Runner’s Den AZ Pancake Run – 5K Race Recap

A few weekends ago I had a great confidence boosting run weekend – I ran 20 miles with the Cave Creek Chicks on Saturday and then on Sunday I headed down to the Paradise Valley Mall to run in the Runner’s Den AZ Pancake Run.

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15 miles into 20

This was the 37th year for this race and it is a flat & fast race.  They have had multiple elite athletes participate in both races, in fact the 10k American Record was set at this race twice over the years.  This year Olympian & American Record Holder in mile, Alan Webb participated in both races.

I’ve wanted to run this race in the past, but it never really fit in with my schedule.  Now that I’m doing things a little differently to train for my upcoming 50K, I’m running more back to back on the weekends to get my legs prepared.  I originally signed up to run both races and had every intention of doing so when I got there that morning, but we’ll get to that in a little bit.

You have the option of picking up your packet on Saturday at Runner’s Den so I did that.  They gave us a cute Brooks shirt, it still had the tags on it and everything, a coupon for a free short stack of pancakes from IHOP and a unique bib. It was nice that the race was so close to my house and it didn’t start until 8am so I was able to sleep in.  After so many races of having to get up before dark, this was a nice treat.  I got up, made myself two pieces of toast with peanut butter, got my water bottle filled and then took off.

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It was somewhat cool when I left so I decided to wear one of my long sleeve shirts, a running skirt and a pair of ProCompression marathon socks along with my new Altra The One2 – which I love!!  I’ll review these shoes once I have worn them a bit longer. I got there with plenty of time.

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Since the race was starting in the mall parking lot there was a ton of parking :).  I made my way over towards the port-a-potties, did my business and then hung out for a while – they had packet pick-up that morning as well, TVs set up that would be scrolling the results and some vendor tents along with the pancake station.

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It got closer to 8am so I lined up somewhere I thought was about midpack, turns out I was much closer to the front, but that ended up being a good thing.  They announced that last year they had 10 people go under 17 mins in the 5K and that the first women came in at 17:01 so we knew this was going to be a fast race.  The only thing I was a little surprised at was that they didn’t play the National Anthem like they do at most races.  Considering how big of a race, that was interesting but anyways.

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And then we were off.  I really was worried about how my legs would react after the 20 miles the day before so I was trying not to run too fast.  I was far enough near the front that I didn’t really need to do too much in the way of weaving in and out around people.  I wasn’t really trying too hard, I figured if I was going to run the 10k later, I needed to conserve something for that :).

I passed the first mile marker around 9:02, I started about 20 secs after the leaders.

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Free Race Photos rock!! And I really want to see this movie too!

It was a nice & quite course – the only thing I didn’t like and it was my fault for not wearing my visor was that the sun was in my eyes after the first turn around and I couldn’t really see anything.  This was probably why the 2nd mile was the fastest – lol.  During the third mile, I started to feel a little light-headed and sick, which I originally contributed to running faster than I have in a while, but it started getting worse as I got closer to the finish line so I had to back off a little bit.  I ended up finishing in 26:51:74 (8:39 avg pace) which was only 5 seconds slower than my PR – I just looked that up on athlinks.com and I had no idea I was that close – oh, well, I’ll get it next time :). After I finished I wasn’t feeling that great so I took a few minutes to relax and then decided that if I felt that lightheaded and dehydrated I should probably skip the 10k.  I didn’t need to run it and I know that I didn’t refuel properly the day before after my 20 miler which contributed.

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So I went over to get my post race pancakes, which the folks from IHOP were making practically to order.  It was really cool to see them out there.  I got my 2 piping hot pancakes, took them over to one of 3 topping stations.  They had berries, apples, chocolate chips, butter, syrup and whipped cream.  I dressed my pancakes, got a banana and a Shamrock Farms Rockin Refuel Vanilla drink.  The pancakes were really good, the Rockin Refuel was surprisingly good too – I’m super picky with milk drinks, I don’t normally drink real milk, but this was lactose free so that was a huge plus.

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After getting some food, I felt a lot better, but I still wasn’t going to run the race, so I headed over to the start to watch Alan Webb warm up and start the race.  I ended up talking to another runner about his upcoming trip to Italy during the 31 minutes it took Alan to run the 10k.  Crazy!! The 2nd place runner didn’t come in until after 34 mins.

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Alan Webb killing it in the 10k

I didn’t regret skipping the 10k and I’m glad I had the chance to get in some speed work.  After a lot of slower runs lately, my confidence in my speed was a bit low.

All in all it was a great running weekend and I feel a lot better about my upcoming races.

If you are in Phoenix and want to run a flat & fast 5k/10k this is a great race.  I can see why they have been putting on the race for so many years.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to run it before I move.

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