Fitness Friendship and Fun 5K – Kannapolis NC

North Cabarrus Park, Kannapolis NC

This morning I participated in the Fitness, Friendship and Fun 5K in Kannapolis NC.  The event was set up by a group known as the Jackson Park Runner Girls and headed up by a friend of mine from DailyMile, Kathi Landis. I received a personal invite to this race and how could I turn that down? The race benefited both the girls running group, as well as raising money to support a cure for MS.

Thanks to my surprisingly good pace and time at the 8K two weeks ago, which suggested that I could set a very nice PR at my next 5K, I set a few goals for myself for this race.  I usually don’t set time goals for races, usually just look to finish, or at the very least do better than my last race. I am still at the point of not racing other people, but rather racing myself.  The first goal was to run the 5K in under 40 minutes.  At the 3.1 mile mark of the 8K I was at 38 minutes and some change, so I knew it was doable.  The second goal, was an off-shoot of the first,  Kathi had assured me (thanks to a very small group in this inaugural event) that I could easily place in my age group.  Well I decided I didn’t want to trot around the course with an awful time and still get a medal because I happened to be 2nd of two.  I wanted to feel like I had earned it, and that didn’t mean finishing 2nd or 3rd overall since that was impossible, but running a good race for me, setting a PR etc.  If I ran my best race, then I would feel I had done enough to place, even if it was a very small division.

Needless to say, I managed to blow both of these goals out of the water, or as my friend Amanda said when I told her, I “killed it”.

I finished with a time of 37:04, well under 40 minutes, and an average pace of exactly 12 minutes per mile, which is 5MPH.  I’ve done that on a treadmill and it is not easy.  A couple of downhill stretches helped out, but I was moving pretty good.  At the two mile mark I realized I could WALK to the finish and slide in under 40 minutes, but of course I didn’t quit, in fact I was shocked to discover when I uploaded my Garmin that mile 3 was faster than mile 2.  My mile 1 was blazing fast at 11:21, which beat my previous best 1 mile time of 12:09 by nearly a minute.  I set out to smoke this race, and I did.

I also, surprisingly, placed second in my age group.  And, also surprisingly, it was not because I was 2nd of 2, there was at least 3 of us as someone else was awarded the third prize.  At first, when Kathi announced the 3rd place finisher and it was not me, I knew that I had not placed.  Then, as she was announcing the second place finisher she started with “It’s my understanding our second place finisher made a PR today, and he drove all the way down from Winston Salem….” at which point I realized it was me! She also mentioned I was a Wolfpacker like she was, which drew loud applause from a very NC State friendly crowd. Needless to say I was shocked, and I can’t wait to see the goofy grin on my face in the picture Kathi took of me and my medal.

The course was set through the park, which had a 1.25 mile walking trail, so we ended up looping around the trail twice, once in one direction, and then again in the other direction, and then another small loop to come back around the last .5 mile to the finish.  The course map on paper looked extremely confusing, I wasn’t sure what to think about it and one of the ladies at the sign in table said to me “You can take that with you”, to which I replied, “It won’t help”.  Turns out the course was very well marked and well manned.  Lots of arrows and signs and lots of people pointing the way.  Big round of applause to the group from Jackson Park Runner girls for running a wonderful event and big thumb’s up to Kathi’s husband (I didn’t catch his name, he was referred to as Mr. Landis) who laid out the course and also handled the timing and scoring.

It’s not a trophy shelf yet, but it’s a start.

Up next, in two weeks, the Rock and Roll New Orleans Half Marathon.

Can’t wait to hang one of these puppies around my neck! Bring it on!


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  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.