Dam Run 10k Irmo, SC September 2009

Dam Run 10k

One of the bigger 10k’s in the Columbia area today and my first 6.2 miler. The race started at 7:30 am and temp was 65 degrees, so pretty nice for this time of year in SC. I decided I would shoot for about 7:30 pace and go from there. This was by far the longest distance that I’ve raced – I did a 15k earlier this month but ran it super easy. The course was very PR friendly – billed as being flat to downhill most of the way.

I got a little caught up with the surge at the beginning and found myself at about 7:18 in the first mile, but the weather and the completely flat terrain (crossing over the top of a dam bordering a lake) made it seem easier. I decided at that point to try to hold that pace instead. The course ran through a neighborhood after crossing the dam, and there were a few inclines, but nothing too bad. I hit the next three miles in almost identical splits, about 7:15 or so. With 2.2 miles left I felt pretty strong, so I focused on a couple of runners that I knew ahead of me and picked up the pace. Passed a bunch of people on the fifth mile, and the increased pace seemed to actually feel better on my legs. Reached the 5th mile marker at a 6:58 split. The last 1.2 was through a park, all flat. I finally caught up with a guy that I had been trying to reach the whole race – he’s in his late 40’s but usually runs about 30 sec to a minute behind me in 5ks. Unfortunately there was not a 6th mile marker. I was wearing my garmin but all the weaving I had done in the beginning had made the distance off. There was a sudden turn and the finish was just about 50 meters ahead. If I had known it was that close I could have kicked in the full sprint earlier. I flew past one of my age groupers in the last 20 meters and hit the tape at 45:05. I was kicking myself afterward for not being aware of where the finish was, as I could have broken 45 minutes easy.  Either way, I was very happy with the time, as I was shooting for 46-47 minutes. Finished 48th, 4th in age group.

Overall, I like the distance and I’m looking forward to a couple more 10ks in the next few months, as well as a 12k and a half.


Dry Run 5k – September 2009

I had a 5k this weekend, and it was finally a little cooler (70’s at race time) on a relatively flat course. About a 100 people there. There was another race in nearby Lexington, so the field was a little thinned by that. I have been experimenting with the “go out fast and hang on” philosophy for 5ks recently, so I hit the first mile in 6:30. Over the summer this method has produced some decent times, though that last mile can get pretty rough. I was afraid of a bad time this weekend because my legs felt dead all week as I tried to continue my typical mileage when I think I hadnt recovered adequately from the 15k on Labor Day. In this race, I noticed I was breathing better and able to keep from slowing the pace too much, though my lower legs still were complaining from all the abuse.  My second mile split was 6:55. I tried pushing the pace a bit in the last 1.1 because I felt much better than I normally do from a cardiovascular standpoint. I was able to pass a few people, and finished strong – third mile at 6:50, the last .17 at 6:11 pace. The course was usatf certified, so I think I just ran it inefficiently (I didnt memorize it before). Finished in 21:13, 8th place and 1st overall age group. I was pleased with the result and it was nice to take home some hardware (a commemorative glass).

Next up is a 10k on Sept 26. This will be fun for me, because I’m assured a PR. I skipped a 10k in April and there havent been any since. I’ll be happy with anything sub-50, though would prefer to be around 46.

Labor Day Fitness Challenge 15k – September 2009

I ran the Labor Day Fitness challenge 15k in Columbia yesterday. Its the state championship for that distance, so there was a pretty big crowd. There was also a 5k race, but it is run as sort of an afterthought and for those that arent able to do the 15k. I had run a trail 5k on Saturday to get my competitive race for the weekend, and I felt this was a chance to try a new distance and take it easy. This course is notorious for being one of the hilliest and most grueling of the road races in the COlumbia area. This fact, and the fact that my longest run ever has only been about 10 miles, led me to take an extremely conservative approach to the race. I decided to go out in 8:30 pace and see how I felt. It was difficult for me to go that slow, especially when all kinds of people were passing me in that first mile. ( A hit to my running ego, for sure- lol) Luckily the weather was amazing with temps in the mid 60’s. I started to speed up just a bit during the first few miles, shaving my splits down to the 8:15 range. After mile 5 there was a quarter mile mountain of a hill that was unlike anything I’ve encountered in racing. People were stopping and walking – there was even a first aid station at the top. I was thankful I had started slow, because I was able to motor up it and pass a ton of people. By the time I had reached 6.2 miles, I realized all I had was a 5k left, and I felt great, so I ramped up the speed significantly, moving to about 7:20-7:30 pace, which seems so much easier once youre that “warmed up”. There were a few more rough hills in the last 5k, and even a brief trail section at the end, with a finish after 2/3 lap on a track. I was pretty beat during that last .3 mile as the increased pace and cumulative mileage started to take its toll. Still, I was able to sprint the track part and finish in 1 hr 16 minutes, 75th overall, 5th in age group. I enjoyed the run a great deal and it gave me confidence I could do a half marathon. Best part =  instant PR! 

Crooked 5k Chapin, SC September 2009

Yet another trail run for me yesterday – a field of about 70 or so at a county park about a half hour from COlumbia in Chapin,SC. The field was notably missing the rail-thin, singlet-wearing types. The course was through woods and around an athletic complex – mostly grass and dirt with some paved areas. It was an out and back course so you could see where you stood in the field most of the race. I decided to go out fast, which is against my usual negative-split inclination. I guy flew by me in the first 400 meters and I never saw him again. There was a 4 wheeler that directed the lead runner, so there was litle direction for the rest of us. I was all alone as the lead runner for the rest of the pack for about 3/4 of the race. First mile split was in 6:27, which was ridiculous for this course, so I had to put on the brakes a bit. I paid for the first mile the rest of the race, but I was able to maintain about a 7:10 pace the rest of the way out. I was dying in the last .75 mile and got passed by two people, but managed to hold on to 4th place. The finish time was about 22:10, which was not bad considering the cross-country course and nearly continuous rolling hills. My Garmin had me at a little over 3.2 miles, which probably was more of me meandering off course trying to lead the rest of the group. That is something I’m definitely not used to. The winner finished in 18:58 or so, and the other two ahead of me were above 21 minutes. It was fun to run in a smaller, less competitive race. Now that I have some hardware for this weekend, I can concentrate on just finishing my 15k on Monday. It is known to be a grueling, hilly course, so I am going to take it slow and have fun.