A Hot Lips Hustle 5K Race Report
ALL ABOARD (THE SMILE TRAIN)!!!
I look forward to this race every year. It was, after all, my first, and I think that as long as I live in Georgia, and this race goes off, I will be there.
Sleeping until 6:15-ish on race morning is awesome. I didn't sleep all that great, but not too shabby either. I jumped up, got dressed, and headed downstairs to eat my breakfast. Dee Dee mosied down the stairs fifteen minutes later. I was actin all cool and stuff, totally peeved that she wasn't taking this oresomest race day serzly...
Out the door by 6:50 AM. We ARE RUNNING LATE. I hate running late. It's get me all nervous and irritated, and I'm not talkin IBS here. Lucky for me, my time estimation skillz are lacking, and arrived at the race site ROT (right on time). As we are pulling into the parking lot, Dee Dee sez, There's Sarah's car!
Coolio! Ms. Sarah would be joining us today! We were a bit early. I nabbed a good parking spot, specially designed for a quick exit. Dee Dee and I wandered over to the tables to pick up our race numbers. Sarah found us, and we spent a few minutes chit chatting. We all got "hot lips" tattoos. The girls put theirs on their cheeks. I opted to put mine in the "Ironman" spot on the back of my left calf.
The race course for the HLH heads across Sandy Plains and down Ebeneezer for 1.55 miles before turning around and heading back. The nice thing about this is that you can warm up by running down Sandy Plans. My warm consisted of thirty minutes with some pick ups in there to get the muscles firing. As I ran, marveled at the coolness of the air and the ease with which I was breathing. I knew it was going to be a fabulous day. On the way back to the church, I passed Sarah on her warm up. I had a few minutes left on mine, so I ran back out to meet her then ran her back in. We found Dee Dee and another friend, Jenn, who was there to do her first 5K. We had about 8 minutes to the race start. I fired up the Garmin and watched it vainly try to locate the satellites. With just a few minutes to race start, it finally locked on. I said good bye to the girls and moved up towards the front of the pack.
The race announcer counted off the time, and we were off. Nothing fancy here. No starting gun. No chips. Just a bunch of people out to have some fun. My strategy for this race was pretty simple. Build to the first mile, then give it everything I got. The problem with this strategy is that the out portion of the race is a net downhill, not much mind you, but down hill, and it can be deceiving. I glanced at my Garmin 205 every once in a while to make sure I wasn't blowing myself out. I was a bit concerned to see an 8 minute pace, but like I said, I was going down hill slightly. I held back and watched my pace clime to 8:20, then 8:45. I smiled and held the effort there.
I doubt my face expressed my concern when I crossed the first mile marker in 8:20. That was a bit fast. I was shooting for something more like a nine minute first mile. The problem was, I felt wonderful. I opened up. As I poured on the speed, I kept waiting and waiting for that heaving "I can't breath" feeling to come. I glanced at the Garmin again and saw a 7:15 pace and was taken aback.
This is almost too easy, I thought to myself.
At the turn around, I was not fooling myself. I knew that the return trip was net up hill and I was going to have to push. Several times as I struggled, my pace dropped to nine minute miles, but as soon as I crested the hill, I picked it back up again. I resisted the urge to walk. My legs felt strong. My lungs were working just fine. Push!! I gently reminded myself that coach wanted me to toss my cookies. I, however, wanted to make sure I did it after the race and not during. :-)
As I ran past the school, I knew the end was near. This year, the race got smart, and they moved the finish line on this side of Sandy Plains. The police officers directing traffic did not have to stop the cars for the runners to finish. Very smart! I kicked it up and ran hard to the finish, crossing in 25:35. Not a PR for me, but fabulous effort. The race went so smoothly. I almost couldn't believe it was over.
I grabbed a gatorade and went back to the finish line to cheer in the chicas. Jenn came in first. She looked awesome and had a great time for her first 5K. Jenn was followed by Sarah. Sarah was using the race as a TT for her coach, and I could see the great effort she was making on her face as she ran to the finish line. I lurved it!! Congratulations on your PR Sarah! You nailed it...
We hung around after the race for a little while, cooling down, eating a few snacks, and talking. It was great to get to hang out and not have to rush off. After the awards ceremony started, we said our good byes and slipped away.
When we got home, I plugged the Garmin in and downloaded my data from the race. I was curious to see how well I had executed our race plan. During the first few minutes of the race, my HR climbed into the 168 to 171 range. This roughly corresponds to the very bottom of Zone 4 for me. I held it there until the first mile marker. After kicking it in, my HR climbed into the 177-182 range, which I held for the next 17.5 minutes. That's comfortably in Zone 5b for me. This just floored me. I just didn't feel like I was working that hard.
I am very very pleased with this race effort. While I didn't PR, my RPE and heart rate numbers show that I am learning something from this speed work I have been performing. When Wes learns something, Wes is a happy camper! and back to back awesome races is nothing to sneeze at either!
Congratulations to Jenn for finishing her first 5K! We now have something in common :-) and anytime I can help bring a smile to a child's face, its a win-win situation for everybody!