Sunday, July 7, 2013

4th of July Firecracker 5K 2013 -Tipton Iowa

On the 4th of July Jay and I made the trip to Tipton about 40 miles away to run Jay's second 5K and the first that he had actually trained for. This past March he had previously run the We Run 5K in a time of 36:39. He didn't train for this race and did it on a whim. If you read my race report you can see he was hurting pretty bad. He had a lot of fun running with me on that race though and wanted to do another one. When he approached me with the idea I told him we would train for this one.

So we started the Couch 2 5K program. This is a popular program new runners use to get ready for the 5K distance. It starts with mostly walking interspersed with running. In the final week you finish with 3 runs of 30 minutes. I was very proud of Jay because he only missed 1 or 2 workouts and consistently got up early to run with me. My rule was unless he woke me up I wouldn't run and even though I was generally awake I never went and got him.

I picked this race in Tipton because it was within an hour's drive, was small and was on the actual 4th of July. There was a 5K in Cedar Rapids actually but it was way to big with hundreds of runners and I wanted him to have a more intimate experience. So we made the trip to Tipton.

We got up early as the race started at 0730. We ended up leaving the house at about 0600, stopped for the obligatory pre race Gatorade and Honey Bun at the convenience store and made the drive to Tipton. We arrived about 30 minutes before the race start and picked up our packets. This race was small enough they didn't even use numbers, we just got a tshirt and some flyers int he swag bag. Jay and I hung out until the race start. he even did some pre race visualization or took a nap I couldn't tell which.

At about 0725 we walked up the hill to the race start and toed the line. We started in the back. Basically the RD said "ready set go" and we all took off. My plan, although Jay didn't know it, was to have him run a PR. I told him I wasn't going to tell him how fast we were going but that he just needed to stay close enough to touch me at all times. I knew he had improved his fitness but I was there to help him get through the mental barriers. He wasn't used to pushing himself and needed a little outside motivation.

The course started out slightly downhill for about .25 miles then we took a left and headed south. This course turned out to be very friendly for a first time runner. I am not sure how they did it but it seemed like we ran flats or slightly downhill for most of the race. There were a few rolling hills but nothing too steep or too long. For the first mile Jay was chugging right along, talking but I could tell by his breathing he was putting out an effort. At that point I would call it an easy hard effort for him. I decided we would keep that pace for the race and see how he did. The first mile went by and when my Garmin beeped I looked down and saw we had ran the first  mile in 9:53. This was an aggressive pace for Jay but he looked like he was handling it ok. At about the 1 mile mark we took a right and headed west, running about 4 blocks then turning north again back towards the start line. Jay was starting to show signs of fatigue. About 1.5 miles into the race he was breathing hard and he asked if we could walk. I refused to comply and told him he had run farther than this before and to concentrate on his breathing. Once he figured out we weren't stopping he seemed to breath easier. As I suspected this race was going to be all mental for him.

We came up to a water stop somewhere between mile 1 and 2. I told Jay he could walk as long as he was drinking water. So he grabbed a cup and started walking. As he was drinking he threw up some water, I told him to put down the cup and start running again. In my head I was thinking he was working hard if he was throwing up, but today was about building mental toughness and there would be no mercy. Shortly before the 2 mile mark there was some confusion with the race course. The runners ahead of us took a right instead of heading straight as they should have. After stopping and hesitating for a few seconds Jay and I gambled and headed straight. We ended up being correct as we saw the 2 mile sign shortly ahead. Once we got to the sign we took a right and headed back east. We ran the second mile in about 10:23. Jay was really hurting at this point and was asking if we could walk a little. I again refused and even got a little drill sergeant on him and told him to "get in my hip pocket and man up!" After that he didn't ask to walk again and kept reaching out with his hand to see if he could touch me.

We took the last turn and headed south, this was slightly downhill and we could see the finish line which was on the high school track. Up to this point I hadn't told Jay how fast we were going. Once we saw the finish I told him " Dude if you can make it to the finish in 40 seconds you will be sub 30 minutes!" As I knew he did, he had a little left in the tank. He took off at a faster pace. The distance was just a little too far however and he finished in 30:35. However this was 6 minutes 4 seconds faster than his previous race!!! I told him after the race " You know I wasn't mad at you?" He nodded in the affirmative with a big grin on his face. I am very proud of his effort. Now we are going to focus on the Quad City marathon relay, in which he will be participating, running a 3 or 4 mile leg.

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