2011 Race Report – Run for the Oaks 5k

Run for the Oaks 5k, Raleigh NC  March 12, 2011

I wasn’t chasing my PR, so I didn’t find it… I was just happy to finish.


I’ll be honest, I’ve been sick as a dog for the last 4 weeks. I finally got over the chest cold (thanks to my 6-year old for that one) that dogged me during my Mardi Gras Rock and Roll Half Marathon, only to get another one that the 4-year old picked up from HIS school a couple of weeks later. At least they alternate so that all 3 of us aren’t sick and grumpy at the same time, but still… I’m so tired of being sick. It is really messing up my training and getting me very frustrated.

Nevertheless, I took several days off from training earlier in the week so I could justify running this race and I decided as of the first day I took off (Wednesday) that I wasn’t even going to think about finding my PR (personal record)… that magical number of 24:29. We all know, though, that because you explicitly forbid yourself to think about PRs or improvement or whatever, that’s all you think about so it was still there in my mind and I secretly hoped that I could and show this cold who was boss… Oh well… There will always be another 5k, such as the Susan Komen Race for the Cure in June (which is my anniversary race – or my Runniversary – by the way – 2 years this year!!).

As always, when I take more than 2 days off from doing any activity, I get jumpy and anxious. I was very close to climbing walls by Friday so I was really looking forward to this race. Plus, this was my first race since my half, so I was more or less curious about how I would do. I think that, even if I hadn’t been sick, I would have probably not made my PR since I haven’t even attempted a tempo nor have I done speed work since early February.

I got up early and had my Arnold Rounds with All Natural Peanut Butter, my cup of coffee, coconut water, plain water and go potty at home (several times – nerves… gets me every time).  I was packed up and ready to go by 7. I had planned to park in the parking deck near my office and walk the 4 blocks to the start of the race. I *thought* the race started at 8 so I got the deck around 7:20, parked the car, and walked quickly to pick up my packet (I keep forgetting to get packets before race day lately). As I got closer to the start of the race (Moore Square Park) I thought it was kind of weird that I didn’t really see anybody. It was like a ghost town – a kind of strange sight when I knew a race was coming. I’ve done several races that started in this park, and usually, you see people warming up at least a block away and almost always within 30 minutes, but there was nobody. I thought “oh great. I messed up on the dates. Oh well, while I’m here, I may as well run and just do as much as I can.” But, I turned the corner and saw people setting up in the park so I kept going. I finally saw 2 other folks that looked like they were runners so I followed them. Thankfully, this is how I found packet pickup – not at all easy to find! It was inside a building, but the entrance was behind a wall that was tucked away… very hard to find.

Once I got my packet, I put the chip and bib on, and headed back to the car. I was so focused on finding the packet up to this point, I hadn’t noticed how cold it was. Luckily, I wore a fleece over my long sleeved shirt, but after the walk back to my car, there was no way I was taking it off. On the long (yet speedy) walk back to my car, I became pretty intrigued about the weight of my packet: it seemed pretty heavy. There was a long sleeved (cotton) shirt but even when I took it out, it was still pretty heavy, so I looked in it: there was a CD in there. A CD? I think that might be the weirdest packet gift I’ve ever received. Interesting, just odd. I put the packet and the shirt in my car and headed back to the race.

When I got back, it was about 7:50, and I thought “just in time for start”. However, I was pretty confused when it was 7:59 and nobody was lining up… I looked around and nobody seemed to even be walking toward the start! what? I finally checked my calendar and lo and behold… 8:30 start time. Should have looked there first… doh. What would I have done with that extra time at home anyway? Nothing. It was probably better that I walked around anyway, so I spent the rest of the time walking around the park until it became obvious that it was time to start. All the seasoned folks were there at the start line 10-til gun time, and I filed in with them 🙂


The course is one I run pretty regularly with my nOg Run Club as well as during my lunch-time runs with my run buddy, so I felt pretty sure I was comfortable with the terrain, though, not at all looking forward to those hills. Those same hills had done a pretty nasty number on me earlier in the week, and I was dreading them as I waited for the gun. To take my mind off things, I began to fiddle with my devices. Did I mention I got a Garmin Forerunner 405? Just got it a couple of days before the race and this was only my 2nd recorded run ever with it (my first was combined with a stationary bike I did a couple of days before because I didn’t know I had to reset it, so I don’t have good data on that one). I’m still pretty hooked on Runkeeper, so while I was in line (10 minutes until guntime – haha) I was calibrating my watch (more like trying to not to press the wrong part of the bezel and change the mode… which I did anyway) and RunKeeper iPhone app to ensure at least one of my devices recorded the run (they both did, more on that later). What a sight I was… loaded down with all this stuff I took with me on this race. That might be why my time was so bad… all that stuff added extra weight.  Because of my cold, I have been dehydrated (in addition to being stuffy) so I brought my hand held water, I had my phone in a carrier, and I had my watch. I usually don’t bring water this time of year for a 5k, but I didn’t want to risk the very unpleasant side effects of dehydration on top of my cold (unfortunately, that I know personally), so I brought my own (which I did use). On top of all that, I had that big bulky fleece I was wearing because I was still freezing.

The race starts with very little fanfare and I started both of my devices. I spent the first few yards fiddling with said devices, but finally got my act together and found a good pace, which was pretty tough for me because I had a very tough time catching my breath (probably due to that climb at the start of it). You can see at the .5 mile mark where it finally caught up to me and I had to slow down. That was pretty much the story a couple of other times during the race. I didn’t have my watch set to see my pace and heart rate (I still have some poking around to do on this thing) so I was relying on the audio cues from RunKeeper to keep up with how I was doing pace-wise and made adjustments when I could every 5-minutes or so. There were spots where I was keeping a sub-8 pace, only to hit a hill that winded me and made me slow down to over-11mm pace.  I was just grateful to get to the finish line without passing out. I did end up with a side cramp with about .5 mile to go, but that went away as soon as I finished and drank water and had my banana. I was surprised, however, that I wasn’t even hot with the fleece, still. It was in the 40s by the time I finished the race and usually I would be burning up at this point, but not today.

Post Race/Reflections

My official time according to the organizer was 26:33, a little over 2 minutes more than my PR time of 24:30. My Garmin time was 26:16 and my Runkeeper time was 26:30. While I am disappointed I didn’t even break 26:00, I am proud of myself for not giving up. I did feel much better after the race than I did before it, and I’m happy with my “tempo” pace of 8:30, though, I would have liked it to be a little under that.

I need to work on not being so hard on myself when I do races when I’m sick. I probably shouldn’t do them when I’m sick, but I didn’t think I could take a 4th day without running so I felt compelled to do it. I did take today off, but I fully intend to do something tomorrow – just not sure what yet. I have a 10-miler (I think – more on that another day) in April and I have the Warrior Dash in May that I need to get prepared for, so I still have things to train for.

On another note – I managed to eek in for early registration and signed up for the Las Vegas Rock and Roll half in December – it is a night race this year, which I think would be a lot of fun!! In looking at my finances, this might be #4, unless my friend can talk me into going to Savannah with her for the Rock & Roll down there and we can split some of the cost. We’ll see… I’ll keep you posted.

In the mean time, I’m going to sleep to get rid of this cold…


One thought on “2011 Race Report – Run for the Oaks 5k

  1. Pingback: 2011 Review « The Devil's Chasin' Me

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