This past Saturday, I ran in the first race since Bold in the Cold 15K in January. I have been rebuilding my running since shortly after that race because of a swimming injury. The Beat the Heat 5K was my first race since the injury and I think I can count the injury “under control” at least. In addition, I had a good time at a small, quite new race in my town of Irving.
This was the second year for the Beat the Heat 5K and fun run. They added a 10K and hired a local race director to oversee the racing. Both were good choices to keep the race improving and getting runners to come out. The normal time for the race is in late April and that’s where I think it gets its name. North Texas heat sets in early in our neighborhood. The race benefits Family Promise of Irving, a chapter of Family Promise that seeks to overcome homelessness among families in our area. The organization partners with local churches to provide temporary shelter and day services to assist families that are recently homeless to get back on their feet. My church is one of the partners as well as many others in Irving. This race is one way that Family Promise of Irving raises funds for their mission.
I chose to run the 5K at this race because I wasn’t sure where I would be in mileage at this time. However, my longer runs are up to 6 miles and I have begun to build some speed also. Since this would be a 5K, I was hoping to see how well I could run. My goal was to see if I could break the 30-minute barrier.
The morning was cool, but not too much; yet, the wind was fairly strong. The race was held near Las Colinas Elementary in north Irving. There are some pretty good hills around the school area that would give us a challenge. The race organizers invite the churches involved with Family Promise to set up booths at the race and my church was well represented. We have a good group of older guys that do a lot of cooking for different things and they came out to help serve goodies for the runners.
We had a good selection of goodies for the race. Chik Fil A had donated chicken biscuit sandwiches and Einstein bagels provided…well…bagels. There were also fruits and pastries as well as a good supply of coffee. The guys were trying their best to peddle the chicken sandwiches and other goodies before the race, but with little luck. They weren’t aware that a lot of runners won’t eat much before a run or race, especially shorter ones. I had a banana just to make sure I had something in my stomach, but I was waiting until after the race for the better stuff.
There was a little disorganization evident with the race start and the sound didn’t work out. However, they got the kiddos off on their fun run on time and got set up for the 5K/10K. We would start at 8:30AM after the kiddos were finished. The little guy that came in first ran his mile in 6:05. Someone should keep an eye on him.
We started just a little after 8:30, I think, but close. The gate narrowed us down a little, but the field wasn’t huge so we all got out quick. I took off too fast, but tried to hold it as far as I could. I had to back off at about 3/4 of a mile. I could still hold a good pace, but it was slower. We went down a long hill on Kinwest Parkway right off the bat. This looked like it would be our “demon” coming back up for the finish. We turned a corner onto a side street at about a mile out. By then we were at our second water stop. I didn’t stop at this one and at the first, I barely slowed down. I got a little bit in me and some on me. I still haven’t’ figured out how to drink and run; just not that coordinated.
Our turnaround came up fairly quick and not too long after I saw the leader going back. There were several friends from my church that were running. One of our preachers was about a half minute in front of me at this point, so we saw each other on the turn around. There was a lot of uphill going back, but I kept my pace pretty well. On a side note, this was my first race to use my Android phone instead of my Garmin. It worked well, but with it in my back pocket, I don’t really know what my pace is. In the future, I should probably stick with my Garmin for races since it lets me see the pace and control it better.
I didn’t see a sign for the second mile. Yet, I knew where I was since “the hill” was here. I kept my pace as well as possible up the hill, but had to slow down near the top. It was…large. However, I made it over and that left only a short run up to the finish. I saw a shadow of a couple that kept pace with me near the end coming up from behind. That was all I needed to put in the kick to get to the finish. I could see that the gun clock was just barely over 31 minutes. Not the goal, but still a PR. Now for that chicken sandwich.
I waited around and talked with other folks and watched to see one friend come in from the 1oK. When I left, I stopped by the table to see the postings for the 5K. My final time was 31:14, but I was sure the counter was wrong since it listed that I was the 19th runner in. I chalked that up to technology and just went home. When I checked the web site posting later, I was amazed. I finished first in my age group (50 -59) and was 19th across the line of 97. So, not just a PR, but a win as well. That was still hard to believe. My preacher had also finished first in his age group. And, for the naysayers, we weren’t the only ones in the division either.
This is a great little race with lots of good volunteers, a challenging course, and for a great cause. They are still going through birth pains and learning how to do things, but for just their second year, they are doing great. I had a good time and got to run with friends, which I don’t often get to do. The goodies to eat were exceptional and our swag bags weren’t bad either. It’s a race I will certainly sign up for next year; maybe the 10K next time. Happy running!