29 June 2006

Candle Light Run for Hope

In my last post, 2 1/2 months ago, I mentioned that I was getting ready for the Candle Light Run for Hope. It was my first race since high school. I had hoped to do the race in about 21:42, or just under 07:00 mpm. Yeah, I said 20:00-21:00 in my last post but I realized that 20 was unrealistic and 21 would be a stretch.

It worked out for us to go to Greenville on Wednesday night before the race on Saturday. I ran the course on Thursday and Friday mornings. That was good -- I was concerned because Greenville is more hilly than Richmond, so the trial runs gave me some idea what I was up against. It wasn't going to be too bad.

However, I realized on Friday that I really had no way to judge my pace. I didn't know anybody else who was running so didn't have anybody with whom I could compare myself. It didn't look like there were going to be markers on the route. In high school, while none of the runners were equal, we were all close enough so that we could pace ourselves against each other. In this race, there were going to be all ages and all skill levels. If I ended up pacing myself by someone 20-25 years younger than me, I would end up killing myself.

The night of the race (9 pm start), figuring I would finish in the top 1/3, I was able to get to start in the lead pack (I'm the yellow shirt just right of center). That kept me from getting tangled up in the mass. For the first 3/4 of a mile, my mouth was dry -- I guess it was the nervousness. Several times during the race, I was pretty much running by myself and that was a little strange. At the second water station, I grabbed a cup of water to wet my mouth (poured most of it over my head) and someone was standing there calling out times. Turned out to be the 2 mile mark and I was at about 14:05.

However, the last 1.1 miles was mostly uphill and I slowed down. I ended up running the 5k in 22:46 (a pace of 07:20 mpm). I'll admit to some initial disappointment as I crossed the finish mat but quickly realized that I didn't do badly at all for my first race. When the results were posted, I was 76th overall and 5th in my age group (50-54) -- click on the title for this posting (or here) to see the complete results.

I don't know how many more races I'll run -- I'm not willing to shell out a lot of money to run. If I run again, I would really like to run with somebody else who is shooting for roughly the same pace. That would help me run better but would also be more fun!

Run well, y'all,