Ran My First 5K in Over Three Months and Earned a 54,750% Return on Investment

The sky above Dos Vientos the morning of the race on July 20, 2013

After messing up my right hamstring in my last 5K on April 13th, I finally felt "safe" enough to try another race.

It took a dozen visits to my chiropractor to finally get to the point where I felt I could run "fast" again without pain in my hamstring. That said, on Saturday, I had not done any speed interval training or races since getting sidelined with my issue.

Having run pretty much one speed...slow...for the past 13 weeks, didn't give me much confidence. So I treated this race very "unseriously." What does that mean? Very little preparation, both logistically and mentally. I'm talking about:

  • Didn't sign up for the race until the night before
  • Didn't do anything special the night before, like eat "the right" food, go to bed early, pin my bib number on my shirt, etc. (though I did brush my teeth I'll let you know)
  • Didn't set the alarm, figuring, well, uh, hoping, that I'd awaken in time to drive 5 minutes to Dos Vientos for the 8am race, even though I didn't get to bed until 12:30am
  • Didn't wear my special racing flats - instead, I wore my Skechers "Go Run" shoes that I use in my training shoe rotation (that said, these shoes, are really, really light, so they are just fine for racing in, in my opinion)
  • Got up at 6:45 am, brushed teeth, laced up shoes, and decided to get a car wash and gas (for my car, not me) first instead of driving directly to the race to warm up
  • Got there in time for some brief warmup, a little socializing, and a few photos on this cloudy Saturday morning (like the image above)

So basically my strategy when I know I'm not physically prepared for a race is to take my mind off of that by, just, well, going with the flow. Life's too short to treat every local 5K race too seriously!

Well I guess the strategy paid off because I ended up winning the race overall in 18:53. Now this was quite a slow time for me, but the course was not an easy one, with multiple climbs along Borchard Road. This was a race where hill strength was more important, in my opinion, than leg speed (though some of both would be nice). Some younger guys took the early lead. I passed them on the uphill. They flew past me on the downhill. But after the turnaround, what went downhill, had to go back uphill. About halfway into that uphill, the guys looked like they were running the wrong way on an escalator. I just kind of plodded and plugged away and passed them by, figuring I'd see them again after cresting the top of the hill.

Lo and behold, somehow I maintained the lead through the remainder of the race, good for an overall win. In most races, even hilly races like this one, a winning time of 18:53 would normally not take first place overall. But hey....I'LL TAKE IT! The key I've found to winning a race through all these years, is finding a race where your faster competition will not be present.  Ha!

This race had a decent payback for me. I spent $35 on the entry. The t-shirt and goodie bag had a value of about $15, leaving $20 invested. I won a $50 Roadrunner Sports gift certificate, so my one day return on investment was about 150%. Annualized, that would be a 54,750% return. Yay!

Now back to the grind. I'm still a bit sore from this race 2 days later. Ouch.