Beat the Heat 5K – Winston Salem NC – July 21, 2012

There are a lot of different challenges in distance running.  Distance challenges (how far can you go), time challenges (how fast can you go), course challenges (hills, trails, pot holed roads) and environmental challenges (heat, snow, rain, ice).  This race is not a terribly difficult course, but the timing of it is brutal.  Definitely an environmental challenge.  I very nearly signed up for this race last year until I realized that Beat the Heat was not an invitation, but a challenge.  Can you beat the heat? Despite being in the evening it was still very warm and with rain threatening, very very humid.  It was 89 when I left my house, but I don’t know what it was at race start.  It was cloudy and a little bit of a breeze but still quite warm.


Smiling pre-race.  My running buddy Jen who is sidelined with a bum hip right now was at the race as a volunteer and she took all these photo’s.


The race was hosted at the Wake Forest University football stadium and the roads around it.  Nice venue, relatively flat (345 ascent, 354 descent).

This is a serious race.  This race is the US Track and Field North Carolina 5K championships with prize money and everything.  Sadly, but stoically the young girl who won the age graded placings had to defer the prize money because she is a high school athlete and has to keep her amateur status.  Still very impressive for a 16 yr old girl with a bright career ahead of her.  There was a huge crowd for this race, about 1000 people.  It was about the same as my starting corral for the New Orleans half marathon, which were about 1000 people each (plus or minus those who shifted corrals).  A lot of dodging and weaving at the start and it didn’t really thin out until about a half mile.


I’m in there somewhere, I promise.

They had three “corrals” so to speak at the start line. Elites and USTAF people up front, then under 20 minute finishers, between 20 and 30 minute finishers and then over 30 minute finishers.  My PR is 34 minutes, and so I didn’t want to be all the way back in the back with the walkers and strollers to start out with, so I tried to start as close to the front of the “over 30 minute” group as I could.

I started off as always pretty fast, caught up in the crowd and the excitement of race day.  Given the extreme conditions I planned on running this race slowly, with the goal of just finishing. I was very surprised to tick off a 10:36 first mile, but I knew I couldn’t hold that pace, but I did a good job holding miles 2 and 3 at a steady pace 11:41 and 11:49 respectively.  But I got a surprise as I loaded the Garmin at home.  I covered the last 0.11 miles in 1:04 which is a 9:52 pace! WOW.  I wasn’t trying to kick or push to the finish, but I guess my feet just went crazy.


Ran into Jen on the course at about 1.25 miles, she was almost too busy enjoying her beer to snap a picture but she managed to catch a couple of me.


Pushing hard to the finish with my unconscious kick.


Yay! I did it! (I have no idea why I do the Nixon Double Peace hands, but I always do….)

Finished up the race with a nice post race dinner of pizza and beer (after I sat down for a while and cooled down since I didn’t feel so hot immediately after the race).  Was not a PR, but wasn’t too far off.


Still smiling post race…. always a good thing.


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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.