Monday, September 27, 2010

Race Recap: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k, or Running With the Punk Rock Runner

I have one rule when it comes to paying for short-distance races: I won't do it anymore. Especially short-distance races that have 872301982370981237091823 participants.

But yesterday I broke my rule for two solid reasons.

1.) Susan G. Komen is a pretty inspiring cause.
I love all the pink.
Sometimes big groups of people with a lot of emotion move me.
2.) Running with thee one, thee only Punk Rock Runner, Ron, is a pretty good reason to pay a 5k entry fee.
I've been admiring Ron and his hilarious (no, really, be prepared to laugh your ass off) blog for a couple of years. I mean, I was really following his blog: This was before I had my own blog so I didn't get a feed of his postings -- I physically had to type in his URL to stalk his adventures.

I always secretly wanted to be friends with the Punk and pick his brain about his writing, his training, and his running, but I halfheartedly worried he would be one of those famous bloggers who doesn't actually read the comments admirers leave. (Sure, Ron, I know you consider Catra Corbett and Scott Jurek famous, but I'd put you on the same pedestal!) Lucky for me, this was not the case at all -- Ron was the one to reach out to me, welcome me to the city with the nicest care package, and he took time out of more than a few days to send e-mails about races and clubs in the area.

No longer the nerdiest kid in the City, all thanks to Ron.
Imagine my excitement when I got a text message from Ron, asking if I wanted to meet up with him for a jog through Golden Gate Park. While our run in the Park didn't quite pan out as planned, we did meet up at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k. Yesterday, I got to meet someone I admire face-to-face and run a race with him!

Ron's second 5k. Yup, he skipped all the short-distance races and went straight for the marathon.
Ron has accomplished so much in his few years on the planet that even professional athletes bow down in shame. He is a Marathon Maniac, he runs every race imaginable in the Bay Area (sometimes multiple races in a weekend), he's an accomplished triathlete, he's an Ironman dominator -- and he still pushes himself to do and achieve more. Constantly. Placing 2nd in a half marathon the day before the 5k? (And staying out late for a preseason hockey game the night before the half marathon?) No problem for this guy!

I've followed Ron's blog through his training and his races leading up to the Coeur d'Alene Ironman, read about his struggles and his triumphs in mentally preparing for such a daunting task, and continue to read about his journey in extending his races to further mileage and more Ironman distances. Ron is the epitome of determination and perseverance. It's even more inspiring to hear his story in person than through his self-deprecating writing -- he started running just three years ago, and he did so weighing 100 pounds more than he does now.

Ron and I knew that we weren't going to be setting any PRs in the 5k distance this weekend, simply because of the sheer number of pink globs getting in our way. Don't get me wrong -- I loved all the pink and even decked myself out in it, but all that really mattered to me was that I got to run with him. We ran the race as fast as we could, while making sure we didn't bonk, puke our guts out, or shatter any knees or ankles, and yet we still fit in a few words here and there.

The start of the race.
Pre-race excitement
Post-race sweaty messRon looking all smooth after running two races in one weekend! Me looking like I'm missing a foot.
After 3.1 miles trapped in a sea of insanity, Ron and I proceeded to the Ferry Building to consume vegan donuts and, perhaps ironically, discuss how much our nutrition sucks.
Not feeling guilty at all about that delicious Candy Cap donut.
Despite his crazy race schedule and his busy everyday life, Ron is the humblest, nicest, giving-est man. And he's just as funny in person as he is on his blog. I am so happy I got to meet him and run with him.

Ron: Thanks so much for the awesome care package, your e-mails telling me where/what I should run, dropping me a line (and putting up with my subsequent lines) so we could work out the race-day details, letting me steal all of your iPhone pictures, AND putting me in touch with your running friends. I can't wait to see you at the U.S. Half, as long as you can put up with me some more. :)

3.15-mile splits: 8:05, 8:05, 8:09, 1:07 (overall time: 25:26)
Air Temp: 76F


  1. Um, I think I was more excited to meet & run with you but thank you for all the kind words. I know you were holding back out on the course to run with me yesterday and I really appreciate that. It was a real pleasure meeting you and I look forward to running with you again.

    I’ll start to scope out the best vegan bakeries for our after run treats.

    All the best,


  2. awesome! I've been following Ron's blog for quite sometime, I can relate to having to type in that URL :)

    Nice recap, I'm running the 'run for the cure' this weekend and am prepared for many a glob of pink!

  3. What a wonderful race recap (and tribute to a fabulous blogger)! Thanks for sharing all the pics!

  4. Hi A,
    I will have to check out Ron's blog! It looks like the two of you had a blast doing this wonderful 5K! Such a great cause and look at all of the pink!

    Congrats on a fantastic finish! Look at how muscular and toned those legs are Lady! I am so jealous:) Take care A!

  5. How very berry awesome A!
    Glad to see you dressed for the occasion, oddly enough I could almost bet one of those magical vegan doughnuts that I was standing right next to Mr. Punk Rock himself at the start of the S.F. Half.. Just months ago... :) Great race times!

  6. nice job out there girl!! i ran that race a couple years ago, it was very fun :) tara told me she met you so wanted to swing by your blog and say hello!!! welcome to the bay :)

  7. Ron is the BEST! Glad he introduced us :) Nice job at the race! It was a deifnitely a challenge to manuever around all those pink peeps!

  8. Welcome to the neighborhood! Ron says we are the same pace (trust me, you're faster) but we should run sometime!

    I am totally with you about not paying for short races anymore. I haven't run a 5K in years. Plus it hurts too much to run so fast. Next year I'm going to start doing some 5 and 10K's but I'm sticking to the DSE $5 ones :)

  9. Hey A,

    Great job in the race! The 5ks with a gazillion people are really hard to run fast because you are weaving the entire way. I usually just give up and run a 30 min 5k. So awesome job!

    I am going to have to start reading Ron's blog after your post about him.

    Bummer that you didn't get to finish out the Monster Series. I know I have a hard time signing up for races so far out because I like to move around a lot and never know if I will be in the same city a year later.


  10. What's the deal with not wanting to pay for shorter races? To me, they offer just as much of a challenge as longer races. The whole point is to get from Point A to Point B as fast as you can, no matter if the distance is five or 42.2 kilometers.

    I usually race 5ks through half marathons, but the most difficult distance I've ever raced has been 800 meters on the track. Every race is different in its own way. I just don't get how shorter races have become "unworthy" in lieu of longer "events."

  11. @Runner Mike: No doubt shorter races can be as physically demanding as longer races. I've run some of my best and fastest races in the 5k distance. I've never tried an 800m track race, but I imagine there's very stiff competition at those, too.

    As for my decision, it's simply just that: It's my decision. I simply don't want to pay for short distance races anymore. I can run at my 5k race pace on my own without needing the race atmosphere to push me forward. With so many people taking up running in recent years, I feel like I have to fight for my space at shorter distance races and end up feeling more frustrated than happy at the finish line. I'd rather run a 5k on my own without needing to push my way through people with strollers and dogs. And it really bothers me that I get upset with those participants when they have every right to be out there as I do. I would rather separate myself from that to make sure everyone is having a good time.

    The other factor in my decision is monetary. Forking over a decent sum of money for a race has more value to me if I'm getting support on the course; often times, shorter races don't do much in terms of really bringing participants in rather than shoo-ing them out. If I'm going to pay $40 for a race, I'd like to get the same perks as provided at longer distance races, and that's usually not the case.

  12. Interesting. I've been running competitively for 14 of my 28 years and I enjoy hearing why others run/race. Since the latest, internet-fueled running boom took off about 8-10 years ago, I've noticed a trend to viewing shorter races as "not serious" and "not worth it" by the newer crowd. I come from a track/cross country background, where those shorter races were our focus.

    As for the monetary part, I'm on the other end of the spectrum. If I had $120 to spend, I'd rather run four lower key 5ks or 10ks rather than one half or full marathon. However, I'm also oblivious to crows/race support or perks. All I ask for in an accurate course (preferably closed to traffic) and maybe a water stop or two. Bands, tech t-shirts, pasta feeds, etc. just don't interest me. But to each their own!

    Since you're in SF, I would invite you to check out my favorite race: the Zippy 5k. It's usually held in April in GG Park. Very, very competitive (i.e. no crowds to get caught behind), nice and accurate but challenging course, low cost (there's even a no t-shirt option for those with closets full). It's a step up from a DSE-style race, but it's not an "event" like a Rock'n'Roll-type marathon. To me it's a pure race, which is what I run for. But like I said, everyone's different. Good luck at the half marathon!