The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon is a weekend of racing that includes a 5k, 1/2 mile kids run, half marathon, and marathon. I raced the half marathon in 2010 (or maybe 2009) and the full marathon in 2011. This year I decided to race the 5K on Saturday because on Sunday I volunteered to run the half marathon with a myTeamTriumph captain (upcoming race report).
I ran the 5K as a member of the Talon Rescue Racing team. Follow the team, our race reports, and tips for health and fitness at Facebook.com/TalonRescueRacing.
My Spring running has been focused on preparing for the Bellin 10K, the 2nd Saturday of June. Thus the 5K was a good gauge of my speed improvements as well as my overall fitness.
In the days before the race I reviewed the course map and reviewed the 2011 results. After comparing my finish goal with the 2011 age group results I started to dream of a possible top 3 finish in my age group. But I wouldn’t be running against the 2011 field.
About 30 minutes before the race I went for a 2 mile warm-up run as instructed by my coach. She also wanted me to do six 50 meter strides to warm-up my muscles and loosen up my legs. It was pretty warm Saturday morning so I tried to keep my warm-up pace slow so I wouldn’t over heat before the race even began.
Just at the end of my warm-up another runner called out my name. It was a grade school friend that I probably had not seen in 25+ years. How he recognized me is beyond me, but it was fun to catch-up after the race.
I have never raced a 5K. I wanted to be close to the start line to avoid any congestion. There were more than 2000 registered runners and walkers so I knew I wasn’t the only one with grand ambitions. During my warm-up, from a distance, I saw a lot of runners at the start line much earlier than they needed to be there. As I worked my way to the start line I was surprised to see that the first 5 rows of runners were all kids under the age of 12. Local school programs do a great job of getting kids involved in a local running program. Lots of those kids had ambitions of glory and crowded the start line. I found a spot behind them and laughed with many others as an obvious race winner tried to squeeze into the front row (he did win and later told me it took him 150 meters to catch a kid ahead of him).
With a pack of kids in front of me I wanted to make sure I cleared as many of the kids as I could before the first turn. Many of the kids were running much faster than I anticipated and I realized I had to throttle down or I would be running at 5:45 pace.
While trying to control my pace I was also dodging kids that went from full sprint to a slow walk in 5 or fewer steps. It was great to see their enthusiasm and even better to see their determination to start running after quickly catching their breath.
I ran the first mile about 10 second faster than I planned. I was seeing the field thin out in front of me, but I had the sense I was well back with maybe 50 runners or more ahead of me. During this mile I also was in a group of about 5 other runners including a father-son and at least one runner that I thought might be in my age group.
Mile 1 split: 6:13
Mile 2 of the course turns west and runs uphill to Ridge road. I was anticipating this would be the hardest mile because after the gentle climb the course turned south onto Ridge road and into a steady wind from the south.
Watch trouble … it is always something with the GPS watch. Many training runs back I set a max heart rate alert on my watch of 178 bpm. I forgot to disable this alarm which began to steadily notify me during this mile that I was over the alert threshold. For the remainder of the race I was in the 180s so it seemed like the watch beeped every 5 seconds. Annoying.
After the intersection of Lombardi and Ridge Road my wife and kids were waiting to cheer for me. They yelled that I was about 25th, much better than I expected, and to keep running hard. I could still see 2 kids ahead of me and had another on my heels so I was still thinking the worst about my overall and age group placement.
The father-son combo was still on my heels. Dad was giving constant encouragement, coaching, and needling to his son. I am not sure how that will work out in the long run, but it worked Saturday morning for a high finish.
Mile 2 split: 6:54
Mile 3 and .1
Why did I want this so bad I wondered during the 3rd mile. A PR, a medal, a high finish … why? Fortunately the downhill run on Morris cured my self doubt and questioning and helped me get back both my speed and determination. I knew closing the gap between me and the runners in front of me was going to be tough so I focused on increasing my speed as the finish neared and trying to hold off the runners behind me.
Just before the final turn, the dad peeled off and his son roared by me. I tried to dig deep, but I couldn’t match his youthful sprint.
I looked up at the clock, disappointed I didn’t run under 20 minutes (the mile 2 double whammy of hill and headwind did that in), but glad I pushed myself so hard.
Mile 3 split: 7:18
- Chip Time: 20:26
- Pace: 6:35
- Overall Place: 27 of 2043
- Gender Place: 24 of 807
- Division Place: 2 of 64
My wife was much more confident than me that I might have placed in my age group so we milled around waiting for the awards ceremony. Fortunately there was plenty to eat, clowns to entertain the kids, and friends to chat with.
Starting with the oldest age group they announced 5 year age group awards. There were some impressive finishing times in the 65 and older age groups and several runners in the 45 and over age groups that ran faster than me. With each time announced ahead of my pace my likeliness of medaling improved.
In the 40-44 year old age group … 3rd place … some other guy … 2nd place … Greg Friese, Plover, WI …. YAHOO! … 1st place … some really fast guy.
roaring indifferent crowd I walked forward to claim my medal. A nice piece of hardware on a white ribbon that I wore for the rest of the day.
I recovered post race by running the 1/2 mile kids run with my daughter, general relaxing, and the marathon eve pasta dinner. Lots of focus on rehydration as I was refueling for the half marathon the next day.