Monday, November 1, 2010

Race Report: Oak Scare 5k

I'm sure you've heard the saying "Feed a cold, starve the flu". It comes from common sense home cures for the two most common kinds of illnesses. When you have a cold, eat; it will give you the energy to feel better. When you have the flu, don't eat. I don't think this has as much to do with energy; I'm guessing it has more to do with the fact when you have the flu whatever you eat is coming back up anyways. 

The new piece I've added to the puzzle is "Feed a cold, stave the flu, run with acute sinusitis" (A part of the official diagnosis from Fridays visit to the doctor). I know it wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done, but Rach and I both had been looking forward to doing the 5k on Saturday. It was held to benefit youth programs at a YMCA, and was 3 miles from the house. And to be honest, I wanted to judge how my running was progressing. 

The YMCA hosting the event is pretty close to Boston College, and is along one of the routes I sometimes take home from work. I knew the area was hilly and would be a good challenge, which is why I was looking forward to doing it. Plus I knew if I could manage to throw down a good time even when I'm not feeling well, it should help me see how I'd be doing if I could breathe and sleep properly.

After catching a break with some super warm weather for Paddy's Road Race, It was a bit cold and windy at the start of the race, which served as a reminder that fall road race season is here for real.  331 people turned out to participate, many of them wearing Halloween costumes. I have got to get better at remembering to take pictures of these events, especially as I took my phone with me for the race (more on that in a bit). I did find a blog of a local runner who has some pics.

I started near the back as i guessed my ability to lie somewhere behind The Hamburglar (who was hanging out around mid pack), and in front of the 2 little kids dressed as bees that I'm positive Rachelle would have kidnapped adopted had she been given the opportunity. I was also pretty far behind the guy dressed in an inflatable bull costume. I figured that while I was safer behind the bull, I wished someone else had worn a bull costume so I could have checked "running with the bulls" off my bucket list.

The first couple miles were mostly uphill, and I managed to run the first 6 minutes before stopping to walk. Stopping to walk was a recurring theme for the day, but i managed to keep the walk breaks short for the most part. My first mile time was 12:25 which I was very happy with considering all the hills. 

The second mile was far less successful, as there was a very big hill that I wound up walking the majority of. I wound up with around a 14 minute mile for the second mile as the hill, the chill, and my cold got to me pretty good. I was bummed but I knew that stamina is still the area I need to improve the most, and that I was going to be a bit weaker than normal. 

Thankfully, the third mile had a downhill and it was a bit sunnier by that point. I managed a 13:30 third mile, and gave everything I could in that last .11 mile to bring home a decent time. That time turned out to be 41:50, which while not particularly good, was still my 2nd fastest 5k ever.  I managed to beat around 40 people overall, including one guy in my age group. With a race like this, it's hard to know who was running versus who is out just to have a good time and walk with friends. 

I have to say I definitely felt more capable in sections, and my recovery time is getting a lot better. Most of the problems I had with breathing were due to the sinus problems. I've been working on belly breathing (breathing with the diaphragm and not just the lungs), which provides the ability to pull a lot more oxygen into the system. More oxygen == better running. On a flatter course I probably would have been better, but most courses aren't pancake flat like the section of the Esplanade I use for training. Once I get to where I can run for 30 minutes, I'm going to start training on hillier sections as a next step.

In the end I was pretty happy to see progress, and because of my cold, I'm tempering my feels on the final result. It's a hilly course and was only 2 1/2 minutes slower than my best time ever. We're doing two races in late November, after which I really start training full bore for Mooseman. 


  1. Congrats on a great race! Running with a stuffed up head is not easy at all! Way to stick it out.

  2. Great job on checking off another race from the lists. Glad it was a good event, costumes are a lot of fun to run around.