Race report for this 8K, which was held in Norfolk on Saturday. Weather was pretty good with the temps in the high 60's at the start. The race consisted of both the 8K and a 2 mile run/walk run on the same course (the 2 milers went as far as the first mile and then they looped back to the finish) and starting at the same time. This was my first 8K race, so my expected finish was based on an estimate of my 10K times, so I set a goal of 34-32 minutes with the possibility of finishing in the 30s if all went well. The last two weeks training had not gone well due to commitments and a right heel tenderness. The heel was tight and almost painful...especially when standing and walking after rest and it took a few minutes of stretching or exercise for the discomfort to diminish to the point I could walk normally without limping or a seemingly lopsided running gait. I don't know where or why this injury occurred with no new shoes or trauma recently and only the right heel being affected.
The race takes place in mostly upper part of downtown Norfolk, starting and finishing at the Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters. The course winds through the streets of adjacent neighborhoods, a couple of parks and part of an industrial complex near the waterfront. Nice and scenic on most parts of the run but consisted of a lot of turns on the street and loop backs. There were mile markers at every mile but no timers to check your time. We wore timing chips but it was only for the finish times so the race was essentially based on gun time.
I woke up for a normal time on race day...5:00 am...took my shower, got dressed, ate a good breakfast and relaxed before leaving. The race starts at 7:45 and I leave the house around 7:00 and get to the hospital parking garage about 7:20. Plenty of time since I had already pre-registered and already had my number but I did need to pick up the timing chip. I grab a banana at the tables and some water and head to my favorite pre-race staging area...the port-a-potties of course. No lines, no problems. I warm up by stretching...especially the right heel and running around a couple of blocks through the adjoining neighborhood and then head to the start line.
I settle in the second row of runners behind the start line and talk with a couple of people as we wait for the start. The 8K runners and the 2 mile walk/runners are all starting together in the same group which isn't a problem...at least for me...at the beginning of the race...but at the end they become a problem. The horn blows signaling the start of the race and we are off. I don't find any of the "regular" runners that I pace off of so I have to make my own pace and it's a quick one going through the first mile at 6:12...I had hoped to be around 6:20. We split off from the 2 milers just before the 1st mile after going through a waterfront park. We continue on looping through some neighborhoods and at mile 2 the split is 12:45...which is about where I expect to be. We continue through another park and at the 3-mile mark the split is 19:17...I've lost a few seconds and I don't know why. We loop through some neighborhood streets again and start heading back to the hospital and the finish line. The 4-mile mark is again at the first waterfront park and my time is 26:11...I have fallen off some more but I feel good and try to up my pace. After leaving the park, we start picking up walkers from the 2 milers...a few at first and then large groups of them as we get near to the finish. We only have a one-lane road that is coned off for all the runners and walkers, with traffic on the other side of the cones. Some group of walkers, some with strollers, stretches the whole width of the lane oblivious to the runners trying to get by them. I yell ahead several times "Excuse me" but they don't hear until we are right upon them and then we have to veer around the cones into oncoming traffic to get around them. This happens for the last quarter mile to the finish. We turn back into the hospital and finally see the finish line ahead. Weaving through the crowd, I cross the finish line but did not see the time since I was so distracted and concentrating on not running someone over. I also fail to hit the stop on my watch. I get to where they remove my chip and I glance at my watch as I'm heading to the food tents and see that the watch is still running and the time is around 34 minutes, but I don't know what my actual finish time is...I figure it must be around 33 minutes.
After the race, I hang around and talk with a runner Mike from Chesapeake...which is where I live also...and find out that he had been using me to pace and had passed me around the 3-mile mark. I also run into my marathon running buddy Jon...although he hadn't entered the race officially, he had run parts of it to help pace one of his running mates. Around that time we hear announcements for the group awards and head there. I find Mike there and as we are talking, someone taps me on the shoulders and I see it's the CO (Commanding Officer) and his wife of where I work in Norfolk. He wasn't running...although he does run...but just there supporting someone else that was there. A nice surprise to see him there. As I'm talking to him and Mike they announce Mike's name for the 40-44 age group award. We congratulate him when he comes back and they finally get to my age group and start announcing the placements and times and I am pleasantly surprised to find out that I'm first in my age group, but I still miss the time that I came in at...I just hear 32 something. I finally find out Sunday morning looking through the sports page that my time is 32:48...not bad but something to improve on.
There were 17 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and about 436 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 17
Age group finish place was 1
Time: 32:48 for an overall pace of 6:35 per mile
Oh yeah...after the race...I get home and had to mow the lawn but then swam a few laps in the pool and relaxed on the deck...a nice finish to a rather nice day.
Next race...Don’t' know yet but I would like to do the Virginia Derby Day 5k & Party on the Green , July 21 about an hour away. The race finishes at the Colonial Downs horseracing track. I think it would be wild running on a horse track!
Happy Father's Day to all you fathers!