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Set a New Personal Best for 5K This Morning

Fitness

This picture was taken by my wife as I crossed the finish line.

September 24, 2011

I ran the 5K this morning. The race was sponsored by the Pirates Swim Club, the group that is giving swimming lessons to my grandson. I ran the 5K as my way of supporting my grandson in his swimming, and maybe as he gets older in his running.

A year ago I ran it in 48:02, and I considered that time a new PB since I'm running much slower due to blood clots I had two years ago. This time I finished the race in 47:28, just barely a new personal best.

The course had a gradual downhill part followed by a gradual uphill part, and then down hill again. After a flat part, the course went uphill again to the finish. The change in elevation was only about 90 feet, but it seemed like a lot more due to the length of the climb. During the first part of the race, I didn't take any walking breaks, and my pace was 13 plus. During the middle part, my speed slowed down because of the uphill grade and my taking more walking breaks. During the rest of the middle part, I didn't take any walking breaks, but my speed went down to 15 plus because I was getting tired, and my running speed stayed in that range until I reached the last part, which was uphill; I took more walking breaks during that part.

My mile splits are 14:28, 15:51, and 16:37. You can see the effects of the hills in slowing me down. The good news is that I didn't take very many walking breaks, indicating that my body is getting stronger. My legs, though, got awfully tired. I had hoped to pick up my pace during the last 100 yards and finish in a "blaze of glory." Instead, I walked and slowly jogged to the finish.

While waiting for the race to begin, I talked with a lady who was there with her daughter and her dog. I commented that they should pin a number on the dog. They laughed, but the dog didn't get her number. During the race there were two girls walking in front of me, and I followed them for about half the course. As we started downhill again, I caught up with them and commented to them that they were walking almost as fast as I was running. One said, "Not anymore, you just passed us." I replied, "Yes, but it's downhill."

The top three runners (male and female) received ribbons and some prizes. The rest of us just got a big thank you from the organizers. After the ribbons were given out, prizes were given via tags drawn from a box. I received a backpack that will make a nice gift to a grandchild. When I walked up to get the backpack, the lady giving out the prizes told the group that I was the first to register this morning. After receiving the backpack, I said to her "First here and the last to finish" (there were some walkers behind me, though).

It was a fun race. I like small, local races because they are fun and I usually know people there. In this case, I didn't know anyone since the race was in a different town, but my grandson knows the race organizers, and my son knows some of the runners and walkers.

Oh yes, I'm so slow that even that dog beat me!

Allen Leigh

Allen Leigh is a Salt Lake City grandfather who credits running for saving his life.

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