Saturday, October 18, 2008

2008 Liz Hurley Run 5km

2008 Liz Hurley Run 5km
Huntsville, AL
October 18, 2008
Official Results

This was the second in a series of personal record potential races for me over a 9 week period. For the most part, I had been training since very early May for this stretch run. Hundred mile weeks, running doubles nearly every day, 30+ races over the summer and 2000 miles in a six month period all for this 63 day span. Normally I don't like to talk about my time goals, but it is clear to anyone watching that I am trying to accomplish something...

15km at Monte Sano (Oct 11)
Old PR: 58:23
Target Time: 55:59
Actual Time: 56:01

5km at Liz Hurley (Oct 18)
Old PR: 17:19
Target Time: 16:59
Actual Time: -

Half Marathon in Huntsville (Nov 8)
Old PR: 1:23:13
Target Time: 1:18:59
Actual Time: -

10km at Damn Bridge Run (Nov 22)
Old PR: 36:01
Target Time: 35:45
Actual Time: -

Marathon at Rocket City (Dec 13)
Old PR: 3:07:05
Target Time: 2:55:59
Actual Time: -

The first race in the 5 Star PR Series turned out very close to my hopes. I just barely missed the mark, 2 seconds, but many factors went into that during the race. I think that on a flat course, I would have shattered the target time. Coming in so close, while still missing the mark, is not disappointing at all. I was right where I wanted to be. Any number of things could have easily changed that outcome, like 10 degrees cooler, better competition to stride out with, etc.

The reason why I mention this is because those small factors that cost me a few seconds were all non issues on the morning of the Liz Hurley 5k. The course was not flat, but the hill was early and adrenaline would carry me through that. The temperature was cool, in the 40's. There was no wind. There were 500+ male runners and bound to be be someone who would want to run the same pace, the same race as me and to push back and forth with. Everything seemed to come together for this race. It would just be a case of executing the plan.

I had painfully studied every turn of this race, the elevation gain/loss per mile, had run it in training and had developed a race plan to hit the target: 16:59. In the end, I knew that I had to have splits of: 5:28, 10:56, 16:24 and 0:35 to break 17. I went old school and even wrote the splits on my left hand in indelible marker.

After a good warm up, we lined up and were off. The fast guys went out fast, and the kids went out fast. I started out slow, knowing that the first mile was uphill and I didn't want to burn up my legs out of the chute. The pack thinned out quickly and by the turn, I had maybe 20 runners ahead of me. I stayed even though, coming through the first mile at 5:25.

The hard part of the race was over. We had climbed the hardest hill and now it was down to running down or even until the final climb. I was running with Donald Bowman now and we were working it as a two man race. The leaders were so far ahead that we couldn't see them anymore, so it was just a battle for time. I had the goal in mind and I was going to try my best to reach it. We ran through downtown and made the turn onto Randolph at the two mile mark at 10:52, hitting a 5:27 mile split. Slightly slower than the first mile, but still under the 5:28 average I needed to maintain. Donald would shout of words of encouragement every few minutes. Later he would tell me that he wasn't out to run fast, but if I was going to break 17, he would help me to do it and by doing so, he would come in under 17 as well.

The final mile was a mix of great downhills with a slight climb in the middle. We cruised down Randolph, still on pace, making the left turn and another left, climbing back to the top of Adams. I regained my legs after the climb and we cruised down Adams. We needed to hit the 3 mile split at 16:24 in order to stay on track. We hit the split timer at 16:23 (5:31 mile) which was called out by the volunteer and confirmed by my watch. I knew at that point we just had to finish out at the same pace, no need to pick up the pace. I was going to break 17 and hit my goal.

We actually picked up the pace in the final 0.107 mile, down around 5 or sub 5 minute miles. As we approached the finish line, on this certified course, I was in utter disbelief when I saw the clock read 17:04 as I crossed the finish line. Somehow, it took us 41 seconds to run the final 1/10, which is nearly impossible, as we actually got faster. This is like a middle 6 pace... the only thing I can conclude is that the finish line was not in the right spot. I have thought about this for hours and hours and I still can't figure it out. We were on pace at the 3 mile mark and it was a certified course. GPS units are frequently wrong and I would not rely on it in a certified course, but it measured it at 3.14 miles, which was very common amongst other runners.

So it is what it is. I still ran a 15 second PR and came even closer than I have before to one of my long time goals. That said, for the second time in two weeks, I had just missed a goal in the 5 star PR series, but still had set the second PR in as many weeks and tries. For that I am very happy.

When it was all over, I thanked Donald over and over again. I could have come close on my own, but knowing that he was there, just a few steps ahead of me, meant a lot and it gave me someone to run with and chase after. I was still in the top 10 overall of 511 runners and 2nd in M30-34.

1 15:43 David Riddle
2 16:01 Brad Schroeder
3 16:20 Blaise Binns
4 16:23 Mark Fisher
5 16:32 Tyrone Harris
6 16:37 Trey Broadway
7 16:48 Jason Reneau
8 16:55 Josh Whitehead
9 17:02 Donald Bowman
10 17:04 Eric Charette

Friday, October 10, 2008

2008 Fleet Feet Monte Sano 15km

2008 Fleet Feet Monte Sano 15km
Huntsville, AL
October 10, 2008
Official Results

It has been a few weeks since this race, but I do want to write a few things about it. This was one of the races from 2007 that I was glad that I had blogged, because I was able to go back and look at my splits and see how I felt at each mile and 'remember' the course. It really helped to mentally prepare.

In arriving at this race, I realized that this was the best that Huntsville had to offer. It's not too often that you can count 25 people capable of breaking an hour in a 15km race and stacking them all up against each other in the same field. As with other races, this created some ill feelings on my part, as I started to doubt my ability to contend in this field.

There were too many stars in this field to name, but let's just say that the only one I didn't see was David Riddle. Everyone else in town was there to run this first race in the HTC Gran Prix for 2009.

The year before, I had run 58:23 and finished just behind Dink. I knew that I would shatter this mark, as I had blown through the 15km mark during the 10 mile Moon Pie race from this summer (which is a much harder course held on a hot day in TN) in 57:11.

Based on my recent 5k/5m/10k race times, I should have been able to break 55, but for those of you who know this rolling course (especially late on Panorama), know that you need to add some time to your goal. 'A' goal was break 55, 'B' goal was to break 56, 'C' goal was to set PR.

It was much warmer than 2007, and I ended up running without a shirt. Smart choice as in the sun, it was very, very warm. In the shade it was still too warm, but tolerable.

I started out hard in the first 3 miles, running 5:47 pace trying to stay up with the leaders. It worked well early, but Hodges, Harris and Dewitt pulled away after a mile. I wanted to go out hard and hang on, knowing that the late hills would be taxing either way, so I might as well have time in the bank.

The second 5k was a lot harder as it started to warm up. I was now running alone, despite a competitive field of 300 runners. I could barely see Donald Bowman in front of me, but I knew John Krichev was looming behind so I wasn't about to lose motivation yet. I went through this 5k at 6:00 pace, which was ok with me, especially since the course had changed to rolling hills. I was still averaging under 6 minute miles, so I was on pace to break 56, so 'B' goal was in sight.

The wheels started to fall off late and the final 5k was run at 6:06 pace. I really struggled, especially coming back out onto Monte Sano Blvd. It was good to see other runners still heading out for the Panorama loop, but it wasn't enough to fuel my tired legs to run any harder. I was now just holding on, and doing a poor job of it.

Toward the end of the race, I began to realize that I was no longer under 6 minute miles on average and that I wouldn't hit my 'B' goal any longer. I really wish that I had been running with someone to push off of each other, but that just wasn't in the cards today.

I made the last corner into the park and could see the clock and although I turned on what I had left, clocked 56:01 in the end. Remarkably, this was 2 minutes and 22 seconds faster than my time from last year, which is 15 seconds per mile faster. I really am in good shape and this race showed it. I think that on a flat course and a cool day, I will break 55, but it will not be easy. I think that I could dig 6-8 seconds more per mile out, which would bring me down 62 seconds to do it.

I finished 7th overall, and 1st in M30-34.

I do like to see where I am at compared to others that I have raced at recently. In the summer, John had crushed me in a 5k in Gurley and I was able to stay ahead of him, which was a mental victory. John is a very good runner. Maybe he is my new arch nemesis (I say this jokingly) but it is nice to have someone new to measure your ability against.

Names in the top 30 were:

1 Brad Schroeder 24 Owens Cross Roads, AL 1/12 51:48
2 Kameron Ulmer 20 San Bernardino, CA 2/12 52:04
3 Andrew Hodges 32 Madison, AL 1/18 52:19
4 Tyrone Harris 28 Athens, AL 1/15 53:43
5 George Dewitt 50 Madison, AL 1/27 53:49
6 Donald Bowman 40 Huntsville, AL 1/27 55:00
7 Eric Charette 33 Huntsville, AL 2/18 56:02
8 Jon Krichev 31 Huntsville, AL 3/18 57:26
9 Keith Buell 16 Huntsville, AL 1/8 57:44
10 Marty Clarke 46 Huntsville, AL 1/27 58:18
11 Caitlin Heider 23F Huntsville, AL 1/11 58:19
12 Christopher Brahm 15 Huntsville, AL 2/8 58:39
13 Candace Jacobs 28F Huntsville, AL 1/17 58:55
14 Andy Davidson 18 Athens, AL 3/8 59:04
15 Brett Addington 31 Owens Cross Roads, AL 4/18 59:15
16 Russell Berger 22 Huntsville, AL 3/12 59:20
17 Shane O'Neill 36 Huntsville, AL 1/16 59:36
18 David McKinney 49 Baldwyn, MS 2/27 59:42
19 Eric Schotz 36 Decatur, AL 2/16 59:59
20 Jon Elmore 42 Decatur, AL 2/27 1:00:36
21 Tim Vinson 44 Madison, AL 3/27 1:01:19
22 Tyson Snider 22 Lima, OH 4/12 1:01:48
23 Robert Youngren 34 Huntsville, AL 5/18 1:02:09
24 David O'Keefe 34 Owens Cross Roads, AL 6/18 1:02:21
25 Gregory Reynolds 26 Huntsville, AL 2/15 1:02:59
26 Dink Taylor 43 Hampton Cove, AL 4/27 1:03:43
27 James Micciche 23 Troy, AL 5/12 1:04:00
28 Mike Greene 46 Harvest, AL 3/27 1:04:31
29 Edward Blankenship 43 Madison, AL 5/27 1:05:11
30 Richard Rodenhausen 54 Huntsville, AL 2/27 1:05:32

Overall I will look back at this race in a fond way, knowing that I was in good condition and ran a good race. Notice that I did not use the phrase very good or even great. I still have lots to learn and know that I need to do more long tempo runs to be able to race at top speed (for me) for this distance.