ORN: 4 mile warm up (4/1); then 5K race, 24:22, 7:51/mile
This simple, local 5K race turned out to be quite the community event this morning. And the surprise was enjoyable.
Jay Cooperider was a neat guy. I didn't know him well but we interacted quite a bit through our local Little League baseball program. He was well liked. Yet depression was a real issue for him and, sadly, he took his own life a couple years ago. With his family's permission, a number of friends put this event on to fund local mental health organizations. And the community really responded in support. Over 660 folks showed up to run and walk...an amazing number in our small community.
The race was not only meaningful but also super convenient for me. Starting and ending only four blocks from my house, the course was on my favorite Cumberland Woods running route and didn't start until 10am. So, I could sleep comfortably, have breakfast at home and still race on a Saturday morning. I went over at 9, got my bib and timing chip, then went for a comfortable 4 mile warm up. I needed to get 6 miles in on this, a step back weekend. Once done with the warm up, I swapped my clunky Brooks Beasts for my Brooks Adrenalines for the race itself. Wow, they felt like racing flats!
I like to have a plan for any race. Consulting some charts earlier this morning from my marathon training, I determined a 25:30 target time would be about right. I plugged that into my Garmin and headed for the start line. Our local public school superintendent sang the National Anthem a capella (and he had no accompaniment either) and we were off.
With so many walkers in the crowd, there was a lot of traffic to jockey around but it quickly sorted itself out. I found a rhythm and was surprised at the time called out at the 1 Km mark...I was well under an 8:00 pace. I hit mile 1 in 7:50. The 25 mph wind was a problem but I also found a really big guy to draft behind for 400m or so which helped. The pace felt comfortable, which is odd since I have done no genuine speed work since October.
I did mile 2 in 7:54, still feeling good. About that time, local running pal Tony started drafting off of me. We had a good laugh about that and then started chatting. It was kind of interesting...lots of other runners were really huffing and puffing by this point and Tony (who has done 50+ marathons) and I were calmly talking about logistics of running the Sunburst Marathon together on June 6. We turned back towards the starting line, did a loop on the short wood-chipped trail through the actual Cumberland Woods, clocking the third mile in 8:15. Out of the woods, a sprint to the finish and I hit my watch to stop at 24:22, over a minute faster than my objective.
And it was "no time."
You've all seen the rejoinder on most race instructions; "No Chip, No Time." Well, as I hit the mats I realized I had no chip. I had been so intense when changing my shoes before the race, getting my socks adjusted, etc etc, I totally forgot to attach my chip to my shoe. What a doofus. It gave me a good laugh...I walked back to my car and the chip was safely there on my dashboard. I took it back to the chip collecting team and was grateful this was just a local 5K and not some major race. I hope you can learn from my forgetfulness!!
Another fun part of the race was participating with seven other folks from our company, also located about 6 blocks from the race site. Amazingly, I was the first one across the line from our company. Which was kind of fun since all but two of the others were younger than my older kids. Maybe an old guy can still go fast enough.
The atmosphere was good, the cause was important. I hope Jay's family felt supported. And if one person who suffers from the mental pain of depression is truly helped, it's was worth it all.
Persevere. And encourage someone today. You never know who might be depressed.