Saturday, May 1, 2010

Run For Rescue 10K: A Trio Of Running Glory

I was super-anxious for Saturday's Run For Rescue. The excitement level was twofold: first, I was set for a 10K race and wanted to set a new personal record. Secondly, the day would also be the girls' first-ever race, the Kiddie K.

I woke up and left the house well before anyone else was even awake, and made it up to the race while the organizers were still getting things ready. I registered the girls and went to get my stuff. I told one of the organizers my last name and he shuffled through some bibs and said "Danny?"

"No, I'm Luis."

I'd forgotten all about Danny. I'd originally asked him if he wanted to run the race with me and he'd said yes, but since he never brought it up again I figured he wasn't going to do it after all. Turns out, he had and I called him a minute later. Sure enough, he was on his way.

That was only another reason to get excited.

We met up before the race, but only briefly as I ran about a mile to warm-up. Afterward, it was time to get over to the start line. This race had a hearty crowd but not nearly the amount of participants as, say the Run Through Redlands or the Mission Inn Run. Still, it felt good to be out there with other runners, and since this might be my only 10K of the year I wanted to soak up the environment. And of course, PR.

At preciesly 7:30, we were off. I wondered if the course would be easy or difficult to navigate, but I just followed the crowd. The start line was in a parking lot, on the campus of Chaffey College - a local junior college - and once we turned onto a side street, it was all downhill. I wasn't sure what the rest of the course was, but I was not going to take it easy downhill.

Most of the first half mile or so was like that, and afterwards the course spilled onto a public street. I hit the lap button on The Garmin.

Mile 1 - 7:05.

I wasn't alarmed but rather surprised. I wasn't going to be able to keep that up of course because it had been part downhill.

And what goes down, must go up.

The path then took us off the main streets, on a paved road that cut from one street to the next, and ran adjacent to a storm drain. It was uphill. And challenging. I didn't want to tear up the incline but knew that I had to keep my effort strong. The course eventually wound through some neighborhoods, and most of it was at an incline.

Mile 2 -9:07.

The course consisted of two 3-mile loops, so all along I'd wondered if I could hit those same times, or if I'd slog through the second mile, which would be Mile 5. The course straightened up somewhat and I felt good. The long incline hadn't destroyed me (thank you, Mt. Rubidoux) but it took me a bit to gather my legs.

Mile 3 - 7:41

I was at about 23:54 overall by then. I wanted to PR but kept alternating between "I can't do this" to "I got this!" in my head.

We'd gotten back near the start line and I knew that if I wanted to PR I had to go fast down this part and make up for some of that lost time. I did, and even though I had thoughts of crashing hard into the asphalt, I maintained my momentum.

Mile 4: 6:50.

I did a double take and wondered if it said 8:50, but of course I knew it was right. I realize it's downhill and that gets some credit but I still pushed through that mile hard and came out feeling energized. At this point, I wondered about the Gu. I'd taken some Gu just in case, and figured that in order to get through the last hilly part that I should go ahead and take it. Part of this was psychological - I always feel replenished shortly after taking a Gu - so even if there wasn't enough time for the Gu to really take effect, I'd benefit from it anyway.

Mile 5 - 9:25

I wasn't quite struggling but I knew I had about 1.2 miles left in me. So I picked up the pace. I was at 40:10 at this point, not sure if I would be able to run 1.2 miles, though. The one mile, sure, but how do you factor in the .2? I figured I'd try and stop looking at The Garmin and focused on the path ahead.

The road we were on curved around and around, and the street was at a small incline, nothing big but still had to give an effort. Finally I saw runners disappearing down another street and knew I was close. I pushed it, got to the downhill portion and just ran hard. This was only for a bit though as we went out a flat road, but soon after were back right at the start.

Just as we got out of the downhill, I knew I was close. I was at about 47 minutes and knew that I could get my sub-50 10K this day. That was exciting. I was in position to get what I wanted to get, and all I had to do was to just grab it. I didn't want to feel as if I let myself down by not giving it my best effort so I pushed through fatigue and ran hard, as hard as I could.

I didn't let up as we went back into the parking lot, towards the finish line. I had very little left to give - my heart rate had been straddling the high-180s (my max is 186) - so I was relieved to see the finish. And despite what The Garmin says, only the time on the clock next to the finish line matters.

When I finally was able to make out the clock, I saw it was at around 49:35 or thereabouts. I smiled and said "Yes!" to myself and kept going. I crossed the finish line, stopped The Garmin and saw 49:49. Later, I saw the results and I'd actually finished in 49:42, fourth in the 30-39 MEN'S category (maybe Lois would have done better in her age group).

Danny wound up finishing in about 57 minutes, a good time for him considering he hasn't been training hardly at all (soccer and basketball and weights are his activities of choice), and also given the tough course.

After the second of four races we'll run together this year.
After about 10 minutes of trying to compose myself, I saw Mrs. LB and the girls. They'd just gotten there, and the girls looked very excited. We put their bibs on them, and then it was just a matter of waiting.

Who's Number One? Everyone!
I wasn't sure what to do, though. I didn't want them to run cold so we did some stretching and I took them for a bit of a warm-up jog, and tried to keep them from sprinting or using up all of their energy.

Once the time neared, all the kids gathered at the start line. The course just three straightaways - they had to run to the end of the lot, hang a left, run down to the other end of the lot, hang another left and the finish line was there.

Mrs. LB went down near the finish line and I stayed near the start. I was so excited for them and for all the kids out there. I probably had a goofy-looking grin on my face but I didn't care. I couldn't contain myself. It was also just funny seeing all the kids lined up there, ready to run as hard as they could.

More kids were there at the start, it was pretty full.

One of the race organizers finally got to the start, he got all the children's attention and counted down. Off they went! Yvie and Kennedy were running their first race! Yvie shot out of the gate while Kennedy tried to keep up. They rounded the first corner and Yvie was still going strong. She runs about 15 laps before her karate practice (15 laps around a large room in the community center where those classes are held) and it looks like that's paying off.

Having a splendid race.

Kennedy did well to run hard as well, and also seemed to be enjoying herself.

Run Kenna Run!!
It was so much fun to have had them participate in the race. It was a short race but I don't know if they could have lasted much longer. The girls were panting and coughing for a good minute or two after the race, just wiped out from their sprint.

But they earned their first-ever medals.

LB poses with the champions.

And they got to taste a bit of the glory that drives us runners.

PR or not, that was the best part of my day.

* Note: The race was a benefit for the San Bernardino-based West Valley Search and Rescue unit, and this day accounted for about half of their yearly budget, according to their site. It's a volunteer group that helps search for and rescue stranded hikers, campers or whoever needs it within San Bernardino County. The shirt, then, reflects that unit.


Jephy's Mom said...

Looks like everyone had a great time. i like that all the kids were #1.

Kerrie T. said...

Congratulations to you and congratulations to your girls! Great races; great photos; great recap as always. :) Can't wait for T Junior's first race!

Lauren said...

Awwww yay kids racing are so inspiring. I love how they run so freaking hard. Especially when they do the realllly young ones that only run like a quarter of a mile. It's sooo cute!

Congrats on a great moment in being a dad and of course your PR :D

Anne said...

Congrats on a great race for you and the girls! What a wonderful experience...

thrasherswife said...

YEAH girls!! The first of many, possibly, but forever the best memory of their first race! Love it!!

Chicago Mom said...

What an awesome day! Congrats to you all!

Raoulysgirl said...

How awesome that you got the girls involved!?!?!?

Great job...and

YAY GIRLS!!!!!!!!!

Michelle said...

Congratulations! Way to go girls!

Whitney said...

Great run! Congrats!

Angie Eats Peace said...

I am so proud of your girls! You are a great example for them.