Valley 5000 – One WET day – 00:35:42 or 00:35:56 who gives a fig – Sub-12 minute mile!

16 08 2008

  A word from the Stocky Legged Walker Moving Up from the Back —

Well – I had no clue about this 5k up in Loveland other than it’s an annual evening race (7 p.m.) and Dave wrote it on my schedule I received two days after the Georgetown/Idaho Springs race. That was about all I knew about it. I did check the last year’s results and realized that if I didn’t get over my 12 minute mile plateau for 5K’s I’d be outstripped by old men, butterflies and the rogue banana slug! The only other certain in my life was that my car was still having problems and I was driving a rental again. The good thing about the rental was that it was a truck and it was SOAKING going up to Loveland Friday night!

The neat thing was my name was written in VERY proper and neat cursive .... charm of a small race
The neat thing was my name was written in VERY proper and neat cursive …. charm of a small race    Oh gosh it is wet!
 Anyone who knows me at all knows I’m an evil morning person. That’s probably why I dont’ flinch much with the early AM for the Disney. Night, however, and I like to curl up early!  7p.m. is bathtub time!
I left Hamden and Tamarac at 3:45 and got to Loveland at about 6 … traffic and rain. The race is on the streets around the library and has a huge field from local high school kids, to people who make this their annual race, to nutcases like me who get informed they’re driving  up from Denver for a $20 race! This particular race, of course, required me to rent a car for the day as another issue with my car cropped up and my mechanic didn’t want to risk my getting stuck at night on that freeway up to Loveland. So – this little $20 race was going to cost $80 with a one day rental – and the insurance because it was stupid weather and even more stupid drivers … the things I do for a t-shirt … Actually – the things I do to push myself over whatever plateau there is. Dave found a fast 5k for me to shove in after a good showing at Idaho Springs … who am I to argue … My back and neck were arguing enough, thanks!

When I get stuck in traffic, I used to leave a slightly off ramble on Q’s cell phone. I’ve not done it for a while and was pretty surprised to have him answer. He was on the same freeway, just in the exact opposite direction. He was driving David down for the Pike’s Peak race. It appeared the traffic was just as terrible in his direction! We chatted and I said I was going to do my best but really wanted to make that 12-minute-mile plateau go away. Q’s had some health issues derail his season, but he’s bouncing back in grand style himself! That was the last friend contact I had until after the race – just that little jolt of good vibes before I got in to the unknown.

I love to race because I can get out some pent up energy and frustration. School just re-started, we moved the office, and there’s associated political nonsense flying in many directions. On top of all this, my wheels went down – which always makes me irritable – and my not handling the heat at all well stemming to the nightmare of blood work. Then there’s feeling like I’m getting slower and in my own way competitively. I’ve been feeling incredibly off balance lately – not a good place for a Libra – but I’ve got some of the most amazing and long-suffering friends who have put up with me and kept me going. I don’t think I can ever thank them enough. You blog readers are in here too! Makes it all worthwhile.

There were 6 racewalkers – yes there was a competitive racewalk category – and normal runners and walkers. Competitive Racewalk means there is the likelihood that someone is out there judging that my knee is straight and one foot on the ground. This means that I’m either in a skirt or a pair of tights that have no lines or decoration down the side … since I don’t have the tights, it was a skirt! I didn’t know how serious this was being taken, but I tend to take things a lot more seriously than I let on. I knew it was important for me to just do my level best.


When I got to Loveland, I wondered if I would ever be dry again … and immediately text messaged the over worked and nutty wonderful Brandon. He and Rachael took amazing care of me at the Surf City when we were three exceedingly wet ducks. I waited out in the rain in that one and got fairly sick. I don’t have time for sick right now!  


These were the masks in the window of the timing truck ...
These were the masks in the window of the timing truck …

I did a little walk around once I got the car parked. It was going to be a shot-gun start … no timing mats at the front end. That meant that I was really going to have to try to pay attention to where the start line was to get my watch time correct. Since this is a local race, directions made me laugh – “Packet pick up is in the library…” The where? There were some really neat homey touches. When I found the library, people were warming up and chatting with one another. I got my packet from a lovely woman and when pulled my number out in the car I realized that my name had been already written on it in that perfect cursive of elementary school teachers of old. I kind of wanted to not give up the strip to the spikers … but I got over that pretty quick!

My biggest thing to force myself in to doing is to actually warm up and do some stretching. I suck at it and when I’m at races where people know me, it’s always a little harder to get away to check in with my head, joints and shins. I found a friendly tree and got used to the temperature. It wasn’t terrible. I had some knit gloves and was wearing a set of arm warmers. I shed the arm warmers before the race, but toted them along. I didn’t use the gloves … it truly wasn’t cold enough.


My long time circulation issues are finally being addressed by me. I was wearing a set of arm warmers I’d found with my old biking gear. I had the knit gloves in the truck, but it was so wet that I knew they would be useless. Since I’ve never worked out in the arm warmers, I decided to pop them in the little belt pack thing Sasha suggested I get. It’s a little bouncy for me when I’m walking, but darned useful for keys, phone and arm warmers.


I didn’t see just *where* the start line was. I kind of hit my watch and hoped I’d gotten it right. At about ½ a mile in, I was trying to caution myself for going too fast. I’ve not been able to break the 12 minute mile plateau on a 5k and it’s been bugging me. All I knew was that I wanted UNDER 37 minutes.  I didn’t care HOW much under … just under. That and not get sick. After Surf City, I knew I could handle water, however. Next thing I knew, I felt a funky slapping on my rain soaked leg … it was my shoelace! I was irritated about my hands fumbling about with the wet laces and the knot, but got my self back in line.

This is the corner leading into the finish area ... shot at 6 p.m.
This is the corner leading into the finish area … shot at 6 p.m.


Two water stops – mile one and two. They had clocks at both stops and I was actually doing really quite well. 🙂 A funky little hill thing maybe a mile and a quarter in … hills schmills after Garden of the Gods, eh? Great volunteers, some viewers and awesome police with a good word actually. Not like the Colfax. Of course, I thanked every one as I beat feet coming through.


Slogging wet – the last ½ mile was circling back to the beginning … suddenly there was a fire engine coming down the road and I also knew at any point there could be a judge. The dilemma:  if I ran, I’d be disqualified if there was a judge … if I didn’t get the proverbial lead out, I’d be squished … I didn’t get squished and got a photo with the hunky fireman who said “you were the wet girl in the blue skirt and short sleeves doing the wiggly walk … you really moved!” He can call what I do anything he wants – I came up to MAYBE his shoulder and he also complimented me on my strong handshake. I smiled and said I was a former wildlander. We were on the same wavelength. I’ll post the photo when I get it … what is it with me and police and fire these days, however? 

Finish line – I’d sussed it out already. The guy in front of me was catchable and … well … uh … As I hit the chutes, I heard “Hey Lis – you did great!” I was pretty tired. “Wow – you got your ticket off and everything.” I smiled “I like to work the end of chutes.” I’d hit my watch as I entered the chute – practice through the Rocky Mountain Road Runner Trophy Series races I’ve been able to do. I didn’t believe it when I first looked: 3.17 miles in 00:35:42. Wait … um … wow … uh … I’d joked at the Idaho Springs ½ that I was only staying for the awards because my ride was coming home with the hardware. I had to stick around for the posting of the Racewalk standings. At least in Idaho Springs it wasn’t pouring. It was also nice to be with friends there. I didn’t realize how important that was until one week later I was flying solo and I’d done another record all to myself.

It was worth the wait for me: Elisabeth Shepard – 4th overall, 2nd female, 1stage group, Gun Time: 00:35:56. Watch Time: 00:35:42. Just Call Me: Adverse Weather Lizzy, hu? 

I knew I'd PR'd, I knew where the chiropractor/massage table was, I knew I came in at least 4th ... but I did miss my buds.
I knew I’d PR’d but I didn’t know if I’d ever be dry again! I really missed sharing this with equally wet buds, however.


Six Days, two races, two PR’s … and a long wet ride back home for this racewalker. Never forget about us in the back … we slowly catch up sometimes!
Official from the website:

Men’s 5K Race Walk Results

1. Dan Pierce, Boulder, 28:55
2. Jack McGrew, Fort Collins, 34:05
3. Matt Puntenney, Loveland, 40:56

Women’s 5K Race Walk Results

1. Barb Amador, Lafayette, 31:15
2. Elisabeth Shepard, Denver, 35:56
3. Jeannie Baugh, 40:52








2 responses

17 08 2008


Like you I HATE rain! At least it is rain in August, and not February. (Did a 5K like that once — never again.)

It is a lot more fun to do races with someone.

Your finish time was great!

Cindi Leeman
WALK! Magazine

3 09 2008

Actually, Cindi, I’m starting to *love* walking in the rain. A friend of mine is referring to me as “Inclimate Weather Shepard”! Now … I’m a wimp in the extreme cold or extreme heat! That’s when I either freeze or melt … not a pretty sight when I’m melting at the end of a race and falling on the nearest volunteer I know personally or friend I trust! Wait until I get the Park to Park post up! 🙂 OH – I wore my Walk! Magazine shirt as I was doing the packet pick-up for the P2P … Everyone Loved It …

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