Turkey Trot...Weekly Weight Update
Tales from the week – He’s Like the Wind
This week’s tale occurred on Saturday. I was running in the Herndon Turkey Trot 5K race. This was the first 5K since I made my bold statement during the anniversary blog that if I ran my next 5K in under 30 minutes I would start training for a triathlon. The day had finally come to either put up or shut up. Could I meet the goal of a sub 30-minute 5 kilometers run? We would find out.
The entire morning was beyond beautiful. The temperature climbed to 72 degrees and I had a wonderful feeling about the race. We went about our normal day of going out to breakfast (a Saturday tradition) taking Cece to gymnastics class, grocery shopping, and then doing some cooking (for an upcoming Make me a Sandwich). As Cece was napping Rizzo and I were relaxing and that is when the forecast started to change.
The wind picked up and was gusting outside our door. I had originally intended to run in just a t-shirt but it wasn’t looking like that was going to happen. It was about 2:45pm when the sky started looking black. The race was at 4:00pm. I was hoping the rain, the wind, and the temperature drop would hold off long enough for me to finish the race.
I wasn’t that lucky. We arrived at the location around 3:30pm and the wind was gusting like crazy. I wore a light running jacket that, at this point, is a size too big but I’m glad I wore that instead of a sweatshirt because 15 minutes later the rain started to come down. It wasn’t awful but just the kind of rain that was cold an annoying. My stomach started to do the nervous dance around my guts. Would the weather cause me to miss my goal? Would the wind slow me down so much that I couldn’t break 30 minutes?
I made my way outside around 3:45pm to start warming up. I start each of my workouts with a 5-minute walk so I made sure to get in my 5-minute walk before doing some jogging. In the past I’ve been that guy that couldn’t quite figure out why people would go running before they go running but now that I’ve been a pseudo-runner for over two years I get it. I tend to have a faster second mile than a first mile because I’m just getting into a groove after a mile. With that in mind I did some light jogging (very light) until about 3 minutes before the race was getting ready to start.
I remembered last year’s race and starting from the back of the pack. It made my first mile miserable so I tried to push my way up to the middle of the pack. I’m wasn’t trying to get too big for my britches by moving to the front but I didn’t want to be stuck in the back behind big groups of walkers. Almost the entire first mile, especially the first ½ mile, is very tight so it is easy to get stuck behind someone slower than you no matter what your pace.
The crowd gathered as the rain picked up. We all joined in to sing the National Anthem. Then the gun went off. I was fighting against the wind, the rain, and the other runners to find my rhythm. Even being in the middle of the pack was challenging because of the cramped quarters. In the back of my mind I was thinking that if this first mile ruins my attempt to I’m going to be so pissed. I pushed on.
I tried not to overthink the race as Ke$sha’s “Tik Tok” got me pumped as the first song on my race playlist. I had tried to strategically pick my songs and placed them in the right order hoping I’d get the timing right for my pace with a really rocking anthem to push me to the finish. I was trying to keep a steady pace but it was hard for the first part of the race. I’d slow down dramatically when I was stuck behind an 8-year-old boy. I’m not saying I’m mad about that since this is, after all, a family fun race. I’m just giving the recap. Then when an opening appeared I picked up the pace faster than I would have normally run in an attempt to get around the slower group.
Wind was blowing hard and rain was getting in my eyes during this first mile. The weather was going to keep me from meeting my goal. I just knew it. It took everything in my power not to constantly look at the timer on my watch to see if I was doing okay. I just needed to stay calm and keep a fast, but comfortable pace. I wasn’t allowed to look at my watch until I reached the first mile marker.
It came up faster than I thought. No More Kings was singing “Sweep The Leg” into my ears as my mind was thinking about how good the original Karate Kid movie was and how terrible the Jaden Smith Karate Kid movie had been. As I crossed the mile marker I glanced at my wrist. I had run my first mile in 9 minutes and 42 seconds. It was just over a year ago (August 2015) that I ran a sub 10-minute for the first time and now I was running a sub 10-minute mile for the first mile of a 5K. Did I go out too fast? Would this ruin me? I just had to keep pushing.
The second and third mile of the race is primarily run on a golf course so there are lots of ups and downs. There aren’t really any dramatic climbs or downhill sprints (not like running the Hard Cider Run in Charlottesville, VA). That was good because any slowdowns caused by the uphill climbs would be counteracted by the downhill runs.
My dad, the Honorable David Earl Clark, was a marathon runner for a long time. Whenever I’m in need of running advice he is the guy I ask. I’m not usually in need of running advice since I’m not a competitive runner like Dad (dude held the record for a 2-mile run at Fort Gordon, GA with 8:06. Yes, that is two miles’ people) but I have asked from time to time. While I was running this course, I was thinking about something he told me once. He said that if you really want to get into someone’s head, pass them on going uphill. It makes them think that you are in a far better position than they are, even if you aren’t, and if you are going up you know that there will be a time to rest going down sooner or later.
I wasn’t racing anyone but myself but every time I hit a hill I pushed harder trying to go faster or pass the person in front of me going up. It wasn’t a strategy to win a race just a strategy to go faster. I pushed on. The rain had stopped and the wind had calmed down. I was regretting running in my jacket because I was starting to sweat so much that I couldn’t see. If only the beginning of the race was this temperature I would have started without the dumb jacket.
I saw mile marker two quickly approaching as Alan Scott’s “Black Power Barbie” was kicking ass in my ears. As I had promised myself, I had kept my eyes forward and my mind occupied and refused to look at my watch. Mile marker two was my reason to look down at my watch. It said 19:03. I did the math in my head (I’m an accountant you know). I had increased my pace. My second mile was 9:21. That is faster than the mile I ran back in August 2015. All I had to do was run the next 1.1 mile in under 11 minutes. I could do that. Time to keep pushing.
My legs were started to strain with each step and I tried to gauge how much longer I had until the end. I was remembering this run from a year ago and in the back of my head I remembered a tough hill that came after two miles. I came to the hill but it wasn’t as tough as I remembered. I pushed harder on the uphill climbs and relaxed for a bit to catch my breath going downhill using gravity to keep my pace.
During the last mile, I couldn’t hold myself to the promise of not looking at my watch until the mile marker. Would I make it? I looked down at my watch. It said I was running at an 8:55/mile pace. That was good. I looked down again. Now I’m running at 9:45/mile. Still not bad and going to meet the goal but I can push harder. I’m starting to sprint too soon. An 8:10/mile pace. Slow down. It isn’t time to kick just yet.
Finally, I could see the finish line in my sights. I lengthened my stride as K.M.F.D.M’s “Megalomaniac” was blasting in my ears. It was pumping me to the finish. I thought I was supposed to finish on Pearl Jam’s “Mind Your Manners”. That was going to be my kick ass finish song. Did I miss it and I didn’t even notice? Was I going slower than I thought. Damn. I better start sprinting.
There was a big clock by the finish line. I couldn’t make out all the numbers but the first digit was still a 2. I knew the time on the screen wouldn’t be accurate since it was counting since the first person started and I had a chip on my running bib but if I could cross the finish line with a 2 on the big clock then I would most definitely make it under 30 minutes. I picked it up just a little bit more.
A young kid was running next to me. I used his spirit to keep me pushing. He wasn’t even tired. I thought I was going to pass out from trying to catch my breath. A subtle hill met us both a few hundred yards before the finish line. He started to slow down. I started to speed up. Thanks, kid for giving me the extra push. Good run.
I crossed the line and pushed stop on my watch. I took a breath. It only took one for me to regain my breathing. That is a good sign of being in better shape than I had in the past. I looked down. At my wrist. Was that right? Did I stop it before I crossed the line? 28 minutes and 31 seconds. I did it. I met my goal. I had broken a time that at one point in my life I never thought possible with nearly 90 seconds to spare.
I improved my time and also improved compared to the entire group of runners. In this same race a year ago I ran the race in 30:22. That is over a 2-minute drop. I also finished 14th in my age group down from 28th last year, 142nd amongst all males down from 233rd last year, and 192nd overall down from 341st last year. Not a bad improvement over the year, if I do say so myself.
In the end, I was very happy with how I was able to run. I averaged a 9:11 mile over the course of the race which is incredible to me for a guy that never ran under a 10-minute mile, even in high school. I suppose that means I have to find and start training for a triathlon. Maybe I’ll wait until after Christmas to get started on that.
Weekly Weight Update
I hadn’t checked in on my weight all week. I had no idea of how I was doing. Did I gain weight? Who knows! Did I lose weight? Who cares! Why? Because I had already met a major goal in my weight loss and exercise routine the day before by breaking 30-minutes in a 5K race. It didn’t really matter what happened on the scale Sunday morning. I was proud of my week and the work I had done to get to this point.
In the end I gained .8 lbs this week making my weight a round 207.0 lbs. That makes the current total weight loss 60.8 lbs. I'm still frustrated staying at this same place but I'm not gaining significant weight and more maintaining so as long as I keep doing what I'm doing I can be happy that I'm still improving. Besides, I'm clearly improving based upon my 5K time.
Two weeks. That is the entire duration of my holding the belt for the most miles. I was hoping I could hold the crown for just at least three straight weeks but that was a pipe dream. Rizzo has increased the number of times she is going to OrangeTheory in an attempt to win some money in the weight loss contest at the gym. She wakes up at 4:15am every day of the week to go run or workout. How am I supposed to compete with that? I’m convinced that any day now she is going to cut the skin from her arm to reveal she is a Terminator like Arnold Schwarzenegger. She is a machine.
Anyway, I racked up 42.6 miles but that wasn’t enough to beat Rizzo’s 43.5 miles. I was still able to hold on to the lead for the month of November 116.8 to Rizzo’s 115.3. Thanksgiving is coming up and I’m thinking I may walk continuously during the holiday while Rizzo’s sits on the couch to watch football. That should keep me in the lead.
P.S. There is only one bonus picture this week. My race bibs from this year's 5K and last year's 5K.