Before I arrived on campus Friday, I was up very early to get in a run just a bit faster than recovery pace @ 8 min 10 sec pace; ideally, I did not want to tire my legs too much due to the Alex Memorial 5k Janette and I were running at 7 PM. As coach Pete states, those who train the same remain the same. In an attempt to heed his advice and that of Karl’s, I am aiming to run more 5 to 10 k races as part of my speedwork this summer. As many of us runners know, it is tough to run a race every week due to expenses. This race cost me $30. But, it was for a great cause…a point I will address in a second.

Before the race started, I tend to do what other runners do, checkout the field. And sure enough, I noticed a number of really good runners from the Memorial Park area I do most of my training runs at. I lined up at the front so I could get off to a good start…and good start it was. I dashed out to the front; it was kind of cool being behind the lead motorcycle as I was in first place clocking a 5 minute and 20 second pace. Of course, I knew I could not hold that pace for 3.1 miles. And sure enough, I was passed by the eventual leader 3/4th of the way into mile 1; I watched the rest of the field catch me by mile 1. Thus, it was fun while it lasted. Yes, I will always have that memory; I call people I was in first place for 5 minutes of a race; if that long.

Now that I was back in my usual position, I aimed to keep my pace at around 6:10 per mile. It was hot, but man I figured I was only running for 3.1 miles; how hard is that? I find the 5k to be very difficult; it is just one big speed session. And, I treated this race as one. My goal was not to win the race nor my division, but to get in a great quality training session, though I am not officially training yet. As I approached mile 2 and 3 of this double-loop course, I was  feeling the lactic acid in my legs. I finished with a time of 19 minutes 30 seconds; it was a full 50 seconds slower than what I thought I would run. But, it was a great workout.

I won my division and got a cool trophy. More than anything, this race taught me three big things as I head into summer training: 1.) Focus hard on the speed stuff this summer; however, do not stress over it. I am thinking two good quality sessions per week will help. 2.) I felt the strain of the race in my core; hence, I need to do more core/ab work. Just because your abs look good does not mean they are as strong as they need to be. 3.) Pace. I still have yet to gain a great feel for pace. This seems hard to believe for a runner such as myself.

Janette ran her very first 5k; she posted a 9:10 per mile pace, finishing with a time of 28:24. She too felt the heat and the pace. She told me that it is her goal to get faster over the summer, also.

As for the event itself, the race was for a great cause; I was recently discussing the issue of Autism in society. I now hear tha 1 out of 100 kids born will be an autistic kid. Hearing the mother and father of Alex speak at the post-race barbecue and award’s ceremony was awesome. Here is the story below, and a picture of 1/5th of the audience:

The Bayou City Road Runners (BCRR) are presenting the Alex’s Memorial 5K & Benefit Barbecue to honor the life of Alex Jamrich. Alex, the 17 year old son of Milan Jamrich and Kathi Mahon (BCRR club president) died unexpectedly one month short of his 18th birthday on May 15, 2010. Alex was autistic, and his death was likely due to complications associated with this disorder. Alex was Kathi and Milan’s greatest joy, but his autism their greatest challenge. Even though friends could not eliminate their pain and grief, it was agreed that something should be done in honor of Alex’s life, as well as to promote autism awareness and raise money for research and services.

The proceeds for the First Annual Alex’s 5K will go to Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to funding research into causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism. In addition, Autism Speaks works at increasing awareness and advocating for the needs of individuals and families of those with autistic disorder. To find out more about autism and Autism Speaks, go to www.autismspeaks.com.

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