Laying it on the line at the Auto Show Shuffle

This week I was feeling great in my Marathon training, running faster than ever and recovering well! So I decided to jump in on a little 5k racing action to get a snapshot of where my training is. This is useful to my coach for setting target paces for my speed sessions as well as to gauge my progress in training. The 5k distance is shorter than I usually race – we joke about the value equation of entering a 5k verses a longer race – but I realized that this distance is really not one that I am used to racing so I decided to jump in and get some practice.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it is not really JUST the 5k distance that I am not comfortable with racing….it is ANY distance. As a distance runner, when we run a half marathon or marathon distance, it is more of an endurance game – did you conserve enough energy to keep your pace up at mile 13 or 26?, we do not have to push ourselves to the “I can’t breath” and then a little faster, it is a different kind of discomfort. When we run a marathon with a bunch of other people we are not generally concentrating on where we placed within the entire field or even within your age group, but your overall time. It is easier to focus on PR’s than beating people, but the bottom line is that everyone runs faster during a race than in training because of that competitive spirit so why are we so tentative to admit that competitive streak? Personally I think it is a fear of failure, if I put myself out there and admit that I am trying my hardest, pushing to run my fastest I risk disappointment. I risk failure, crashing and burning in a public setting. Plus the idea of competition, trying to beat someone else is kind of ugly!

So I made a decision to put all those risks aside.  To quietly work my way up towards the front of this small race, to go all out from the start line and embrace that “I can’t breath” effort. To know that the second half of the race into the 15 mph head wind by the Detroit river would be harder than the first but not to use that as an excuse to hold back over this short distance.

I laid it all out there and I will be pleased with that. I will not say that I could have run faster, pushed harder, or wonder what if there hadn’t been that headwind. That is part of the racing, which is in turn part of training to race.

As I said, I don’t typically race 5k’s but I looked back at some previous times and I ran 1:30 faster than my PR from 2007 and 3 minutes faster than a race in February last year.

After I had finished I put another layer and ran the course backwards for a little warm down and to get some extra miles in – trying to encourage others as they finished, thanking the volunteers who stood outside on such a windy morning and helping to pick up a few of the cones on the Dequindre cut (a little cross training there!)

AutoShow Shuffle Map

AutoShow Shuffle Map, we often run a similar route with the Downtown Runners a great little route if you are ever looking for a run downtown.

This was the inaugural Auto Show Shuffle, supported by the Parade Company who also put on the Turkey Trot. It was a great course showcasing everything that I love about the Detroit Riverwalk and the Dequindre cut. The volunteers were awesome and it got a lot of people out and moving on a Saturday morning in January, in Michigan.  Here are the official results.

Age Group Medal and Recovery Chai Latte

Age Group Medal and Recovery Chai Latte


I followed the advice of my coach and treated myself to a skinny Chai Latte for recovery – protein, carbs and a little caffeine!

Do you race? Do you feel safer competing over longer distances? Do you ever have trouble pushing yourself to lay it all on the line?



8 thoughts on “Laying it on the line at the Auto Show Shuffle

  1. Katherine, I believe that we each race for different reasons. Some do it for competition or personal challenge. Some enjoy the events. Some in honor of a friend or loved one for a specific cause. Some are running towards a goal, others away from lifes troubles. I started competing as a challenge and found I earned admiration from my family and provided inspiration to them. I found that I was also inspired by the people I met. As you are aware, it has become a family event for us.

    As to your question to finding it hard to push oneself outside their comfort zone, I think we need to consider a persons motivation. I continue to be inspired by the top runners whose dedication makes it “look” easy as well as the first time competitors who are overcoming their fears and level of fitness in pursuit of their goals. It will be interesting to see the responses of others…

    Congrats on your run!

  2. I race ( well enter events…) for a whole bunch of reasons : having an entry sitting looking at me makes me get my butt out and do some training, when I am in the event I try to set a goal time that will at least get close to my PB ( having done some complex mathematics to allow for the ageing process) and I try to beat or at least keep up with people who seem to be roughly the same age, shape and fitness level as me. I try really really hard not to be overtaken by the guy in the gorilla suit or the ladies “running” with their handbags over their shoulders!
    I also get a great sense of personal achievement having finished, having my medal or goody bag yes but mainly just in my head ….. Yeah! I just ran a 5k!
    But I think mainly I run – in events or just running- because I can still, just about huff and puff my way round 3 or 5 miles. Fifteen years ago I couldn’t – I was not able to run a mile continuously however slowly- AND I know plenty of people who through age, disease or disability cannot ever hope to run , so I do it for them.

  3. I don’t compete much now. I run for fitness for the field sport I play and to pace my wife and help her to run faster. I was a good runner at school and whenever I have run in events my competitive streak comes through. I start at modest pace and then speed up from half way catching and overtaking people. Even latterly when I have entered races for “fun” I have only been able to run for about a mile before starting to compete with other people alongside and ahead. My last event though was a challenging one for my wife and I decided to pace her and resist the urge to compete to help her through the mud and hills and streams – and I did that and I hope helped her to finish in a faster time than she might have got without me. And that too was a challenge for me to run slower than I normally do and a rewarding experience to help someone else by resisting my competitive streak!
    In terms of running 5k when the target events are marathons and half marathons I have always felt it enables you to increase your race pace and to put in bursts or cope with a long hill and recover quicker in a longer race. So I agree it is a great training aid alongside longer training runs for stamina. And fantastic to be able to see quick feedback on the success in your training. Well done Katherine!

  4. Pingback: 4th of July race recap and start line banter! | Groovy Girls Go..............

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