Race Recap: Wildcat 5k


Sandwiched between last week’s 15k and next week’s Tower of Terror ten miler was the second leg of the Final Mile Fall Grand Prix racing series, the Wildcat 5k. Proceeds from all of the Final Mile Grand Prix races go to benefit a specific charity, with this race benefiting the Taylor High School cross country team in Pierson, Florida. Check that on a map, and yes, I drove 95 miles each way for a 5k race. Don’t ask.

Wildcat prerace

We might see some sun!

Race time was set for 7:30, the latest race start that I have seen since last winter. Just before we got started the sun started coming out. Big deal? According to the Weather Channel’s site we have seen over 9 inches of rain this month at my house. The sun is a welcomed site!

Just before 7:30 we walked up a hill from the finishing area in order to get to the start line. Jennifer (the race organizer) started off on her bike and Race DJ sent us on our way. I had a general goal of what pace I wanted to run, but honestly didn’t know if I could hold that pace. Trying to get a feel for my initial speed I looked at my MapMyRun app after about a minute – lost GPS and have run 0.00 miles. Awesome! I turned the GPS off and back on and it came back but now it’s a guessing game. I had to use the mile markers and the clock to keep my pace in line.

The first mile was done in 7:09, about 30 seconds faster than my plan. Felt good on the second mile with a time of 7:21. Near the end of the third mile I started to feel really weak in my gut, like I was about to pass out from lack of fuel. Because of the 2 hour drive to get to the race I brought food for pre-race but forgot to eat it. Keep pushing. Third mile finished in 7:23 and I finished at 22:46.

Wildcat5k finish

Honest, the paleness is from not eating

I finished with an average pace of 7:19 which blows my mind. That is slow for many of you, I understand, but my first 5k was last November (at age 44) and that was the first time I had run 2 miles in the same day, let alone 3.1 in one shot. My average mile that day was 9:35. I have shaved 2:16 off of my average mile and 7:04 off of my 5k time in under 11 months. I don’t even believe it myself.

Wildcat5k award

Award presentation with Taylor HS running coach, Pierson, FL Mayor, and the Wildcats

My time was good for 21st overall (field of 208) and third in my age group. The AG placing also earned me a few points in the racing series standings. Overall this was another great race put on by Final Mile and I’m looking forward to my next race with them, the Lighthouse Loop half marathon around the Ponce Inlet lighthouse! My next race will be back to RunDisney for the TOT10. Can’t wait!


Miracle Miles 15k in Orlando


Since I started running just under a year ago, there literally has not been one morning where it was raining when I was scheduled to run, training run or a race. Until this weekend. Track Shack’s annual Miracle Miles 5k and 15k races took place on Saturday at Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando. It rained from the time I woke up until the time I got home after the race. I finally had to (got to) run in the rain.

Miracle Miles 15k

Soaked through but happy with the race

Any race on city streets causes traffic problems so I got parked in a parking garage an hour before the 5k started. The 15k started 20 minutes later and, thankfully, used a different course. Once the 5k started I headed to the 15k starting corral where 1,529 racers were preparing for a 9.3 mile jaunt through downtown in the rain, all to benefit the Neonatal unit at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.

The race started right on time and I spent the first half mile just focusing on keeping my speed within my planned range. I almost always go out too fast so the extra level of focus is necessary. I wanted 8:50 for the first mile and clocked in at 8:43 so I was quite happy. Of course, mile 2 was 8:00 so I jumped a bit there, but slowed it a little and managed to hold a very steady pace for miles 3 through 9. Each mile was between 8:20 and 8:30. Around mile 6 I was starting to feel some aching in my quads and I am not sure exactly why. The only guess I have is that the injury to my foot cost me about 2/3 of my training miles over the past month. Perhaps I’ve lost a little, but would it really affect me after just 6 miles at tempo pace? Maybe it was the weather?

Miracle Miles15k


Once I passed mile 9 I really didn’t think my legs had any more to give, even though there was only a third of a mile left. I did my best to shut out the soreness and sped up for about 30 seconds. That allowed me to pass two runners and gave me a bit of mental relief. I finished in 1:19:12 which was a 15k PR for me. I was happy with the results, but a felt a little defeated when I learned that this time was good enough for 34th in my age group (out of 81). Translation: time to get to work.

Next race: September 27, Wild Cat 5k (race 2 of Final Mile Grand Prix racing series)

Ups and Down in August


      Another month of training is in the books and my first full marathon is approaching that much faster. August breezed by in the form of two halves, the first half being my favorite by far. August 1-16 proved to be an incredible training time for me. By the 16th I had logged 91 miles, including my first 16-miler and my first 18-miler. While the 16 was a little difficult, the 18 felt much better – I only stopped once to walk and that wasn’t until I had successfully completed 17 miles. Needless to say, my confidence was up, my legs felt great, and my training plan was still in tact. 

     So what changed? Of all things, my shoes. I got a new pair of Reeboks and became a Reebok ambassador in the first half of August. I could not wait to try these things out – so lightweight, looking sharp, and felt great when I tried them on. The last pair of shoes that I got would have been broken in on a long run of 6, maybe 7 miles. The new ones this time? I broke them in on the 18 miler. Yeah, NOW I know that you don’t do that. My previous post gives more specifics on this catastrophe, but suffice it to say I haven’t had the comfort level to run like I want to and I’m torturing myself by taking days off to let the muscle in my foot heal. Hopefully this is about over.

     My mileage post-wrong-shoe-choice-long-run-day was 37 miles spread out over 15 days. True, 127 is not a bad month, except when you’re on pace for 175+. The other bright spot for August was my one race, The Stone Island 10k. My foot felt good during the entire race, but I pushed it as much as I could and probably more than I should have. I finished the 10k in 49:13, a PR by 1:42, but I know I left some out there. I went out too fast (again) but caught myself at about 1/2 mile in. 

    August also began with two challenges, both of which were affected by my foot problem. One challenge was to run at least a mile for 30 days, and the other was a #30DayPlankChallenge which started with 20 second planks and went up to 5 minutes. Based on the advice I was given about getting my foot healthy again, I parted ways with these challenges.

     September holds more 30-day challenges (planks, push-ups, squats, wall sits) and more new barriers to break through once I get back on the road. I’ll be doing 30 miles in a weekend for the first time, my first 20-mile run, and a mini Dopey Challenge simulation, where I’ll run increasing distances four days in a row. I also have two races scheduled for September, including a 5k and the Miracle Miles 15k to benefit the neonatal wing at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies. My daughter spent her first 3 days in a NICU, so this race is just as much a giving back effort as it is a race. If you’d like to make a donation to the hospital for their “Tiny babies. Big miracles” campaign, please click here and enter my name (Bill Culver) in the search bar. Any help is appreciated. 

     I guess that about wraps it up, have a great September…. fall race season is almost here!