49 years in the making…..

More than 1 year in the waiting……
6 failed attempts ……

Today is my 49th birthday. Clay helped me to celebrate by taking me to a race. He picked me up and drove me to Santa Clarita for the inaugural Mardi Gras Madness 5K. Kendell went along for the ride – and to take pictures. Here is Clay, Neil and I doing a few strides to warm up…

For those who have been following this blog, you know that it has been more than a year since I have set a 5K PR. January 9, 2010 I ran the Jackie Bristow 5K in San Dimas in 20:18. At the time I had a string of PRs or CPRs (course Personal Records) going. The San Dimas course had a significant grade in it on the 2nd mile. I figured that that 20:18 would not last long. I figured wrong. I have run 6 5Ks since and have always been 20 something…..

For today, the course looked good. The weather was perfect. Clay was there to pace me.  Maybe everything would fall in place. The course starts with a very gradual uphill, and then it goes over a walkway overpass and into a park all in the first mile. From the park it heads down onto a riverside bike path going slightly downhill until the half way point. Then it goes straight back. Clay and I figured if we had a good first mile, uphill and over the bridge, we should be able to hold on for mile two and use the downhill for a little help at the finish. That is exactly how it played out.

Clay, Neil and I lined up on the line. They took off really fast. I took off as fast as I could and was immediately 5 or 6 strides behind Clay. I hung on, though and by the first quarter or so I was right behind him. We could see Neil up ahead pulling away from his competitors. We ran a little cloverleaf up onto the bridge and I noticed the Garmin fall slighty behind pace. Coming down the other side, however we passed a couple of people and let it fly. This put us back ahead of the Garmin Virtual Buddy.  In the park, right after the overpass another guy caught me and got between Clay and I. I noticed that his strides were even quicker than mine – and I have a pretty quick turnover when racing. Anyway, I picked up my turnover a little bit more and passed him back. Mile one was 6:26.

Heading onto the paseo (bike path) we were able to run pretty quickly. The Garmin was set for half mile splits and it shows a 3:08.6 in this section. I noticed we got a little farther ahead on the Garmin. After the turnaround we had a bit of an uphill and a bit of a headwind – again both were slight, but noticeable. Clay was a few strides out ahead of me so I could not draft him. It was all I could do to hang close. I concentrated on the extra fast turnover and the Garmin said I held my pace. Mile two was 6:24.

As we started the 3rd mile another guy caught us. I was really glad for Clay here because I may have made a couple of wrong turns. Maybe not, but I kept seeing paths that went off to the side and as we approached them I was thinking we were going that way. Of course if I were not following, I would have been scanning ahead a little better. We hit the bridge and this time it felt much tougher. For the second time in the race I noticed the Garmin go to black (meaning that we had dropped below the 20minute 5K pace). Over the bridge and onto the sidewalk I was exhausted. Clay and the other guy were just a few strides ahead. I noticed 2.5 go by at the top of the bridge so I knew it was not far. I saw the black background and about a 100 foot deficit. I found myself going into 1 to 1 breathing for spurts. We hit the parking lot and I saw 19 on my watch. We rounded the last corner and Clay yelled out that I could do it. I gave it all I had and hit the finish with an official time of 19:52.9!! My split for the last 1.11 was 7:02 which is a 6:20 pace.  Looking at the graph on my Garmin software the last quarter or so we got well under a 6 min pace.

Clay gave me an immediate double high five and the joy of victory quickly overcame the total exhaustion of having given it my all.

In keeping with the Mardi Gras theme, they had some unusual awards. Here is my “medal” for 2nd place in age group

Neil’s boy Dwayne really had fun with the bling

Results: Neil Small 1st place in 17:20.22 – Clay Patten 8th place in 19:51.9 – Me 9th place in 19:52.9
Clay and I each took 2nd place in our divisions.

Lauren ran her own 5K on the aqueduct this morning in 21:30. She would have won her age group and been the 4th woman overall.

Today’s Weight – 170.8

Today’ Cycling – 0 miles
Cycling YTD – 36 miles

Today’s Running Miles  6.0
This Week 19
February 142
2011 Miles – 339

3 thoughts on “49 years in the making…..

  1. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Dale…Happy birthday to you!
    What a great present to yourself! Sub 20! Way to go!
    I knew you would do it!

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