Saturday, May 9, 2015

Apple Blossom 5K -- May 9, 2015

Today's race was really special, not because I set another new PR -- although that was very nice! -- but for the fact it was the first time I've ever run a race with both of my boys. I ran a race with Matt about four years ago, and ran a virtual 5K a few weeks ago with Kevin, but never had all three of us run the same race at the same time.

So with Matt finishing his first year of college at Benedictine University on Friday, and Kevin staying with me this weekend, and not having a track meet, I floated the idea to the both of them to run the Apple Blossom 5K, and they were on board from the start!

Also running the race was Matt's roommate, Matt Gray. They run track and cross country at BU together, and Matt Gray grew up in Bartlett and won the Apple Blossom two years ago. To make things even more confusing, Matt Gray brought two more Matt's with him...one of the Matts goes to Iowa State and the other attends Marquette.

Whew! Anyway, my Matt and Matt Gray were supposed to meet near the Bartlett Library about 40 minutes before the start to stretch and get warm, but I was running a bit tardy and by the time we had made the 10-minute walk from home Matt was nowhere to be found. That's OK, we had a bib issue we had to fix, somehow Matt was in the computer as a 14-year-old girl! Not good.

By the time we got that sorted out, it was about 20 minutes before the race was supposed to start, and Kevin and Darcy showed up. Matt went off to warm up and Kev and I started to stretch out and make our way to the starting line. Kev was surprisingly nervous. When we were talking about the race Friday night, I suggested Kev try to run the entire way and try to finish in the 30-31 minute range.

As we were standing and waiting for the race to start, Kevin told me he wanted to run hard and run for time! OK dude! That left me in a bit of a quandary, because I was planning on just running for fun so I didn't spend as much time getting warmed up and stuff as I would for a PR-type run. Oh well.

Matt was lined up at the front, of course, and Kev and I were lined up together, but once the race started he was on his way! I tried to find a pace that was kind of comfortable, and a nice downhill helped me get settled in.

(Beware: A Runtastic mention is coming.)

As I got going, I found yet another asset of having my Runtastic app running -- a real-time look at my pace! That was a big help, as one of my problems is that I tend to go out way too fast and just try to hang on the rest of the way. I found myself feeling good at about a 9:05 pace, so I just focused on holding that for as long as I could. I could see Kevin up ahead in his bright neon shirt, and it seemed like he was pacing himself well too.

I hit the first mile in 9:05, and was starting to realize just how humid it was! The temperature was OK, it was about 60 degrees, but it had rained most of the night and was just sticky, with the humidity hanging around 92 percent. Doing a little bit of mental math, I figured that if I could only hold that pace, a finish of around 28 minutes was a possibility, so I just tried to focus forward on that.

The course meanders through some neighborhoods, and just before the two-mile mark has an interesting stretch where we run across the grass and connect to a running path. The rain made it a bit treacherous as the water had settled in a low point and the ground was super soft. I navigated that without falling, so I felt I had that going for me!

Approaching mile two, I looked ahead and could see Kev getting a little closer to me. I crossed mile two in 19 minutes flat for a mile split of 8:55. Not long after that, I got a text from Darcy that Matt had finished in 19:20! (Here is his finish line photo!) I got a little boost from that and thought I was starting to hurt I tried to hold my pace as best I could.

A little further down the path I caught up with Kevin. Even though he was starting to slow down I was really proud of him. As I passed by him I gave him a pat on the back and gave him some words of encouragement. What I didn't know until later is that not long after I got by him he picked up his pace again and had a really good finish.

In the final stretch of the race I was really gassed! I hit the third mile in 9:07 (27:07 overall) and despite the encouragement from Darcy I couldn't break 28 minutes, hitting the line at exactly 28:00! Actually since the race was done by gun time my official finish time was 28:11, good for 102nd place, with Kevin coming in 103rd in 28:17.

Matt, meanwhile, ended up eighth overall in 19:15 and finished first in the 15-19 year-old age group! Actually, the Matts swept the entire podium, with Matt Gray (middle) finishing third in the age group and the Matt that goes to Marquette coming home second. Matt was very, very excited, because despite all of his accomplishments in his track and cross country career, he'd never won a medal! He had won his team's "PR pumpkin" (a pumpkin given to the runner who has the best PR at the conference meet) twice, but never had received any bling. He ended up wearing it the rest of the day.

Overall, it was just such an awesome day. From the racing standpoint, I was happy with the even splits that I ran and of course the new PR. It was also an improvement of two minutes from my time at the race last year! As a Dad, it was a great chance to run with my guys and share my love of running with them. Can't ask for more!

With both of the boys training for their cross country seasons in the fall, there will be plenty more opportunities to run some more races together. I'm looking forward to picking a few out and doing this again!



1 comment:

  1. Awesome story! Great you got to run with both your boys. Congrats to Matt on his age group win. I wonder about his shirt...WTF...um, what does that stand for? Great job on the PR as well!

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