Sunday, June 2, 2013

Race Recap: United Run for the Zoo 10K

A year ago the United Run for the Zoo was my first 10K ever.  It seemed like a daunting distance at the time.  I knew it fell between the "sprint" of a 5K and the distance run of a half and I was a little unsure of how to tackle it.  I had a bout of anxiety before the race and an emergency trip to the restroom before hitting the course for a miserable warm and sunny run.  This year I was a bit more prepared to tackle the race, but also had a miserable run for other reasons.

I went after work on Friday to pick up my race packet.  The pick up location was inside the Lion House of the zoo itself.  Luckily I don't live to far from the zoo so it was an easy pick up.  I had spied the weather radar before I left and hoped to make it before more storms hit.  Luckily I made it in time even as the clouds looked ominous.  On Saturday I started breaking all the pre-race rules.  I headed over to a friend's place to play poker.  I had neglected to eat before going over there.  We had snacks and beer, another no-no before a race day of course.  I just needed to unwind after my long week of work.  I wound up staying there for 7 hours playing poker, eating cookies and rice cakes and drinking beer.  These probably weren't the best calories to get into my system.  I did continue tradition and picked up a slice of pizza for dinner on my way home.

Race day came far too early.  We had a friend running the 5K so we met up around 7:30.  I got up at 6AM in case my body decided it wanted to be upset and allow myself time to settle down.  I pulled myself together and headed out the door.  I wore my arm warmers (best investment ever!) and was glad I did when I noticed there was a bit of a chill to the air.  By the time I got to the zoo to meet up with my friends a nice stead drizzle had started.  It didn't help that there was also a chilly wind from the north.  We huddled under a tree and waited for the race to begin.

A few minutes before the race was set to begin we headed to the start corral.  I had a tough time getting up to where I needed to be and finally gave up and stayed at the front of the 8:00 min/mile flag.  I knew it wouldn't take too long for things to thin out up front.  A couple minutes later we were off and running.  It was still raining out so everything was slick and there were puddles everywhere.  I of course took off too fast.  I was also wearing my Newton Motions for the first time in a race.  I've worn them plenty for speedwork, but this was their first race.  I could tell I was slipping a little bit on the wet pavement wearing them.  They were a lot better than my Brooks Pure Cadence on wet cement though, if I had worn those I'd be ice skating on a day like this.

As the race went on I slowed my pace a bit and just tried to hang on.  I knew if I could keep it under 8:00 min/mile splits I could gut it out at the finish and give myself a little bit of a PR.  It was a struggle to keep the pace.  There were a lot of turns for this race as you go through the zoo and whatnot.  There are also lots of little unexpected inclines.  It all adds up to making falling into a groove a little difficult.  Finally we hit the turnaround at mile 4 and headed back south.  I now had tailwind and was running on familiar paths.  I started to pick up the pace a bit for the homestretch.  Somewhere along the line my GPS was thrown off so I was actually closer to the finish line at the end than I thought so I didn't start my finishing kick as early as I wanted.  When all was said and done I finished in 47:00 flat.  Its a new PR by 49 seconds.  The time is also a 5:43 improvement over my race last year.  Its amazing to see how far I've come in that time.

I'm pleased with how things turned out even though I did my best to sabotage myself with my day before race antics.  Mother nature did her best to slow me down, but the cool weather was certainly better than the warm weather we've had lately, even if it was a bit slick out.

Next weekend is the Allstate 13.1 Marathon.  It will be a repeat of my first ever half.  I'm just hoping that it won't be sunny and 85 like it was last year.


  1. It looks like you have a new recipe for race success! Cookies, beer, and pizza! Good job on the PR! And it looks like you just crossed 500 miles for the year! nice job

    1. Not sure if that is the recipe for the best success or not. I was struggling through the race. I know I could do better than I did. I'm actually missing a few miles in Daily Mile... not sure what days I didn't load... I'm actually at 512 miles, but yeah, thanks... big milestone after only hitting around 770 miles last year total.