Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Choose to Have a Great Day!

I haven't really felt the urge or motivation to blog lately but I thought I would post a couple of race recaps, pictures and maybe some random thoughts. Maybe that means I have the urge and time now....huh.

June 2, 2012 - Galesburg Half Marathon Express
This was an inaugural half marathon for the city of Galesburg. The people that organized this were really on top of things. This race was chip timed, they had just about enough water stops along the way, and it was a nice (mostly flat) course. They did a great job!

This was probably the most fun I have had at a half marathon. My parents and my wife were there to watch which is always nice. I also got to see a friend and high school classmate that's also a late blooming runner like me at this race. He has his own blog at Doug is Running Out of Time and is very introspective and philosophical about his running. He writes a nice blog.

I had low expectations other than to have fun and run a smart race, fortunately, I did both. Because I had not done any half marathon specific training, my goal was to go out at an 8:30 pace for the first half and if I was feeling well, crank it up to an 8 minute pace for the second half. The 5K and the half marathon started at the same time, so I made sure to start near the middle of the group. I did my best to keep an easy pace and not go out too fast. My first mile was 7:48...yeah..not really what I was intending. I eased off the throttle a bit and managed to keep it between 7:55 and 8:17. I wasn't quite ready to kick it into high gear at the half way point. It was pretty warm out and I didn't see any reason to kill myself out there. Remember, part of the goal was to have FUN! Finally at mile 10 I decided I could pick it up for the last 5K. My last 3 miles were 7:38, 7:37, and 7:42. I made sure that I stopped and drank at every aid station except the first and I took a salt tab before the race and another one during the race. Staying hydrated and keeping my electrolytes in balance really helped my performance. I finished in 1:44:30 which is about 11 minutes shy of my 2011 PR. I finished 17th out of 149 and 9th in my age group.

Great race with solid results!

The following Saturday I decided at the last minute to jump in the Babe Adams 5K here in Bethany. Once again, I really didn't expect much and was actually dreading this a little. I used to love 5K's and really started my racing hobby doing pretty much only 5K's. But now that I run longer distances the 5K isn't so much fun. In fact, they are fairly brutal. It's about 20 minutes of anaerobic pain to the finish in my opinion. But...it was a small local race and I wanted to make sure that I showed my community support.

One of the great parts of this race is that all but one person from my morning core group showed up to run and they all ran a nice race. There were 62 runners in this race. I started out on the line and let another guy just a couple of years younger than me lead the pace. If he hadn't been pushing the pace, there is no way I would have run as hard as I did. I stayed a manageable distance behind him most of the race. He was leading and I was a couple of seconds behind him. At about the 2 mile mark, another young man passed me almost like I was standing still. I had no idea he was behind me! He went up eventually took the lead, but not by much. I just did my best to stay with the two of them. I lost a little ground going up the hills, but was able to gain it back and then some going down the hills. Heading into the finish, probably the last 1/4 mile I gave it everything I had and turned on the afterburners. I was able to pass the guy that was now in second and finished in 21:02! I was about 20-30 seconds behind the winner. I was thrilled to finish the 5K this fast, it was a good race among the three of us and I was very happy to finish second!

My final thoughts...

how's your attitude?
Are you generally a positive person, or do you see only the negative in situations?
Do you smile when you run?
I have been working on doing this, it makes for a better run. Trust me.

I am not perfect with my attitude by any means, but I try real hard to see tough situations
as either opportunities for personal or professional growth or God's way of
making me stronger and testing me to see if I do the right thing.
I happened to read the Michael J. Fox biography some time ago; he said that every day when he dropped
his children off at school he would tell them to choose to have a great day.
I like that.

Do you choose to have a great day?