First race in Annapolis: Anniversary 15K Run

Since moving to Maryland in late July, I haven’t done much racing. I had only entered two competitions and both of them were XC races in the Rochester area.

 

My training has gone fairly well over the past few months, but without the company of training partners, I’ve had a tough time on the track with quality interval (or faster) workouts. I have managed to consistently run some very strong long runs (capped off by a 14 miler at 5:56 per mile on Dec 3rd) and some solid continuous tempo runs. These longer efforts permitted a fair amount of confidence heading into the 15K on Dec 11th.

 

The race was held at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis. The course was nicely laid out. It was essentially a two-loop course on a paved bike trail with many winding turns and quick rolling hills, which were favorably distracting and challenging. Given the $10 entry fee, I was surprised to find top-notch race organization, timing, course marking, and post-race amenities. Both the 10am start and the weather were perfect: low 40s, sunny, and calm.

 

The Start

 

The race went off right on time. I immediately settled into a comfortable pace, and I felt great–light and bouncy. I’ve been running my tempos and long runs with negative splits, so that was my tentative plan for today (tentative because I’d also key off how the competition played out). I estimated a 5:40 pace, and there was one set of footsteps right behind me. I split the first mile in a surprisingly fast 5:22, but I decided not to lay off the gas too much because of the other runner just a few steps back.

 

The next four miles flew by at a pace I’ve only been able to maintain for a 10K distance or shorter: 5:38, 5:30, 5:33, 5:32. The steps behind me seemed to fade agonizingly slowly, as the quick pace gradually became more grueling. As I came through the 5 mile in 27:35, I encountered a “lolli-pop” part of the course that allowed a peek at the nearest competition. The next runner was about 10 seconds back, at most.

 

Mid-race

 

Miles 6 and 7 were awful. Apparently the 30 minute mark is where the 5:30 pace becomes enormously difficult for me. Every uphill section destroyed me and every downhill was troubling because I knew I had to push it in order to not fall off the pace too atrociously. The lactic acid that was building  in my calves and quads had caught up to me, although my breathing was not terribly labored. I didn’t note the splits for those two miles, but they couldn’t have been much better than six-minute miles. Even worse, the footsteps that had slowly faded over the first five miles were back, closer than ever!

 

I started to feel somewhat of a second-wind coming into the eighth mile (partially due to some recovery during the previous two slow miles and some timely downhill sections that permitted easy cruising). I split mile eight in 5:40, which was not as big a relief as the fact that the footsteps seemed to have faded once again. There was just one more hard mile (plus .3) between me and victory. I started “hammering” as much as is possible with such heavy legs. The ninth mile had lots of twists and turns and concluded with the steepest uphill climb on the course (welcome to the last .3 miles!), but I managed a 5:35 split. I couldn’t hear the footsteps anymore, so the last .3 were relatively stress-free. I almost missed the turn into the finish and had to back-track a few steps (it was not marked and the course volunteers weren’t in position yet), so I’m going adjust my official 52:40 finish time into an unofficial 52:38. I was definitely ready to stop running, as seen below:

 

The Finish - Not my best look

 

It was nice to score a race victory (results here), and especially sweet that it was my first race here in town. 52:38 is a 40-second PR for the 15K distance, which bumped off my time from the March 2010 Spring Forward 15K in Mendon Ponds Park. Now I just need to translate some of this fitness into speed to make a run at a 5K PR in 2012.

3-year Mile Progression

Josh and I were pretty fired up after the McMullen mile. Coming in to the race, we suspected that we were capable of running 4:30 or better, but actually achieving a ~6 second PR in the Mile was a special feeling.

I thought it might be interesting to analyze a little data, so I looked back through our logs to determine our race-based mile progression since we started training together in December 2008 (close to 3 years of running logs). I have included  information from 1 mile and 1500m races and converting the 1500m times to 1 mile times. Races not specified as "indoor" took place on an outdoor track.

 

Date Type Mike Josh
       
12/14/2008 (indoor, 1500m)   4:55
1/11/2009 (indoor) 4:58 4:53
2/1/2009 (indoor, 1500m) 4:58 4:53
3/21/2009 (indoor)   4:47
6/11/2009   4:42 4:41
7/17/2009     4:46
1/10/2010 (indoor)   4:44
1/17/2010 (indoor) 4:46 4:43
2/7/2010 (indoor, 1500m) 4:38.9 4:44
2/28/2010 (indoor, 1500m)   4:43
3/7/2010 (indoor) 4:40.3 4:47
6/10/2010   4:36.96 4:34.94
7/22/2010   4:43.99  
1/16/2011 (indoor)   4:36
6/9/2011   4:30.63 4:29.82

 

 
Although Josh has clearly raced this distance more than I have, our results seem to follow similar downward-trending-spiral patterns. Part of the spiral may be due to seasonal effects (indoor slower than outdoor, winter training different from summer, etc), and part of it is surely due to the natural ebb and flow of fitness peaks and slumps. Fortunately, we both managed to get it together last Thursday.
 
Should we ever race the Mile again?! 😉
 
Here is a nice video of the race put together by Eric Boyce. The video focuses on the leader's pursuit of a four-minute-mile.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHm1IHkogxQ[/youtube]

2nd Annual Wa Wa Wally Waddle 5K Race Report

This past weekend I took a trip down to Poughkeepsie, NY with Josh and his wife Lisa. Josh directs the Wa Wa Wally Waddle 5K, which takes place at Vassar Farms Park. The race proceeds are used to fund scholarship for campers at Camp Wa Wa Segowea in the Berkshires. This piece of info explains most of the race’s unique name, with the only missing detail being that “Wally” is the camp’s turtle mascot. I had won the race last year and sought to defend my title. I was running quite well last year at this time, and I’ve been starting to feel stronger the past few weeks, so my secondary goal was to break last year’s time of 16:34.

 

I customarily wear a watch during road races, but for this one I decided to go watch-less–I planned to key only off effort level and the surrounding competition. This is something I’ve historically done mainly in XC, but I’d like to get used to it on the roads as well.

 

On race morning I woke up around 8am to some light drizzle. Fortunately, the rain did not persist, as the skies were overcast but rain-drop-free following my bagel, coffee, and short drive to the park. The course was quite flat,  and it was set on on a fine cinder road with about 400 meters across a fairly bumpy grassy field.

 

 

Despite the rainy weather, there was a nice turnout at the starting line—over 100 runners—significantly more than last year’s race, including a few serious-looking runners, which was good to see. After a few instructions from Josh, the race began, and I quickly bounded out to the lead. The pace was quick for the first 300 meters, and then I eased up for about 200 meters across the bumpy field back to the cinder road. Back on the road, I hammered quite hard for the rest of first mile. I don’t really have any interesting numbers to report here due to the no-watch thing (I was later told by another competitor that the first mile was somewhere between 5:10 and 5:15).

 

I could hear footsteps about 8 to 15 seconds behind me for the entire race. This was somewhat surprising, because usually when you’ve got 20 to 40 meters on someone, they either catch up or fall further behind eventually. That statement might seem tautological, but I am just trying to say that it’s rare for a gap of that size to be constant throughout an entire 5K.

 

The race finished with a 400 meter loop around the field again. Coming into the loop, Josh shouted “You’ve got about 10 seconds on him!….Er…actually only about 7 seconds!” I knew I had plenty left in the tank to kick it home, so I accelerated along the remainder of the cinder trail and coasted the last 200 meters on the bumpy grass to the finish. I took the win in 16:31. It was also nice to feel quite strong throughout the race. This was a confidence builder after coming back from some Winter-related Achilles issues, showing that my training is starting to take off. I believe that I’m ready to take another stab at breaking 16 minutes at our track 5000m on May 30.

 

 

I’d also like to say a huge thanks to both Lisa’s and Josh’s families who were incredibly generous throughout the entire weekend. Race results are here.

 

Roadkill Rash

1st Annual Roadkill Racing: Race for the Rash

To be held on Memorial Day Monday May 30th

Fairport High School Track

The Race for the Rash will consist of 3 events.

1. 5000 meters

2. 200 meters

3. Long jump

Total place for all 3 events will be used to determine the final standings.

The winner of the overall event will be given the Roadkill Cup for 1 year.

Winners of indvidual events will receive liquid prizes.

The Roadkill Racing: Race for the Rash is open to current RKR runners and runners interested in joining RKR for the 2011-2012 racing season.  This event is not sponsored endorsed or sanctioned by any official running body, nor is it an approved Fairport High School event.  There is no fee to participate and if you bust your ass that is your problem.  There is no preregistering you just need to be on the starting line at 10 am sharp.