Monday, September 7, 2009

Walpole Road Race

The 36th edition of the Walpole Road Race was held today. The weather was a perfect 64 degrees.


The Skinny

10k time: 33:15
pace: 5:31
place: 3rd / division: 1st
1 - 5:27
2 - 5:29
3 - 5:27
4 - 5:36
5 - 5:26
6 - 5:42
.2 - 68

The Full Race Report

Almost a tad chilly when I arrived at WHS. First thing I noticed was all the volunteers ready to assist the runners with registration and everything else that goes into a road race. Picked up my number, did some stretches, and headed out for a warmup.

I felt good and fresh on the warmup. I jogged for about 25 minutes nice and easy. When I got back, the lav lines were long, but I found an ancillary bathroom in plain sight that no one was using. 45 seconds later I was on my way.

The 5k started first at 10 o'clock. Five minutes later the 10k gun fired.

My last race I began too slowly and I didn't want to replicate that mistake again. I took it out a bit harder w/ a 5:27. I was in third place and would remain that way for the rest of the race. From the whistle, Justin Lutz of New Balance Boston took it out w/ authority. I didn't know it was Lutz at the time, but that guy can bring it. He was gone in about two minutes. He ended up running 32:twentysomething for an easy win. You can read more about Justin on the NBB blog.
He has major running credentials.

After a mile, Philip Gingras was about 8 to 10 seconds ahead of me and behind me I heard the footsteps of no one. Philip is a solid runner and he remained that distance ahead of me for most of the race. Near the 5 mile mark I closed to w/in a handful of meters of Philip but on the Main Street uphill I ran out of gas. He ended up gapping me by 15 seconds. He rallied for a strong finish when I was doing the skeleton dance all the way back to the high school.

The course is very up and down. The first two miles seemed to go by slowly for me, and even though the last 5k hurt more, it seemed to go by quicker. The major up/down of the race is between 3.5 and 4.5 on Washington Street. I actually didn't find that bump to be too bad. I think what slows this course down is the minor hills that are always around the next corner.

Through 3 miles in 16:21 and feeling good. Felt good at the 4 mile maker too. At this point I was thinking I would catch the second place runner. There was fuel in my tank. After transgressing through some Walpole neighborhoods, we came out to the start of the course then looped around the other side of the town before finishing. Passing the crowd at the finishing line provided a bit of a boost and I was still feeling pretty strong and though I was going pretty fast.

When the 5 mile mark came up, I was anticipating the timer to call a low 27, potentially even a high 26. He called 27:19. Two thoughts came into my mind: 1) that's 20 seconds faster than my 5 mile race time three weeks ago, and 2) damn, I thought that would be faster. I grappled w/ these thoughts for all of three seconds before refocusing on the race. But am now wondering if that didn't mentally hold me back. To expect a low 27 split when you're working hard and to get a mid 27 split can be harrowing. Then turn a corner and put a hill in front of you and good night. Usually I'm pretty strong in between the ears, so maybe it's that I just haven't done any speed work under a half mile.

Sort of fell apart the last mile. The tank emptied much quicker than I anticipated. The second runner's lead started to expand when I thought it might contract. Last mile was 5:42. Missed my goal of running every split sub 5:40. That irked me. The last mile is primarily uphill, but I usually can rally for a strong finish. Didn't happen today. Still worked hard to the end to finish in 33:16 (officially).

First post-race thought: I died that last mile. Second post-race thought: I'm disappointed. I wanted to do a couple of things today. I wanted to run mid to high 5:20s and I wanted to definitely run sub 34:00 maybe even mid 33's. I was well rested going into the event, so def. thought it was possible. In retrospect, my training has been directed toward a fall 26.2, not a 10k. I think in these 5 milers/1ok's I would really benefit from doing shorter intervals. However, I have to keep in mind that's not my long-term focus. We'll see how things play out.

Congrats to Justin and Philip for strong races. Congrats also to women's winner Lisa Donnelly. And of course a big congrats to 5k winner Michelle Searney, who just so happened to grow up in my neighborhood. She beat all but 4 men. Full results are on Cool Running.

See you on the roads.

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