A Jim of All Trades

Posts Tagged ‘race

5k Race Report

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Last Saturday morning I ran a 5k. This wasn’t on my race calendar, I had just been looking around online to see what local runs were coming up and noticed this one. It was a fundraiser for a local school and the inaugural year for the race. I only decided to do it on Wednesday. 

So I wasn’t really training for this and didn’t try to taper or peak for it. I had done a tri a few weeks before, and I had taken it easy the week before and after that, so felt a little refreshed, but I handled last week like a normal training week with some hard workouts. So my legs definitely weren’t as fresh as they could have been for the 5k. 

It rained in the morning before the race, so it was a little humid, but the roads were mostly dry, and it was cloudy and cool when the race started, so it was good running weather. Only about 90 people participated, many of which were kids, walkers, or joggers that were just doing it for fun or to contribute. Since it is a small private school and the race’s first year, with little to no advertising, I’m sure that kept the numbers down, too. 

I knew what speed I wanted to run, but didn’t really know what was realistic to expect. My goal was 22 minutes, preferably under, hoping to average a 7:00/mile pace; which is attainable for me. 

I started out a bit too fast, but not unreasonably so, and tried to stay around 7:00/mile after I settled down. It as an out and back course that included a few hills; not super long or steep, but enough so that I pulled my pace back so as not to explode. The first half went smoothly but after the turn around I began to struggle. The last half mile was mostly uphill and my pace slipped… I had been averaging about 7:00/mile to that point but that last mile ended up being about 7:30. The hill leveled off a bit before the finish and I sped back up again, but there was not enough room to improve my average pace. 

So, I finished with a time of 22:26, in 7th place. Not far off my goal, but 26 seconds is a lot in a 5k. My legs really were tired till the end, I’m guessing partly due to being fatigued from the week, and partly from just being under trained. I’m still not in the running shape that I was at the end of last year and think I need a few more months of solid running outside to get back to where I was. 

Overall I’m treating this as racing practice, which I think is important, especially for me from a pacing standpoint and getting used to “suffering.” I just can’t simulate this effort in workouts so think it’s smart to do a low priority race once and a while where you know you won’t be at your best, but can practice strategy and experience the pain of racing… that’s something I haven’t done enough of. 

Next on my calendar is another 5k in late May, though it might not be a serious “race” since I could be running it for fun with a young nephew. After that, I’m doing a sprint tri in early July. Otherwise I’m just continuing to train and work on building my distance and speed in the swim, bike, and run. 

Thanks a lot for reading and best wishes for your training and racing!


Written by Jim

May 16, 2018 at 8:46 pm

Posted in Triathlon & Endurance

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Triathlon Results

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Two weekends ago I did my second triathlon of the year and I’m finally getting around to posting about it. The tri was in Roanoke Virginia, a few hundred miles and a 5 hour drive south of where I live. My sister, brother in law and their sons live there, and my wife and I visit them a couple times per year. When coordinating the visit I was able to work in the race and they came along to spectate and cheer. This was another sprint (short distance) race.

The weather was great for the race; it was clear and warm, but not too hot during the morning. I got there early and was able to get a good spot in the transition area.

The race started with a 300m swim in a 50m outdoor pool. The pool was pretty cool, I had never swam in a 50m pool before and it was nice to swim for a bit longer without having to turn around. Since it was only for 300m, you only had to do three laps. They started people 15 seconds apart on either side and you worked your way towards the center, exiting from the middle lanes. Like this:

OTR Pool
photo credit

I have been working hard in the pool and, though I’m still slow, I have shaved a little off my time. I wanted to finish in under 6 minutes but ended up with 6 minutes and 11 seconds. That does include passing two people though, otherwise I would have been a bit faster. One of the passing situations was sort of funny, and I don’t share this to make fun of the person, but it was just odd. At the end of the second lap I caught up to a woman who was running in the shallow end. I assume she was just having a bad swim, but it really caught me off guard when I saw that she was running. What was she going to do in the deep end?? Anyway, she let me by at the wall and hopefully was able to finish okay.

After the swim the first transition didn’t go as well as it could have. My helmet chin strap got tangled inside the helmet and took some time to fix. Then, when mounting my bike, I almost ran into someone who stopped on the mount line. I try to do running mounts but am not super graceful at it so had to swerve and stop to avoid a collision. I doubt I lost much time due to the two issues, but it was frustrating, especially considering I had practiced the transition quite a bit in the weeks before. More practice is needed.

My bike segment went well, it was my best of the three. The course was short, only 15k (a bit more than 9 miles) total out-and-back, and it was relatively flat. There was a section through the city on some rough roads and with some really tight corners, but I got through it okay. I did see one person get a flat tire and heard of another. Overall I pushed pretty hard and managed a good pace [for me]. I finished averaging 20.5 mph for the bike split, which I’m pleased with. I could have probably squeezed out a little bit more, but my run would have suffered.

The second transition went really smoothly, nothing much else to say about it

The run was a 5k (3.1 mi) out-and-back on a pedestrian/biking trail. The path was paved and well maintained, and most of it was in the shade. I was expecting it to be flat because it sort of followed a creek, but I was unpleasantly surprised to find hills. They weren’t major, but enough to make me labor over them and disrupt my pace. I tried to hold too aggressive of a pace from the start and ended up fading as I progressed. I wanted to finish with as close to a 7 minute per mile pace as possible, but actually ended at 7:4X pace (I forget the exact seconds). So that was a bit disappointing. I need to (1) remember to pace myself better, and (2) work on my running more in general with speed and pace work.

I had hoped to finish in under 58 minutes but my actual time ended up being 59 minutes and a few seconds. So close… mostly due to the run section, but also from the problems in T1. Oh well. I’m competitive, even if just with myself, and don’t like being slower than I plan for, but considering more went right than wrong and I had fun, I’m pleased with it overall. My finish was good enough for 2nd place in my age group out of 6 people, and 11th overall out of, I think, 98.

The absolute best part of the race was having my family there. My nephews made some posters as a surprise, setup where I could see them, and did a great job of cheering me on. Everyone genuinely seemed to enjoy the experience too, so that was great. I don’t know if I’d do this race again because it’s quite a lot of work to plan and bring stuff along that distance for such a short race, but I’m glad I did it once.

I have one more triathlon scheduled this year in the beginning of August. It’s another sprint race very close to where I live. The swim is in a pool again (don’t judge, it’s my first triathlon season and next year I’ll do some open water swims) and distances are comparable to the first race I did this year. I took this past week easy but am jumping back into a training regimen to prepare. Hopefully I’ll be a bit faster yet come race day.

Thanks for reading and happy racing!

Written by Jim

June 20, 2016 at 10:28 pm

Summer Autocross

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It was over two months ago, but I did do one autocross this year. While it would have been nice to do more, I was more focused on training and working on my bike this year, so didn’t devote much time (or money) to the car. The local Corvette Club hosted some autocrosses just a couple miles from my house at a nice big parking lot, so I went to one. It’s nice when they’re so close, I can put my racing wheels and tires on in the comfort of my carport and just drive there on them (rather than packing a ton of tools and the tires and doing it at the event). I was considering going to more than one, but when removing my tires I realized that cords are showing on one of them (meaning they’re extremely worn) so thought it wasn’t safe to keep using them. I’ll have to replace the tires before doing any more racing. In any case, I had a lot of fun and was pleased with how I did.

Here’s a video of my best run of the day.

I finished roughly in the middle of the pack overall, which I was happy with since I hadn’t done it for over a year. I messed up a bit at the end so know I could have been faster yet. Like anything else, you only get better with lots of practice, so I can’t expect to be too competitive unless I start doing it more often. If having fun is your only intention though, it’s still well worth it.

I brought my camera along, too…

Some friends of mine that lived close by stopped to watch and one of them was kind enough to take some pictures of me while I was driving.



It’s fairly common that some cars will have a rear tire come off the ground during extreme cornering at autocrosses. Some cars are notorious for it; Subaru’s, for example. In a hard turn while braking all of the car’s weight shifts to the front and outside, and all of the travel is used up in the suspension at the lightest inside corner – the rear. These aren’t the best pictures, but look at the rear tire… there’s space between it and the pavement.



It can look pretty funny. The softer the suspension the more the car will lean in a corner and the tire can lift up pretty high. LIKE THIS!

I mostly tried to practice taking panning shots. I didn’t do as well as last time. I just couldn’t get the timing of the cars right and ended up moving the camera a bit too slow or fast, resulting in blurry pictures. Using an auto focus lens (the 70-210) this time, I think the second it takes to find focus could be having an impact as well. It was still fun to shoot and I know I’ll improve with more practice.







Thanks for reading and happy driving!

Written by Jim

October 12, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Autocross Pictures

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A couple weekends ago I went to an autocross to take pictures and I’ve just now finished saving and editing them. I shot a ton, not all of which ended up being keepers, but I had a lot of fun. I did not actually race, the X1/9 had already been put away for the winter, so I was solely there to take pictures. One thing I have little experience with is panning so I made it a point to practice that. I sort of figured out what to do and got a few good shots, but definitely have room to improve.

Anyway, on to the photos. All of these were taken with the Pentax K-r and most were using the old manual focus 135mm lens. I only chose a few to put on here but have all of them on my flickr. Please feel free to click the link below to browse my flickr feed to see all of the photos.


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Written by Jim

November 10, 2013 at 2:00 pm


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This morning I did my first duathlon! Well, I had done a triathlon 3 years ago, so it’s not exactly my first time doing something like this, but it’s still technically my first one.

A duathlon, in case you don’t know, is an endurance race similar to a triathlon, but instead of swimming, there is a running portion first, followed by a bicycling portion, then another final running segment. The one I did is categorized as a “Sprint Duathlon” because it is a shorter distance. The first run was 1.5 miles, the biking segment was 16 miles, and the last run was a 5k (3.1 miles). It might be short compared to other endurance races, but it’s long to me!

The gym I go to organizes and runs it every year and over the winter I decided to do it. I really don’t have a reason why, I just thought it might be fun to do and it gave me something to train for since I don’t venture out to exercise as much in the colder months. They hold a triathlon at the same time, too, but I decided to do the duathlon. I’m not the strongest swimmer, don’t enjoy it that much, and swimming (in my mind, anyway) takes away too much from weight lifting, which is still very important to me. The race is open to the public – not just a gym thing – and quite a few people come for it; the triathlon is very popular and I think typically 150-ish people do it, but the duathlon usually only has about 20 participants. Today there were 25.

My total time was 1 hour 38 minutes and 23 seconds. My personal goal was 1 hour and 40 minutes, so I’m happy that I did slightly better. I’m honestly a bit disappointed at the same time though because I think I could have done better yet. I was able to do some of the splits a bit faster in training and think I left about 2 or 3 minutes on the table. That wouldn’t have changed my overall finishing spot at all really, I just think I could have pushed myself a bit hard. My wife is telling me I need stop thinking like this and just be happy since I met my goal and it’ll give me something to improve on if there is a “next time.” She’s probably right.

Anyway, I finished 11th out of 25 total, 9th out of 15 men, and 4th out of 5 in my age group. Not at all impressive comparatively speaking. I wish I would have done a wee bit better, but I knew I wasn’t going to be winning anything and I was better than my personal goal, so I guess I’m happy with it.

To train for it, I came up with my own schedule. Lifting is still really important to me and I didn’t want that to suffer on account of the duathlon. That’s what happened when I did the triathlon years ago; I lifted less and less while I devoted nearly all my workout time to swimming, running and biking, and though I got in great cardiovascular shape and lost quite a bit of unneeded weight, I got a lot weaker. So this time I trained for the duathlon Friday through Monday, and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I still lifted heavy. I always lift in the mornings; Mondays and Fridays I’d do my running and/or biking in the evening. I did 90% of my running and biking in the gym over the winter. I don’t like the cold and didn’t run or bike outside until the last two weekends; before then I always used the treadmills and stationary bikes in my gym, or an exercise bike we have in our basement.

My 4 day a week workouts for the duathlon usually worked out like this, though not necessarily in this order:

  • 1 day I’d only run, usually a “longer” distance (4-6 miles), though sometimes I’d do intervals
  • 1 day I’d only bike, usually 16 miles
  • the other two days I’d both run and bike, always mixing up the distances and which I’d do first

It actually worked out really well. I got in better shape endurance wise, but I didn’t lose much weight and I got stronger in all my lifts at the same time. I began training for the duathlon at the same time that I started doing the 5-3-1 lifting program I posted about a bit ago, and the two worked out well together. Since I was doing the duathlon exercises on 4 consecutive days, I could get a bit worn out by the last day, and lifting legs could be tough at times too. I do them on Wednesday so I can rest the days before and after, but I didn’t always feel as fresh as I could have. Still though, I’m pleased with my progress for both goals. It isn’t an ideal plan for getting GREAT at either one or the other, but works well enough if trying to BOTH lift and endurance train at the same time. Well, for me, anyway.

If I talk with my friends about doing this type of race they nearly always ask what type of bike I have, so I figured I’d cover that here too. My bike isn’t special at all, which many people automatically assume when you tell them you’re doing a race. It is an early 80’s Panasonic Sport-500 10 speed:

Panasonic Sport 500 side
Unless you’re a bike enthusiast, I bet you didn’t know Panasonic made bicycles, did ya?

It’s hard to date it, but I think it’s a 1983 or 84 – only 2 or 3 years younger than me! It was an entry level road bike back in the day and it might have been the oldest bike there today, that I saw, anyway. I got it used about six years ago and used it in the triathlon, too. I ride once or twice a week for exercise over the summers, and it’s been reliable and okay enough for that, but I’d really like to upgrade. It’s heavy, has out dated components, and is a little too small for me. I’m not sure how much faster a nice modern bike would be, but I’m sure it wouldn’t make me any slower. Bikes are expensive though, and when considering my other hobbies and lack of extra funds, I probably won’t be getting one soon. But you never know, I see deals for used bikes on craigslist…

Biking is definitely my weak area. I definitely could improve in running, too, but I got passed a lot out on the bike course. It’s something to work on I guess. And though I know my legs and conditioning are the root of it (strength in the gym does not necessarily transfer to being a good biker!), the old bike doesn’t help anything, and I likely won’t do another one of these races with this bike. I’d want to upgrade first. With all that said though, a lot of people were using less than ideal bikes. I even saw a few people on mountain bikes, so actually I probably don’t have anything to complain about.

I did have one small mishap in the race: Roughly a 3rd of the way through the biking leg I dropped my water (Gatorade) bottle. It just slipped from my hand while I was putting it back in the bottle holder, I tried to reach down for it quickly, and not only did I not catch it, but I shoved my hand down into the chain.

Cut Fingers

The cuts really weren’t that bad, it just took skin off in a few places and kept bleeding while I was biking, so till I was all done my two fingers were caked in dried blood. I didn’t stop or try to clean it up or anything, just kept on going. The worst part was having to do the rest (most) of the race without anything to drink. I did get a swallow of water at a water station halfway through the run, and I made it okay, but a drink would have been nice. Will have to be more careful, though I’ve never done that before.

Overall it was a good experience and I had fun. It’s funny how I can be satisfied with my overall time, but at the same time am upset at myself that I didn’t do a few of the things faster. That’s just my personality though, I’m hardly ever satisfied. If I were to ever decide to stop lifting my legs heavy, and get a decent bike, I could see myself getting into these. I don’t think I’ll ever be an exceptional endurance athlete, but I found this fun, and could see myself doing more.

Written by Jim

April 14, 2013 at 9:05 pm