Saturday, December 15, 2007

Davis Corner Rescue Squad 5K 15 Dec 07

Thought this 5K race would be a nice finish to the 2007 racing season. I had run this one last year as my first 5K when it was run at the Botanical Gardens in Norfolk. Last year the Loco running shoe company had given out a free pair of running shoes to all who registered. This year they moved the run to Mount Trashmore in Virginia free shoes but a nice Henley style t-shirt. The course ran around the main hill a couple of times with the second going around the second smaller hill and then around the lake and to the finish. The weather was cold and windy with temps in the low 40's...quite a difference of a couple of days ago when the temps were in the 70's and 80's. The weather has been really strange this year.

There were only a little over a hundred people running this race so registration and packet pickup was fast. I warmed up by running up and over the main hill to the start line. This is a gun timed race so I started at the front.

The horn sounds at 9:00 and were off and running. The first 200 yards goes from a paved parking lot road to a gravel rutted path that goes between the two hills...not my favorite running surface but we finally hit the paved road that goes around the main hill passing where the race finishes. Up to this point things just weren't feeling breathing was heavy and I just couldn't find a pace I was comfortable with so I decided to take this as an easy effort run. Just then a group of runners passed me and I decided to join them as we take a right around the big hill. The first mile came in at 6:19, which I thought wasn't right for the effort I had put out and usually I am faster on the first mile. By the time we reached the start line again I had found a good pace and things began to feel good. I leave the small group and started passing people as we go around the second smaller hill and we cross the finish line for the second time. This time around we go left that takes us on a course that will lead us around the lake. I passed a couple of more runners and at the far end we hit mile 2 and it comes in at 12:38...lap time of 6:19, which is the same as the first mile. We continue around the lake and as I look ahead, I can only see three other runners ahead of me and I set my sights on the third place guy who is way off in the distance. I slowly make up some ground as we run around the back part of the lake heading for the finish. We make the final turn to the finish and mile 3 comes in at 17:38...but that can't be right because that gives me a lap time of 5:00 for the last mile and there is no way I could run the third mile in five minutes. But I race on ahead and hit the finish line in 18:14 and think to myself it must have said 19:14. Later talking with others and checking my splits, we suspect that the last mile must have been 3-400 meters short, which was disappointing. I also never caught the third palce runner and missed third place overall by only 15 seconds but I did get first in my age group...of course I did notice that the usual faster runners did not run this race and the final total of finishers only came out to 122.

Race Results:

There were 12 finishers in the Male 50 to 59 age group and 122 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 4 of 122
Age group finish place was 1 of 12
Time of: 18:14

I'm not even considering this as a 5K PR since the distance or timing seemed to be way off. They say that the New Year's Day race...Hair of the Dog run on the same course, so hopefully they will get it distanced right.

Happy Holidays to you all!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Santa Claus Shuffle 5K 08 Dec 07

Well...I was going to run the Blue Grey Half Marathon tomorrow but won't be doing it. Oh well, I hadn't registered and had planned to drive the two and a half hours there early enough to register same day...but now I won't need to. So...since I couldn't go do the half on Sunday, I was looking for a local race to do today and this 5K seemed to fit the bill.

This race takes place in the Norfolk Botanical Gardens with winding paved trails with beautiful scenery...even in the fall/winter months. I have run the trails in a different race last year so was somewhat familiar with the course. It has narrow paved paths with many tight corners and a couple of small bridges...not a real good place to expect a PR but I wanted to try for one anyway.

I woke to a beautiful morning...the temperature in the mid-40's with very little noticeable wind. It was forecasted to only get into the mid to high 50's. I ate breakfast and drove to the Gardens as the sun was coming up. I was cruising down the highway not paying attention and noticed that I had missed my turn off to the Garden but the race doesn't start till 9:45 so there was no hurry and I made it to registration with plenty of time to spare.

Registration was a breeze and I got my bib, timing band and goodie bag. At 9:00, the kid's 1 mile race starts and it was fun to watch them dash away and return a few minutes later...our future racers.

I did about a half mile warm up a few minutes before the start of our race. After getting to the starting line, one of the runners comes up to me and says...I remember you. His face looks familiar but I can't place where I know him from until he says he is from Albuquerque...and then it dawns on me that this is the guy that keeps coming to race here and has beaten me twice this year, at the Chesapeake Bay 10K in April and the Fleet Week Half Marathon in October...He took first in both and I came in second behind him. We talked quite a bit before the race started and after the finish. Seems like he has been on business trips each time...he did something for NASA... and takes these opportunities to race in the places he gets sent to...and...most of his trips bring him to Hampton. The horn sounds at 9:45 and we are off. Even though I started a row back from the front, there are runners sprinting to the front from both sides at the start and it is very had to maneuver around some of them, especially with the tight, narrow turns on the path. I had planned to try to keep up with my new friend from Albuquerque for as long as I could...although talking to him at the start, I knew I wouldn't be able to stay with him very long this time because he is pretty fast, but maybe in the future... but during the initial surge on the start, I lost him to a pack that was running way faster than I intended. None the less, the first mile comes in at 5:58 and it seems like I have expended a lot of energy weaving and dodging the other runners because I am breathing hard. There is also a runner that I think is in my age group that is pacing off of me because I passed him about the half mile point and I could sense him in back of me...he was breathing hard I could actually hear him. At about the 1.5 mile point he moves ahead and I decide to pace off of him about 50 yards back. The second mile comes in at 12:14 which I'm surprised that I have lost about 16 seems as though we have maintained pace since the start...but I am continuing to feel the fast pace in my breathing. The runner I have been pacing off of seems to be moving further away now and I try to maintain. Around the 2.5 mile point I seem to be gaining on the runner ahead of me and just before the three mile mark, I make the pass. The third mile comes in at 18:37...I'm not going to break 19 minutes but I will have a new PR. I increase my pace to make sure the runner that I just passed won't be passing me again and then sprint to the finish on the final straight away and cross the mats with the time of 19:17...a PR of 10 seconds. I'm making my slow march to breaking 19 minutes. The runner I passed around the three mile mark comes up to congratulate me at the finish and asks what age group I was in...come to find out he was in the 55-59 AG and still wins his AG. And of course the guy from Albuquerque crosses the finish about minute ahead...again. So I ended up second in my age group. He told me at the finish that he was trying to finish in the top three overall so I would get first in my age group, which I thought was really nice of him to think about me that way. But at the awards ceremony we find out that they are only awarding the 1st overall for male and female with no 2nd or 3rd...He did come in 3rd overall and I came in 9th. We talked running and racing after the race while awaiting the raffle drawings and awards ceremony and like most runners I have met and talked to he was really a nice person to talk to and I will be more than happy to race him when he comes back in the spring...maybe I can get closer in time by then.

Race Results:

There were 21 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 525 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 9 of 525
Age group finish place was 2 of 21
Time: 19:17 for an overall pace of 6:12 per mile

There's another 5K next weekend...I wonder if I should run that one too?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Fort Story Army/Navy 10K 01Dec 07

This 10K was my first 10K just last course I had to do it again. Last year I finished 48th overall and 6th in my age group with a respectable time of 44:29. This year my goal was to break 40 minutes. There have been three other 10K's...two in the spring with times of 41:59 and 42:13...and one just last week of 41:37. It seems as though I am stuck in the 41:30-42 range. So this week I trained hard for this race. Sunday I ran 14.5 miles, Tuesday 7.1 miles and Thursday 7 miles. Tuesday and Thursday I worked on speed with fast tempo runs after warming up on the elliptical or cycle and the other days I did 1.5-2 hours of cross training on the elliptical, cycle and stair stepper.

The race takes place on Fort Story...a place I have run a few races and am quite familiar with. Most of it is flat with a few undulations and towards the end are two just after mile 4 and the last between miles 5 and 6. The hills...although not big by most standards...make for a somewhat challenging but fun race for those of us that run races on mostly flat areas of lower Hampton Roads. It is also next to the beach so we get these 'wonderful" winds off the ocean.

Today's weather was forecast to be in the 40's with 14-19 mph wind gusting to 26 mph...makes for a chilly, windy run...but the race starts at a chance it will get warmer for the race-Right?...Yeah I wish! But I do like to run in the cold...just not when it's very windy and cold. When I go out to get the paper in the morning, the cold and wind makes me want to go back and crawl back into the warm bed but after breakfast, I throw on some warm-ups and a hoody over my running shorts and running t-shirt and head out for the Beach.

It is very warm in the MWR building where I go to get my race bib but I head back out to my truck to put my number on and wait for a few minutes before the start of the race. About 10 minutes before the start I take my warm hoody and warm-up pants off and do a warm up lap around a block for about half a mile. The wind is very brisk and cold...especially heading into it and I wish I had brought my gloves and something warm for my head.

I get to the start line and try to get as close to the front...a row back from the start line since this is a gun timed race and not a chip timed race...and complete my stretches. At 9:00 the starting horn sounds and we are off. I don't want to jack rabbit the start like I did for the Turkey Trot and set off on what seems like a nice pace. The first mile comes in at 6:13...a bit fast but it feels comfortable and now we are heading directly into a head wind for a while. Mile 2 comes in at 12:33 which is about where I want to be. At this time I am chasing down runners...even though out near the front there are very few runners to chase down and the total field of runners are small...there are a few that I know I can reel in over the next 2-3 miles. Mile 3 comes in at 19:14...still on a pretty good pace but I'm losing some ground, time wise but I have passed two of the runners that were ahead of me and ready to catch the third. The third runner is caught as we near mile 4 and it comes in at 25:57...a few more seconds lost and here comes the first hill. I try to maintain my pace on the hill and soon we are going downhill and make a sharp...almost 180 turn and head to mile 5. When we make the sharp turn I notice there is a runner hot on my heels and he overtakes me before the 5 mile marker. 5 miles comes in at 32:33. We head for a turn around in the road before we head up the final hill. I can see most of the runners up front...that I'm definitely not going to catch and at the turn around I can see who else is chasing me. The closest runner is a woman...who ends up winning the female overall...who is about a hundred yards back and charging hard, but I don't see anybody that I know in my age group as we head up the final hill. This one seems a bit longer and steeper and into a stiff wind but we get up and over and down the other side to another near 180 turn. At mile 6, my time reads 39:18 and I know I can't make the .2 miles in 41 seconds but I charge on and hit the finish in 40:34...A PR of over one minute. I came in 14th overall and 2nd in the age group of 50-59...the AG winner came in at 36:29 and is only a year younger than I am...Something to train real hard for. So the 40 minute mark eludes me again, but it is 1:03 closer than it was at the Turkey Trot and only 34 seconds away...that's like 6 seconds per mile...I know I can do this, but the next 10K will probable be in the spring...a whole winter to train to get faster. It was nice talking with Steve over a bowl of warm soup just before the awards were announced. He had a very nice race...Congrats on your 6th place overall and 1st in your age group!

Being this was an Army/Navy race, there was a special catagory for Army against Navy runners...overall for male and female and as a group...Navy prevailed in all catagories and I like to think I helped some with a 5th place overall Navy finish!

Got home just in time to watch the Navy football team beat Army...24-3...but it was a close game if it were not for some costly Army mistakes.

Race Results:

There were 12 finishers in the Male 50 to 59 age group and 152 total finishers.

Overall finish place was 14 of 152

Age group finish place was 2 of 12

Time: 40:34 for an overall pace of 6:31 per mile

Next week I want to do the VA Runner Blue/Grey Half Marathon in Fredericksburg.

Everyone have a wonderful weekend. Go Navy...Beat Army!