Thursday, July 17, 2014

Strike Out ALS 5K

I ran in my 3rd Strike Out ALS 5K on Tuesday evening.  For those keeping track it was my 3rd race in 6 days.  The race takes place at US Cellular field and includes baseball's All Star game as part of the festivities.  Things were changed up this year though and instead of finishing inside of the stadium and watching the game on the Jumbotron we finished outside and the game was on at the ChiSox Bar.

I wasn't a fan of the changes to the race this year.  The course featured even more turns than before which made efficient running very hard to accomplish.  My watch said I ran an extra 1/20th of a mile.  The post race water and snacks were off to the side and back on the course side of the finish line.  It was pretty hard to spot and I wound up directing several people there who saw me with water.  The one redeeming factor this year was that the weather was so much better than last year's 95+ degree heat.

I got to the race early with Jennifer and we picked up our packets. It was nothing special and the shirt designs were basically the same as last year.  We hung out with Natali and took some pics then ducked for cover as a quick rain shower came through.  About 30 minutes before the race I went off and jogged around the parking lot to loosen up a bit.  I was still feeling some of the effects of my prior 2 races so I wanted to get warm and stretch a bit.  Once loose I headed back to find the girls putting their bags in gear check.

We soon headed to the start corral.  They did split the start into runners and walkers corrals which was also a nice touch.  Everyone was standing around the way back of the corral apparently afraid to move towards the front.  I'm talking like 40 feet back of the start line.  I know this isn't a real competitive race being on a Tuesday night in July, but not everyone there is slow.  I slowly start scooting towards the start line and a couple others take that as a cue to move up as well.  Finally after much coercion everyone seemed to take the hint and moved forward in the corral.  After a few minutes we were off to the races.

Mile 1: 6:52 - I shot out the start a little quicker than anticipated and ran a bit wildly at the start of the race.  My plan was to run with a smidgen more effort heart rate wise than I did at Bastille Day.  It actually took nearly 5 1/2 minutes to get up to that level even while I was still trying to get my form under control.

Mile 2:  7:10 - For most the rest of the race I had everything under control.  I was breathing well and my form was pretty good.  I kept maintaining the same effort and hoped to just hold on.  I had started following an older guy who was about 20 feet in front of me but running around the same pace.  I locked in with him and ran.  My pace was slowly giving a little ground though due to all the recent race fatigue.

Mile 3: 7:06 - I kept the older guy locked in front of me and actually gained a few feet on him.  We finally entered the stadium for a lap on the field around 2.5 miles in.  Rounding the field to come back out I started to pick up speed anticipating that the end was near.  I was ready to pass the older guy, but he cut to the inside when I went to pass so I found a new gear somewhere to kick it into and sped past him.  I actually heard an audible groan come from behind me.

Mile 0.16: 57.1 (5:57 min/mile pace)  Like I said I somehow found a new gear to kick things into and went speeding towards the finish.  I ran into an absolute wall of wind but kept fighting.  I thought I was on pace for a PR, but didn't realize how badly I ran the tangents.  When I saw the finish I knew it would be close and sprinted with all I had left.

Total Time: 22:04 - I missed my PR by just 4 seconds.  I had run through the finish by about 30 feet and stopped to put my hands on my knees and just shook my head while catching my breath.  I had not expected to run so well considering the fatigue, but was a little disappointed to come so close only to miss it.

The race actually had a station set up so you could get a little printout "receipt" of your results.  I went and punch my bib number in and was a little shocked at what I saw.  I finished 3rd in my age group!  I never placed before and knew they were giving medals to top 3 in each age group so I was definitely excited.  It also said I placed 17th overall (official results actually have me as being 16th).  It turned out to be my best performance compared to the rest of the field that I've ever had.

The numbers are misleading... the totals are those who finished when I retrieved my results


  1. Congrats on the AG award. There must be something to running lots of races in a short amount of time! :)

  2. HUGE congratulations on the age group award! You are a powerhouse! It was good seeing you on Tuesday night, sorry that we didn't get a chance to talk longer!

    I completely agree with you on how all the turns and twists on the course made things challenging. I was cutting a lot of corners and my Garmin still measured the course long. Given that you only missed by 4 seconds on an unideal course and on race-heavy legs, you are totally going to smash your 5K PR next time!

  3. That's incredible! Way to go!

  4. I'm impressed you did so many races in so few days! And since I love baseball, this sounds like a great race!