Make It Count!

What a great name for a 5K honoring a fallen soldier and an organization benefiting veterans. I ran this race on Saturday, August 1st. It fell in the midst of some family turmoil, as my father-in-law was in grave condition at the hospital. I had returned alone to Kansas City to take care of a few things before coming back to Columbia later that day. Kenneth passed away that Monday. Needless to say, I had lot on my mind.

The race was fairly close to where I live – just south of Olathe at the New Century Air Center in Gardner. There was a huge military presence – they really came out to support the family of Spencer Duncan, the aforementioned soldier. A Chinook helicopter (two rotors! counter-rotation!) sat on the tarmac, and another did a flyover for the race start. Very moving.

I recently joined a race team, “KC MAX” – a subgroup of the Kansas City Track Club. They geared us up with some singlets, and we represented the new team well with several age group placements in the race.

My race went pretty well, but I haven’t really raced a 5K hard in a while. It’s difficult to get my pacing right at this distance. The morning was warm, despite a 7am start, but at least the course was flat. I warmed up for a couple of miles before the race which really helps.

I try not to embarrass myself at the starting line. My rule of thumb is – line up behind the fast high school kids, but try not to get hung up behind the rest. On the one hand, you don’t want to find that the field is passing you in the first quarter-mile, but on the other you don’t want to have to sacrifice your pace stuck behind or zigzagging around other runners.

My splits were pretty pathetic, although my overall chip time (20:10) was just 11 seconds off my PR. I was targeting a 6:26 pace to have a shot at a PR. I bolted a bit at the start line after finding there were some slower runners clustered together in front of me. My first mile split was 6:02. The second mile was at 6:27, the third at 6:37. the “0.1” of the 5K turned out to be “0.17” – I guess I could have clipped those apexes better, at any rate I finished it off at a 6:27 pace for that short stretch. Overall average pace was a 6:22. If I’d run a perfect 5K, that would be sub 20:00, but who does?

I put my Garmin chest strap on for kicks, hoping to wonk out over the advanced metrics I’d sampled on a few previous runs, but alas it wasn’t tight enough for 5K race effort. It slid to my waist and I resolved to fuhgeddaboudit. Here’s a photo along the way:

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Military personnel lined the route with inspirational signs. It was hard not to choke up. Also, “Make It Count!” is not only the charitable beneficiary of this race, it also happens to be a great race mantra.

The race photos captured one of my most hilarious race faces ever. ANGRY FACE!

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That was in the home stretch. I think I was angry because I saw “20:00” on the clock when it came into view. I wasn’t angry about my Skora PHASEs though – that is one great looking shoe! People always stop me to ask about them and this post race was no exception. It’s Skora’s most minimal shoe, and a great 5K racing shoe.

Anyhow, my finish was good enough for 3rd in the 40-49 male AG. They had one of the most beautiful AG plaques I have ever seen, much less received. It was made by someone in the service, of course, honoring their comrade. You can kind of see it in this shot:

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That’s Tracey, a friend from my old neighborhood. Her plaque says 1st! I won another unofficial award from the emcee of the awards ceremony, a local tv personality, but that’s all I’m going to say about that…

Next up? Not sure yet. I’m signed up for the Kansas City Marathon but contemplating a tune-up race before mid October.