Saturday, April 23, 2011

2011 Spring Race Results

Life has been crazy lately and I my blog had to be on the back burner for awhile, so I thought I would write an update to the spring racing season.

2011 Rocket Run 10 Miler
March 19, 2011
Mooresville, Alabama

This race was all about survival! I had not been keeping up with much speedwork this spring and honestly other than a fast 10km at UAH earlier in the month, I had mostly been putting in maintenance miles with a focus on Delano 50 miler. Going into this race, I thought that I might be able to stay with Donald Bowman and run in the high 58's best case and certainly under an hour. As Josh Whitehead took off (and on his way to a blistering time) the chase pack quickly dwindled down to Donald Bowman, Christian Cortes and myself. Donald and I kept it around 5:45-5:50 pace for the first half, while Christian fell off the pace after stopping to tie his shoe. I think the first half split was around 29:15 before I began to slow in the warmer temperatures and Donald kept on sub 6's. Making the turns on the back half and then to the north, I fought tough head winds along with the other runners and at times my pace slowed to the mid 6's; the possibility of running under an hour looked bleak. After reaching the last mile split, I had to run a low 6 just to break an hour. I worked very hard and was able to hold on for a 59:56, finishing 3rd overall and was the last finisher under an hour on a tough day for all.

2011 Oak Barrel Half Marathon
April 2, 2011
Lynchburg, TN

With the previous weekend being a wash out at the second goal race of the season, Mckay Hollow Madness 25km, I was mostly rested going into this half marathon. It was an addition to the schedule as a final tune up before my girlfriend Anne Noble in her training for Salt Lake City Marathon. Standing at the starting line, it was clear that despite the size of the field (more than 1000 runners) that the competition at the top was very thin. New Nike Fleet Feet Racing team mate George Heeschen was the favorite, as he was coming off of a fast race at Mercedes Half Marathon in February. For the first three miles, we ran as a small pack of 4 people at ~ 5:50 pace and it felt comfortable. Then came Whiskey Hill, a climb that humbled most runners and after a switchback up to mile 5 that slowed my mile split to a 7:02, I was never able to re-engage my fast twitch muscles. After continuing to climb until mile 7, I was barely able to hold onto six minute pace for the final 10km even though it was mostly downhill. I was running in 2nd the entire time but I could tell that two guys behind me were closing the gap mile after mile. I thought that I would have enough kick to hold them off, but as we made the final turn toward the finish, I was passed by one of them. I was already sprinting with what I had left, something in the mid 5's for the last 1/2 mile but it wasn't enough. After the pass, I jogged to the finish for a 3rd place overall. Other than the awards based on ship time (The guy who passed me started late and we never knew that he was there - he did run faster than me to the finish, but he beat me by 2 seconds gun time, not the 6 seconds that the results show) this was a top notch race. They gave out long sleeve tech shirts, shoe bag, hat, custom wooden finisher awards and hand crafted overall awards. I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a challenge.

2011 3M River City 10km
April 9, 2011
Decatur, Alabama

I had high expectations for this race going in but after further thoughts, I should have adjusted my goals coming off of a hard half marathon the weekend before. I thought that I could run at minimum 35:30, given that I ran that fast on a much harder course at UAH 10km a few weeks prior. The weather was unseasonably warm as temperatures were in the mid 60's by race time and after the first mile, I was feeling it! This was another case of fighting for 2nd, but this time it was Brandon Mader who took off quickly, and trailing were the usual suspects of Donald Bowman, Christian Cortes, David O'Keefe and myself. I went into shut down mode before 5km as the pace was barely under 5:45 and was passed by David before the 4 mile mark, falling into 4th place. Running down the back stretch through the park, we weaved through the 5km runners and the gap increased out to David and I was jogging just to keep my place. Nothing about this race was fun, but I understand that there are good days and bad days and this was not my best. I finished in 36:39 but walked away knowing that my next race would be better (foreshadowing!)

2011 Cookie Dash 5km
April 23, 2011
Huntsville, Alabama

Leading into this race, I had spent 7 nights on the road, including a great weekend pacing my girlfriend Anne Noble at the Salt Lake City Marathon and then 4 more nights at altitude, running above 6,500' in snowy Butte, MT while on business. Before SLC, I had started my heat/hill training for Strolling Jim and with the cold temps out west, I was worried that the heat of Huntsville would be a shock to my body in this race. I ran an easy 5 mile warm up to increase my internal body temperature but it was still warm, and the times showed it. I decided to take the race out smart, and as the other runners sprinted off, I eased into it up the first hill. Making the first right, the pack had already thinned and the chase pack of Donald Bowman, Kevin Betts and myself (do you see a pattern here?) fell behind team mate Brandon York who blazed the course out front. We fell into single file on the way out to the first cone at a slow pace of 5:50 but making the turn around, Kevin and Donald took advantage of the tailwind and the downhill to lower the pace. We ran together to mile 1 with a split of 5:36. This seemed too slow to these guys and Kevin sprinted out for a few hundred meters, while I kept an even effort. By the 2nd cone I had covered the move and was running in stride with Kevin. I decided that I needed to make my move on the climb back toward mile 2 but Kevin covered it quickly. I fell back into line for a bit but then tried again and this time it worked. I was just seconds ahead at mile 2 (5:40 pace) but managed to hold onto that leading into the tear drop cul-de-sac. Mentally I felt strong, knowing that I had but two laps of the track (figuratively) plus a kick to go. Making the final turn to the finish, I snuck a quick look to make sure that my lead was safe, splitting 5:42 for mile 3 on my way to a 17:33. This was a great motivational lift and I was happy with my time for an early season race and first 5km since I turned 35 back in November and the 2nd place finish certainly helped!