Sunday, October 30, 2011

Racing Reminiscing

Do you remember your first time?

I hadn't really thought about it recently, until today. A Daily Mile friend posted a picture of her and her daughter from the Halloween Trick or Treat Trail Run in Sioux Falls and the memories all came flooding in.

I remember how new I was to running. Back in 1999 I was running in cotton shorts and t-shirts. No Garmin or Timex watch, just me looking at the clock on the wall as I headed out the door. I remember that a long run back then was 5 miles. Running has been quite the journey for me. I have saved most of my racing bibs and I generally write the race results, date, my age, finish time, average pace, and placing on the back of most of them. Here are what I would today consider my top ten for various reasons.

1. The Trick or Treat Trail Run in Sioux Falls. Of course number one has to be my first race, it was back in 1999. I remember several runners wearing costumes, in particular a group of guys taking turns pushing each other in a wheel chair. This was a 4 mile race, I still have the newspaper results, I finished in 31:03, not too shabby for my first! My most memorable moment of this race is coming around the last turn before the finish, I was giving it all I had just to make it to the finish line when all of the sudden....a speed walker passed me. Pretty damn funny if you ask me!
1999 Trick or Treat Trail Run - Sioux Falls, SD 
2. I moved to Illinois shortly after my first race. I found a strong running group in Illinois, the Illinois Valley Striders (IVS). The great thing about IVS is that there were 5K or 10K races within about an hours drive almost every weekend. I really "cut me teeth" for running with 5K's. My first 5K was on July 1, 2000, I finished in 24:16. It was ok, the most memorable part was finishing up at the Peoria Chiefs Ballpark by running across home plate.
2000 Peoria Chiefs 5K - Peoria, IL

3. Race number three is my 5K personal best.This took place on June 15, 2002 in the Prostate 5K. I finished in 19:11 and was also first in my age group at that race! I don't remember a whole lot about that race other than seeing 18 minutes slip away on the clock. Still a great race and a PR to this day.
June 2002/ 5K personal best of 19:11 - Peoria, IL

4. Race number 4 is my first half marathon. This took place in Delavan, Illinois. We had a bus take us out into the middle of the country. We ran two 6 mile loops and finished up by running into town and finishing at a school. This was in March, I remember it was cold and there was really nothing to see but miles of blacktop roads and empty corn fields. I finished in 1:50:29 and was 3rd in my age group. They did a great job of using up old leftover racing bibs as this one was 3 years old when it got to me!
May 2001 Delavan Half Marathon - Delavan, IL

5.First Marathon. Throughout most of my running and racing history I had no desire to run a marathon. A good friend of mine in Sioux Falls talked me into it. We decided that we would train together and run it together. About halfway through the training he became injured, so I had to go solo. I made a lot of rookie mistakes, went out too fast, bloody nipples, didn't drink enough fluids. It was a tough go but very emotional at the finish. There is nothing like finishing your first marathon. Finishing time was 4:10:12, I haven't improved a whole lot from the first.
October 2009 First Marathon - Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

6. Frisco High Line Run for Scouting Half Marathon, Springfield, MO. This is my half marathon personal best and I got it this year! I must say that I was in pretty damn good shape coming out of the winter. I did this race in preparation for a Fargo Marathon BQ (that never happened). It was a nice little race. I remember it that it was extremely flat and we ran it in the middle of a thunderstorm. I was surprised that they didn't call it because there was lightening and thunder going off all around us. I finished in 1:33:45, I was 10th overall and 3rd in my age group. I was also lucky enough to meet Jon and David of  Daily Mile fame!
March 2011 Frisco Half Marathon - Springfield, MO
7. Hy-Vee Triathlon. This was my first Olympic distance triathlon. I did run two sprint triathlons prior to this but I am not quite sure what I did with the bib numbers.The triathlon is a whole other beast. The training takes a lot of time and dedication while the actual race itself requires patience and discipline in order to make it through all three events. I am probably more proud of this than any of my other accomplishments because of the training and logistics involved. If you are a triathlete or considering becoming one, I highly recommend the Hy-Vee Triathlon. It is well organized and a first class event all the way! (I may be a little biased because I work for Hy-Vee so do your homework first)
September 2011 First OD Triathlon - Des Moines, IA
8. Dam to Dam. I ran this race back in June of 2002, that was a really strong year of running for me. If you recall from # 3, this was my year of the 5K PR. The Dam to Dam was the first time that I had met up with people from a running social networking site. I can't remember the name of the site but I believe that Josh Cox  ran it before it was turned over to Cool Running. I remember running near a barefoot guy for awhile, I thought he was crazy. It was a great race, I finished in 1:28:01 (7:05 pace) and was 135th overall out of 2,500. I was pretty proud of myself!
June 2002 Dam to Dam - Des Moines, IA
9. Lake Run - Best Darn Race By a Dam Site. This also was in my 2002 breakout year. Interesting note about this race is that it is a 12K and a 4.37 mile run. The 12K runs around the lake and the 4.37 mile is an out and back course. They start at the same time in opposite directions but finish at the same place. I do remember that there were some ladies walking 3 abreast for the 4.37 mile run taking up half of the road. I was pretty mad that I had to run around them because they were inconsiderate and didn't even think to move. would have thought I was trying out for the Olympics or something. Still a great race, my 12K PR with a finishing time of 49:12 (6:37 pace).
2002 Lake Run - Normal, IL 
10. Polka Pace Race. Really nothing special about this 5K, I just thought you might find the name amusing like I did. I ran this back in 2000, two moths after I had run my first 5K. I lowered my time to 21:55 by the time I ran this race in September. I was a 5K machine back then! My fan club (my daughter) decided to write a little note on this one. :-)
2000 Polka Pace Race - Havana, IL

As I finish writing this there are a lot of other races I could have included. Running and racing has allowed me to have a healthy hobby and meet a ton of awesome like-minded people. It has been an awesome journey and I look forward to the future!

Do you remember your first time? Any interesting racing stories from the past? 
I have completed race distances of 2.5 mile, 5k, 4 mile, 4.37 mile, 10K, 12K, 10 miles, 15K, 20K, Half Marathon, and Marathon. I am working on a possible 50K for 2012. What unusual race distances have you run?


  1. Great post! I love "the journey" of races. I have had so many walkers pass me in races...of course that's because I'm super slow. That's funny about your first race though. I can't wait to run my first marathon and share that experience. I'm still jealous you got to do the Hyvee tri....I'm hopeful to get it next year!