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Say No to Drugs 5K - 10K Race - Run

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Los Angeles, California
United States
Say No to Drugs
60F / 16C
Total Time = 31m 24s
Overall Rank = 217/366
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Food: Cup of coffee, water, Special K cereal, a hard boild egg and an Energy bar two hours prior. Then half a bananna and water 45 min prior.
Event warmup:

Stretching and a quick 100 meter or so walk.
  • 31m 24s
  • 3.1 miles
  • 10m 08s  min/mile

"I run so I do not lose the me I was yesterday and the me I might be tomorrow" - George Sheehan

The whole event (the race festival) was a thrill and exciting. They expected over 1,000 runners there. It’s not the atmosphere of the LA Marathon, but it is what it is (or it was what it was) - the first organized race I’ve been a part of and it was electrifying!

I stood at the starting area behind the faster runners. It was nice to know that there were three people that I knew. Steve, one of my lifelong friends and his brother in-law, Mikey. Both had run a 5K event about a month ago. Vivian, my wife’s cousin, and I were new to all this but it was nice to run with others we knew. Steve has been running with Mikey doing 3.3 miles at the Rose Bowl and Vivian has been running for a while. I realized I was the least ‘seasoned’ runner. I had two weeks treadmill work and one road run under my belt but felt comfortable enough to hold an under 11 minute pace - which was my goal - to finish the race with a pace between 10 and 11 minutes.

Mikey, Vivian and I decided to pace each other as Steve was going to take off ahead of us with his under 9 minute pace.

I looked at our first challenge. Right off the start we would have to do a climb. My goal was to take it easy, make the climb, make up time down on the other side and get my running legs some time to get going. From what I’ve experienced in the two weeks of running, it takes about a mile for my legs to actually work! They feel like led for ten or so minutes and then they are fine.

Three minutes to go and I felt like I had to pee. I looked around for the bathroom. Did I have time? No way! Two minutes to go and I was feeling the excitement build around me. It was getting really crowded, there was a buzz of conversation and finally, before we knew it, the countdown from three… two… one!

A fast walk turned into an uphill run as people found their space and we spread out.

Yes, my legs felt like led. And adrenaline pushed me to the top of the hill as I saw Steve begin to disappear ahead of me. Vivian and Mikey were right behind as we made the decent and the turn toward the 1 mile mark.

Mikey caught up to me at the 1 mile mark and I looked at my watch to check my pace. It read: 9:15. Whoa. That was way too fast. Usually my first mile during workouts are the slowest. Then I pick up and end with a faster last mile. This pace excited me as well as worried me. I liked that pace but knew it could tire me too fast. So I slowed up.

There’s something about running with a group of people – nobody speaks to each other, but all have a common goal. It’s like a force of energy pulling you together and pushing you forward. There’s also a sense of serenity. Peace. Almost spiritual.

All this until your breathing becomes labored. And your mind tells you that it’s impossible to continue. And that’s exactly what happened to me.

And the battle inside my head began.

I start making excuses as I tried desperately to search for the 2 mile mark that never seemed to come. The voices in my head kept reminding me - that its okay to walk if I want - that two weeks training was not enough to all of a sudden finish a 5K at a reasonable time - that since its my first one its okay to give up. These thoughts can make any runner lose focus. It made me lose focus and I ran past the 2 mile mark without even seeing it.

And then I found myself in absolute pain.

"Pain. Love it, hate it, get angry at it. Breath it with every breath, feel it with every step and use it. It lets you know you are still alive, more alive than most people will be in their whole lives." – Strauss

Despite the pain, turning for the last stretch gave me more motivation to keep going and to pick up my pace. I heard my self talk out loud - just a little bit more - push it - pick up the pace - catch Mikey and Vivian who are a few seconds ahead.

Finally, after what seems like eternity, I saw the finish line. And I was at the heels of Vivian. And I gave it a little bit more push, I pumped my arms a little harder. My heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest, and then I crossed the finish line and fumbled with my stop watch and desperately tried to remember what button to press to stop the time.


I feet like a champion. I felt like I could have and should have done better already – despite all the negative thoughts during the run. And before I even handed the race volunteer my race tag number, before I even had a few seconds to catch my breath or realize the race was actually done, I couldn’t wait to do another one!

And consider this - I hate running.

I wouldn’t run if I didn’t have to. I started for health reasons. I started so I could live long enough to watch Jake walk to the plate as the leadoff hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I did it so I have a chance to be there when Bella eventually becomes the comic relief of a sitcom - which seems she’s been preparing for since birth. I did it so I can see Jessica play basketball in college and eventually graduate Med school like she wants. I did it because of my beautiful wife and because I feel like I’ve accomplished everything whenever she says, “I’m proud of you.” I did it for my wife, my kids and my desire to stay alive.

"I run so I do not lose the me I was yesterday and the me I might be tomorrow" - George Sheehan
And consider this – I’m a terrible swimmer.

I’m doing a Sprint Triathlon in June.

And I’m scared to death!!!

Thanks to Mindy, Steve’s wife, who got to the race just as we got down the hill. She was able to take some pictures.

Here we are about 1.5 miles into the race. Vivian, Me and Mikey.

Me, Vivian, Mikey and Steve. That’s not sweat on my shirt. That’s half my water bottle.

Me, Steve and Mikey.

I can’t wait to experience something like this with my wife.

What would you do differently?:

Be more focused. Don't drink too much. Watch my pace better.
Post race
What limited your ability to perform faster:


Last updated: 2005-12-12 12:00 AM
00:31:24 | 03.1 miles | 10m 08s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/366
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Good Drinking Too much
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2005-12-12 12:31 PM

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Los Angeles
Subject: Say No to Drugs 5K - 10K Race
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