits in good with my triathlon training.  I believe I will make the Illinois 1/2 marathon an annual event.  Who knows, it may not be my last 1/2 marathon of the year.

Now onto to getting ready for my first triathlon of the season at the end of May.  Really looking forward to that event.  Stay tuned and follow my blog (on right) as I will be posting more race reports throughout the summer!

I thought the medals were very nice.

No comments:

Post a Comment