Friday, July 5, 2013

Rokicki Memorial 5k, 4th of July Run

Mike Rokicki
This is my favorite 5k race.  It has a very special place in my heart and for that reason it is a race I will always have on my race calendar.  It is ran in memory of a man I have the utmost respect and admiration for.  That man is Mike Rokicki.  Tabbed as "Mr. Greencastle," Mike Rokicki gave so much of his time to Putnam County before he lost a battle with cancer in August 2003.  He was a great man and will never be forgotten.  I grew up next door to Mike and his wife Phyllis.  I was good friends with their kids Ryan and Gretl.  Their family has and still holds a special place in my heart.

The Mike Rokicki Memorial 5k run was my first ever 5k race on July 4th, 2011.  I started running on May 11, 2011 and decided this was going to be my first race.  I finished my first 5k in 23:45 good enough for 2nd in my age group.  That was the beginning of my running adventure.  The following year I improved my time tremendously with a time of 20:38 but it was still only good enough for 2nd.
John and I 1st and 2nd in Age Group

The following year had been a monster year for me.  I am not a 5k specialist by any means and prefer the longer distance runs.  I don't usually do any speed work.  I just run long for long periods of time.  The way I approach a 5k race is to sprint as hard as I can for as long as I can and say to myself that the pain will be over very quickly.  In 2012 I finished 5 full marathons and 3 ultra marathons.  The momentum had continued at the beginning of 2013 with me finishing my first 100 mile ultra in April.

This was my 3rd time for this race.  Where it all started.  I have been battling a very sore foot since my 100 miler in April.  I'm stubborn and have pushed through the pain.  I have a fear if I go to the doctor he will tell me I have to stop running however if I don't go it might get to the point where I can't run.  I know I should go so I have decided to make an appointment to go see one.  The foot was feeling so, so before the start of the race.  I had gotten 2nd in my age group the last 2 years.  I know that the main thing when you run is to have fun but I do have some competitive blood in me and I wanted that 1st.  Sore foot and all I laced up those shoes, although not too tight,  for another go at it.  I started off fast, maybe too fast.  My first mile was a 6:10 pace.  I followed that up with a 6:20 pace for my 2nd mile which was the fastest I had ever ran 2 miles(12:30 for 2 miles).  The last mile has a huge hill you have to go up and my legs were getting heavy.  I ended up finishing in 19:44 which was 54 seconds faster than last year and the fastest I had ever ran on that course.  It was not quite a PR(current PR is 19:28) but this was probably my most satisfying 5k race.  It has a couple of hills as to where my PR course is completely flat actually has a little bit of a downhill most of the way.  I ended up accomplishing my goal to place 1st in my age group for the first time at this race.  I ended up 5th overall out of 160 runners.  My average Heart Rate was 172 with a max Heart Rate of 192.

Melissa finishing with a new PR
This was also my wife Melissa's first 5k race 2 years ago.  She has improved so much over the last year.  She is my inspiration.  I was so proud of her.  She accomplished her goal and got a new PR in this race of 26:30 taking over 30 seconds off her previous PR and taking 4 1/2 minutes off of last years time.  That is simply amazing.  She works full time, takes care of our family, is an amazing Mother and Wife, and is still able to squeeze in running 3 days a week.  She has a passion that is inspiring to me and so many others.  Not only that she went out after she broke her 5k PR and ran 14 more miles that day for a total of 17 miles. She is training for her first ultra marathon in August and 2 other marathons this year.  Her drive is remarkable.

This is a great local race.  If you have never ran it, it's definitely worth it.  Money goes to a worthy cause.  It's only $15 with pre-registration and that includes a shirt.  Trophies for the top 3 in each age group for both a running and walking division.  It was a great day to be a runner and to be an American.
Edging out my friend Drew by 2 seconds.  He had beat me the previous 2 years by 1 second each year.

My daughter finishing up the kids fun run

My brother in law Tom out running the Bear and breaking his 5k PR

They left their bikes at home and went for a run today

Greencastle Running and Fitness Club Members

Me, my niece Faith and Brother in Law Tom

Faith and I

My awesome running family and awesome friends