Monday, September 30, 2013

Race Recap: 3rd Annual For Kids Sake 5K/10K

This past Saturday (September 27th, 2013), I ran the 10K race as part of the 3rd Annual For Kids' Sake 5K/10K Fundraiser in Carbondale, Illinois.  I finished with a time of 59:49, good enough for first place in my age group (45-50).

Here's my race report:

This was my third time doing this local fundraiser.  It's for an organization called For Kids' Sake, which runs orphanages and schools in Bangladesh.  The race is for a great cause and always turns into a great party after the races are done.

I haven't done a race in a while, so it was time for an attitude adjustment.  My first priority for all future races is to finish strong with no injuries, to enjoy the event, and to never sprint (to use a consistent, steady pace). I want a scrapbook of good running memories from here on out. If PRs happen, they do.

The race this year was on a Friday evening, a change from previous years. The 10K race started at 5:30; the 5K at 6.  Very few people were doing the 10K, which let me know I would probably get an age group placement. I am much more of a 10K person than a 5K person--I'd rather run long than run fast.

It was odd to have finished my first three miles and then suddenly be surrounded by 5K runners barreling onto the course. But I welcomed the company, even as I had to dodge little kids (who tend to stop and start). My favorite 5Ker was dressed as Superman.

I heard lots of applause on the course from student volunteers (the lovely ladies of the SIUC Black Women's Task Force).  But I had to tell the fraternity boys who were also volunteering to cheer for me ("come on, guys, gimme some love!" I yelled at the gentlemen from Alpha Tau Omega)!

I finished in 59:49, just under a hour, which was my goal. It was slower than last year's time, but hey, I'm slower than last year!  I was happy to have finished feeling good.

As I waited around for the awards ceremony, I got to see the post-race block party that breaks out after this event.  There's lots of food, free massages and cookies for the runners, and a DJ playing music (the crowd started dancing when "Crazy In Love" came on, and really started boogying to "Blurred Lines"). Right before the awards were given out, the young women of the Black Women's Task Force and the young men of Alpha Tau Omega, along with the CrossFitters and the Liferunners, were all country line-dancing to Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road." What a sight!  Speaking of CrossFitters, they dominated the 5K, including one very pregnant woman who ran very fast!

I love this race--it's a good time for a good cause, and I'll turn out as long as For Kids' Sake holds this event.  For more on this charity, visit <>.

Goals for My Running Life: 2013-2014

October may seem an odd time to post goals for anything, but I've been quite neglectful of my running blog, though I've been doing plenty of running. I keep a written log of all my running and workout experiences, so this list below comes from that journal.

Goals for 2013-2014:

1) maintain weight at 135 or below.
I've lost a lot of weight as a runner, and feel best when I am around this weight or a little lower. It can be hard to maintain, what with all the temptations out there. If I get below 130, I feel a bit fragile. It's a balancing act, so I try not to freak out if I get above 135.

2) complete all entered races with no injuries and a spirit of fun and determination.
I needed a bit of attitude adjustment when it came to races. I was concentrating too much on finish times and feeling disappointed that I wasn't fast enough. I am not a fast runner, but I am a determined one.  So my main goal from here out for any race I do is to complete it without injury. I also want to enjoy the race day atmosphere (for me, that means enjoying the local spirit, wearing cute runner clothes (not a mud-run person), and having some fun as I trot along).  I will still work hard to get to the starting line, but the reward is getting to the starting line--that my hard work got me there with enough preparation and confidence to relax and enjoy the race-day atmosphere.

3) to cross-train frequently.
I've conquered my fear of the elliptical (I used to dislike the feeling of hanging in the air, now I enjoy the lack of pounding the elliptical affords me).  I have logged a lot bike miles and rowing workouts. But I still can't swim, which is something I may or may not rectify.  I try to strength-train the sneaky way: find a dumbbell, pick it up, do arm curls during commercials while watching TV.

4) to read, write, meditate, relax and use running and exercise as a tool for personal growth.
I want to unite my cerebral world of poetry (I'm a poet and creative writing professor) with the physical world of movement and activity. A lot of writers are sedentary, and a lot of us have childhood memories of being the last picked for team sports, etc.  Running, I've found, is a lot like writing--it's lonely, it takes determination, and it takes a long time to see results.  But the results can be glorious.

5) to love my body as is.
A lot of people assume that once you lose weight, you love your body. All is rainbows and lollipops. You never have any body-image issues again. HA!  Runners may have more body-image issues than anybody else!  One pound gained or lost can make a huge difference in speed/endurance. I lost weight, became a runner, did lots of races, improved my health (off all the blood pressure meds) and still I feel, at times, uncomfortable in my own skin. But that's okay, and it tends to pass pretty quickly these days if I just let it pass. Once I get my running gear on, I cease to care what my body looks like, and I focus on what it can accomplish.