Monday, October 6, 2008

Kaiser Permenante 5K Corporate Run/Walk

I feel like I've blinked and fallen hopelessly behind with my blogging. Now I sit in seat 5D on Delta 4983 bound for Syracuse, NY. Quarters in the CRJ 700 are cramped; so much so I can't even put the laptop on the folding tray table. I have it propped on my lap with my elbows in tight feverishly pecking at the keyboard. A middle aged Jewish woman in the seat to my left eats her package of "Lance Rich'n Creamy Peanut Butter Tasty Toasty Crackers" and works on her crossword puzzle. Eleven Down is "Fasting Period". The answer is "Lent". She seems VERY GOOD at crosswords. I predict she'll soon be done with this one and moving on to crossword #4 in her book.

Since my last blog I've run a 5K road race, participated in the 3 Gap 50 bike ride in the mountains north of Dahlonega GA, practiced herding with Peekay, and kicked 20 of my L-3 colleagues buts go-cart racing at Andretti Speed Lab.

Writing this blog entry on an airplane isn't going to be easy. I'm constantly distracted by my surroundings. There is a young mom in front of me with two small children. The young boy has been on the verge of losing it since boarding. He is wearing a blue t-shirt that says "1972". He is currently playing hide-and-seek with the nice Jewish lady. Mom is oblivious to what is going on. I notice Mom, like me, is also wearing anti-baby screaming protection too -- An MP3 player. Totally NOT fair. I just know that this fragile peace the Jewish lady is brokering can't last.

My goal for this flight is to have a draft finished before my battery runs out. Here in coach there are no AC outlets at the seats like there are in cushy trans-Atlantic business class. Still it shouldn't be too difficult. There really isn't much to tell. The road race was the annual Kaiser Permenante 5K Corporate Run/Walk. The race started and finished at Turner Field in downtown Atlanta. The course heads north toward downtown, made a loop around the state capital, and returned to the ball field. We finished under the 1996 Olympic rings that cross the road.

The drink cart has just snuck up from behind and stopped across from me. No decision to make. I have to pass on a beverage. There is no place to put it, and I can't risk spilling it on my keyboard. The Jewish lady next door has finished puzzle #3 as predicted, but has skipped puzzle #4 and moved to puzzle #5. She appears to be drinking H2O.

The premise of the Kaiser Permenante 5K race is to encourage physical fitness. Many of Atlanta's businesses participate. I'm running with my fellow workers from L-3. We have about 20 people participating. Half will be running, and half will be walking. Only my boss Jim Parker and I have a "fast guy ticket" which allows us to start at the front of the pack. Event organizers estimate that 15,000 people participated in this event.

My time was a very respectable 21 minutes, 10 seconds. This translated to a 6 minute, 52 second mile average. I finished 174th overall, and 113th in my age bracket. This is officially my second best 5K time ever, and unofficially my best. The only time I have run faster was in a 5K hosted by the PTA at Julie's school last December. The course serpented through my usual run path in Webb Bridge Park, and I think the distance was really less than 5 kilometers.

The start of this race went surprisingly well. I expected to be left for dead by a bunch of fast guys. That never happened. Sure, I got passed by some people, but for the most part I was able to hold my own.

My good time was certainly helped by the weather and terrain. Both were very favorable for fast times. It was a nice cool evening with virtually no wind. The first mile of the course was downhill, and the rest of the course had no steep climbs. I knew I had the potential for a personal best time when I heard the guy with the stopwatch at mile #1 call out 6 minutes 58 seconds. Both my legs and lungs felt great. I still could see Jim Parker (the unofficial L-3 #1 ranked runner). Jim is a good 6 inches taller than me, lean, and fast. Last year he competed in the Boston Marathon.

My college roommate Zatch has a theory about young kids and flying. His theory is simple -- "They don't like it". The boy in front of me is in full scream. I can hear him clearly even with Sheryl Crow singing "Are You Strong Enough To Be My Man?" at volume 10.

After mile one I pushed harder. The split time at mile 2 was still good even though most of it was on a slight uphill grade. It was under 14 minutes. I was breathing hard, but not hyperventilating. I pressed on. With 1/4 mile to go, I didn't want to leave anything on the table. I ran as hard as I could. I misjudged my final kick with about 100 yards from the end. I was just about out of gas. When I crossed the finished line, I saw Jim Parker off on the side breathing hard. He had only finished 10 seconds ahead of me.

We headed back to the L-3 tent, picking up our event t-shirt, a bottle of water, and a free snack along the way. Overall it was a well organized event held on a beautiful evening in downtown Atlanta. Too bad the Braves were out of town. A night cap at the ball park would have been nice.

Looks like I finished the draft with battery to spare. I even have enough battery power to do some proof reading. The kids in front of me are restless, but under control. Mom looks like she wants to sleep, but who is she kidding? Lady next to me has finished puzzle #5 and is now drawing a landscape on a Delta cocktail napkin with a cheap bic pen. We should be landing shortly. Until next time.

1 comment:

tracikay said...

That is a great time for the 5K Tom! Let's see if you can beat it at the Lake Windward 5K this year.

I will not be running that 5K this year as I am running the Zooma Atlanta Half Marathon the next day. Hey they also have a 5K.... you should do a back to back!