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