Sunday, July 7, 2013

2013 Kenya Dig It 5K Results (Or: I think I Just Overdosed on Endorphins)


4/158 Overall
1/13 Age

My running lately has taken a lot of turns. Having a few medical issues recently and some motivational issues, I have decided to take a step back and one of the new solutions is to go back to running local short races for the thrill of a fast turnover, raising money for a good cause and enjoy the small town ‘connection’ to such races. This one fit the bill quite nicely.

The Kenya Dig It 5K is a fundraising run organized by the Tecumseh High School to raise funds for drilling water wells in Kenya. It has been going for 5 years and they have dug over 70 wells in the town of Eldoret, Kenya.

Fundraiser for good cause, check.

Tecumseh is a small town of 8500 people and the race was held at the (rather nice) High School. The race only had about 100 runners, but there might have been 50 volunteers. As usual with such races, the volunteers were plentiful and very kind. Nothing but smiles when I checked in and when they were bringing out plates and plates of goodies post race including fruit, cookies, and popsicles.

Small town ‘love’, check.

Foggy cemeteries are cool
The race began in the front parking lot of the High School, then out for a quick tour of the local neighborhood which included a half mile section through a cemetery. I have never run through one when training and certainly never during a race. That was a little weird. I had done a warm-up along the course barefoot to see if I wanted to do the race sans shoes, and the asphalt in the cemetery was old and rough and hurt my feet a lot. I could have ran on the grass, but the headstones were REALLY close to the road and running on graves is not something I am cool with. I ended up wearing my Vibrams for the race. Yes, I got the requisite number of inquiries about my footwear.

It was clear from the beginning there were some fast young folk in this race (winning time was 15:50ish) so I was happy to be in 5th place after the first 400 m. I did not bring a GPS watch so I had to wait until I hit the mile marker to see how fast I was going. I was hoping to stay close to low 6's but since I NEVER train at this pace, I had no idea how fast I was going, just that I was doing a clip I thought I could hold for the race. 5:40. Yikes, I did not even realize I could go that fast.

PhotoThere was a water station at about mile 1.8 and while the temperature was only 70, it felt way hotter. Because of my recent water history, I of course slowed a beat to grab a cup and drank half of it, trying to keep steady. Mile 2 came in at 11:39, so I had slowed a little, but that was no great surprise. I go out too fast, this is old news. I managed to pass a young running stud at mile 1.5, so I felt comfortable that I would keep my 4th place. The last mile was an actual struggle. I was breathing very hard and driving my arms for all they were worth. We came back to the High School but had to run behind it and then do 3/4 of a loop around the track to the finish line (a-la Olympic marathon finishes) and as I came in  I could see the elapsed time up on the scoreboard and it was high 17's. I just wanted to break 18:30 and so I bore down and sprinted as best I could. I crossed the finish line and stopped and hunched over for a moment trying to catch my breath.

Fast turnover, check.

Wow that was totally awesome. The feel at the end of this race was a feeling I have not had in quite a while. Accomplishment and pure joy. I certainly enjoy finishing ultras and marathons, but the endorphins were so thick (due to my speed, I guess) that I was totally trippin' for several hours. I was very happy, and emotionally overdosing on it.

It reminded me of why I started running again, and now 7 years after I started running again, I needed a race like this. It has been 2 years since my last 5K. Now I realize how important such races are to me, be it sprint work or just the variety of the race distance. I shall add a few more to my race calendar.


  1. incredible pace - This has motivated me to get out there and try to speed up for some shorter runs.

  2. Thanks, Adam. I really had no idea what was going to happen. My only dream was to break 19, and I did not even know if I could do that. :)

  3. Great stuff Doc, and short/intense has its own reward as you have been reminded!

    Rumor has it that the 10,000 meter run for time is, in its own way, one of the most intense races there is. Thoughts?

  4. The 10K is a tough race because it is in that weird spot between 5K (fast!) and half marathon (medium, but still tough). You want to go out in your 5K speed, but you have to force yourself to back off just a touch. I did a 10K barefoot last fall and I remember dying that last mile or so. I honestly don;t know anyone who trains for the 10K distance. Maybe I should for a hobby :)