Attempted Runner.

Race Recap: 5/4/2013 – Western Pacific 5k (3.2 miles)

It has been a full day and a half since my last race and I am still unsure how I feel about it.

I woke up at 4:30am that morning and was feeling somewhat ok. I did the traditional morning before a race routine: showered, got partially dressed, put on KT Tape, packed my gear bag, finished getting dressed, made breakfast, went to the bathroom, did a last-minute “Do I have everything? check, tell A and the boys to have a good day and I’ll be back later, got in the car, did a second “Do I REALLY have everything?” check and then drove off to meet the rest of the running party (J and her friend Tina).

We arrived at Quarry Lakes around 7:30 and went to go get our bibs, shirts and goodie bags. We normally do early bib pick up cause its at the Fleet Feet down the street from my house, that way with early bib pick up we don’t have to get to the races too early….even though we usually do anyway (by like 1.5 hours early…hey, we want good parking!). Got the typical goodie bag stuff (flyers, shaving gel samples, cookie samples, Biscoff butter jar <–needs to be gluten-free) and took that all back to the car…Walked back to the starting area and began my stretches.


The Lying Quad Stretch hurts so good.

The hikers and Marathon division already started and I believe while getting our bibs the Half Marathon group started too so all we had to do was wait for the 10k’ers to go and then it was my turn. I stretched, but didn’t want to stretch a whole lot because I read in multiple articles that too much stressing stretching before a run isn’t the greatest because it makes you more tired.

Anyway, it was my race group to start and it was about 65 degrees, but felt like 70. Like most races you have the bottle neck for the first 200-300 yards but because of the trail this one lasted a little bit longer and it was dusty. The crowd finally evened out so I was able to go at a decent pace without having to bob and weave. I ran the first full mile before stopping. Although the course takes you around the lake, and a small breeze picked up every so often, it still felt like the desert with the heat radiating off the dirt. Because I do get overly hot very quickly, I drank some water, walked a little more than started running again.

Sometimes I ask fellow runners what they think of while running. Some have responded with “nothing, my mind goes blank” and others say that they create dirty parodies to the theme song for It’s a Small World (Dr. Awesome). What I think about while running you ask? I think about landmarks that I want to stop/start running/walking and I do math. Constantly.


Landmarks: While running, I can feel myself getting very tired and wanting to stop. Rather than just stopping when I feel like giving up I pick a spot somewhere farther up and make that my stop-running-start-walking spot. It allows me to push myself a little farther than I normally would go and it gives me something to concentrate on. Typical landmarks: Trees, bushes, flags, poles, bends in the trail, top/bottom of the hill, aid stations, the person I keep passing up.  While walking, I look for the same landmarks just a lot closer so I won’t walk more than I would really want too.

Constant math: I have race time OCD. I won’t bother to look at my Ipod time until I reach the first mile. I don’t really need to look at the time because during the first mile, since I don’t have landmarks to focus on I rely on the music. I know by the 3rd or 4th song that I’m about to pass the mile marker. Sometimes I’ll run as long as I can hang after the mile marker, but usually I’ll stop to a walk and drink some water. This is when the math comes in. I check my mile time and then do the math for the estimated finish time. I do not incorporate any walking times because I do not have these yet. Whatever my estimated finish time based on mile one is…… I never stick with….I know I cannot keep that pace (for now), so I add a few minutes into it. It’s just a preliminary number which allows me to not get stressed or get my hopes up. By mile two, I have more of an accurate reading because this includes the run/walk ratios. I do the math to figure a finish time and figure how much time I have left for whatever goal I have set.  Depending on the times, this is what increases my running landmarks distances and lowers my walking landmarks.

 By the first mile, I was expected to finish by 33:15….so I roughly estimated a 36 minute finish time but didn’t think much of it. By mile two, I check my iPod again…..did the math (as you can see in the picture below, I’m using fingers to do the math….notice my right thumb and index finger) and I was estimated to finish around 37 minutes. At 2.5 miles, I was still doing well with the same finish…I had “3 minutes to spare….just in case” to reach my goal of ANYTHING at or under 39:59.


For the record, the “extra spare time….just in case” doesn’t make me slack off.

Somewhere around 2.75 this is when my Hip Bursitis started to flare up. I really think the KT Tape and ProCompression socks helped subdue it for the longest time….and we were fast approaching a few hills. Obviously, I ran up the hills since it would be faster than walking them. The course also became paved again. I tried to run faster but kept getting side stitches…I kept going. Kept trying. This is when I tend to stop focusing on landmarks and more on time. Its a dangerous process. I can’t help it! (You would have hated the mathlete in me during my Half marathon!) I think this photo was taken about 1/4 mile from the finish and I’m STILL doing math….notice again, my right thumb/index finger.


I get to the 3 mile marker and have hope because for once I was ON TIME with my estimations and was going to finish at 38-39 minutes…..

….and then I forgot about the last hill…

….and that the course was actually marked out to 3.2 miles and not 3.1.

Every 0.1 mile counts when you try to set goals. After that I knew I wasn’t going to make 39:59 or under. The last hill was a little steep, or just felt like it, but I tried to run it anyway….I did a sprint to the finish the best I could. I crossed the finish line and felt defeated.  If this was a more close up picture, you would notice the failure face as I stopped my Nike+.


I finished in 41:04:16.

Now, I have plenty of pros as to why this was a good race but only ONE con as to why this was not a good race….and I don’t know what to make of it. I really wanted to meet my goal. Badly.


  • I finished
  • My hip didn’t start hurting until the last small portion
  • I set a PR by 2:51 on a 5k trail run.
  • I was in the top ten finishers for the females in my age group….it doesn’t matter that there were only 22 in my group. I still finished in the top ten.
  • I was in the top 15 finishers overall (male/female) for my age group.
  • Overall, I was with the first 55% of all finishers (male/female). It use to be around the 75-80% finisher group.
  • If I do the math, because I have a math fetish….and the course was really a true 5k at 3.1, I would have finished in 39:47.
  • Based on Nike+, it looks like I tried to hold on for as long as I could….stupid hills. Untitled


  • I did not reach my goal of 39:59 or faster.

After I finished, I grabbed my Jamba Juice smoothie (Jamba Juice, Muscle Milk and It-Its ice cream were the best sponsors for such a hot day) did some cool down stretching and took some me time to contemplate the run. Like I mentioned, its been a day and a half and I’m still struggling to figure out how I feel about it.


I was dead exhausted by the time we got back to my sister’s house but was unable to take a nap. Had some errands to run and then met my cousins at B.A.R.T to visit my other cousin in San Francisco (to check out his apartment which they have dubbed it as The Skybox). On the ride over, I was practically falling asleep on B.A.R.T. Dangerous, I know and unsanitary. To those that do not know what BART is…you’re lucky. HA! It’s our areas Subway system. Got off at the Powell Street exit in the city and walked a mile up hill (San Francisco hills…great!) to his house just in time for dinner. While everyone enjoyed spaghetti that smelt lovely….I had my dry gluten-free sandwich packed dinner. I didn’t want my cousin to go out of his way to make one single solitary GF dish for me and in all honesty – I don’t think I’d trust someone who has used a crock pot pot on the stove top in replace of a regular pot, to not cross contaminate me. At least my cousin has a nice view.  Lets just say by the time I got home at 11:30pm, I was past the point of exhaustion. I was in Zombie mode and was never happier to see my bed……until I realized I had to be up at 5am the next day (today, 5/5) for another adventure.




The Skybox view.

What do you think of while you run?


1 Comment so far
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I think about everything and anything. I have the most random internal conversations and sometimes, arguments with myself. If people could hear it all… Well. I’m just glad they can’t.

Comment by jmhartford

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