Run Wild 5k
This race is pretty cool – its a course through a state park right next to my neighborhood. Starts off on a grass field, progresses through a campground gravel road, a mile or so of rolling sandy open trail then into a winding single track for the last mile. Nice crowd for this one, not sure how many. Weather was around 70 degrees, low humidity. Actually quite nice. The atmosphere was cool because the open 5k heads off a series of 4 high school cross country races (boys and girls , varsity and JV). Got there about a half hour ahead of time, drove there to avoid last year’s near miss of the start. I did a mile warmup and got back within 10 minutes of the finish.
With the gun, it was total chaos, as a very wide start group had about 100 yards to make it into the woods/campground area, where there was a narrow bottleneck. I was able to make it up near the front, but it was crazy with all the people jammed in like that. Had no idea what my pace was – my Garmin was unreliable in the woods. Tried to stay with an age grouper that has always beaten me, though I finished ahead of him last race when he got misdirected. He was too fast today. Hitting the sandy trails was tough, it was basically a long slow incline on very soft footing. First mile was called out as 6:15, though the Garmin was coming up about .96 mile if I remember correctly. I was getting pretty gassed on the sand trail until finally we hit a nice decline. I actually got passed by an older guy and Amy, the girl from last report. I was not happy about getting passed, but I had to defer to the air-sucking lungs at that point. Started to recover midway through mile 2, and my recover I mean not about to die anymore. Mile 2 was right at the entrance to the woods again and some pretty technical trail. They called out 13 flat just after I got there, so I guess 12:50ish for at 2 miles. Just before the woods I was able to re-pass Amy on a sandy hill. I drafted older dude most of the next half mile, when finally I decided I’d had enough and did a Adrian Petersen maneuver and passed him in the little straightaway that existed. I dont think he liked it but I did give him warning and apologized between sucking all the available oxygen in the area. Hit an open field again about 300 meters from the finish. Came up on one of the local triathletes that I’ve never come close to much less beaten. Passed him in stealth mode and we sprinted for about 50 meters but he finally gave way and I was able to hold it to the finish – 19:40. Real happy with going sub 20 again, especially with the trail course and almost 2 minutes faster than last year. Only got 3rd in AG, but given the field I was OK with that. I’ll post the results when they come out – it wasnt chip timed and there was a 2.5 hour wait for awards! Got in 6 miles in “cool down” which was nice with the great weather.
Gave me 2 more seconds
Kiwanis 5k 8/21/10
This was a race that was moved for some reason, and was competing with 2 other races in the Columbia area. I chose it because it was the official “Tour de Columbia” event for this week. Cloudy and 78 at race time, another 100 percent humidity. When I arrived, I was unsure if I was in the right place – hardly anyone was there. As race time neared, it was sad how few had shown up – I figured around 30 – official count was actually only 25. Smallest race I’ve ever done. No elites, except for one of the top female runners in our city (Amy), who has almost identical times to me. With the gun Amy took off and kept the lead most of the first mile. I was just trying to keep her within a reasonable distance. A guy blew past me in the first mile as well and ended up passing Amy near the .75 mile point.
This course was new to me, and its good that it was, or may have never shown up either. Just pure, unrelenting hills. We had a nice drop in the first half mile, but had to make most it up right away. I felt a little gassed at mile 1 already, and saw a 6:15 split, which was really too fast for this course. I paid for it dearly in the second mile – there were basically no flat areas. As soon as I would crest a leg burning incline, I would have to trash my quads on a decline and ascend another hill. Amy was starting to slow, as well as the lead guy, but I wasnt making up much ground. Second mile split was 6:57. The hills continued in the third mile, but I started to get acclimated to the torture a little. I started closing in on the two in front of me. I could see the lead police car the whole way, which is certainly something new. Hit mile 3 just a few steps behind Amy. Kicked it in the rest of the way, passed her and painfully close to the winner. Crossed the line at 20:33. Although well off my best times, I was definitely happy with the time and result considering the conditions and course. 2nd overall, 1st in AG. Award ceremony was pretty funny – I think everyone got medals with only 25 runners. Masters female winner also finished last overall, and the third place female was a 9 year old girl.
Silver Fox Trot 5k 8/14/10
This is a true technical trail 5k complete with ditches, a monster hill, long grass, hairpin turns and lots of single track. 142 runners, overcast skies, near 80 at race time (8 am) and about 100 percent humidity. Not very pleasant when youre sweating before the gun even goes off. Spent the first half mile dodging people and trying not to run through mud (I opted for the racing flats – I know, dumb). Total chaos until an incredible mountain of a hill thinned out the field severely. Hills are my strength, and this enabled me to pass maybe 10 people, but Garmin read low 9 pace on this monster. Luckily there was a nice flat, open section just after this which enabled me to catch my breath. Seemed like a lot of people still in front of me. Started passing people towards the end of mile 1 – I think a lot of people were unfamiliar with the course and went out too fast (I ran it last year and died in a similar fashion). Split on mile 1 about 6:45, though the Garmin was having trouble with all the woods. The slower pace seemed to work in my favor, as I actually felt better after that point. I started really throwing myself around the turns and into the ditches and creek beds. Passed several more people, a couple who were walking (injured?). I tried to sprint all the downhills and straighaways, as these were the only points to pass people or to build up any good speed. Hit mile 2 right around 7 minutes flat- thought it would be faster, but it was so hard to keep up a good pace with the turns. In mile 3 I started to die a little, the heat was definitely getting to me, but seeing others in front of me start to really slow down was motivation enough. I continued to pass several people, including who I thought was the top female. I eventually broke free and saw no one else in front of me. I knew there was a pack of high school cross country runners well ahead, but the fear of getting passed myself was able to push me to the finish. Never saw the 3rd mile split – just too focused on maintaining my position. I hadnt been passed since before the hill. Broke out of the forest and the finish line was only about 20 feet away, crossed at 21:33. This race was held to support the local high school CC team (who also ran the race). Ended up in 11th place, 1st in age group, 3rd among non-high schoolers. I was real happy with the effort – I knew this course added about 3 minutes to your road times and I barely broke 24 minutes last year.