Monday, December 31, 2018

2018. The Year in Review.

The year didn't exactly start off with a bang.I was a bit tired and worn down after the Rocket City Marathon in December which I was no where near prepared for and January's weather was really not very good giving me less motivation to get out to run. Finally near the middle of the month I found myself getting my mojo back and that was good because I was only halfway through with my big goal, the  Running Journal Grand Prix Series. Only 64 miles for the month of Jan was my lowest in 2 decades that didn't include an injury.

 More bad weather as I drove to the first race of the year and the 5th of 8 races in the series, the Winter Flight 8k.  Fortunately the cold rain slacked off and conditions weren't bad for the race I placed 2nd in my age group and wasn't too far off expectations on the time with 38:25.

 Nothing but trying to refocus on the training.

 This month got off to a great start with another trio to Alabama and the Birmingham Wine 10k. It was a perfect day,  I ran well and got the win for Seniors which put me back solidly in the lead for the Series.  47:36.

 A week later I was in Germantown TN, near Memphis for the half marathon. Warm muggy morning and I wilted the last 5k but a 4th place finish locked me in for the series win. 1:48:29

 With no races in the series this month I could just do some new things and have fun. I had a free entry for the St Paddys 4 miler in downtown Raleigh. A cold start but I felt great and ran much better than expected and got the win. 29:37 A week later I was in my old hometown for the Greater Goldsboro 10k. Not quite as fast as I hoped but with no competition I got another win.  48:59. Then I ended the month with a trip to Morehead City for a fun visit and a 5k. Got another win in 23:08.

 Only one race and I was focused. The finale of the Series, The Cotton Row Run 10k in Huntsville AL. It was a great race as expected but a truly miserable hot muggy morning , also as expected had me much slower than I had hoped. A tough field but I got 20 points for finishing 7th Senior in 50:08. This is the one race I will return to in 2019 for redemption on that hill !

 Once again after the elation of winning the Series Championship I found my motivation lacking over the Summer with it's constant warm and humid conditions every single day.
 My only goal was to try and go under 22 in a 5k on the track but I was not really prepared for it. I did race in one of the Sir Walter Miler Pop up meets and ran well enough under the conditions in 22:37, my best in over a year and a half.

 Bailed again on a trip to grandfather mountain as once again I was no where near ready for a marathon. let alone that tough one.

 Traveled to Massachusetts to prove once again that running a marathon unprepared is a really bad idea. 4:50:10 painful muggy  26.2 miles.


 I'd hoped for better but with the lack of Summer miles I knew my return to the Virginia 10 Miler was not going to be what I had planned it to be. But although two minutes slower than 2016, I felt good and ran a smart well paced race and was happy with my 85:10.

 Only planned one race, the Ironclad Half Marathon in Kinston. Yet another warm and muggy morning but I did ok until the last couple of miles and ran what I realistically thought in 1:51:26 and a 3rd place AG.

  Yay, finally a day with good weather ! I ran the very hilly City of Oaks Half and felt good, paced well and improved to 1:49:15 and another 3rd place AG.
 After Thanksgiving I returned to the Foot Locker XC race in Charlotte. Miserable cold rain and wind but a month later I think it was fun.   Well watching the Frey girls race after the rain stopped was fun  anyway. 24:07 was well off my 2016 time

 I entered the Hope For Education 5k in Raleigh for some fun and one more chance for a fast 5k. Hmm, should have looked at the course. Very Hilly so not very fast 23:48 but I got the win.

 And finished up the year with a rare trail half marathon at Carolina Beach. Unseasonably warm and muggy for the last weekend of Dec and a tougher than expected course. But I felt good and was pleased with the effort just missing sub 2 with a 2:00:06 and the win.

 So that's how it was sports fans. Stay Tuned for what is to come in 2019

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Hope For Education 5k. No hope for a fast one !

  After back to back slow 5k cross country races I wanted a little redemption and decided to add this local 5k to my race calendar near the end of the year. If I was hoping for a chance to run fast then I should have researched the course a little closer because it turned out to be quite the hilly one !

  This was a first time event put on by Fellowship Church in the Longview neighborhood in a partner ship with St. Augustine U. to provide a scholarship to a student in need to be able to continue their education. I was mainly attracted to it because of the location , close by and an area I've never raced in my 41 years of racing.I don't usually mention this in discussions of my early years running but I actually had  a failed attempt at beginning to run the summer before that I consider my running to have begun. In 1976, the first Summer of my marriage, we lived in a duplex just off of New Bern Ave not far from Longview shopping center. I had a one mile loop that was pretty flat that I ran with my hair still down my back in a pair of keds high tops. I think that lasted about three weeks before I dropped it. I have no records of those runs, just vague memories of being very sweaty ! Anyway, so with my mind thinking flat I was surprised just how hilly it was just across the street !

  So, back to the race at hand. It was raining lightly but mostly a drizzle and the temperature was close to 48F so it was actually not bad for running. After getting checked in I went for my usual warm up and tried to avoid the hills as much as possible. As I went to the start it was obviously a small field and also a young looking one. ( more on that later)

  The race began with a downhill which felt nice but it would also be finishing back up that same hill !  I was feeling pretty good and had a bit of zip despite fighting off a cold all week. The first uphill wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but it was obvious that the whole course was going to be up and down, up and down. I hit mile 1 in 7:21 which made me happy. That was roughly my goal pace and I felt strong.

 But the hills just kept coming and although I was pushing the pace I did slow down in mile 2 to 7:39.   I was holding out hope that mile 3 might be a bit easier but nope. I was going hard but still slowed some more to 7:48.  The final .1 hurt going uphill but I was satisfied with my effort on this day. There was no age group racing excitement as I never saw anyone to chase and I was just focusing on my pace. Way off my goal of sub 23 with a chip time of 23:48.  I guess it will have to wait until next Spring or Summer.

 As I mentioned this seemed like a young crowd. There was a large group fo the NC STATE XC Club team running that dominated the front of the race. When I looked at the results there were 85 finishers and of those about 55 were under 40 and only 6 were over 50. Not the usual mix that you see in most road races. My time was good enough to win 3rd place Master with a 42 and 41 year old ahead of me And because of no double dipping in the awards no one won the 60 and over age group because I was the only one in the race !

  Despite the hills, which after looking at several others strava maps,it looks like the average is just over 200 feet of climbing which is quite a bit for 5k,I have to give them a two thumbs up on the event. Everything went off well with the organization and volunteers.  And it was nice to race in a part of town that never gets seen in other events.