Category Archives: 5k

The Great Pumpkin Race at Buckelew Farms 2011

It’s been four weeks since my injury and three weeks since I’ve posted anything new. In the meantime, I’ve still been training and “racing”. To recap the last month, I was registered for four races:

  • Omaha Half Marathon – September 25, 2011
  • Jim Click’s Run n’ Roll 8k – October 2, 2011
  • TMC Get Moving Tucson Half Marathon – October 9, 2011
  • The Great Pumpkin Race at Buckelew Farms 5k – October 16, 2011

On Saturday September 24 I was supposed to board a flight from Tucson to Omaha for my half marathon. Like usual, I woke up early, around 5 A.M. My flight wasn’t until noon and I was already packed, so I had nothing to do. Being slightly crazy, I decided to do some hill repeats on the bike. I wasn’t too worried about my legs since the Omaha Half was only a “C” race; I was planning on just pacing my sister in her first half. (She finished without me. And she wants to do another one! I’m so proud of her.)

Near me there are only weak hills. There’s one on 1st Ave that will work in a pinch, but I had plenty of time so I decided to head out to the northeast side where there are some decent hills. To get out there I forsake the roads and used the multi-use path (MUP). About 5 miles from home I crashed. The last thing I remember before the crash was reaching down for a water bottle near Brandi Fenton Park and noticing someone behind me. When I awoke in the ambulance, I was told that they found me near Brandi Fenton Park so it made sense. It wasn’t until I looked at my GPS data did I discover that I crashed near George Mehl Park about a mile down the path. So I’m not sure exactly what caused the crash or how my bike ended up making its way back home. I ended up with some road rash and a concussion.

But enough crash talk! Let’s talk racing! How did this affect my running you ask? You didn’t ask? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. While in the hospital, I was under the deluded impression that I would be able to at least fly to Omaha and see my sister and mom while they raced. Uh, no. I was in the Emergency Room until after my flight left, but I was in no shape to fly. So I did not start (DNS) that race.

The first week after the crash I had a hard time walking. I had the Jim Clicks 8k on Sunday; would I be able to participate? On Sunday morning I got up, picked up my packet at the race and lined up at the back of the line. I tried jogging right at the start but was unable to even maintain a 12 min/mi pace. So I walked. And I was getting passed by people walking the 3k fun run that started immediately after the 8k. As it turns out, I finished last. Dead Fucking Last. (DFL) Hopefully that’s the last time that happens.

Two weeks after the crash I was supposed to run a half marathon. I was contemplating trying for a personal record (PR) in this race. I would have been lucky to even finish. A good race day decision on my part saw me change to walking the 5k instead of the half. I didn’t finish last, but close.

That brings us to two days ago, October 16. I had registered for The Great Pumpkin Race at Buckelew Farms. It’s an off-road race through a pumpkin field and corn maze! I got to the race, pinned on my bib, and started a short jog. The pain in my hip was intense and I thought I might just walk the course like the last 2 weeks. As race time approached, I positioned myself near the back of the pack. Then I thought, “what the hell, I’ll go for it”. I snaked my way up to mid-pack before the starting horn went off.

As we started off on the dirt road, the pain in my hip wound was intense and I thought about stopping and walking. But then I remembered Jens Voigt and said “shut up wound“. After about 3 minutes, the pain became bearable and I started running faster; passing people. Then we turned into the rows of the pumpkin field. I’m not sure how many of you have run in a pumpkin field before, but it’s not easy. It’s less easy to pass people. So I ended up slowly picking people off, one by one until we hit the corn maze.

The corn maze part came at the 3 mile mark, and as it turned out we had a half mile to go. Someone messed up the course distance. Anyway, there was no room to pass in the corn field so I bid by time and “drafted” off the runner in front of me while my heart rate came down a bit and I waited for the final sprint to the finish.

As we came out of the corn maze, there were four of us bunched together and we all started to sprint toward the finish about 200 meters away. I came out the winner of the sprint, but finished 66th overall and 7th in my age group at a time of just under 25 minutes. It’s not that impressive of a time, but considering the course, my injury, and the extra distance I think it was pretty good.

The post-race schwag was non-existent. There was some Go Girl Energy Drinks and then the usual bananas and bagels. I guess no one else wanted to drive out to Three Points, Arizona to give away their product. I took advantage of the Go Girl drinks and taste tested each flavor along with plenty of bagels. I can’t say I was impressed with the energy drinks. Just 2 days later and I can’t remember anything about them. They probably were OK, but when I saw the price of them in the store yesterday, I didn’t even think about buying any.

After the race, I came home, changed into my cycling kit and headed off to O2 Modern Fitness for my usual Sunday morning spin class. It was good. 60 minutes of zone 4 intervals keeping the heart rate in zone 2 during recoveries. The day earlier saw me ride the famous Shootout Ride and then a 90 minute yoga session. It was a good weekend. Then on Monday I ran 21 miles. It’s Tuesday now and I’m feeling it. And it feels good. 🙂

Next weekend I have two races scheduled. And I can’t wait! I love race season.

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Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers – Marana/Tucson

stephen siller

Stephen Siller was a New York Fire Fighter that died on September 11, 2001. (This image has been lifted off the web and is presumed copyrighted. It is used under fair use.

Sunday is race day. In southern Arizona, mid-September marks the start of the fall racing season for running events. But today is not just any other day; today marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The local race this weekend, along with many around the country, was dedicated to Stephen Siller. A firefighter in New York City, Siller was off-duty on September 11 and was on his way with his three brothers for a round of golf when he heard the news of the airliners hitting the World Trade Center. Siller turned back toward the city and tried to go under the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but was unable to do so because it had already been closed. Siller ran, in full equipment weighing around 60 pounds, the three miles from the tunnel to the towers. He was last seen alive at the base of the World Trade Center at West and Liberty streets.

My 3.1 miles today is dedicated to the memory of Stephen Siller and all the other heroes who lost their lives 10 years ago.

Onto the race report. Up until a week ago, I did not know this race existed. I was not planning on racing today as I had raced just six days ago in the Labor Day 8-miler. But I got an invitation from Active Advantage saying they had a deal and that five people would get free registration. The catch was you had to be an Active Advantage member and be one of the first five to claim the prize which started at a specified time. I got lucky and got it! If you didn’t get one of the first five, there was an offer to get $5 off the regular $25 registration.

This event was put on by Tagg Running Events. They are a small company that has been producing running events since 2002 in San Diego and since 2004 in Tucson. It looks like most of their events are not in Tucson, but either in Marana, Vail, or Sahuarita. The races actually in Tucson seem to be dominated by the Southern Arizona Road Runners. You could tell they were operating on a budget. But the event was well-organized, though it could have used a few more volunteers.

As far as I’m aware, there was no pre-race packet pick-up, which is okay by me. Prior to the event, I did not receive any email or confirmation from Tagg Running Events. I made sure I was registered on Active.com and hoped for the best. I got to the race a few minutes early, got my bib number, pinned it on, and started a brief warm-up. I wasn’t planning on trying for a personal record, or even going that fast, so my warm-up was kept short. Just a few 100 meter jogs and one sprint to get the blood flowing.

At 6:50, there was a procession led by the Flowing Wells color guard from the congregation area to the start line. Then there were a few words spoken about Stephen Siller, the singing of the National Anthem, and then the 5k racers lined up to go. I started near the front, probably about 5 rows deep on a fairly narrow path. The race route followed a multi-use path paralleling the Santa Cruz River. We travelled up the paved river path for about a mile and turn retraced our steps on a parallel dirt path back to the start line. This would probably been a decent route if we had not got over an inch of rain the night before. The dirt path was mud. It wasn’t that hard to run in, but it wasn’t pleasant either. I’m not sure if it slowed any of the faster runners down, but I did see that at least one of the walkers slipped and fell. After we got back to the start line, there was another out-and-back on the path and dirt trail going the other direction. Then around the baseball fields, through the park to a finish on some very wet grass. I also slipped transitioning from the concrete to the grass, and I did see one other runner slip and fall.

What was the most amazing thing about this race was that there were firefighters who ran in full gear in honor of Stephen Siller and the other 9/11 first responders who lost their lives 10 years ago. For the first 3/4 of a mile, the fastest of the firefighters carrying his gear kept up with my pace of 7:30 minutes per mile. Then he slowed down. He finished in around 26 minutes. Unofficially, I finished with a clock time of 22:22, which was a few seconds faster than my watch-based pace of 7:30. It was a good workout, but not really a good race. I could have definitely gone a lot harder, which is the same thing I said about the race on Monday. Maybe I should have since I took yesterday off, but with 2 races in a week along with a 20+ hour training schedule, I didn’t want to push too hard with a half marathon coming up next weekend in Omaha.

I was originally planning on pacing my sister next week. It’s her first half marathon and only her second race. She did the 5k in Lake Havasu City when I did the half. Now I’m thinking that I may try for a new half marathon PR. My time in Havasu was 1:42:06 on a pretty flat course. That translates to a 7.8 min/mile. I originally planned for a 1:50 time, so made up almost 8 minutes during the race. At this point in time, I’m thinking of trying to set a PR. We’ll see when the time comes. I think a 1:30 is doable. That’s a 6.8 min/mile.

No pictures from me during the race, although there were a couple of photographers out on the course. I also did a loop of the foothills on the bike after the race. I may post on that later today or tomorrow. It was a really good ride.

Keep the legs moving…

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PRs and other musings

I should probably keep a list of my PRs somewhere. For now, it’s at my about page, where there is nothing actually about me at all.

So far: 3 races, 3 PRs. The next race will be another PR as it’s a sprint triathlon and I’ve never done one of those before. Then another guaranteed PR in a 8 mile event. Then a couple more half marathons late summer / early fall. And I might do the Mount Lemmon Marathon (note the gratuitous link to en.WP) in October. There’s an 8k and 10k coming up in October too. Not signed up for those yet, but 2 more PR opportunities. 🙂

Depending on how the triathlon goes, I might do some bike racing next year. In the further future, I may do some swimming events too. I need to sit down and plan out a yearly schedule instead of just racing whenever I feel like it. I hate planning.

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Running news

I’ve been really busy lately. Well, busy enough that I didn’t have time to write on the blog. Those that don’t blog probably don’t realize how much time it takes to actually write a descent post, much less put together a series of posts every day. The same thing day in and day out. Now that the complaining is done, let me update the many few one zero actual readers of this blog on my races since the last post.

I completed my marathon! Woohoo! Active.com has the results posted. 21st overall, 2nd in age group with a time of 3:50:53. That’s actually almost 10 minutes faster than my goal, which was set really slow because the course was basically up a mountain. I think there was something like 2800 ft of elevation gain. In contrast, my half was basically flat, with the most elevation change coming by crossing a bridge.

Two weeks later I ran in my first mud run. I was slightly disappointed, not with my time, but with the course. There was no mud. They had a fire hose out spraying runners in one spot and a slip-n-slide and some pools, but there wasn’t any mud to speak of. But it was still fun. 8th place overall.

I’ve raced once more since then, in a local 5k. I had a goal of finishing in 20 minutes, but unfortunately I missed it by 12 seconds. I blame the heat. It was 98 F at race start. By the end of the first mile I was dehydrated even though I made sure to drink plenty prior to the race. I’m sure if the temperature would have been even a few degrees cooler I would have shaved those few second off. Actually, I think I only have to go about 5 seconds faster. When I saw the clock tick to 00:20:00.0 I slowed up a little. But all in all I was pleased with my results. I finished 67th and 11th in age group which is pretty good since I think they said they had about 1600 people running. The winner finished in under 15 minutes, so I have a little room for improvement.

But the biggest news is that I’m registered for a triathlon on my birthday (July 3rd). The run and bike parts will be easy being only 3 miles and 12 miles, respectively. However, there’s a 800 meter swim that I’m not prepared for. It’s funny how you can have the endurance to run or bike for multiple hours, but swimming 50 meters is all you can do. Different muscles, poor form, etc. Hopefully I’ll be able to swim it by then! If not, there’s always doggy paddle.

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