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  1.  The first thing that I learned is that I cannot run 200 miles by myself.   It took a team to do so.
  2. Not everyone has to run to benefit the relay team.  The importance of a driver who know where they are going cannot be understated.  If there is no one at the relay hand off point, it creates a bevy of problems. 
  3. There is not as much support as in other races.  When a runner is out there, it is up to the team to provide water.  Our driver was knowledgeable enough where he would meet us at a midway point in the run and have a water ready.
  4. Those squirt bottles that strap to your hand; they are awesome!
  5. I brought about a gallon of water and some weight gainer protein along.  It worked well for long van rides when I needed some calories.
  6. Practice running at night before the race.  Bouncing lighting is distracting.  Poor lighting will make you step on or run into something.
  7. Know the timing of the race.  Know when your breaks are.
  8. Sleep whenever possible.  Note that getting eight hours may not be an option.
  9. Teams are on different schedules.  You may want to grab a tent and sleep away from everyone else just to get some peace and quiet.
  10. Do it!  It is a battle that is like no run I’ve ever been in.  The people running the race with you are the ones who cheer you on later (and you will cheer them on as well).  It really puts the focus not on the competition, but on the feat itself.  Since the feat itself is so great, one can only appreciate the contributions of all of those involved.


The Sub-20 Minute 5K

A year and a half of running. Wow! I honestly didn’t think that I would stick with it that long.

The lead up to this was a lengthy one. It took a year of tough running to take a minute and a half off of my 5k time. The actual race was on October 29, 2011. I was running a distance run on the weekends and doing track work once a week. Most weeks, I ran for 5 out of the 7 days.

The track workouts were varied and always challenging. Most of them were just checking if I was ready to meet this goal. There were a few runs of three sets of one mile in an interval. When those finally got to around 19:15, I knew the goal was in reach.

The last set of track work I did was the Wednesday before the race. One mile as fast as possible. That mile took me 5:42.

There are always faster people than me. In this race, I finished 17th. That’s really good. There were 826 finishers in the race.

The biggest con that comes up is that you can’t do it forever. Runners get injured fairly frequently. To avoid this, I’m taking a break from running. 🙂 All goals were met this year. Running is a great activity to clear out your mind and get in shape, but everything has its time.

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It has been a while since running became a hobby. About a year now. Along the way, I’ve been setting up goals for myself to meet or exceed. This particular one was the most ambitious this far. On May 14, 2011, I accomplished this goal.

The decision to go for this goal was due to a compromise. A 5k was seeming too short and a marathon too long. A 25k seemed like a good compromise for a newbie runner like myself. I work with who have run the race before and gave me positive reviews. I would like to echo them and say that if you’re considering the race, it is quite a rewarding experience.

The under two hours part of the goal was more of a personal decision. If I’m doing this, I’m doing it good. There is also special recognition for those who are able to beat the 2 hour mark. If I run next year, I get a bib that acknowledges the achievement. I also knew what shape I was in. A goal of 2 hours would mean that a lot of work would be required; it was going to be tough.

Like most things, the preparation was 90% of the race. On the Riverbank Run’s website there is a training schedule that I tried to follow. Because of my lofty goals, I decided to follow the expert running schedule. At the peak of training, I was running for 45-50 miles a week.

The time commitment was larger than expected. Most of my Saturday was spent recovering from a 12-15 mile run. This gets especially rough when your wife decided to throw a surprise birthday party involving 70 people and indoor rock climbing. 🙂 The time it takes doesn’t just count time spent on the road. There is time to stretch, time to dress, time to clean, and time to recover. Looking back at it, I’m glad that I opted for a distance shorter than a marathon.

On raceday, I was buzzing. The weather was perfect for a long run. Out of the gate, the wind was at my back. The first 8 miles were fast. Probably a little too fast. Around mile 11, we had turned back, the wind was against us, my times began to slow down. Along the side of the road, there were people, lots of them towards the last two miles. There were people from the community, cheerleader squads, and military service members. I, of course, didn’t take water from the service members, but gave them some applause as I ran by. They had already given enough.

It was due to the people who were cheering and the volunteers that I kept pushing. There was some slack in my goal time, but why not do better? I finished strong, going uphill, with people cheering all over.

Mile: Pace in Minutes per Mile
1: 7.11 — Watch lost my position during this time. This distance isn’t totally accurate
2: 7:20
3: 7:21
4: 7:26
5: 7:15 — Passed the 7:30 pace guy here
6: 7:21
7: 7:17
8: 7:21
9: 7:36 — Switched back and lost the wind. Also a bit more hilly
10: 7:41
11: 7:35
12: 7:46
13: 7:35
14: 7:37
15: 7:42
15.57 7:30

Being healthy helps me to enjoy my life. I would recommend that everyone who has the ability, set up some goals and get out on the road. Life is too short to sit! There are lots of running clubs out there. The ones that I ran with were awesome and encouraging. Find one in your area and get to it.