Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blessing of the Fleet 10 Mile Road Race

The Skinny:

10 mile time: 56:52
place: 17
division place: 1
pace: 5:41
1- 5:22
2- 5:45
3- 5:28
4- 5:54
5- 5:36
6- 5:54
7- 5:48
8- 5:50
9- 5:45
10- 5:30

The Full Length Report:

The race had an ominous start to it. Directions to the high school indicated it would take 79 minutes to arrive. 2 1/4 hours later (and one wrong turn) I arrived at a parking lot about 0.6 miles from the registration area / starting line. Not knowing how far away I was at the time, I decided to change into my flats and racing gear. I did a couple of stretches and headed out after a couple of stretches. The warmup was helter skelter and this is not the usual method I employ prerace. I'm a ritual guy and my prerace process was muddled and disconnected. In all, I got in most of my stretches and probably jogged about 2 miles.

I edged my way over to the starting line, and there was a hasty corral cordoned off for any runner w/ a bib # below 100. My #3568 excluded me from elite company. When the gun fired, I was a few rows deep and on a sidewalk.

This was and up-down-up race for me: good start, horrible middle, solid but not spectacular finish. First 1/2 mile seemed so slow. I was running next to Mario and he had the same comment. I was at the back of a ~25 man lead pack. One shmoe was way ahead but was gobbled up by everybody after the first mile marker. The second half of the first mile was downhill and at that point I said to myself: "Okay, we're not crawling." Split was 5:22. Exactly what I didn't want. Too fast for my current level of fitness. I would pay. The 5:22 tightened up the left calf just a bit, but it was nothing alarming. The pack was spreading out and I was perturbed at myself for running about 20 seconds faster than I should've.

Slowed down for the 2nd mile (5:45) but when I saw my split I didn't think I slowed that much. Rebounded w/ a 5:28 3rd mile and was feeling pretty good. Going a little fast but didn't want to go slower.

Fourth mile was by far the windiest of the race. I was a few meters from a group of three and made a concerted effort to catch them so we could work together against the wind. When I caught them I thought the pace too slow. However, I decided to keep it tactical and tucked in behind the group. Caught a glimpse of a flag and it was unfurled straight out in our faces. Split = 5:54.

We turned the corner and I opened up the pace. Big mistake. I was too ambitious and hammered after getting the 4th mile split read out. This 5th mile was on a flat shadeless road. I ran the first half mile of it too hard and at 4.5 cramped up. I cursed the prerace peanut butter crackers. On this road I took water for the only time in the race. The side stitch was acute and I lost contact w/ my group of three. Through 5 in 28:05 and feeling like burnt toast. Actually thought I'd be running 6:00 pace or slower all the way home. Still cramped up and feeling like dirt at 5.5 but a lone runner was coming back to me and that helped me out. I pushed out the stitch and tried to get back on my horse.

Over the last 3.5 I tried to gain some momentum back. We made a turn onto a bucolic road w/ great fan support. Despite my feeling a bit better the split was 5:48.

Caught up to a runner in the 8th mile and we duked it out together. Thought the split would be faster but it was 5:50. Maybe running next to a guy like that actually slows you down. Two to go and feeling like I could quicken the pace a tad. Out of nowhere a young gun flew by me and I had not answer for his charge. After the race he told me he ran this as a training run: first 5 easy, last 5 hard. Didn't exactly make me feel better.

At the 9th mile marker I started recognizing territory. Hit the split in 5:45 and after that I was determined to run sub 57:00. I thought the opportunity to do so was long gone in the middle miles. Good thing I didn't pack it in. Worked hard over the last mile for a 5:30 split. To my surprise, the runner I was duking it out w/ slowed to a jog w/ 100 meters to go. The finish had a huge crowd and I didn't click my watch until already in the chute.

My goal for the race was to run 5:40 pace or sub 57:00. I was happy w/ my time but not w/ my race. Didn't run it at all the way I wanted too. Too fast at start. Too inconsistent in middle. I did learn, however, not to bag a race even if it's looking ugly in the middle.

Overall, the race had lots of fast college kids and even an Olympian (Amy Rudolph won the women's division). I came in 17th but was first in my age group. I was a bit embarrassed for the 30-39 year olds to be honest Not so embarrassed, though, that I didn't claim the prize of an Asics hoodie.

The race is mostly flat but it's not a pancake. There are some ups and downs but nothing major. Tremendous crowd support. This seem to be a whole-town event. My friend Joe called it his Boston before he ran Boston.


Jen said...

Seems like a great race. Good time and a lesson learned!

Mario said...

Nice race, Kevin. I'll take the blame for the fast first mile.

mrn said...

really nice run. congrats!

KG said...

Yeah Mario, you made me think my split was going to be 6:22 not 5:22. Truth be told, it did feel really slow. Hope to see you on the roads again soon. Take care of that hammie.

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