I'd been sick for the past 12 days and had not run for 16 days when I staged for the start of the Rockies Run for the Homeless 5K. The previous day I did 6000 vertical feet of hiking and scrambling in the Lost Creek Wilderness and it didn't wipe me out, so I figured I was ready to try a run.
I did a couple of really slow miles to warm-up and then a few striders. I staged with Sheri and Derek. Sheri had been doing some training, like me, but Derek was coming in completely cold, his last being the Rattlesnake Ramble last September. But he's fit, 17 years old, and a natural runner. I thought he was going to be serious threat to me. Last year, we ran four races together: two 5K's, the Bolder Boulder 10K, and the aforementioned Ramble. He beat me in all of them, though they were all close, but last year he ran track. This year nothing. I had a shot.
Derek actually conceded before we started. He was just going to run mostly with his mom and see how things felt, so I was on my own. The first mile is pretty fast and my plan was to try and hold back to 7:15, as I feared the next two miles, which were tougher. The barker at the mile mark called out 7:13, my watch showed 7:11, and my chip time was probably 7:09, so I was on track. I pushed a bit harder in the second mile, powering over some small hills and went by the 2-mile mark at 14:15, so about a 7:02 mile.
I tried to empty the tank in the third mile, but probably could have suffered more. Just before the finish this race goes into the Rockies ballpark, Coors Field, and circles the field on the warning track. This surface feels great to run on. I looked back to make sure Derek wasn't coming for me and then exited the stadium and kicked solidly for the finish. I went hard enough that I dry heaved once or twice after finishing.
In the third mile I worked quite hard and my Garmin watch told me I was going faster than the other miles, but my final time doesn't seem to agree with that. After uploading to Strava, it seems to think my third mile was faster as well, but the final time was 22:04, for an average of 7:07/mile. In the past, my watch has overestimated my speed, but the splits I got at the miles don't jive that much with the final time either. It doesn't really matter, though. The time is the time. My goal for the Bolder Boulder is 7:15/mile and this 5K indicates I'm not ready to run that fast for a 10K, but I have three weeks to hopefully improve. Oh, and I won't do a big hike the day before the Bolder Boulder.
Sheri finished 1m14s behind me and Derek 14 seconds after her. We immediately got our Rockies tickets for a game in August (part of the perks of running this race) and then we entered the park to eat, drink, and relax in the perfect weather. A few minutes after we settled into some seats and started eating, Derek had a severe allergic reaction. His face started getting very puffy, his mouth and lips in particular. Sheri ran back to the car to get a Zyrtec that we always keep with us for exactly this. When Sheri got back, Derek was still going downhill and we called for some EMTs to come give him a look. They arrived about ten minutes later and an IV, right there in stands. They then injected him with 40mg (I think) of Benadryl. Sheri had already given him a Zyrtec (10mg, I think), but his mouth and entire face was swelling up pretty badly. He had some hives as well, but mostly it was his mouth swelling up that had them concerned. They recommended a trip to the hospital and an ambulance team came right to our seats in the stadium and they loaded him in a gurney and took him through the massive crowd of runners. He was quite the spectacle, but that was nothing compared to the attention he received at the hospital.
|Derek in the emergency room at Denver Health|
Apparently word got around the ward that some good looking, 17-year-old academic superstar (he just learned he scored a 34 on the ACT) tennis start was being brought in and the entire female staff rushed to his room. When we got there five of them hovered over him pretending to tend to his condition but secretly hoping for an autograph…
He’s fine now and off to a study session, but he’s now gone through this four times in the past four years. He’s been tested for allergies and they have all come up negative. Frustrating, but it doesn’t happen often. Now we have an Epi-Pen, though, and I can’t wait until I have to jam it into his thigh…NOT! But we will be prepared.
I ran reasonably well, for me, and was 3rd in my age group out of 105 runners. When I read the email that told me this, Sheri responded with, “Oh, so you weren’t first out of 167, then?” Guess where she finished? Smack talk from the wife!