A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Park Forest Scenic 5 Race Report

Yes, after running 18 miles on Saturday morning, I dragged myself out of bed at 5:00 AM and laced up my running shoes for a Monday morning Labor Day race. I mean, I was going to run a minimum of 5 miles on Monday anyway, why not do it in race form?

I met up with members of the running group for our carpool to the race site. The race venue was about an hour south of us and when we arrived we were surprised to find that the weather was drizzly, chilly, and windy! Still, we picked up our packets and marveled at how small the participant field was.

We decided to do a warm-up that would take us out passed the finish line so we could better visualize what the final mile would look like. And what did it look like? Hilly. Great. We finished what ended up being about a 2 mile warm-up and realized it was no longer drizzly or chilly. But it was still windy. Darn.

About this time I realized that I needed to eat something in order to calm the sea of water churning in my stomach. One of the club members gave me her last bite of a PowerBar and then it was time to line up for the start. Jason sent me a text message saying he was "in position" as a spectator and shortly after that we were off.

Jason had a prime spot to view the race leaders just after the 1 mile marker.

Also known as six Kenyans and a guy from Wheaton, IL.

Probably about 4 minutes later I passed saw Jason up ahead. Jason, unknowingly, actually got a great photo of my running buddy Maribeth who was just in front of me at that point. She's in red. I'm in the fuchsia top to the back right.

My goal for this race was to pace under 8:45, preferably 8:30 or less per mile. I knew if I could keep Maribeth in my sights I'd be doing well. We hit the first mile marker in just over 8 minutes but I could tell already that my legs were getting tired and I was feeling parched.

After a stretch on the surface streets we turned into the forested park for a long straight bit. I felt myself starting to slow down but then, just after mile 2, as I approached a sidewalk that T-ed into the path we were on, I saw Jason ride up on his bike! "Great timing!" I yelled and it put a huge smile on my face.

That put a spring in my step for a bit but I still felt sluggish. I was trying to just get in "the zone", tune out the rest of the runners, and not check my Garmin ever 2 minutes. Still, I glanced down often to see that I was barely hanging onto my 8:30 pace. As I passed the water station just after mile 3 I slowed to a fast walk, grabbed some water, and took a swallow. The wind combined with the fact that I was breathing heavily through my mouth made the inside of my mouth feel like the Sahara. Blech.

I barely remember mile 4 but I recall passing some bag pipers and then, when I could hear the polka band, I knew we only had a mile left. Running the last mile as a warm-up was a great idea. I highly recommend it if you can do it. I knew that when I could hear the tuba I was almost there.

But first I had to tackle the hill. Maribeth had long since pulled ahead but I could still see her and that's all that mattered to me. I powered up the hill and passed Jason near the top.

I put all I had into my finishing push and crossed the line in 42:37. The Garmin told me I'd done 5.02 at an 8:29 pace. Goal accomplished!

My favorite part about this race? Everyone who finished got a medal! What a great perk for a small race. Also, each racer's bib had two food coupons that could be exchanged for a myriad of foods. I chose pancakes :-)

After checking out the results and learning that at least two of our group members had placed in their age groups we posed for a partial group photo before Jason and I headed for home.

All in all, it was a good way to spend a holiday morning. I hit my goal pace, I came in in the top 10 in my age group, I got a fun medal, and I got to spend time with some of my favorite runners. Plus, it meant that I got to take a nap later that afternoon. And I like naps. Perhaps I need a shirt that says "Will Race for Naps". What do you think?

Official Race Stats:
Gun Time - 42:50
Chip Time - 42:36
Pace (based on Gun Time) - 8:34 per mile
Age Group Place - 7/17
Overall Place - 153/290


Route:--Elev. Avg:706 ft
Location:Park Forest, ILElev. Gain:+0 ft
Date:09/06/10Up/Downhill: [+95/-95]
Time:07:59 AMDifficulty:2.0 / 5.0

Distance: 5.02 miles
Speed:7.1 mph
Pace:8' 30 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
18' 06-0' 247.4+0.3-10 ft
28' 29-0' 017.1+0.0+10 ft
38' 36+0' 067.0-0.10 ft
48' 46+0' 166.8-0.2-3 ft
58' 29-0' 017.1+0.0+4 ft
end********** ft
Versus average of 8' 30 min/mile
** Insufficient data to calculate this split

Posted from bimactive.com


Jessica (Bayjb) said...

Way to go on the run! I also love that one of the pace runners is from Wheaton, way to represent!!! WOO WOO!

kilax said...

Erin! You totally rock! I knew you could do it! I am so excited for you!

I think we should make "Will run for naps" shirts for the marathon. I was thinking about making an "in memory of Linda" shirt for my MiL anyway :)

Jamie said...

Great job on the race! I wish I had found this race in my searches I definitely would have done it.

kilax said...

Oh, I forgot to say, I totally love all the pics :)

Johann said...

Will race for naps…that sounds good! Well done on a really good run after Saturday’s 18 miles. I love doing some training runs as part of races. Nice medal!

Mica said...

Hot damn, congratulations! That is so speedy! I need to be more like you--commit to being faster and not FREAK OUT about my race goals.

Also, a polka band? Yes, please.

Maggie at Run For Pi(e) said...

I saw the link to this in your sidebar ... I live in Park Forest! I grew up here and recently moved back (to save money living with my parents). I did the Scenic 5K race in 2004/2005 (back then they used to do a 10mi race instead of 5mi). Anyway, sadly, they canceled the races this year. Such a shame. The Scenic 10 used to be a huge deal, at least in Park Forest.

Anonymous said...

The Park Forest Scenic 10 Mile was the cadillac of road races. The best organized race i've ever been in, and that includes hundreds of races, including the chicago marathon.
I ran the race of my career there in 1990. perfect, rolling hills, shady course, cheerleaders and bands/violins playing along the course. Whoever was in charge of that was the king of organizing. It would only be wishful thinking on my part to thing it could actually return and be half as good as it was before.

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