June 1, 2008

Race Report: Albany CrossFit 5K

I was waiting to post this report until results came in, but they’re still not up yet, so I’ll post now and update later when I find out my official time and get the pics.

Right after posting my last race report, I headed off to my next race!

Well, actually I headed over to my dad’s house to pick up my little sister. She’s four years old (but will be five on Monday), and was so excited to come watch me race that she came running out the front door of the house, tripped on a power drill cord (they’re having renovations done and usually she’s not allowed to go on the porch by herself), and went flying off the front steps! Luckily she managed to catch herself and she didn’t get hurt, but I swear… kids seem to narrowly escape death like ten times a day.

Once we got her car seat and her strapped in, we headed off to the race, which was being held in a park a ten minute drive away. However, I had never been to this park – I think it might be new? We drove around the park for a bit and then I saw a small field of about 50 people milling around and stretching, with a start line to the right and a finish line to the left. I think I found it!

I headed up to register and realized: I was out of cash!!! I swore I had money this morning, but I forgot that I paid cash for my swanky Albany Running Exchange singlet that I bought after the morning race. Fortunately, being a member of the ARE opens doors, because they said they knew I was good for it and just to go hit up an ATM after the race. So nice!

So here’s a little background on the race. Albany Crossfit is some kind of intense training program for “getting into world-class shape.” The race today was part of the inaugural East Coast Crossfit Challenge, in which participants go through a “CrossFit Total” of Squat, Overhead Press, and Deadlift (Saturday morning), an off-road 5K race (Saturday afternoon, what I participated in), and a CrossFit “hopper” style event where random movements and weights will be drawn to construct a workout to be completed for time (Sunday morning). And let me tell you… all these people were buff! Usually you get to a race and see lots of people who look somewhat out of shape and that you think you can beat. Not this race… I felt like I was walking into the American Gladiator ring. There went all my hopes of an award due to a small field.

Because it was a three part event and they knew who to expect (and didn’t expect many race day entries for just the 5K, like I did), they decided to get started a bit early. Good thing, because the sun had come out and was beating down and it was getting hotter by the minute. Josh, the guy who suckered me into joining the ARE (though don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I did!) was leading the race, and he got on a bullhorn to direct us all to the start. There was no star spangled banner, no announcements; just a quick explanation that he would count backwards from 3 and when we heard the siren it meant “go.”

The siren went off, and off we went! Right away I found myself in the back of the pack. It’s not that I’m normally such a fast runner, but I’m used to being somewhere in the middle. However, right after the first turn, I found myself glancing behind me to reassure myself that I wasn’t the absolute last person (I wasn’t). We went over a narrow bridge that didn’t leave much room for passing, and then went into the woods. This was described as one mile of “trail running,” which I was kind of nervous about, but the trail was all covered with gravel and not scary at all – exactly my kind of “trail running” though I’m sure the hardcore trail runners would scoff. The 1/2 mile or so in the woods was nice and cool, but soon enough we were back out into the sun, and headed back to the start. At the one mile marker, I was expecting a slow time because I was near the back – but was told that my first mile was 7:30!!! Wow, everyone else was crazy fast.

We went back through the starting area, and Josh announced my name over the loudspeakers, adding that I was looking strong. I didn’t really feel that strong – I felt like the weakest one in the race – but I appreciated it nonetheless. From there we headed out on a long segment that was all in the sun. It was hot, it was humid, and there was also just enough wind to be annoying and slow me down a bit. I passed a few guys who were slowing down, but that wasn’t really that much consolation when I realized that if they hadn’t been tired from bench pressing hundreds of pounds that morning, they would have been way ahead of me.

The two mile mark didn’t have a timer, but I was just eager to finish. Fortunately, the two mile mark took us into another short “trail” through the woods, though this one was paved, which was nice. I know it’s bad for your knees/ankles to run on pavement, but I find it more comfortable than grass (at least while I’m running it, though I know later I’ll pay). We left the woods, and after about 3/4 mile on the pavement/roads, we were onto the grassy field that meant the last 1/4 mile to the finish. The grass was tough (yes, it’s soft… but somehow it takes more energy to pick up your feet), the heat was tough, and I was struggling a bit. I think the 5K is really not my race – it’s too much of a sprint and there isn’t an opportunity to just relax and enjoy the run.

As I came through the finish chute, I saw my mom and little sister cheering for me with about 1/10 mile to go – they had chosen that spot to be able to hang out in the shade. I didn’t mind though, because at the finish line itself were a bunch of ARE runners being really supportive! That was great. I headed over to my mom and my little sister, and while my mom immediately said, “nice job! You looked awesome,” my little sister starts pulling on my arm to get my attention, “Laura… Laura… Laura…” “Yes, Julia?” “You lost.” “Thanks, sweetie.” Absolutely cracked me up 🙂

I think I crossed the finish around 26:00, though I’ll find out for sure when the official results come in. But still – that’s not bad at all! Two 5Ks, the week after my first marathon, and the first one was 20 seconds off a PR and the second was less than a minute beyond that. Hopefully this means I’m in good shape for the NYRR Mini 10K next weekend, and maybe I can even PR at it. A 51:00 finish (25 from this morning + 26 from this afternoon) would certainly be great).

Hope everyone else had a great weekend!

Results are in and can be found here.


17 thoughts on “Race Report: Albany CrossFit 5K”

  1. CONGRATS CHICA!!! They made you run on the grass?!? Awesome awesome job! I wondered how they’d swing a race, since the paths are pretty narrow. There’s a 5k going on there on the 14th. I think I’m going to try and swing it.

  2. Suzee, you know me too well 🙂 Went out for soft serve right after the race.

    Marcy, I think the HMRRC course is the same one – have fun!!

  3. Yeah, crossfit, I’ve heard, is crazy crazy crazy. its almost like a religion if you look up their web site. one of their slogans is, “how many reps would jesus do.”

  4. “You lost”. That’s funny, sounds like something like my boys would day, but more like “Dad, you’re a loser.” I’m sure the meaning of that will change once they’re teenagers.

    Weird, but I just got home from a BBQ where a friend was telling me about CrossFit. I’d never heard of it, and now you’re posting about it. I suppose I’ll start hearing about it all over the place.

    Nice job on your race, by the way!

  5. Just found your blog and write-up about the East Coast Challenge. I ran it and had a blast.

    Not sure if you realize but so many runners are training CrossFit methods and not running tons of miles. All the while setting huge PRs and spending more time with their family. As you saw at the race, these guys and gals are buff and fast.

    We have a few of our athletes running marathons, 5ks, and triathalons this summer.

    You should stop in some time.


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