Head for the Cure 5K Race Report

Nice morning for a race

Nice morning for a race

I ran the Head for the Cure 5K at West Park in Carmel, IN, yesterday. It was a nice little race with 163 runners in the timed event and several hundred more in the untimed event that were participating for the charity aspect. The event was to benefit the American Brain Tumor Association. It was rather timely because yesterday afternoon my mom told me that one of my dad’s high school friends had been given a couple weeks to live due to a brain tumor.

Two complaints about the race. The first was that the published start time was 8:30, but that apparently meant the start of the announcements and national anthem that was about 150 yards from the start line. So most of the runners were lined up ready for an 8:30 start but ended up just standing there until 8:45. I could feel my legs tightened up after doing a slow jog around the park for a warm up. The second was that I had not been able to find a course map on the race’s website ahead of time. I wasn’t sure where we’d be going. Oh, and there was no starting mat, so all finish times were based on gun times. I think that chip timed races should always have starting mats, otherwise what good is a chip?

My shirt and bib

My shirt and bib

The race started out in a nice park in Carmel that has some of the grassy areas preserved as a prairie area. Then it was out to a path along 116th Street. I didn’t notice the exact time of the first mile (Garmin said afterwards it was 8:23), but I knew it was much quicker than I wanted. I did keep checking the lap pace and my heart rate, but didn’t really make adjustments because I never saw my heart rate get too high. In the second mile I was catching and passing people and it went by in 8:12! I haven’t really done any training, except for a few strides last week, close to that pace.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to hang on for the third mile or not, but I decided to find out. The third mile had a quick run up Towne Road and then in to a subdivision before getting back in to the park. The finish was up a small mound in the middle of the park, and we had to do 6 switchbacks to get to the finish. That was pretty diabolical of the organizers! It made it so we couldn’t do a flat spring to the end and kept having to do those 180 turns every 15 yards. Ugh. My legs were quite wobbily when I crossed the finish. That third mile clicked by in 8:06, and my Garmin time was 25:11 which was an 8:07 pace for 5k (compared to 3.06 miles on the Garmin)! The official time, due to no starting mat, was 25:17. I did enjoy the course, even though that mound presented an interesting challenge at the end.

My shoes

My shoes

That time is a 1:30 improvement over the 5K I did last November and is the second fastest 5K I have ever done. The fastest was 3 years ago when I was 20 pounds lighter. So I was very pleased with the result! The post race food spread was great! Gatorade, bagels, granola bars, oranges, bananas, apple slices (from race sponsor McDonald’s), candy, cookies, and lots of water bottles. I was impressed with that part!

This result allows me to “finalize” my Running Wizard training plan. It raised my VO2max almost 3 full points over the previous 5k, and it dropped my predicted half marathon time by around 10 minutes. The plan now has me predicted to run 1:52:28, which would be a 4 minute PR over my first 500 Festival Mini Marathon in 2010. Wow. That’s a little scarey. But I’ll go with it and see where I end up!

The new shoes felt great the whole time. I never really thought about them, which is a good thing in my book. I think they’re going to work out well for me.

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