My race today was through the streets of my childhood neighborhood, and my parents (who still live there) came out for support, so that was fun. My memory of the area was apparently pretty spotty though, because I had the idea it was pretty flat. This was definitely not the case. Mostly rolling hills, though only a couple of significant inclines.
The race was much bigger than I had assumed, with about 200 participants. There were cash awards too, so this brought out the local “elites”. This included some of my age groupers, so I knew an AG award would be difficult at best.
I lined up behind the known sub 20’ers, and did my best to lay off the sprint everyone seems to engage in after the gun. It worked well- I didnt get passed the whole race after the initial 100 yards, and ended up passing several people in the first mile. I ran most of the race fairly isolated, which tends to be the case recently. I seem to have improved past the main group of casual runners, but not good enough to join the truly competitive. It at least allowed me to run my own race, though I didnt feel that push to go faster from competition. I did catch a 13 yr old kid in the last mile, which sounds dubious, but he actually has finished with some low 20:xx times this year, so I felt good about that. I kept my eye on one of the top females as a pacer, knowing she usually also runs in the low 20:xx range. Unfortunately she was slower today than usual!
The course ended with an unpleasant hill, so I couldnt muster a good kick, plus I was all by myself and didnt feel the pressure to really put on the afterburners. This was particularly true after I realized I couldnt PR when I saw the clock. Because of my separation from the pack, the event photographer took a ton of ridiculous pics of me dying across the finish – see here and push the next button for the full inglorious montage:
I finished in 21:36 , which I was OK with. Not as good as last week, but I’m pleased I can consistently get below 7 minute pace. Missed my age group – there were 3 sub 20 times for 30-34 yr olds. I did finish 4th though. My last race for about a month now – the summer is starting to kick in, and the heat has and will continue to be a factor now. (almost 80 degrees by race end today)
JAILBREAK 5k – May 2009
Finished 21:15 today in a 5K with over 400 people, which was fun. Not much to report, given I still dont have a Garmin. The 2 mile marker guy called out my split as 13:25, so I bonked a bit in the last 1.1, which I definitely felt. I’m happy with the time, as its my 2nd best. I was also excited to get back to that elusive sub 7:00 pace. I was surprised to find out I’d placed third in my age group even though I was 46th overall. I was pretty happy about that since I saw two guys before the race that are 33 and always run sub-19. This was a cash awards race, so it brought out a pretty competitive field – winning time was 15:37, top 25 were all sub 20.
Falcon 5K RR – May 2009
Arrived about 30 minutes before the gun. Already hot, high 70’s at 8 am. Not a huge crowd but I already see several known sub-20 runners, then I remember there are cash prizes for the winners. Two of the guys I know are 33 years old, which doesnt bode well for my age group. I try to refocus the race to concentrate on running a good time and placing in the top 10. I knew I wouldnt PR this course because of the hills, the worst of which is a series of brutal ones starting at 2 miles. Its a loop course so all the flat and downhill on the first half is given back to you. Race is slow to start and the gun comes around 8:45. The temp is noticably hotter and the sun is out in force.
FIRST MILE – Holding back quite a bit, I dont have a watch but feels about 7:30 pace. I draft behind a guy I know runs about 21 minutes. The no. 1 female is ahead and I decide to catch her as the guy I was drafting suddenly pciks up the pace. Having run the course two weeks ago, I know not to go all out before the killer hills. I pass the top female (I hadnt seen her before, and it turns out she finishes in over 23 minutes).
SECOND MILE – Feels pretty good at this point, its mostly flat or downhill, so I try to make up some ground. I surge ahead on a few turns and push the pace a bit, shooting for sub 7:00. I do slow down the last 400m or so in prep for the hills. I pass a few people.
THIRD MILE – Brutal hills. The first half feels good and I definitely notice the fact I didnt push the first 2 miles too much. The heat starts to get oppressive towards the top but I’m still going strong. I have to side step a kid who suddenly decides to stop and puke. This is the second straight time I’ve dealt with this and I really hate it. I reach the crest and I know its all downhill from there. I’m pretty spent at this point. Just me and 2 other guys now, nobody else within a quarter mile. I pass a 60 year old guy who looks 40 and is a ball of muscle. I know he always runs about 21-22 minutes and always finishes first in age group by several minutes usually.
The final stretch: 60 year old comes back and passes me! He is really motoring. I offer some words of encouragement and see the clock. I had an outside chance at breaking 22 but my kick just wasnt there after the mountain climbing on mile 3. Finished in 22:11, 8th overall.
I’m happy with the time – this was not an easy course and the heat was rough. Disappointed that I finished 3rd in age group because the 2nd and 3rd place finishers (around 19 minutes) were both 33. Can’t be too hung up on that stuff though. Still got a ribbon! lol.