Monday, August 17, 2009

Runaways 5 Mile Road Race

The Skinny

5 mile time: 27:39
pace: 5:32
place: 3 (division: 1)
1- 5:37
2- 5:27
3- 5:41
4- 5:38
5- 5:17

The Full Race Report

Sunday, August 16, marked the 7th Annual Runaways Runaround 5 Mile Road Race. The race started at 9:00 am and it was a good thing too, as it was already pretty steamy by 8:30. Got to the race around 7:45 to register. While waiting in line, I noticed a small bevvy of high school and college runners. I took that bit of info w/ me to my warmup. I know that runners in the 19 and under category tend to start fast and based on my last race I figured going out in a 68 first quarter wasn't what I needed.

The warmup went well. The course begins in a beautiful part of No. Attleboro, an area of which I was not familiar. I jogged just about the first and last mile of the course to get a feel for it. There was some shade and some hills.

Now to the start of the race: Ayla Brown of American Idol fame was present to sing the national anthem. Previously unknown fact about Ms. Brown: she starts for the Boston College basketball team. After the anthem and a several many remarks from the race director, the "go" command was given and we embarked.

I started the race in the second row. After the initial 100 meters, I started to work my way through the high schoolers and some of the college kids. I noticed Heather Capello, the women's winner (w/ a new course record to boot) was ahead of me. At this point I told myself that I was probably going out a little conservatively. Over the second half of the first mile I continued to move up into 6th. We banged a right and hit an incline. There I passed another guy. So at the mile there was a lead pack of 4 then me.

The second mile started downhill. I closed the gap to the lead pack a little but didn't catch up to them. After the downhill we took a right onto the shadeless part of the course. I mean there were no trees in sight and the sun was bright hot. I was feeling strong at the mile and on the shadeless streets of the next two miles I wondered if I may be picking people off.

The lead pack of four started to disperse. Jeff Ragazzini, the winner of the race, started to breach the field. He had a guy on his shoulder, who I later discovered was a Bentley runner, but he mysteriously dropped out at the 2.5 mark. That put me in fourth and closing the space to the third place runner.

The sun was really coming down at this point and the course was rolling. I managed to pass a runner but Ragazzini and Steve Bergantino, another Bentley harrier, were spreading out pretty good. With farmlands on either side of the road, the course reminded me of The Great Race, just supplant corn fields for cranberry bogs and hills for flats. They both shared a lack of shade. Finally, a corner turned and offer a bucolic street. To go along w/ that street, however, was a pretty good incline.

This hill marked the start of the 4th mile. Having jogged the 5th mile in my warmup, I knew that it was primarily downhill. I tried to judge if I was closing the gap on Bergantino, but he seemed to keep about a telephone pole's length ahead of me. At this point, Raggazzi, who raced w/ a pulse rate monitor, was a bit out of reach.

I opted not to take water at 3.8. I was trying to close the gap on the runner ahead of me. When I hit the 4th mile marker, I tried to pick it up and thought I was closing the gap. I tried pushing through the downhill, but the other guy did too. He ended up beating me by 11 ticks. The winner beat me by 16 ticks, I think he must've struggled in a bit as he needed assistance in the chute.

About a minute later, Heather Capello crossed the line as women's champion and new course record holder. Congrats Heather.

...When I was cooling down, I tried to figure why I ran so slowly. I thought I was in better shape. Here are my excuses: 1) it was hot, 2) despite the 5th mile downhill, the course was rolling and hot, 3) I was coming off a 21 miler on Friday. I did train through this race and wasn't expecting a PR but it was disappointing knowing that I've run 5 miles about 2 minutes faster than I did today. I will keep training through races until late September, then work on sharpening. Still, a race is a good way for me to do some hard running. That being said, I would like my hard running to be faster. I should be easily sub 5:30 pace. I hate running in the 27:00s for a fiver.

Overall, the race was well managed. I received a medal for winning my age group and even won one of the many, many raffle prizes ( a pair of women's socks--hey, I didn't want another frisbee). Lots of water and food post-race as well. That's always a plus.

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