It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

July 06, 2012

Stars & Stripes 5K Recap

I haven’t done a 5K in a long time.  And the few I have done have been long, or I’ve been injured, or something that has kept me from running my best time.  Going into the Stars & Stripes 5K, my 5K PR was 11:16 per mile.  My current half marathon PR is 10:57 per mile… I knew I had some major room for improvement.  For this reason, I had wanted to do a 5K for awhile so I could set a new PR.  However, this was not the ideal race to do so.  I knew I could improve my time, but I also knew it probably wouldn’t be as fast as I “think” I can run for 3 main reasons:  1) it was hot, as in 85 degrees at the start; 2) I am in taper mode for my race and technically shouldn’t be going all out; and 3) I am once again and pretty much always injured.  I have been dealing with major hip and low back pain which is a fairly common occurrence.  This reared its ugly head during my marathon training, but it had pretty much gone away since late October, but about 3 weeks ago I started developing major back and hip pain again.  I’m seeing the ART Doc twice a week and stretching like a maniac – hoping I will be in good enough shape for Racine in 9 days!

Anyway, oddly enough I will actually end up doing 2 5Ks this week – this one, and one on Sunday for the Royals All Star Game 5K.  I didn’t really want to do two 5Ks in the same week at the end of my Half Ironman Training schedule, and almost didn’t sign up for the Stars and Stripes, but it was in my hometown and only a short drive and I wanted to support a local race and decided to do it.

I woke up at 5am and turned on the news.  85 degrees the news said.  85 at 5am!  It was going to be a hot one.  Jim and I got up and around and of course snapped a few pre-race “dance” pics.  Since it was 4th of July Jim insisted we incorporate the flag and do our best impression of Olympic athletes. Hmmmm…..I’m wondering if our photos will have some kind of baseball theme for Sunday.  I digress.

We headed to the race and were surprised by the number of people there.  It was an inaugural race so we figured there would be like 100 people, but there ended up being 412 finishers in the 5K!  Not a bad turn out for a local race on a HOT holiday! 

I knew I was going to struggle a bit.  My left hip was killing me and I am not a hot weather runner at all.  I had been easily running at a 10:30 or 11:00 minute pace a month ago, and my last few runs had been in the 12s and even 13s!!  It was pretty ridiculous and frustrating.  I was going to give it my best though, and that’s all I could do.

I lined up and got ready for the race which was supposed to start at 7am.  About that time they announced it would be another 5 minutes because the police were still trying to clear the streets.  This 7 year old boy behind says “Yes, they better clear the streets so we don’t get hit by the hippie bus”.  I thought I was going to burst out laughing.  I don’t know why, but that was just one of the most random things I’ve ever heard. 

Anyway, we finally started and I was immediately in pain.  My left hip and back were killing me.  It’s only 3 miles I told myself….you can push through the pain.  The hot weather took its toll pretty quick too and I was dying for a drink at about a half mile in.  I couldn’t believe how dry and scratchy my throat was.  I wouldn’t normally bother with water in a 5K, but I couldn’t wait for it by the time I reached the half way point.  My first mile was fairly fast for me at a 9:52 pace, but unfortunately I knew I couldn’t hold that.  I was hoping to maintain around a 10 minute pace, but I was already slowing down after that first mile.  My second mile was 10 something and so was my third (haven’t downloaded my Garmin data yet).  In the end I crossed the finish line in 31:47 which was a 10:14 pace – which was a 1 minute and 2 second improvement over my previous 5K time.  I still know I can go faster, but I will take it. 

Look the Finish Line is at Finish Line!

I also had my fastest age group finish in a race ever – I was 12 out of 36 which put me in the top 3rd!!!  I am always, always in the bottom 25%!  I was pretty excited about that.  I was also 205 out of 412 – which put me (barely) in the top 50% for the race overall.  So I will call it a success!! 

I caught up with Jim who did awesome as always!  Why can’t I be an amazing runner like him??  He finished just about 20 seconds slower than his 5K PR, which in that heat was awesome!  He ended up 5th overall in the race and 1st in his Age Group!  My husband is amazing!! 

Overall, we had a great time. It was a great local race.  They had really nice technical tees and the age group winners got medals.  They also had a great local band at the end of the race which was a nice touch as well!  I would definitely do the race again next year.  But I have to admit, I’m looking forward to running a Fall 5K to see what I can really do.

On another note - One final shout out to my friend COY who will be doing her FIRST Half Ironman tomorrow in Muncie…….where it is forecasted to be 103 degrees!!!!!    If you don’t know Coy….read my last post where I tell you a little more about her!

Another shout out to Big Daddy Diesel who will also be doing his first Half Ironman tomorrow at Muncie!!  I know everyone knows BDD!

You guys be CAREFUL out there.  I am worried for them with the extreme heat, but know they will both go out there and give it their all!


  1. Nice improvement but all that pain does not sound good! Get better! Doesn't it seem like when we are doing things to be healthy our bodies shouldn't betray us?

  2. Great PR! You are amazing too don't discount your accomplishments and determination! :-)

  3. Nice job! I must say I just LOVE the flag pre-race pics. Lol. You two must be awesome.

    My husband is also faster than me and he doesn't die off in the heat like I do and it gets frustrating, but it's also fun to watch them. Anyways, nice job on the pr!!

  4. great job! congrats on your PR!!!

  5. Your husband is an amazing runner. Your 5k pacing is very similar to my own. Like yourself, I suffer from a perpetual injury so I do the best I can. I just did a 5k last Sunday... well, it was actually a sprint triathlon and my 5k run was 31.42. We gott get under 30!

  6. Congrats on a huge PR!! It is always a great feeling knowing you crushed your goal!

  7. Awesome job! Congrats on the PR and being top third!

    Hope the back and hip feel better for your HIM.

  8. Okay, that is hot. By my standards, really bloody hot, so I'm very impressed.


    And stop qualifying it and just celebrate it. Then, when you beat it again, you can celebrate it again.

  9. A PR in the heat, AND with a sore hip and back! I'm really happy for you! Think what you'll be able to do this fall!

  10. Way to go, pulling off a PR in that heat! Congrats : )

  11. Congrats Michael! Love the flag in the pre-race pics :) you are like Olympians! Very punny about the Finish Line too.

  12. Congrats on the PR! Wow 85 degrees at race starting time is hot!!

    Your pre race pictures are hilarious as usual, lol

  13. Great job on the PR, Michael...nothing like a nice, cool July day in KC! :>)