Sunday, October 16, 2011

Race Report - 2011 Liz Hurley Ribbon Run 5K

Cool tech shirt provided by  my employer.
Race Day
A great race for a great cause. The eighth edition of the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run 5K set a new participation record, with over 5500 registered runners. For the first time, event organizers actually had to turn away runners due to public safety reasons once the maximum capacity was reached. I believe this was actually the largest organized race ever in the city of Huntsville. Hopefully, organizers can find a way to allow for larger participation next year, as it would be a shame if the event could not grow any further, thereby limiting the effort to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer.

A coworker of mine had once again stepped up to solicit runners to create a corporate team of runners for this race. And Again, our employer Emerson Network Power had stepped up and paid the registration fees for employees and their family members along with providing free tech shirts with a nice logo designed by another coworker for all participants (see picture above). It was nice to see every one step up again for a great cause. In addition, a lot of the runners got together at the office the week prior to the race, raising almost $1,800.00 USD with a bake sale.

Just before the race, I met up with my coworkers for a quick team picture before heading to the starting line with Jason Shattuck in time to get a spot towards the front of the field.Once again,I planned to break the 20 minute barrier and I figured I'd try to stick with Jason as long as possible to make it happen. I had never before attended this race and I wasn't familiar with the course at all. I only hoped it wouldn't have a lot of hills.

Race organizers had separated the race by gender with men starting at 8AM and women following with a 9AM start. After an intro by Liz Hurley, a local TV anchor and namesake for the cause and the race, the race started at 8AM. I stayed just behind Jason as we made our way through a slightly congested field of runners early on. I was feeling pretty good early on. I normally slowed down during the second mile only to pick up the pace again on the last mile. To try something new, I decided to push through the second mile and to try to hold the pace of the first mile. Overall, I was able to maintain the average pace I had targeted through mile 2.

Unfortunately, I ended up paying the price very soon after. There were a couple of hills between mile 2 and 2.5 and while I did slow down just a bit to save my energy during the climbs for the last .5 mile downhill section, I was exhausted when I hit 2.5 miles. At this point James pulled away and I was struggling to keep my heart rate in check. I had already maxed out at 192 with another half mile to go, which was not a good sign. I opted to back off and to settle for whatever I would end up with. What I ended up with was another   finish just above 20 minutes, oh well.

Some of my fellow co-workers and I just before the start.

Final Comments
Starting next week, I plan to focus on marathon training with lots of speed work and cross training. There are plenty of local 5K races and I will continue to go for it. Hopefully, the speed work will help. I ended up 5th in my age group and 36th overall in the men's race with upwards of 700 runners participating.

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