This was my first 5k race since August 28th, a little over a month ago. In the interval since then I’ve run a couple of 10k races and the agonizing Asheville Citizen-Times Half Marathon, so running a shorter distance today was kind of a relief. I had actually planned to run the 10k, but I’ve got a 20-mile training run scheduled for tomorrow and thought it might be wise not to overdo it on the race mileage.
Both the 5k and 10k start at the same time and are mostly downhill for the first mile, which is great, but it’s an out and back course so what the first mile giveth, the last mile taketh away. After that first mile it’s pretty flat on the beautiful Morganton greenway, which we ran recently in the Sunrise on the Greenway race.
It was fun to go back and run the HOP Race (I think it stands for “Help Our Project”… or maybe it’s “Help Our Park”). Two years ago it was Race #4 for me, so it was nice to come back for Race #104 and reflect a little on how much has happened in the hundred races since then. In those two years I’ve managed to get faster and faster then turn it around in midstream to start getting slower and slower. It probably hasn’t helped that I’ve managed to get fatter and fatter over the past year, gradually gaining back about 10 of those 50 pounds that I had originally lost when I started running. Over the next few weeks as I get closer to the New York City Marathon (34 days from now as I write this) I’m going to try to lose those 10 pounds so I don’t have to carry them all over New York with me.
Speaking of losing weight, this is a race where you COULD enjoy the delicious fruit cups that they serve after the race, but I took the path of least resistance and also enjoyed the brownies and pizza that they also serve. I figured one last fling before getting serious with the diet would be okay. Hope that’s not a bad omen.
To be honest, I’m not THAT much slower than I was last year, probably about a minute or so in a 5k, which I do believe is most likely attributable to the extra weight. On the bright side, I’ve learned a lot since those first few races and am quite a bit faster than I was in this race two years ago. At that time my 5k time was 26:46, and today it was 22:01, so it’s nice that at the age of 58 I’m 4 minutes and 45 seconds faster than I was at 56. My wife Linda has improved over the time also, and her time of 34:05 today was almost 5 minutes faster than in the 2008 HOP Race.
Monday Morning Edit: I just received a note from the official photographer at Table Rock Photography. He has more than 3,400 great photos from the race! I’ve added a link…
I posted an additional 130 photos from the race (mostly people coming across the finish line) on my Facebook page that can be viewed by everyone, and you can feel free to tag yourself or others as well.
3 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
6 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
8 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
9 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
5 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
4 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
8 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
8 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10 Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
5 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
TOTAL – 88
Age Group: 1 of 4
Overall: 18 of 128