The thrill of victory… twice.

Everyone knows that distance runners are slow lumbering beasts, while soccer players are quick agile cat-like creatures and to prove it my soccer playing coworker Inis challenged me to a 100 meter race.  More accurately, I challenged him to a 100 meter race after listening to him talk smack for 2 days about how he could easily out sprint me.  He was lecturing anyone who would listen on the difference between fast twitch and slow twitch muscles, and he would use his abundance of fast twitch muscles blow past me in short race.  The timing for the race could not have been better.  On Thursday afternoon we were having a once a year all building meeting.  Immediately following the meeting everyone in the office went out to the back parking lot to witness the big race.

To no one’s surprise the race did not go his way, but that did not stop his smack talking.  He has now challenged me to a 50 meter race, which I have agreed to, on condition that if I win he cannot talk while at work for a week.  I don’t think he is going to accept.

Wegmans 5k Start
Wegmans 5k Start

Next up was the Wegmans 5k, the ugly redheaded stepchild of Flower City Challenge.  The “real” race is the half marathon, but as I’m in no shape to run let alone race 13 miles I decided to slum it in the 5k while Brett, Kenny and Matt ran the half.

Seething mass of humanity.
Seething mass of humanity.

I did a bit better than I expect, but either the race course was long or I feel asleep in the last mile.  I didn’t wear a watch, so the only split I had was 5:06 for the first mile.  I finished in first place with a time of 16:37 and never felt like I fell apart.  I may have been lulled into a false sense of running fast because I spent a good part of the middle race following my police escort past the half marathon back of the packers.  It is hard to feel slow when you are flying past people, even if those people are jogging.  It was a fun morning, not only did I win a jar of organic cashew butter, but I got to watch my teammates kill it in the half! 5k results here.

Playing Ketchup

What did the fast tomato say to the slow tomato? Catch up!

As I am want to do, I have neglected the blog for far too long and know I have to get caught up.

I’ll start on a positive note.  I won the Daniel’s 5k for the 3rd time in 3 tries (though not in consecutive years).  The people who organize the Daniel’s 5k (Daniel’s parents and friends) do a wonderful job of putting on the race every year.

The Daniel’s course is mostly an out and back with a lap around the track at the finish.  Most years miles .5-1.5 are into a very strong headwind, and this year was no exception.  I started out slowly and ran the first half mile behind a 12-year-old sprinter, then I ran the next mile behind the guy in the Yellowjacket Racing singlet.  He was doing some fancy zigging and zagging so I couldn’t draft off him, but I just held my line and plowed along behind him until the turn around.  I hit the halfway point in about 9 minutes and then took off with the wind and closed the race in about 8 minutes.  I finished in 17:02 which isn’t a very good time for me but was 40 second better than the next guy so I’ll take it.  Results here.

I did another “5k” this past weekend but it was such a poorly run race, both by me and the organizers that I don’t even want to name it.  I’ll just give the low lights.

  • advertised as a 5 mile and a 5k race
  • Arrived at race to find the maps said 4.8 miles and 3.5 miles
  • Races were actually 4.75 miles and 3.3 miles
  • No traffic control on the 5 mile despite part of the race running through downtown Poughkeepsie
  • Race started 10 minutes late
  • Made to stand on the line for 15 minutes (called to line 5 of 9 didn’t start running until 10 after 9)
  • 5 mile race started 50 meters behind 5k race so the fast 5 mile runners slammed into the back of the slow 5k runners/walkers after about 10 seconds

This was easily the worst organized race I’ve ever run and it was supposed to be my final race of the Spring season.  I’m now hoping to squeeze in one more 5k before the baby comes but we will see.  My allergies are so bad right now that there probably isn’t any point in trying to race anyway.

How to win a road race

If you happen to glance down at the post below, you will note that I wrote I was more interested in running a fast time at the Ed Erichson 5 miler than I was in winning.  Alas, it was not to be.  I did not run a particularly fast time, but I did win the race.

Having a bad hair day
Having a bad hair day

When I made my return to road racing 10 years ago I was very concerned with winning races.  I don’t remember the exact race, but it took about a year before I finally won a 5k and my time must have been in the mid 17’s.  I’ve won a fair number of races since then at distances from 800 meters to 25K, sometimes with good times (for me anyway) and sometimes with not so good times.  I’ve learned over the years that it is nice to win a race, but I get much more satisfaction from a race well run than a race simply won.

Should I be thrilled that I won the Ed Erichson 5 miler this weekend?  By mile 1 I had a minute lead, and by the finish my lead was 5 minutes.  A bit of a hollow victory.  After the first mile I just went into cruise control mode and dropped from 5:20 pace to 5:30 pace for the rest of the race.  I told myself I was playing it safe, and setting myself up for a better race a week later at Johnny’s.  That may be a good reason, but the truth was, I just wasn’t motivated enough to run at race effort if I didn’t have to.  Contrast that with the Bergen 5k 2 years ago.  There I ran 16:15, my 2nd fastest road 5k ever, and I finished in 28th place.  Which race should I feel better about?

Anyone can win a race, and I do mean anyone. (I guess there is one person who is the slowest in the world but the other 7 billion could in theory win a race.)  It all depends on who decides to show up. Next weekend is Johnny’s Runnin’ of the Green.  If I have a great race I might finish in the top ten and win a bottle of wine.  I can’t wait to get my ass-kicked. Cheers to competition.

Ed Erichson 5 Mile Results.