Monday, May 17, 2010

Bulldog Dash 5k: Race Report

 This weekend, I traveled down to Germantown, Illinois to battle with an old rival, Robbie Vonalst, in a local 5k.

I stayed at my buddy Scott's house... and woke up 2 hours before race time to the sound of thunder and torrentially pouring rain!!!  Perfect... I had travelled 3 hours to attend this stupid race and now it was going to be rained out?!?... Scott made some calls (Scott's cousin was a volunteer at the race... which would seem like a handy coincidence except that I'm pretty sure that in Germantown, Il everyone is related to everyone in some form or fashion) and we found out that the race had not been cancelled as of yet...

So I had a bowl of raisin bran soaked in water (Scott's one of those bachelor types who only has condiments in his fridge)... and then we headed over to the race course... Fortunately, by now the thunder had passed... Unfortunately, it was still 50 degrees and pouring rain...  But like I said, I drove 3 hours to attend this stupid race so nothing to do but man up!

I head over to the registration table to sign up and there's Robbie...  needless to say, he was surprised to see me.  We spent the next half hour cracking jokes and talking shit to each other and then headed over to the starting line...

We get to the starting line and the line is jam packed with little kids (the race is a fund raiser for after school programs at a local elementary school so a lot of the kids showed up to run)...  I could tell that is was going to be an annoying start but whatever;  this wasn't my town and all the parents were either in the race or mulling around near the start so I figured I'd just deal with it...

The gun goes off and predictably the kids take off at a full sprint for about 50 meters and then slowly one by one start walking...  I soon find myself off to the side of the road, sprinting through puddles and mud to avoid stampeding the little shits...  by the 800 meter mark I've been able to get around them all and settle into a pace but by now I had used way more energy then I would have liked (my heart rate had ballooned up to 188/98% of my max during the first 400 meters from sprinting before settling back down to 170)...  

The one good thing was that Robbie had been held up by the kids as well and all the dodging and surging had allowed me to build a small lead...  Unfortunately the lead did not hold up for long and by the one mile mark Robbie and I were running side by side.  First Mile: 6:11

By now, I'm starting to pay for the fast start... My legs are burning and I'm in oxygen debt... I look over at Robbie and despite the fact that he's running is a soaking wet long-sleeved cotton t-shirt and a pair of basketball shorts, the bastard seems totally comfortable!  Doubts start creeping into my mind but  I fight them back and decide to hold on for as long as I can... Robbie and I forge ahead and pass several runners on our way towards the Two Mile Make.  Second Mile: 6:29

We continue on into the third mile.  Robbie turns it on and surges ahead... and I decide that I've had enough and just let him go: FAIL!!!  I watch as Robbie pulls away and catches up to a group of two runners who are 25 feet ahead of us... For the next mile Robbie stays with them and I stay 25 feet behind them.  I look behind me and see a runner about 25 feet behind me so at least I have motivation to keep pushing. Third Mile: 6:26

As we pass the third mile mark we turn a corner and head towards the finish... I watch up ahead as one of the runners Robbie is with breaks away from the group... Robbie follows suit and finishes between the two of them... I turn on whatever I have left and squeeze out my own little kick.  Final .1: 5:20 pace

-My Final Time: 19:29 (6:16 pace)

-Robbie's Final Time: 19:21 (6:14 pace)

Cold, wet, and ashamed I wait with Scott and Robbie for the award ceremony*.  I've been training for over a year now, non-stop... meanwhile Robbie hadn't run since the Chicago Marathon last October and had just started up again about a month ago and still had no problems beating me...  To make matters worse, Scott (who had been spectating and taking pictures during the race) tells me that he had overheard some other spectators commenting on how impressive it was that "the big guy" was doing so well during my finish (the big guy meaning Me!!!! FML)...

Finally the awards are announced... 1st place in the 30-34 age group, 5th place overall... Robbie Vonalst... 3rd place in the 30-34 age group, 7th place overall, Ethan Zeman!!!  

 I let out a sigh of relief... I knew I had finished 7th overall but 7th is the first spot that's not guaranteed a medal; top 3 get overall finishers trophy's so if the next four finishers are in the same age group the 7th place spot gets nothing... and I figured with the way things had been going that would be just my luck...  Fortunately the 4th place runner was 35... so I WON A MEDAL!!! The First hardware I've won in 13 years!!!! (not counting the ones you get for just finishing the race)...

I guess 30-34 M is a competitive age group in Germantown Illinois... The first place in our group, Robbie, finished in 19:21,  the second place guy finished in 19:23, and I finished in 19:29...  Only 8 seconds separating the three of us...

So in conclusion: Not a bad race at all... I won my first medal... I scored an almost 3 minute PR in the 5K... and I'm 8 seconds slower than an untrained Robbie... Now if I can just keep training and maybe lose some weight so I'm not "the big guy" anymore, I might actually have some success at this running thing!

*Actually I had an even more ridiculous and embarrassing experience while waiting for the awards, but I'm going to save that one for my next post...


  1. Congrats on the hardware big guy!

  2. Wow, congrats on your first medal! That's something I don't even have yet! Congrats!

  3. Hey man..I am the guy that finished in between this rivalry! I was looking for the posted results and came across this. If I would of known the circumstances, I could of tripped Robbie when he passed me! ;) Good race man.

  4. nice work, the first AG award is the BEST. Although, you look WET during those pictures. Blah. Give me the 90 degree heat any day over a rainy race.

  5. I like how you describe the medal hardware. Congrats on the PR. 8 seconds..That is pretty tight. Seems as though you had a lot of fun in the rain, and the race itself. Take care. Enjoyed the anonymous comment. lol.

  6. Congratulations on your medal--I think the rivalry helped. You'll get Robbie one of these days! And thanks for following my blog!!!