Jailbreak 5k – May 2010

Jailbreak 5k

This race has gotten pretty big, and usually attracts some of the top runners because of the prize money. About 350 runners. Race time was 8:30 and it was already getting hot, only mid 70’s temp wise but pretty humid. I wasnt feeling great this am – we had a party at my house which resulted in me getting to bed late and eating too much, and somehow 3 beers was enough to leave me a little dehydrated. I only ran a mile for warmup and was fearful of a total disaster of a race. I decided to lay off the first mile a little because I was hurting big time last 5k when I went out in 6:06. Lined up a couple of rows back to try to make me stick to this plan. I left my Garmin at home unintentionally, so I would be flying blind in this one.

I was not feeling it in the first mile – my usual urge to want to just stop was stronger and my legs felt pretty heavy. Luckily the first mile was almost completely flat, and it was nice there was a clock – crossed right at 6:15. A group of 3 friends that I usually beat by about 15-30 seconds seemed pretty strong at this point, and they actually all passed me in the first part of mile 2. I guess I was slowing down – the heat was getting to me and my breathing was harder than I like at this point. Csab also passed me at this point, and I could see a whole group of 20:xx runners ahead of me that were starting to build a gap. I tried not to panic, but I was fighting some pretty negative self talk at this point, and wondered if I should just pack it in. The second mile clock was around 12:50, so I definitely hemorraged some time there. On the upside my breathing had calmed down some and my legs hurt less. The rolling hills that started in the second mile continued on to the 3rd. There was a particularly nasty incline right around the 2 mile mark which actually gave me some hope, because I felt myself nearing the pack in front of me. Because I ran the race last year, I knew when the last of the major hills were done after this. As we turned on to the straightaway I decided to just redline it the rest of the way. The pack was definitely starting to fall away at this point too. Passed Csab and my 3 other friends with about a half mile to go. I saw a known 35-39er about 50 meters ahead and figured I had to get to himto have any chance of getting some hardware. He must of been hurting bad, because I gained on him quickly and passed him with less than a quarter mile to go and the finish line in clear view. Saw the clock roll over to 19:30 and was able to bust it to the finish at 19:52. I was really spent with the finishing kick but it felt great to come from behind like that. Finished in 16th place, and got 3rd in AG, so it was really fortunate I was able to catch the age grouper (Eric).  Awesome hardware – large, heavy medal. Finally some cold water at the finish and a nice spread of fruit, bagels and cookies.  Did 2 cooldown loops of the course with some friends to finish with 10 miles for the day.


Get in the Pink 5k – May 2010

Get in the Pink 5k

This is the 2nd year of an event that’s a fund raiser for breast cancer, with the 10k being the “marquee” event. I’m coming off the 23 miles of relay last weekend so I decided to go for the shorter race. A surprising amount of people for this race, though I think most were not in it for the competition (definitely true by the finish times). Gun time was 8:15, 15 min after the 10k start. Heat was rough already, probably close to 80 degrees (high of 90 I think today). I warmed up about 2 miles, and was sweating already. I needed some water at the start but none to be found (car was too far away). Lined up first row – there were a few people in singlets that I know (including the dude that beat me to win the Healthy Capital 5k last month). These guys were 18:xx, but in their early 40’s,  so my goals were to sub 20 it and win my age group. A 49 yo woman (Sarah)  that I know and  used to be a top national masters runner was also there, trying to come back from injury.

The start was good and I ran in the first group for the first half mile, then tried to focus on hitting low 6 splits. The heat was already getting to me inthe first mile, so this did not bode well. Sarah was with me stride for stride, though I could tell she was laboring too. The 1 mile marker was way off – at about 0.8 miles – so that was disheartening. Hit the real first mile in 6:06, so pretty good pace. Crowd started to thin at this point. A group of 3 were about 50 meters ahead, and then me and another guy I wasnt familiar with. Sarah dropped back at this point and it was just me and the other guy the whole 2nd mile. At the end of the mile I started to pull ahead of him, – he told me “its going to be hard to break 19 today” . I’m not sure if this was to get in my head, but we were close to this pace at the time. Hit mile 2 at 6:16 pace. Around this time the lead runner from the 10k (begun 15 minutes earlier) caught up (he’s a running legend in SC and does about 32 minutes, so I knew thi swould happen ahead of time). Still, I was afraid it was someone in my race when I heard him. I was really, really hurting at this point. The course turned and made a slight incline into a very long straightaway, where I could see the finish way off in the distance. My breathing was getting so fast that I had to slow down slightly to make sure I didnt have to stop. Luckily the dude behind me was feeling it too, because I couldnt hear him behind me. I knew he was close though with the cheering from the few spectators. The last half mile or so was pure torture, and it was a supreme mental effort to keep going. Finished mile 3 in 6:36 and was able to muster a feeble kick to the line. Crossed in 19:44, 4th place overall and 1st in AG. The guy behind me finished 6 seconds later and is 39, so I was very glad I was able to fend him off, especially because this race had hardware only for 1st. Happy with the time, especially considering the heat. A little disappointed though because my pace was for a PR until that last mile, which is usually my strength. I may need to adjust my pacing with this heat becoming such a factor.


Palmetto 200 Relay – April 30 – May 1 2010

Thanks to Mr Sig for the support and organizing a cool relay event. I know we were a team that was kind of random and most of us met just before the race – I had no expectations of being competitive but it was thrilling how the team really came together and almost placed overall.

I had three legs to the relay: 8.8 miles, 6.6 miles and 7.5 miles each about 8 hours apart. I was runner #3 on the team and you can see the legs on the website. My goal was to try and maintain close to the calculated relay pace, which was 7:27 for me. This is also almost right at the pace I would need to qualify for Boston, so it would be interesting to see how I responded.

Right off the bat, though, I knew this was going to be tough. The high on both days was scheduled for high 80’s. I had my first leg at around noon, and it was already broiling. I was roaring to go on the first leg (8.8 mi) and did a ridiculous 1st mile for the conditions, around 6:45. Not a good idea. Not only was my leg full of hills but completely exposed with little or no shade. I basically hemmorhaged seconds each split as the heat really took its toll. Fell all the way to about 8 minutes/mile by mile 8, but was able to go sub 8 pace again in the last 0.8 with the van and exchange zone in sight. Just brutal conditions. To make matters worse, the runner on the team we were closest to blew by me halfway into the leg, pulling about 5ish pace (later found out he was a 2:30 marathoner). I was really spent after that leg and started to worry about how it would effect the other legs.

2nd leg (6.6 miles)was thankfully at night, just after 8:30 or so. I knew our team was doing well, just a few minutes behind our projected pace despite the terrible heat. Temps had cooled to the 60’s and I was feeling better, though still not 100 percent. Had to run in a crazy get up – reflective vest, headlamp and 2 blinking red lights, in a completely dark rural area with little but a straight road, which thankfully was nearly flat. I decided to go all out and reclaim some of that lost time from my first leg. Felt really good after I got going – just started knocking off 6:50ish and 7:0X splits. Passed a few people, but 2:30 marathon guy caught me again in the 3rd mile. At 6.6 miles by Garmin I still couldnt see a finish and I was close to panicking that I had missed a turn. Finally saw the exchange zone and Garmin read 6.96 miles at 7:08 pace. I was happy with that, but started worrying immediately about that last leg. I was pretty cashed at that point, having done almost 16 miles of hard race effort.

We had a hotel room to crash for a little bit after the last runner in our van did his leg at 11:00 pm or so. No one was really sleeping though so we headed for the next exchange zone to try and sleep while the other van ran their legs. Got maybe 2 hours of very interrupted sleep in our van. Woke up feeling completely wrecked – sore and exhausted.  Our other van (with Mr Sig) had kept up the good pace, and I was determined to try and continue that. My last leg was 7.5 miles, again flat and straight, at about 5:30 in the morning. My toes were killing me from doing the first 2 legs in my racing flats, and my quads were already really sore. I switched to my trainers for the last leg, which was probably a mistake. I again took off in the first mile, doing 7:15, but I knew I was in trouble pretty fast. Just felt terrible physically and the lack of sleep made the mental effort even tougher. Was able to hold it together through the first 4 miles at OK pace mid to high 7’s, but the wheels came off at about mile 5. I started seeing spots and the headlamp light was disorienting me a bit. After being unable to shake it, I just stopped and walked for about 10-15 seconds, and was able to recover enough to keep going. The last miles were brutal – I was more concerned about actually completing the leg and not being a medical issue more than maintaining any kind of pace. Somehow I was able to keep an 8:30ish pace, probably because I was so intent to finish. Passed a guy that looked as bad as I felt, but was walking, tried to offer some encouragement. Actually was able to get a second wind and do 7:50 in the last half mile, and man was I glad to get that leg over.

After my finish I felt much better and coffee and a sausage biscuit totally reenergized me. I was sorer than I’ve ever been, but it was great to follow the remaining 9 runners all the way to Folly Beach, including a group finish with Mr Sig for the last 100 meters.

In all, a unique and cool experience. I had a really nice and supportive team, so that made the painful parts much more bearable. Was so excited that a team of newbies like ourselves could have placed so well.