Woodstock 5K

I ran the Woodstock 5K yesterday (August 2) in Anniston, Alabama. Anniston is 10 miles south of Jacksonville (where I live now) and has an active running community. This is the signature running event in the area and the race this year was the regional 5K championship race and will next year be the national championship race. I ran a respectable 32:26 (official gun time was 32:54, but my watch, of course, had me faster.) Alas, I did not merit a trophy. The trophy is a Woodstock (from Peanuts) bobblehead trophy. Sweet.

Let’s get this out of the way: August 5k’s are HOT. The race started at 7:30, and the temp was 75 degrees with 94% humidity. If you listen to New England-based podcasts, such as Phedippidations or 4 Feet Running, they are always complaining about the summertime heat and humidity—IN NEW ENGLAND!? Summer in New England is like Winter in the South. Gimme a break, you Puritans. C’mon. You want heat? You want humidity you can eat? Come South for a run.

The race took us from Anniston High School and over a 3.1 mile loop through the surrounding neighborhood. The great thing was that many of the local homeowners sprayed us down with sprinklers and hoses as we ran. This was also a hilly course, more roller coaster than sharp climbs, and more gradual than sudden elevation changes. I have only run for one week here in the hills but felt strong during the race. I maintained a steady pace and did not walk at all other than to get water and FROZEN SPONGES (glorious!).

Mile 1: 10:28
Mile 2: 10:34
Mile 3.1: 11:20

I tanked at the end. And I’ll tell you why: misjudgment. The last .6 mile was up a steady hill. In the distance I could see the big blue and yellow construction that comprised the start and finish line. While warming up, I had noticed that the start and finish were staggered. That is, the race had separate start and finish lines. But I had forgotten whether we started BEFORE the finish line or after it. So, in my heat-caused delirium, I assumed that the line I saw was the finish. I looked at my watch. Eureka! I was on pace to break 30 minutes in a 5K for the first time. I turned it on. Turbo speed (at least what a pudgy 41 year old man can do in turbo) and pushed hard up the steady hill to what I THOUGHT was the finish line and to glory. But when I arrived, there were NO people. As I looked ahead, I saw the REAL finish line and the people. But I had nothing left. I trudged across the finish line in 32:26. Oh well.

This was a first class event. Tech shirts for all runners. A free pasta dinner on the night before the race. Lots of post-race food: bananas, water, frozen sponges galore, peanut and butter sandwiches and pizza. Yes, pizza at 8 in the morning. (A pizza house was one of the race sponsors)

Since I really don;t train for 5k’s I don’t fret my times in such races. I am training for the Disney marathon and have that goal–finishing it– on my mind. So I’ll devote my energies to completing the WDW Marathon.

By the way. For my birthday, my wife gave me a shirt from RunningBanana.com. This is an internet store that prints custom running tech tees. It has a stock of basic logos OR, better yet, you can upload your own logo and they will print it for you. For about 35 dollars, you can get a custom running tech tee with your very own logo on it. Nice. I created a simple one on my MAC and had the shirt made. It lists my goal and the address for this blog. Here it is


  1. Hi Gordon,I do know what it is like to be older and start to run for health!I am in training for the Chicago Marathon this year on October 12th. This weekend will be my longest run yet at 18 miles. I am on week 10 of a Hal Higby Novice marathon training schedule. I think I can survive the marathon if I can survive this training.I ran a half-marathon Saturday morning in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains above Denver here. It was fun and I was able to beat the course timewise. I was 2:26:00 which was a 2:01 faster than my time on the same course last year.It is a lot of fun to run and even more fun to train toward an objective! You can read my blog at http://why-how-what-where-i-run.blogspot.com/ as I plan to follow your blog to your marathon. Good luck, Good skill, good run and have fun training!Charlie

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