Monday, April 26, 2010

Randolph County 5k Health Run

I was hoping to find a little speed and I guess I found it.

I met Frank and Karla in Cary to ride with them the rest of the way to Asheboro early Saturday morning. The trip passed quickly and we had no problem finding parking at the race site, Memorial Park. Despite having over double the normal number of entrants, packet pick-up went quickly. Karla and I then went for a warm-up mile about 30 minutes before the race start.

We were going to be really lucky with great weather for the race with the thermometer around the mid-50's and mostly overcast. It looked like they were going to have a timely start so after a few strides we lined up near the front. With 390 entrants, it didn't look like there were too many fast runners so we lined up near the front. Mark Long from the Mangum Track Club was there, the only other person we knew in the race. Mark is now in my age-group so it looked like he may be my main competition.

The course was a little hillier than I remembered but nothing too steep or really long but there was a little rise at the start. I began easily , not getting caught up in the excitement. There were a bunch of young guys in front of me but I figured they would burn out quickly and most of them did. They had the half-mile of this certified course marked and I went through it in 3:29, right where I wanted to be. Mark passed me then and I just let him go and stuck with my planned pace. If he was feeling better than me then he could have 1st place. I wasn't going to blow up early trying to race him.

As we headed down a nice hill, I was steadily passing people that had gone out too fast. Mark had moved about 20 yards ahead but as we neared the mile mark I was closing the gap. I passed the mile in 6:54 and felt great, feeling confident I could achieve my sub 22 goal unless there were some really tough hills ahead. The course made a little climb to the halfway point where they had a water stop, totally unnecessary in a cool 5k and it was here I eased by Mark. I know he has had some injury issues lately so was not in top shape. We had a nice downhill again now and I finally passed the last of the kids that had started out so quickly. At about 1.75 we hit probably the steepest hill but it isn't very long so I just eased off the effort slightly. However, this is the beginning of a gradual rise for about the next 3/4 mile. The course flattens a little then climbs a little more. Even with the nice downhill portions, I still slowed down the 2nd mile to 7:06, or 13:58 for 2 miles.

And of course like all 5 K's the last mile starts to hurt if you are racing and giving it all you have. The good thing is that the pain only last a little while. I was looking forward to getting through Downtown Asheboro knowing I had a sweet 1/4 mile downhill finish ahead. As usual I probably sounded like I was dying to anyone nearby but I was still passing a few people. I went by the 3 mile mark in 21:14, (7:16 for mile 3) so I knew I had the sub -22 in the bag as I passed a young 20-something guy. As we neared the line I could hear him trying to come back on me so I kicked it up a notch but then just before the finish he found an extra gear that doesn't exist anymore in the legs and he nipped me at the line. Sprinting is not what I had wanted to do and I paid for it with a minute of dry-heaving inn the chute but I got what I came for.

Then it was time to wait for Karla. Mark had come in about 30 seconds behind me but no Karla in sight. I finally spotted her but there would be no PR for her today. She crossed the line in 24:23, which is still a great time for her on this course. I'm pretty sure she could have done it on a flat course. I told her I was pretty sure she won her- age-group because I hadn't seen many women finish and none looked 50 but then neither does she. We waited for Frank to come in which he did in a very good time for him , especially considering how little training he has been doing and then made our way over to the park for refreshments.

Karla and I went for a 2 mile cool-down and then waited for the results and awards. As I thought, she not only won her age-group but was 1st place Masters female. I won the 50-54 age-group and Mark was 2nd. And Frank was 3rd in his. Even with 390 finishers I was amazed to come in 21st place overall. This is a very nice race and the local running club, the Randolph County Roadrunners does a great job. Here is a link to the club and race website where you can check out the results.

One really cool thing is that my time of 21:54 was exactly 1 minute faster than I ran here in 2002, the last time I was here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Looking for a fast time in Asheboro

With marathons, ultra's and the occasionally triathlon being my focus for the past 8 years, I haven't entered very many shorter road races but every no and then I like to race one just to see how much speed the old guy can still produce. normally in April I would be looking forward to running the Promise Land 50k on this weekend or maybe the Bull Run Run 50 in April but with my focus on getting faster the past year I decided to enter more road races.

Back in 2001 and 2002 when I was mainly concentrating on tri's and a few road races for fun but with my mileage and conditioning much less than it is now, I went to Asheboro to run the Zoo Run 5k. It was a great little low-key local race and was sponsored by the NC Zoo. It made a great excuse to go run a race and then spend a nice Spring afternoon walking around the zoo. It was great to be able to take my then teenage son Jeremy along for a fun father-son outing. the race is no longer sponsored by the zoo but that doesn't mean you can't still go and see the zoo anyway. I had talked about it several times with my running partner Karla but it never worked out that we could go but this seemed to be the perfect chance. She and Frank have never been to the NC Zoo and she loves meerkats so that was all it took to make plans to make this the year.

The race, now called the Randolph County 5k Health Run is held at Memorial Park in Asheboro. It is a relatively flat course considering how hilly the Asheboro area is, at least I seem to remember it that way. And that's what I had told Karla, but looking back in the journal I seem to have noted that the 2nd mile was hillier than the first. Hmmmm, We'll find out tomorrow I guess.

Anyway I'm just looking to run as fast as possible. I hope to run under 22:00 for the first time in almost exactly 2 years. Karla will be shooting for a Pr and Frank will hope to run well and maybe get an age-group award.

Look for report soon

Here is a link to the race website

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tarheel 10 Miler

As I was making my plans for racing in 2010, this event was not in the plan. The focus was on getting ready for the Tobacco Road Marathon and then going to Cincinnati in May for the Flying Pig Marathon as a back-up in case I didn't qualify at TR. It's not that I don't like 10 milers. In fact in my younger running days it was my favorite distance. It's just that a hilly 10 mile race didn't fit the plan. But then Karla was featured on the cover of Endurance Magazine promoting the race and along with that was a comp'd entry for her. And since the proceeds were going to the Cancer Hospital she was excited about it so I decided I would enter to run with her.

We thought it would be a good chance for her to go for a 10 mile PR and the pace she needed was just slightly faster than my current marathon race pace so it would be a good workout for me as well as enjoying running with her again. We had actually run her first 10 miler together back in 2005 at the Dash for Cash in Greenville on a very flat and fast course. She ran 85:07 that day, just two months before being diagnosed with cancer. Her comeback seems to be complete now with her qualifying at Tobacco Road but it would take a great effort to PR on the hilly Chapel Hill course.

I met with her and Frank and our friend Jerry who is on the comeback trail now at 6am in Chapel Hill but Lisa was sick and wouldn't be joining us. Too bad because I know she would have run great on this course. We were very lucky to have perfect weather for running with the start in the upper 40's and only reaching a high of near 60F.

Despite our early arrival we didn't plan too well and had to line up without a warm-up but that didn't turn out to be a problem. We lined up with the 8:30 pace group and in just a few minutes the race began. The first mile was a loop with some downhill, some uphill and several sharp turns and with the crowd we were having to be careful making those turns and dodging around other slower starters but amazingly we passed that 1st mile in exactly 8:30. Wow, I'm good at pacing.

The next couple of miles went well but were a little frustrating with the narrow streets and crowds and already the leaders were coming back toward us after doing another small loop. Despite that and more little hills we were building a little cushion with `an 8:24 2nd mile and then once the crowd thinned out we ran mile 3 in 8:16. The next couple of miles were relatively flat for this town and we were cruising now. Karla was looking great(as always)and feeling fine. We hit mile 4 in 8:19 and then turned onto Franklin Street.

I was enjoying a great workout and trying to entertain The Princess with stories of my visits to CH over the years and pointing out landmarks along the route. we passed the halfway point in 41:42,with mile 5 in 8:13. At that point she said she was getting a side stitch so I told her we would back off the pace a little for her to recover since we had a nice cushion to work with. Mile 6 took us 8:39 and included a hill so we really didn't lose much time.

Mile 7 is awesome, all downhill. We took advantage to relax but not push too hard because we knew that we would soon have to be making up that elevation. Mile 7 was 8:16. Mile 8 was mainly flat with a little rise and we hit it in 8:35 just as we hit the beginning of Laurel Hill Road. This mile would be almost all uphill with a very short little break about halfway up. It is through a beautiful residential area of older homes with large wooded lots. It was cool that we were passing people and I was trying to keep Karla's mind off the pain of the hill by pointing out things along the way. I knew if we could get her to the top without losing too much time that the PR should be in the bag.

That 9th mile took 9:15 and like that the cushion was gone but she still looked strong and after letting her relax for minute once things leveled out I started to push. Normally I run beside her but now I was running ahead and looking back trying to get her to chase me. This last mile was almost all flat and downhill with only a small rise just before turning toward the football stadium and I knew we were making good time. We finally entered into the stadium but I was unsure of the time it would take to get around so I kept pushing. She responded like the Champion she is and we ran that last mile in 7:58 ! Woohoooo. Pr by 36 seconds by my watch with a time of 1:24:31.

We waited and soon Frank and Jerry came into the stadium. Frank had a great race for him and Jerry did well considering how little training he has been able to do this year after having some elective surgery.

Overall it was a fantastic day and a wonderful run with my amazing training partner. The race itself needs a few tweaks but overall they did a good job too.