Monday, October 1, 2012

I rocked the Remembrance Run

I did Sunday's Iowa Remembrance Run practically on a lark — taking over for an injured friend, I hadn't trained for speed, nor did I turn in early the night before.

But somehow, it all went right anyway. It went more than right, actually. I finished 108th out of 402 total (and 88th among men, because I was filling in for a male friend, but I would've been 21st out of the women, I believe).

My official race time was 26:22, though I used MapMyRun to track me from the start line to the finish line, and it said I did 3.05 in 25:59. So, to those of you who received boastful texts about my 26-minute 5K: Sorry, I technically lied to you. You can take back your congratulations.

Still, my splits according to MapMyRun: 8:48, 8:34 and 8:16. I'm going to have to start trying to push myself more often, if this is what I can do when I put my mind to it.

I don't have many 5Ks to compare this one with, but even had I not notched some epic speed (by my standards), I would definitely say this was my favorite so far. The organizers definitely put together an event, not "just a race" — a flyover, a good prerace speaker, and a postrace concert with Jethro's BBQ that I sadly did not attend — and they did a great job.

What I liked the most:

* Seeing service dogs in training during the prerace events. I think they were freshmen, because they kept getting distracted by each other and invisible things in the ground.

* The costumes. Some people wore T-shirts that honored a particular fallen service member, and one woman went all-out with patriotic colors/patterns ... and a tutu. A few men even ran while carrying flags.
I was working on my 8:16 mile at this point, so forgive the questionable photography. I think I may have passed him at the end, but he definitely gave me a run (ha!) for my money.
* The woman playing music on her iPhone without earbuds. I briefly considered sticking with her just to benefit from her tunes ("I Love Rock And Roll"), but I was on a roll.

* The final stretch — posters next to flagpoles had photos of the fallen service members.
* The finish line welcomes. Someone called out your name (or, in my case, my buddy's name) as you approached, and staffers were waiting with a medal to hang around your neck.

* My start-line buddy. We only made running small talk for a few minutes, but it was definitely an Iowa nice moment.

* The racing chips — all you had to do was strap on a Velcro band to your ankle. No complicated lace weaving or twistie-tie usage.
I didn't wear glasses or contacts during the actual race. If I had, I might've noticed that this angle makes me look like I have cankles — which I most certainly do not. Not that there's anything wrong with cankles.
What I didn't like:

* Like most races, the first half-mile or so was a bit of a bottleneck. The poles that held up a big START banner didn't help, and the walkers who didn't listen to directions (go to the back) also caused me a little (OK, maybe more than a little) frustration.

* The earbud wearers. When 800 people register for a 5K on a park path, you should probably not block out the world — especially during the first mile, and especially if you're walking.

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