Shell Deer Park Strides for School 2014 5k Recap

This past Saturday (4/12), I ran my 4th Strides for School 5k and celebrated the race’s 5th year!    The race has grown a lot since its inception in 2010.  I remembered having to pick up reusable chip on the 1st edition (the ones where you had to tie-wrapped to your shoes).   It was merely 100 runners/walkers.  In its 5th edition, the race has outgrown the original course, and moved to the Jimmy Burke Activity Center (A change that was implemented 2 years ago), with over 1700 walkers and runners participating.

(if you watch the video, I am at the end)

This race holds a special place in my heart.  Not only because Shell is the title sponsor, but this is one of the races where I know the volunteers as well as participants. This is one of those races where I got the big home-crowd advantage.  Familiar faces.  Everyone cheering for me.  I had a great time visiting with my old friends (I left Deer Park for Downtown  1.5 years ago, so this is almost like a mini-reunion).  It’s a small local race, but every Spring, you are guaranteed to find a few rouge fast runners running in this one, including local high school track stars.

We were blessed with slightly cooler weather (I mean it is April in Texas).   The race started at 8:15 and the temperature was 68 deg F and 93% humidity.  I knew that a PR would be a miracle.  To be very honest, since I was half doing speed work since January this year, I did not have much expectation going into this race, but secretly, since year 2012, I always wanted to win this thing.   In 2012, I was the front-running female, until mile 2.5, the young track runner passed me….and I ended up 15 seconds behind her taking 2nd overall and 1st in my AG.  Since then, I vowed to work harder to try to outrun folks who are 1/2 my age.

After a very nice rendition of the national anthem, the race started very quickly.   I found myself right behind my colleague Darren (who’s a big speedster!).   Maybe it was because of the head wind, I found myself going a little slower than normal for the 1st mile.  After 2 women (both of them in blue) passed me, I clocked myself with a 6:55 min/mile.

The course was essentially an out-and-back, so I knew, if I could hang on, I can use the tailwind of the last mile to my advantage.  The 2nd mile had use turning a few corners in the neighborhood, and towards the end of the 2nd mile, we were out back towards the start/finish line.  I have to say, I wasn’t looking at my watch.  I went by feel.  I accelerated a bit more once we turned back and started going with the wind.  (2nd mile was 6:53 min/mile).


At mile 3, I passed one of the fast ladies.  She said “Good job” and I said “Good run”.   Then I charged on to try to close the gap between myself and Darren.  Then all of a sudden, the 10 year old runner in front of me suddenly stopped.  I caught myself stopping just in time, and then moved on.

The 3rd mile was very motivating.  As I was running back, I kept hearing Go MAY!   My co-workers were awesome.   I certainly have felt the love which motivated me to run faster.   At the last turn, I knew I had less than 0.25 miles to go.  So I had to kick in the BON Racing Team sprint mode.   Time was running out though, I saw 20:5X but I was at least 0.05 miles away.  Even though it wasn’t a sub 21 day, I would take that 21:14 proudly given that it was warm and I hadn’t done enough prep work.


As a cross the finish line, I heard “May Shek” another top runner.  🙂



Progression not Perfection…

Before I share with you the results, here are the progression of the past 5 years:

2/2010 —  23:06, 1st AG, 4th overall

4/2011 — 22:27, 1st AG, 3rd overall

4/2012 — 21:44, 1st AG, 2nd overall

4/2013 — was at Boston

(so you would think this may be the year I can take it all right, at least based on the trend above?

4/2014 — 21:14 …


Curious about the results?

Darren was a rockstar – he came in under 21 mins.    It was a good day for many.  My friend Bill (who started training for 5k last Fall) had a BIG PR!!!! (I am really proud of Bill’s accomplishment and his posts motivate me to train harder and remind me the pure joy of running.)  After catching up with more old friends, at 9:45am, we gathered inside the Activity Center for the awards.

Even though the elusive Female overall escaped me again (by a wide margin this time, the top female ran 19:17), I was very happy that I beat my previous race time at this race by 30 seconds AND I ran this race with a negatively split (very rare for me).

I walked away with this:



1st Place in my AG!  (Well, the fast ladies my age didn’t show up).

This year, the run had photo booths and I had some fun with them 🙂  Image

See, Deer Park has such beautiful scenery 😉


Above all, the coolest thing about this race is that we have raced over $100k for the School District this year!!!!!!!!!!

So what’s next?  I need to get back to doing more speedwork.  I got lots of work to do to reach my goal of running a sub 20 min 5k this Fall!  And yes, if I am not running Boston next year, I would like to come back and chase for the elusive 1st overall female award.  (To be fair, I have won twice in my running career….one time in a very small race, and one time in last year’s corporate challenge, but since I didn’t pay $20 to enter the race, I wasn’t officially the winner).

What type of 5k’s do you prefer?  Large ones?  Or small local ones?  Why?


About mayshek

Avid runner with a day time job as a Chemical Engineer. Large affinity to my Garmin Watch. Love Data.

One response to “Shell Deer Park Strides for School 2014 5k Recap”

  1. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast says :

    Awesome job, May!! I remember how hot and humid it could be in April- it made it SO difficult to run well! Congrats on a course pr. 🙂

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