Monday, February 1, 2010

Groundhog Run

Over the weekend I ran my first organized race in 23 years. The Groundhog Run is an annual 5 and 10K race held in the Subtropolis - a massive underground warehousing structure. It was a unique experience running in shorts and a t-shirt in KCMO on Jan 31. It was cold outside. But inside the caves, it was in the 60s (maybe 70s in places). The 5k race kicked off around 9 a.m. , with the 10K starting at 10. Chris (my running buddy) and I spent most of the time before the start of the 10K doing a little jogging to warm up, and a lot of standing in huge lines for a pre-race pee.

Like most races, the beginning was a bit of a crush as we worked our way around people for the first mile. Between mile one and two, it opened up a bit. We clocked the first mile at 7:50, and the second at 7:40. I could tell that Chris could knock out a faster run, so I encouraged him to take off - which he did with aplomb.

Right after Chris lit out, I experienced something that never happens to me on runs - an asthma attack. When running alone (which I normally do), I can always tell if I'm going to have an issue, and run just below the point of an attack. But in a race situation, with all sorts of runners around, I hadn't noticed until it was too late. It hit with a mix of wheezing and a crazy pain under my right ribs. I didn't have an inhaler on me, so I kept running and concentrated on breathing and tried to focus on enjoying the run rather than on the pain. After about a half mile, I stopped noticing the effects of the attack - mind over matter. I finished the first 3.1mi circuit smiling, and cranked out the second 3.1 at around the same pace. I ended up with a 48 min time - with which I was happy. But the moment I crosses the finish line and stopped, asthma enveloped my lungs. I grabbed some water and orange juice from one of the freebie stands and went to look for Chris, who then went to look for Marisa, who had the inhaler. And, I'm happy to report, after a couple of puffs, I was good to go.

I had never done a race (and neither had Chris) that used the timing triggers (some sort of RF-type thing) laced into our running shoes. That was kind of cool. In the races I did when I was younger, you simply got stuck with the time of the total race - whether it took you 1 or 10 minutes to cross the start line at the beginning of the run.

I had a blast doing the race, but it was a really different experience. I'm not used to running in a crowd. I'm also not used to being so time-conscious. I think that I'll do a few more runs this year - the KS Half-Marathon being one of them - but still plan to focus on the zen nature of my solo runs.

Finally, check out an article on running in today's This'll get you there It explodes even a lot of current thoughts about how much exercise people should get. The short answer is: more is better. I plan to take the advice and start upping my daily totals in terms of time spent running. Again, this is worth reading.

See you next week.

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