Thursday, June 20, 2013

Short Run on a Long Day 5k

Yesterday was the Short Run on a Long Day 5k held in Frankfort, Illinois.  Last year was the first year I participated in this race...and I think it was like 95 degrees out last year.  It's a small, local 5k that draws many of our Frankfort/New Lenox Running Club.  We all put on our Gold FNRC shirts and basically....have a blast!  This year was no exception!

My plan for this race was as follows:  I knew I wasn't in shape (hadn't properly trained) to PR a 5k.  Kelly helped pace me to my last PR at a 5k last December (Recap here) and I think I'll leave that PR in place for now.  I decided I would carry forward that favor and pace a friend of mine!  What is more rewarding than getting your own PR?  Helping someone else achieve their goals, of course!  My friend Becky had wanted to run a 5k with me for some time.  She asked me a while ago if I wanted to pace her at this 5k and I didn't hesitate!  Of course I will!  I know how helpful it was for me to have Kelly pace me, and I knew how helpful it would be for Becky.

Becky's goal:  First and foremost, she wanted to PR.  She told me her PR was 32+ minutes.  I knew that wouldn't be a problem, in fact, she could probably get that PR herself!  But I would still help her along.  Her second goal?  Get a sub 30:00.  Until the day before, I thought we would be safe running a 9:45 avg mile to get that goal. In fact, a couple weeks ago during my Thursday night run group, Becky and I did just that for 3 miles!  Then the day before the race, I calculate it to be sure and I came to find out a 9:39 (actually 9:40) would be about 30:00.  Uh...oops.  So I emailed Becky to tell her and we just decided to do the best we could.

This race is on a Wednesday evening every year, on or near the longest day of the year.  I went to work, left a little early, met up with Derek and headed to the race.  There we met up with Derek's sister and the rest of the F'N Runners.

Behold...the F'N Runners

Derek and I pre-race
He knows I hate being picked up
My friend Becky and I pre-race
Finally we headed to the start line.  This race is chip timed but the start is "gun timed," meaning there is no sensor at the start and essentially everyone starts together and the clock starts running.  Becky and I placed ourselves around the middle of the group, because even though we didn't want to lose precious seconds after the race starts and before we hit the start line, we also didn't want to get trampled by the faster runners!

Our first mile...ended up too fast.  Well, essentially I started out at like an 8:15-8:20 pace and realized within the first 0.2 miles that I was pacing someone! Not running the 5k for myself!  I told Becky we have to back off.  We tried to slow down gradually.  When we got to 9:10-9:15, I told Becky we were still running fast and we should slow it up just a bit.  Becky was still running that pace so I just said, "Ok!"  And went with that pace for the first mile!  Pacer fail?  Maybe.  But I've never been a pacer before and I can only do so much!  Either you listen to the pacer or you don't! Haha!

The second mile was more on pace and probably came in around 9:30 or so.  I knew Becky was struggling and I kept trying to give her encouragement.  We saw Kelly cheering with her dog Pepper a couple times on the course and that was great!  We also saw a few of our running group running as we either passed them or them passed us.  It's great knowing so many people at a race!

When we hit the 3rd mile, Becky stopped to walk.  I just said "Ok!  We can take a quick break, get our breath back!  We have a little cushion."  We started to run.  Probably with 1/2 mile left in the race, Becky stopped to walk again.  She was having issues with her lungs and breathing (I can relate) so even though I really didn't want to stop and walk because we were getting close to that sub 30:00 pace, I just said again... Ok quick walk break.  I tried to get her running when we were nearing a mailbox, "We will run at that mailbox." And Becky flat out said "No we won't!"  lol.  Um. Ok.  walked past the mailbox and we were nearing a corner.  I tried again... "We will run when we get to the corner."  And this time Becky didn't protest!  Phew!  Good!!  Still on pace for that sub 30:00!  My watch was a tad off from the mile markers so I knew that we were a tiny bit slower than my watch said, so I was just hoping we were still ok!

With about 0.3 miles left, Becky said something about wanting to stop and walk.  I knew that after this next turn, we would be at the home stretch!  I didn't want her to walk and wanted to get her to push past the uncomfortable feeling!  I know it all too well from when I was running with Kelly.  I told her we were almost there. I said that we are not stopping to walk.  I said she could punch me when we are finished!  I told her to fight and dig deep.  I knew she slowed her run a bit and I told her it was good as long as she kept running.  Rounding the corner... (Do you feel the suspense??), I saw the finish down the end of the road.  I told her to focus on the orange finish area.  I told her this was it!  Just keep running.  We were almost there!

Nearing the finish line, I saw the clock and it said 29:45!  I yelled at Becky, "Look at the clock!  We have to go!  We are right there!"  And even though Becky told me about 15 seconds earlier she wasn't going to sprint to the finish...we sprinted to the finish!  And our Thursday night FNRC friends were cheering us on as they knew we were right near Becky's goal of a sub 30:00!  And you know what????

Becky's time: 29:58
My time: 29:59's not nice to beat your pacer!  BUT...we finished under 30:00!  Barely!  Yeah buddy!!!  Great job to Becky for finishing strong and pushing passed her limits!  I'm really happy we got the sub 30:00 too.  I was almost more nervous to pacer her as I would have been to try to go for my own PR!  It's hard when someone is relying on you and you don't want to let them down!  But it's so rewarding to help them accomplish their goal too.

Becky and I sprinting to the finish
Post race party
Our friends all gathered at the pavilion afterwards for a small post-race party.  This was just some of our group there.  I really love running this race.  It's local.  It's cheap.  It's a fast course.  You get pizza afterwards.  A good majority of our run group represents!  Frankfort Park District loves it too!  A great race that I hope to continue doing!


  1. Great job helping her reach her goal! And I disagree, I think the pacer should let the runner "beat" them! ;-)

    1. Ha! Never pacing her again! jk