Peapod Half Madness 10 K – Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hey everybody, John V. Karavitis here, shouting out to all mah home boyze ‘n’ home foxes out there!  Ran my first 10 K in close to (maybe over??) 20 years, and 25 pounds heavier (still working on that, give me time, werd!).  I ran the Peapod Half Madness 10 K, which started and ended in scenic downtown Batavia, IL, once the windmill capital of the world (no way!  way!), where they used to take horse-drawn blades across the river (the Fox River!  and yes, there are a lot of “foxes” living in the area!) to cut blocks of ice and store them throughout the winter and such!  Who woulda thunk it that there would have been so much HISTORY that far out back in the 1800s!

Well, yesterday was packet pickup.  Batavia’s not that far from my new digs, and it was easy to get to.  So, I picked up my race packet, bib number, chip (more on this in a sec) and fluorescent green XX-large T-shirt (all synthetic, guaranteed to wick away any annoying sweat!  Wick it right outta there!  Rock!  John V. Karavitis, John Karavitis, Karavitis)

I walked around a bit, I had thought about jogging the route, but I was concerned I might “leave my race” on a training run.  Also, I went part of the way of the half-marathon, which went along a (narrow, it seemed) bike trail all along the Fox River.  (See pics to be posted soonish on Flickr, JohnVKaravitis, John V. Karavitis, John Karavitis, Karavitis.)

The area is nice, and yesterday was a spectacular day, today just as good.  The only problem is that I can’t get to sleep before a race, or an exam, and I knew I wouldn’t be getting much sleep the night before the race (I didn’t, we’re talking maybe 2 hours of sleep, tops!)  So when I woke up, it was like, “Wake up!  Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”  And I ate a light breakfast, with TWO cups of coffee!  TWO!  CUPS!!  OF COFFEE!!  COFFEE!!!!  But I got there on time.  The weather was a bit chilly, and I debated taking my pullover sweat-top off, but I thought it would be more prudent to keep it on.  Easier to take it off if I overheat, not possible to put anything on if it stayed really cold.

The race went better than I expected.  No long lines at the port-a-pottys (except for right before the half-marathon start).  Tons more people ran the half-marathon than the 10 K, I was worried there for a second. I guess my cowardly plan was to find the slowest person there and keep pace until the very last second, and then blast away for the finish line!

But it turned out better than I expected.  After the first mile, which I took slow and easy, at 11 minutes per mile, I started to “pick people off”, bit by bit.  And I did well, not stopping to walk until about an eighth of a mile or so after the 4 mile mark!  Woo hoo!

After that it was mostly running, but half running and half walking after 5.5 miles.  I think overall I did it in about 66 minutes, so, averaging 11 minutes per mile.  I was thinking I’d take 72 to 75 minutes, but I did okay.  (Results haven’t been posted yet.  Stay tuned to my Athlinks account and my Twitter account.  Where would we be without TWITTER, hmmmm?  LOL!)  John V. Karavitis, John Karavitis, Karavitis

After the race I grabbed a couple of bottles of free water (“Our Family” brand natural spring water – IMHO, tastes more like crappy tap water, but what do I know, I drink AquaFina!).

Anyway, I feel great, thighs are a little sore, but that’s to be expected.  I think I’ll walk tomorrow, no need to run.  Besides, after a long race, like a marathon, you’re supposed to rest, what is it, a day for every mile of the race?  Meh.  I’ll go for a long walk tomorrow, and then get back to running.  It also looks like, since I’m living in a new area, I need that Garmin GPS watch now.  Oh well.

Points of interest re the race:

(1)  They use a “chip”, which looked like a 1 inch square of thick cardboard with a hole near each corner.   You’re supposed to tie it to your shoelaces with these red (red!!) twist-ties that they provided.  Huh.  When I asked the guy at packet pick-up why they weren’t using “D-tags”, those orange plastic RFID tags that you just throw away after the race, he said that they hadn’t converted over to them.  I’m guessing they must have spent an arm and a leg for those things, and whatever system records people’s times and such, and they want to make maximum use out of them.  Too bad, if they’ve already paid for them and whatever system is used to record them at the START and FINISH lines, that money is a sunk cost.  GET OVER IT, PEOPLE!  John V. Karavitis, John Karavitis, Karavitis

(2)  There is a really steep downhill right before the 4-mile mark.  I mean STEEP.  I thought “Great!  Race downhill with ease, put some distance between me and everyone else, etc.”  Well, it was so steep I almost lost control of my balance, and my quads felt like they were about to be ripped out.  Second, there is a STEEP uphill incline after Mile 5 (the incline ends at Webster & Washington).  I raced up it, which was a BIG mistake.  That took a LOT out of my wind, I think I would have been a couple of minutes faster overall had I just walked it instead of run up it!  REMEMBER FOR LATER!!!!  Finally, right before the 6-mile mark or so, there is a downhill, not as steep as the one earlier on, but still, it felt like my quads were about to be torn off.

(3)  I don’t “carbo-load” before a race.  What the hell is “carbo-loading”?  Who does that?  Marathoners, yeah, but not for a 10K!  Maybe if I start doing longer races….  As for drinking the offered water at the 2 and 4 mile marks, I eschew that, also.  On my training runs I carry a frozen bottle of water in a back-carry pack from a prior race, but typically on really hot days.  On race days, I just focus on the race.  Again, for a longer race….

All in all, it was a good race.  I’m glad I finally ran a 10 K after all these years, I’m psyched for more future races, and, considering I’m 20 years older and 25 pounds heavier than the last time I ran a 10 K, I guess this old fox still has it in him!  😉   As for the half-marathon, like I said, it ends up using a really narrow bike trail up and down the Fox River.  I don’t know what that does to people’s time, especially for slower runners.  John V. Karavitis, John Karavitis, Karavitis

About johnvkaravitis

Senior Financial Analyst: Energy, Insurance, IT consulting, Pharmaceuticals, Publishing, Real Estate
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