A couple of weekends ago I ran in the Glendale 1K Kilt Run and the Kiss me I’m Irish 4K. I had a blast at both of them. I’m a little surprised that they still held the events with the recent fears over the COVID-19 virus. Although in the midst of all the media coverage of the spread of the virus and the panic that it is starting to cause I was very happy to have the sense of normalcy that comes with a race.
First up was the 1K Kilt Run. This is a fun run, which means no timing or awards, to attempt to break the record for the most people in a kilt doing an organized activity. We didn’t get the record, but it was still a very large crowd. It has a festival like atmosphere with a live band playing Celtic music before the race and during for the people waiting on their loved ones to run/walk the just over a half mile.
I decided to see how fast I could go. I even wore my track racing flats, although given that the course was wet, the racing flats don’t have much grip in the corners on wet brick. At the start I felt a little like a Flinstone. My feet were moving, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was at the front of the crowd right from the start. There were about 8 people in front of me as we went around the first corner. Unfortunately, I slid out a little and thought to myself that I will need to slow down around the corners. Then something happened that I’m not used to, I started chasing people down. I zeroed in on the person in front of me and started closing the gap. Most races when I’ve gone out fast, I end up flaming out and getting passed. This time I wasn’t flaming out and I actually was gaining both speed and ground to the next person. I finished an unofficial 5th place and was the only one over 25 in that group. I was pretty pleased with myself. It felt great and I started to get the feeling that I used to when I was running the 400, of the world dropping away.
Saturday morning, I got up early and headed back to Westgate Mall for the Kiss Me I’m Irish 4k. Coach V didn’t think it would be a great idea to take the whole troop out for this one, so I was on my own. My plan was to go out at a little more than a comfortable pace and try to maintain it, but most importantly I was out there to have fun. The 8K and the 4K share a lot of the same course at the beginning and with only a 10-minute start difference we quickly caught the stragglers from the 8k. This made it almost impossible to tell who in front of me was from my race and who was in the 8k. So, I just tried to keep going at a steady pace until I was a little over half-way then I started trying to pick up the tempo. My calf did not appreciate the added speed and started complaining. The complaints turned into a bit of an angry roar, so I decided to walk a few steps. Doing some small lunges stretched it back out and I was able to take off again. Next thing I really knew the finish was in sight and I dug down for whatever was left in the tank and got a pretty good sprint going. I came across the line, was handed a bottle of water and my metal by a gloved volunteer and started a brisk walk to the car. The RunBet distance for this weekend was 3 miles and I wasn’t going to have another opportunity to run. I kept my watch tracking and headed to the car. I stopped briefly to drop off the water and grab the kilt run metal for from the night before for a picture and started a light cool down run around the parking lot and back toward the finish area. Once I got my 3 miles in, I decided to go see what my race time and age group placing was. I was in a bit of disbelief with what I say. I was the 19th overall male and the first in the 30-39 age group. My first thought was that can’t be right, so I checked the bib number and sure enough it was mine.
I’m fairly sure that this is the first time I have ever won my age group in any race. I’m very pleased with this result, but what makes me more excited is that it’s working. In just 3 weeks training with the SRC I’ve drastically dropped my per mile time into a range that I haven’t been in since high school, 7:30 min/mile. If I can hold that for another half mile then I’ll have my 24-minute 5K by the end of April. It means that not only is the speed still in me somewhere but it’s starting to come out again.
There is still a lot of work to do. Even once I get the sub- 24 min 5K I’ll still need to drop another 4 minutes by the end of the year. And I’m certain that they will be harder to drop than these 4 look to be. But I believe that I have a good routine in place and some great people to train with and help me along on this journey and hopefully I get to help some others along theirs in the process.
The next several weeks look to be some trying times. My daughter is in from Indiana which I love but it will make going out and training more difficult since I want to spend as much time with her as I can. And then there is the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, I am in one of the more at-risk groups to have a sever reaction to it. Some days being asthmatic really sucks. I’m taking all the precautions that I can, no I’m not buying 3 years-worth of toilet paper, but there is only so much a person can do. So, if you are in one of the groups that I normally run with and you don’t see me for a few weeks it not because I don’t love running with you all, and believe me when I say that I miss the group either SRC of EMYP. I’ll be doing what I can on my own and trying not to go to stir crazy. Feel free to drop me a note if you are wondering how we are doing.
My next scheduled race is the Hippity Hop 5K in mid-April assuming that they are still able to hold it. My hope is that this scare is over by then and that my family (of which you are all a part of) comes through unscathed.
Until next time…C-ya!