Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Race #5 - Cannonball Run Half Marathon - Greensboro, NC

Cannonball Run Half Marathon
8:00 AM
Greensboro, NC
Time: 1:40:54
Placed 58th out of 419; 3rd in my Age Group

The Cannonball Run Half Marathon was my first race at this distance. It was held in Greensboro at Country Park (at least that's where it started and finished). I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how to pace myself for that long of a race. And I had not ran more than 11 miles before. So it would be a day of firsts on many levels.

My wife Summer decided to run the 5k at this event which occurred during the half marathon. So she got to watch us all as we started as her race started after the half. The first mile or so was a loop around a lake. And I guess I didn't make a mental note of the hill that we would have to climb at the finish. More on that later.

After the loop around the lake, we headed out the park, and onto a street in Greensboro. Running down the hill, past a shopping center, then back up a hill, and into a neighborhood. I was running my race, trying to just keep an 8 minute pace the entire time, hoping that in the end, I beat my goal of 1:50.

As I exited this neighborhood, I crossed a street and then headed into a wooded area that was a bike/walking/running path. This part turned out to be a few miles of flat surface, so I was able to hold a steady pace, each mile coming in a good amount under 8 minutes. I remember at one point sort of 'drafting' off one guy (not too closely though thank goodness). He was probably 10 feet ahead of me. Then I thought I heard something. Did this guy really just fart out loud? Now I'm no one to talk. I've done some farting while running, but luckily I had gotten everything out of me at the house before I left. I waited, and waited, and then, BOOM. It hit me. Yes. He farted. And here I am right in the cloud. I quickly ducked out from behind him like Ricky Bobby doing the 'slingshot' move with Cal in Talladega Nights. Wasn't no way I was staying behind that guy.

After crossing the bridge that went over a lake (and getting my picture made), I continued toward the end of this flat path. I then saw someone coming in the opposite direction. Yes, it was the leader. Here I am about 6.5 miles into the race and he's already hit the turn around point and on his way back. I said 'good job' as he ran by and that gave myself a little motivation.

Once I exited the bike path, I was in another neighborhood and on the corner, they had water and Gatorade. I took the opportunity to get some Gatorade but did not stop to walk and drink it. I found this to be a good time to pass some others as they indulged. Running through this neighborhood, I wasn't specifically counting the folks passing me in the opposite direction. Instead I was trying to skim over them, wondering 'if I stay in this place, where will I finish' and 'ok I think I've got to be in the top 100'.

The turn around point was just that. A small road cone at the edge of someone's driveway and we literally had to run around the cone. At this point, it was all downhill. Not literally, but I knew how far I had to go to get back to the finish. I was quite pleased at this point with how things were going. I saw people that were going in the opposite direction and some of them I gave encouragement to saying 'good job' and 'keep it up'. I was grouped with three other guys at this point and we all kept trading places. Then we made our way to two other guys who were having a little conversation going. I was thinking, I do not even want to talk to anyone at this point.

We made our way off the path and back on to public roads and then back through the neighborhood. After exiting the neighborhood, I was all by myself. No one close behind me, and a few people I could see ahead of me. I had to make it up this large hill before entering Country Park for the last mile and a half or so.

Once I got to the lake we originally went around twice to start, I knew I was almost there. There were some people who were slowing down. Not me. I took this opportunity to speed up. I winded through a short downhill and some curves and pushed ahead for the last 300 yards. It was all slightly uphill.

I reached the top of the hill and something happened inside me. All of a sudden, my stomach decided it was time for something to come up. So I literally gagged and dry heaved in front of a group of people. I put my hand over my mouth thinking I was about to vomit everywhere, praying that I wouldn't do it in front of a few hundred people at the finish line. I slowed my pace as I couldn't push anymore due to the fact I didn't know what was about to happen. A couple of people passed me, including one girl that I had passed a quarter mile back. I bet she was laughing at me.

I crossed the finish line and saw Summer come to congratulate me but I was afraid I would be sick. I walked into a wooded area for a second and felt fine after a few. I was awarded my finisher's medal which is actually pretty cool. And then I headed for the snack table. I found out later as they posted results that I finished 3rd in my age group. So we stuck around for the awards and I received a polo shirt with the race logo and 'award finisher' sewn into it. I met the 2nd place finisher in my age group and him and his girlfriend and us hung out until the awards were completed.

I was quite pleased with my first half marathon. Not too shabby.

Results are HERE

And here is one picture that was taken. Not good enough that I'll be purchasing though.

Race #4 - Trinity Center 5k - Winston Salem, NC

Trinity Center Walk for Wellness Run for Your Life 5k
8:45 AM
Winston Salem, NC
Time: 22:05
Place 10th out of 89; 3rd in my Age Group

The Trinity Center 5k was held in conjunction with the Trinity Center Mellow Mile. My company, ISP Sports, was a sponsor of this event and so two people were allowed to run without paying the entry fee. I gladly accepted.

The 5k was held after the mile race and the kids fun run. It had been since June since I ran a 5k or any race for that matter, so all I wanted to do was beat my previous time of 24:07. As we headed out, the 'elite' runners did what they do and jumped out in front. I fell in line and just concentrated on my breathing and holding a steady pace.

Making our way through downtown Winston Salem, we got to 5th and Trade St. where my office is located. I remember making the turn on this street and my pace was 7:02. I went into the wind at that point and when I turned off that street, my pace was 7:28. Knocked back by 26 seconds in a matter of maybe 70 yards. I made it up though.

We came to a block next that was basically going to be a loop that we had to complete twice. This was a place where those cheaters could skim some time off their run. I on the other hand, did it the right way and did both laps.

I remember coming down one street and there was a crowd of people on the sidewalk watching as a couple of guys tried to unlock a car door with a coat hanger. Likely something that happened the night before while drinking at the bars. I made my way up the street and turned left to start my second loop. There was a guy who was running in front of me and had been for a little while that A) sounded like a Clydesdale the way his feet were hitting the ground and B) kept launching mucus filled loogies into the street. It was rather disgusting. So I passed him. Then he passed me. Then I passed him again, and never saw him until the finish.

As I made one of the last turns on the loop section, there was a woman probably 40-50 yards ahead of me. I just kept her in my sights, with no intention of trying to catch her, just running my race. Well I kept getting closer to her. And as we took the second to last turn before the finish, she was 25 feet ahead of me and we were on a downhill part. So I kicked it in gear. I passed her before the last turn. The finish line was in site. I didn't know what my time was but I remember that I was trying to push with everything I had and I just couldn't go any faster.

I crossed the finish line in 22:05. I wish I could have given a little more and broke 22 minutes but I'll take it. I finished 1:16 behind Cameron Kent, our local news anchor. I didn't know he was such a runner! Lanie Pope (local weather lady) also ran this race (she finished in 20th in 24:06). They both presented the awards at the end of the race.

Results are HERE

Race #3 - Trinity Center Mellow Mile - Winston Salem, NC

Trinity Center Mellow Mile
8:00 AM
Winston Salem, NC
Time: 6:03
Place 8th out of 14

The Trinity Center Mellow Mile was held in conjunction with the Trinity Center Walk for Wellness Run for your Life 5k. The mile was the first time I had raced a mile and didn't know what to expect as far as finishing time goes. It was a cool morning and we showed up early to pick up my packet which included a tshirt, some Chick-fil-A coupons and other stuff.

The mile race actually started at a different location than the 5k. So those 14 of us who competed made our way to this spot. As we started, we all took off and I let those who looked faster get in front of me. I fell in and made the first few turns when out of nowhere this guy comes blasting through the parking lot of a local business and cuts in front of me. I am wondering, where did this guy come from? Apparently, he signed up for the mile but wasn't aware of the different start location and by the time he made it there, we had already left. So if he beat me (which I think he did looking at the results), I consider myself in 7th place because HE CHEATED!

Either way, running this fast early in the cool morning really takes its toll on your lungs. I remember making the last turn wanting to slow down but I tried to keep my pace up. I crossed the finish line and my Garmin said 6:01 but their official finishing time has me at 6:03. I didn't even know I was that close to breaking 6 minutes. I had I known, I would have emptied my tank a little more to break that mark.

Overall, not too bad for my first mile race. I had to save something for the 5k though.

Results are HERE