Fitness Update: Progress Series Recap

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Last week was somewhat of a respite from fitness goals. After the final race of the Progress Series, weather and buildup called for a more relaxed approach.

So this week’s fitness post will look at the Progress Series, and do a bit of retrospective on the series as a whole.

The series garnered me 5 new T-shirts for my already full drawer of logo’d shirts. But these would by my first race themed shirts.

PR Mile

Held on a very flat route in Parkville, the Personal Record Mile got delayed one week due to icy weather. The weather was cool but bearable that morning. And the breaking of the race into heats was a helpful mechanism. I remember picking up my packet and changing my seed time to put myself into the second heat, since the original time seemed way too fast to my practice times on the treadmill at the Wellness Center at work. Yet when I got to running the mile, I found myself moving toward the front of my heat, and ultimately beating my original seed time with 6:51 — but I was still glad to be toward the front of the second heat, rather than trailing at the back of the first heat.

The PR mile was also the place where I first met Jason Thomas. I hadn’t observed him during the heat, but he had observed me, and commented when we were at the table waiting to pick up our time stats.

Cupid 5K

The 5K also took place on a very flat course — along the streets of North Kansas City. Here I ran into Jason again, and also talked to some other runners to get their feel of the race. It was a good course, and I found runners along the race to help me pace myself, each of which I eventually left as I pulled ahead. But I didn’t realize until after the end of the race that I had started too far back in the pack of starting runners. I needed to learn how to place myself in the right group of runners.

Sham Rock and Run 10K

The 10K had a more rolling course, but still nothing extreme. It actually had the most elevation changes of all the races within the Series. It also had the coldest race temperature. But the air was calm and the day sunny, which made the race temperature very good for running. The 10K was basically a 5K track twice. I’m sort of mixed on how I felt about that. It would have been nice to not have to loop around. But at least it wasn’t more than twice. This event was also the one where I actually came in first for my age bracket. I think that 10Ks aren’t as popular a distance. People tend to run shorter or longer. But it was a neat perk to me to actually take a first somewhere. But I still didn’t start far enough forward in the beginning starting pack.

Northland Half

The buildup of my training for the half really peaked about 2 weeks prior to the race itself. But it worked well enough to put in a good time.  This time I ended up being close enough to the front of the pack when the race started, and actually started pacing myself with someone who was running a little too fast for me (a 5K pacer not a half pacer).

This was also the fourth race where I saw Jason, and this time I was the one who started out ahead and then he caught up to me and we paced each other until he ended ahead of me. This time having him to help pace me was one of the things that kept me in the race and going as well as I did for so long.

Overview

I really enjoyed this series. It gave me something to look forward to, and to work forward on. I wasn’t into races before, and not really sure how much I am into races at the moment. I think I am more into them than I was before, but not sure I will find enough time to do any without some overarching structure to encourage me.

I have two more races coming up, both for the Kansas City Corporate Challenge. Without that framework I probably wouldn’t be doing additional races. The four races of the series gave me something structured to commit to, and practice for.

I would definitely recommend trying the series if you haven’t committed to a racing program previously. But despite enjoying it, I am not certain if I would commit to the series again. Will it be good to practice through the series again, trying to improve, or will it be a let-down? I haven’t decided on that yet.

 

UPDATE to UPDATE:

This morning I got an e-mail from the Running Well Store, where it gave Progress Series Stats. Of those who did all four races, I was in 12th place overall, with my friend Jason Thomas in 13th place overall. Both of us were first for our age categories, and 7th and 8th place respectively in our gender. My total time was 3:26.53 and Jason’s was 3:28:53. My total pace was 50:23 and his was 50:52. I was competing in a pool of 13 runners in my age group, while Jason was competing in a pool of 9. So coming in first, overall, across four races, makes me feel even better.

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