Sunday, May 18, 2014

Miles for Moffitt: Race Report

Last weekend I participated in the 9th Annual PNC Bank Miles for Moffitt race, which takes place at the campus I spend so much of my time at, the University of South Florida, Tampa. And even though I've spent roughly 40 hours a week for the past 12 years on campus, racing on campus is still exciting to me. It feels territorial, like it's somehow my race. But the thing about this particular race is that it's very much not my race; this race--or its proceeds, rather--belongs to everyone who can benefit from cancer research, and that pretty much means everyone.

The race itself was a good one for me. I haven't had the spring race season I'd hoped for; even though I started off with a great marathon, the ensuing injury and nagging pain from it have kept me in running flux--trying to maintain miles but not really able to push very hard. But this was a shorter race (shorter than the last "trial" race I did), and I felt I was ready to push. Of course, I hadn't run anything smaller than a half marathon since last July, so I had no idea what I'd be able to pull out pace-wise. Turns out, I hadn't slowed down as much as I'd thought. I came in 10th out of 116 runners in my age/gender group for the 8k (in previous years the race options were 5k or 5-mile, but I guess the "8k" is becoming a thing, which is technically 4.97097 miles [never mind the already-well-established 10k, which is a mere 2.3 miles more--how about a 9k?]).

Hey, I didn't have to scroll too far down to find my name!

The weather that morning was decent--fairly cool, but a bit humid, with a slight breeze. The 8k started at 7:30, so the sun was still rising in a mostly cloudless sky, meaning it did get hot in the last couple of miles. When I started out, I looked at my watch and saw that I was running close to an 8-minute mile, which is not something I've done for a while, so I knew it wouldn't last. But I still wanted to see how long I could keep it under 9 (there are a lot of seconds between 8 and 9 minutes, so I was being pretty loose with my threshold). When I saw my first couple miles were under 8:30, I was feeling confident that I could stay under 8:45 for the remaining miles, and I did--barely:


A typical short race for me: start out fast, progressively lose it.

This was a good, confidence-boosting race for me. And the very best part of it is that ALL of the race proceeds went toward the cause of cancer research, and the amount raised on race day was over half a million dollars! Of course, generous sponsors of the race (PNC Bank, the Rays, USF) made that possible. Plus, there were no race medals handed out to finishers, the registration fee was not necessarily cheap ($35), and post-race food was sparse and probably donated--but all of these factors are positive in my book if it means we as an athletic community can make positive changes by doing something we love anyway. And I should note that all participants had the opportunity to fund-raise, and many who registered as a group were able to raise a lot of money. Kudos to everyone who did that. (I did not. I still have a really hard time asking people I know for donations.)

I walked away from this race feeling good about my performance but even better about what the race as a whole achieved.

My left foot/right ankle still bother me some, but they don't seem to get progressively worse when I run harder or longer; they just hurt more afterward. I've mostly gotten back to running four days per week. I did 10 miles yesterday morning, and while the miles were tough, I recovered well. So I'm feeling optimistic.

I'm not currently signed up for any upcoming races, but I feel as thought I should get some more shorter races under my belt before and during marathon training, which begins late June (eek!).

1 comment:

B.o.B. said...

Great job Lee! Welcome back to racing!