My last post was about meaningless numbers. Today’s meaningless numbers are .39 and 2. The .39 (seconds) is how much faster I need to run to break 27 minutes, 2 is the place I got at the 2011 Ed Erichson 5 miler.
I have not had the chance to run this race in years. It is in my old hometown, about a mile down the road from my high school and just a few miles from where my older sister now lives. My dauger, my 2 nieces, and 1 nephew all have March birthdays so we all went to my sisters house for a giant b-day party which meant I got to attend the race. The Mid-Hudson Road Runners club uses the course for 2 races, this one, and another on the morning of the Superbowl. For the later they run the course the opposite direction which might be slightly faster because of the nature of the uphills. Either way it is a reasonably fast course without any really tight turns and the 1 hill while long isn’t all that steep.
In past years this has not been that competitive of a race, with 29 minutes often being the winning time. I was hoping for a deeper field this year, and I got it. 2 xc/track teams showed up, a local college team SUNY New Paltz, and a local high school team Dover. I had no idea what to expect from the college runners, but I knew there had to be a few fast runners amoung them. One seemed to standout during warmups, as he was running by himself looking serious while the other college kids just kid of plodded along joking with each other.
The race went off at 9 a.m. it was a cool 38 degrees and slightly breezy with overcast skies. I immediately jumped behind the seriously looking college kid to let him fight the wind. I did step out for the picture below which was about 500 meters into the race.
As you can see a group of 4 of us opened a nice gap in the first few minutes. The first mile felt fast but very controlled, we went through what I thought was the first mile mark in 6:18. I knew there was no way that was correct and found out after the race from another runner in our pack that we went through the actual mile in 5:12. There is also a 10 mile race run on this same basic course and those mile markers were 1,2,3, etc ours were Roman numerals I II III etc. I figured this out when we got to mile 2, but at the time I had no idea how fast we had run the first mile. The guy in the Warrior Track Club singlet is a senior at New Paltz College and he must not have been happy with the first mile split because he began to seperate from our little pack. By mile 2 he had opened up a 10 second lead and I was still running with just one other guy. I came through mile 2 in 10:37 a tad faster than I would have liked but not dangerously so.
What I didn’t know is that I had run the second mile 13 seconds slower than the first, and as I began to pull away from the other runners I assumed i was still running at a good pace. It turns out I really dogged mile 3 in 5:39. I was still on pace to break 27 minutes but I had to start picking up the pace. The lead runner was now out of sight on the windy hilly roads, and I hadn’t heard any foot steps behind me for awhile but I pushed on up and over the last of the hills as best I could. I passed the 4 mile mark with a 5:29 split in 21:45 (a 4 mile PR, not that I run many or any 4 mile races) and new I had to really bust it if I wanted to break 27 minutes. The last mile is dead flat and with the wind, a 5:14 mile wasn’t out of the question and i started thinking I had a good chance of hitting my goal.
Part of the problem racing with no one to race against is ignoring your watch, or at least it is a problem for me. I kept looking down at my watch the last mile for some unknown reason. It isn’t like there were 100 meter splits on the road, I don’t know what I expect to learn from nowing I had 3:12 seconds left if I wanted to break 27 minutes. If I’m locked in a race with other people the last thing I am thinking about is my watch, but with the lead runner out of sight and no foot steps looming behind my mind kept turning back to the time. When I finally came in sight of the finish line clock it read 26:48 and I was at a dead sprint. This is the one part of the race where I can honestly say I could not have run any faster. I crossed the chip mats just as the clock rolled to 27:00 and I jogged a few meters before hitting stop on my watch. I knew I had PR’d by 6-7 seconds but it wouldn’t be until I finished my cool down that I learned I missed my goal by .39 seconds. I ran 27:00.38 seconds. I wonder how much time I lost glancing down at my watch that last mile? I’m hoping only .37 seconds.
It was a very good day for the Perks family. My Dad who is in the best shape he’s been in years won his age group 60-69 and beat his goal by well over a minute running 33:37.
My wife also ran a great race finishing 2nd in your age group 30-39 and running 38:50. Which I think is remarkable considering she runs between 10-15 mpw.
It was also of course wonderful to see all the aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, moms and dads, brothers and sisters for the birthday party. I hope someday we can have 3 generations of Perks running in this race. Full Results Here.