Saturday, January 26, 2008

Striders Distance Series 25K, 16 Jan 08

This is the second of three in the Strider's Distance Series that help prepare runners for the upcoming Shamrock marathon and half. I had been looking forward to this one about a week ago but the last few days was wishing I had another week to prepare. Haven't felt good the last few days and think I have caught my youngest daughters cold that she has had for the last week. I was feeling run down and tired, but tried to keep my training up...yesterday I would have taken a complete rest day if it weren’t for the exercise challenge streak. Earlier in the week, I was looking for a goal time of under 1:45 but come race time was just looking to finish in a decent time.

The race again takes place at Fort Story Army base in Virginia Beach. A picturesque place with historic lighthouses, sandy beaches and tree lined trails and lakes...also has some hills. We start off by running a 5K course and two of the standard 10K course, which lets us go over the two hills three times...what a treat!

The weather looked ominous throughout the week with forecasts anywhere from cold rain, windy and freezing temperatures. It ended up being pretty nice with hardly any wind, no rain and some sunshine but it was cold with temps in the lower 30's to lower 40's...the race starts at 9:00 so it gives the sun a chance to warm things up a bit.

I decided to wear my long sleeved UA that I wore at last weeks 5K XC race since I thought it would be windy out on the course, and even some gloves and regular shorts.

This is a mixed race of 15K and 25K runners all starting at the same time and pretty much running the same course of an initial 5K loop and then the regular 10K loop or two depending on which series was being run. The air horn again squeaks to get us started and we are all off running the first shorter 5K loop. I found fellow blogger Steve a short time after the start and was able to run the first 5K loop with him until he started pulling away after about four miles...or it could have been that I started slowing down. I didn't have any miles splits on my watch because I missed the first few miles and decided not to worry about splits and just note the time at certain points in the race. The first 5K loop came in at 20:36 and we were off doing the first 10K loop. The first 6 miles in 40:22 and the finish of the first 10K loop (9.3 miles total) came in at 1:04. All the top runners were constantly catching and passing me during the first 10K loop since I had slowed quite a bit, but I didn't really care...until this one runner gets up to me and tells me that he's going to stay with me because he thinks he started off too fast. During the second 10K loop, I seemed to get a second wind and started upping the pace and dropped the runner that had been pacing off of me and my times started to improve. The 13 mile mark came in at 1:29:08...which told me that I had a real good chance at breaking 1:30 for a half marathon at next week's Norfolk half marathon. For most of the middle part of the race I was running pretty much by myself...except for the runner that was pacing off me. No one in sight since the faster runners were way ahead out of sight on the winding roads and glancing back, there didn't seem to be anybody either...which made for a very lonely run. But by the beginning of the second 10K loop I started passing the 15K runners that were walking by now...a couple at first and then groups of them. It gave me something to focus on and something for me to try to catch and pass. The final turnaround came and then the final hill and I tried again to give it a little more gas and finally crossed the finish line in 1:47:35...a few minutes slower than my goal time but happy to finish strong. Went home, showered, took some OTC cold meds...and took a two hour nap.

Race Results:

There were 24 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 214 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 18 of 214
Age group finish place was 3 of 24
Time: 1:47:35 for an overall pace of 6:56 per mile

The race results listing also combines the times of the two races in the series and for those results, I end up third in my age group and only 1:40 from second...but only because one of the runners in my age group is in the Men's Overall/Open standings...I'll take it...Something to build on for the next 30K race on 16 Feb.

Next race is next Saturday...02Feb...The East Beach Norfolk Half Marathon where I hope to break 1:30, and as long as I am healthy, I'm sure it will fall!

Hope all are having a great weekend.

Forgot my weekly totals:
Mon: 41 min elliptical, 46 min cycle, 20 min stairstepper
Tue: 9.1 miles run, 31 min cycle, 10 min stairstepper
Wed: 30 min elliptical, 30 min cycle, 21 min stairsteppper
Thu: 10 miles run, 30 min cycle, 11 min stairstepper
Fri: 32 min elliptical, 31 min cycle, 10 min stairstepper
Sat: 25K race, 17.5 total miles run
Sun: 45 min elliptical, 45 min cycle, 30 min stairstepper

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mud in Your Eye 5K XC Series #1, 19Jan08

Decided to run a cross-country series called Mud in Your Eye. It's a three race series with three different distances, which takes place in three different cities about every 2-3 weeks. The first is a Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach, the second a 6K on 09Feb at Bell's Mill Park in Chesapeake and the third a 8K on 23Feb at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk. A fun series that I had wanted to do last year but was unable to. This year, I hadn't really planned on doing it since I had the Strider's series and the Norfolk Half on tap before the Shamrock marathon in March...but...I had never done a cross-country race and had heard that this was a fun the last minute...I signed up.

So, today's race is in Mount Trashmore...the same place where many of the other shorter races are run. But since this is a cross country race, the course is different in that instead of going around the hills and surrounding lakes on nice paved roads, you run up, across and down the hills on grass and dirt paths...some places there were no just followed white arrows painted on the grass. There was a small stretch of paved path around the back of the hills but other wise you were running on the grass and ground with some muddy areas because of the rain.

Checking the weather through the week called for cold temps and rain showers later in the morning...I was hoping it wouldn't start till after the race...turning into snow by evening...not a combination that I like. I can run in cold and I can run in rain and even snow is nice, but...running in cold rain is not for me but...I had already registered and I was going to survive. I normally just run in a shirt and shorts...socks and shoes also of course. But to make myself more comfy I decided to wear my double layered long sleeved UA cold gear. It had kept me warm during last year's cold Shamrock marathon.

My expectations...I didn't know what to expect time wise since I have not run this type of race before. I didn't expect a 5K PR and decided that if I could get near 20 or under, it would be a good day.

Got down to the park, got my bib and chip and as I was back in my truck putting it on, the rain started coming down. Just a drop or two at first but it turned into a steady drizzle in a short time. After about a half hour, I was resigned to running in this cold drizzle, the rain slowed down to a few stray drops. I needed to warm up and started running the road that goes behind the small hill and fellow blogger Steve coming the other way greets me. I run up the small hill and traverse it and back down and start the long climb up the big hill. I was on the lookout for a port-a-potty or restroom and spied a restroom down the hill on the lake side and ran down to it. I went inside and it was very warm was heated...must have been 70-75 degrees inside...quite a difference from the 30-40's outside. There was no long lines and only one other person using the urinal so I went into the handicap stall, lifted the lid and as I started going...I had this weird sensation come over me and I started feeling dizzy. I grabbed onto the handicap rail with one hand to steady myself and the next thing I know is that I awake with one arm still wrapped around the grab rail and the rest of my body dangling over the toilet. I must have fainted for a few seconds. It was really weird...I have no idea what must have been a vasal vagal response where the body kind of shuts faint...from an external stimuli. The only thing I think could have caused it may have been coming in from the cold to warm after running up and down the hill. I hadn't been sick or felt sick and I had eaten a good breakfast. I didn't feel sick or weak after the episode but the side of my head felt a little sore, probably from hitting it on something on the way down, but I felt fine otherwise. I was trying to decide whether to do the race or not but decided to continue my warm-up and see how it felt. I went outside and started running slowly and everything felt fine, so I picked up the pace and ran up the steep side of the big hill to the top...I know, probably not a wise thing to do after fainting...and ran across and back down the other side towards the start line. And everything felt okay, so I decided to run. I would take it easy and increase pace gradually.

We lined up on the pavement facing across the open ground near the big hill and when it was time to start at 8:00, the starter tried to toot his air horn but nothing came out so he just yelled GO, and the race was on. The whole line of runners rushed out into the open ground dodging mud puddles and trying to find firm footing to run on. We all merge into a long line as we make the first turn and start a steady climb up the large hill. I started out at a slower pace but half way up the hill, I feel exhausted. I see Steve about 50 meters ahead but I have no energy to pull myself up to him so I keep my pace. We finally make the top of the hill and traverse it along the top going around a vent shaft and doubling back the other way and back down. As soon as we reach the bottom, its up the small hill, traversing the length of it. The first mile comes in at 6:31...slower than what I expected...and then we go down a steep decline till we reach the bottom and we make a 180 around the stairs that are built into the hill and we go back up the steep side of the small hill to the top again. We run the length again coming down and taking us finally to the blacktopped road that goes around the small hill. It feels sooo good to be running on a smooth surface and I increase my pace. After going around the hill and near the lake, we get off the road and run again on the grass and ground near the lake headed to the front of the park. Mile two comes in at 13:17...not good...I have slowed some more. Near the front we again go up the big hill about half way where there is a berm-like ridge that we run across the face of the big hill and at the stairs we again make the steep climb to the top of the big hill. We run again around the vent pipe and start our final decent and back towards the starting area looping around the back and mile three comes in at 20:18. The last 10th I think about sprinting it in but only manage to increase my pace a bit and cross the finish line in 20:56. The race was fun but very exhausting.

After finishing and returning my chip, I head back up the big hill to see if I can find one of the ladies who goes to my gym who is also running. I find her and we run to the finish.

On the drive home, I feel that I need to workout some more today since it's supposed to be my long day. With the warm-up, race and running the last part a second time probably only got me about 5 miles and I need a few more miles, so I drive to the gym and get on the treadmill for 70 minutes. Then the cycle for 30 minutes and finished up with 10 minutes on the stairstepper, go home and get a nice hot shower while my daughter makes me a grilled cheese sandwich...Yummy!

Race results:

There were 12 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 321 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 43 of 321
Age group finish place was 3 of 12
Time: 20:56 for an overall pace of 6:45 per mile

Training this week was interrupted on Wed because of a Dental appointment that went way over and I was unable to do get to the gym for my run and workout. keep up my goal of exercising at least 30 minutes each day, I did core and strength exercises at home...situps, crunches, pushups, side straddle hops and various other callisthenic exercises and then finished with some weights. The next day I had the best feeling training run that I can remember. It felt so effortless and it seemed like I could go forever. I ended up increasing the pace .5 mph every 10 minutes until I finished with a minute at 11 mph. What a difference it makes when the legs get a complete day of rest...that taper stuff must really work!

This week's totals:
Mon: 7.5 miles run, 20 min elliptical, 20 min stairstepper
Tue: 60:30 min elliptical, 60:30 min cycle, 10 min stairstepper
Wed: 35 min of core strength...had a late Dental appointment
Thu: 9.1 miles run, 31:30 min cycle, 11 min stairstepper
Fri: 32 min elliptical, 31 min cycle, 22 min treadmill, 12 min stairstepper
Sat: 5K race, 14 total miles, 30 min cycle, 10 min stairstepper
Sun: 61 min elliptical, 61 min cycle, 16 min stairstepper

Next up, Strider Distance Series 25K on Saturday, 26 Jan...the second of three runs.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A Much Needed Long Run

Training for the 16 March Shamrock marathon and I have yet to run a long run over 15 miles since The Richmond marathon in early November. I've run a couple of 14+ and a 15 with a few more from 12-13 but nothing longer. Most of the reasons have been that I have raced almost every weekend and the long runs have been pushed to the back burner...for instance...last week I ran the 20K in the Strider Distance Series...I had intended to run another lap that day but after putting so much into the race there was little left in the tank. I did do about a two mile warm-up before the race but that only brought it to about 14.5 miles. So...with no planned races for this weekend, thought Saturday would be a perfect day to get it done.

In the past, the majority of my long runs have been run on the treadmill at the gym but I wasn't really enjoying running 2.5 hrs on the treadmill sweating away...I have to bring four hand towels with me to wipe up the sweat that builds up otherwise my shoes end up sloshing wet. Also very annoying is that the treadmills stop after just 60 what I normally do is take a restroom break, wring our my wet shorts and shirt, and get some a GU or some type of PowerBar...which isn't all that bad but it breaks up my rhythm and it's really hard to get back into it.

So this time I decided to run it outside at the Dismal Swamp Trail...the same place that I tried to run a 20 last spring before the Frederick marathon when the temps ended up in the 80's...where I didn't take enough fluids and almost ended up with heat exhaustion. For a nice trail park...they don't have any water fountains...not a one the whole 8.25-mile trail. The trail is actually an old two-lane highway 17 running next to the intercoastal canal. They built a brand new highway 17 running all the way to North Carolina and decided this section would be great as a recreational trail for runners, bikers, skaters, horses and walkers...just no motorized vehicles.

This time I checked the weather for the best day between Saturday and Sunday...Saturday was best with temps in the low to mid 40's...and I took lots of fluids to stash along the trail. The trail has several entrances and I just drove to two entrances about equal distance apart and stashed a bottle of water or Gatorade at each. I also planned to carry a bottle of water with me.

So...with my plan in place and my fluids stashed I made my way to the main entrance to the park and got ready to run, stuffing my one pocket with a pack of GU and a pack of sports beans, and find out I forgot my laid plans of mice and men yada, yada...I forget my watch. That's okay...I don't need no stink'n watch! I note the time on my truck before I reads 11:00 on the dot...and I start my run. I didn't stretch but did start off at a slow pace and everything felt awkward and tight but by the first half mile I was in my long run cruise mode. I had planned to take this really easy so I tried to run slow and easy...which turned out really hard to do, so I just ran at a pace that felt good and since I didn't have a watch to check my times, I had no idea what that pace was...but it felt good. Between miles two and three I saw a total of three runners...headed back. One lady warned me that there was a bad head wind coming back...I don't know how far out she went since the trail is 8.25 miles long and you can turn around at any point. After mile four, I didn't see another runner until I came back...I did see some people on bikes and one guy on roller blades but that was it. Around mile four I noticed that my eardrums were starting to crackle...usually a sign of the beginnings of dehydration...I hadn't been drinking the water I had been carrying since it was really cool and I hadn't had the urge to drink, but even running in the cold can dehydrate I decided to drink from my bottle every half mile whether I think I needed it or not. After a couple of miles the crackling in my ears stopped and everything seemed to be going smoothly. A Boy Scout, as a project for his Eagle award, had placed distance markers on posts every quarter mile, so it was nice to see the mileage going by. Things were going very well now and I got to the end of the trail and turned around to head back...that's when I noticed the strong head wind that I had been warned about. It reminded me of the head winds going up Atlantic Ave during the Rock n Roll half, but this was going to stay with me all the way back for 8-10 miles. Most of the beginnings of the trail is pretty much sheltered by trees and brush on both sides but way out near the turn around, there was hardly a tree in sight where the wind was coming from and its pretty much out in the open. Sometimes there would be a thicket of trees and brush to shelter me a bit but not much until I got closer to the entrance...the wind seemed to be coming right down the trail at me but I trudged on. My first water stash was coming up and I finished the bottle I was carrying and scooped up my hidden stashed bottle to take its place. They have green waste barrels along the trail so I was able to pitch my empty and carry the new bottle. Coming back to the five- mile marker I see the first runner who is coming in my direction...from the start...and it's a girl. I know women are good runners, but it surprised me that she was this far out and on a long run of at least 10+ miles and doing it at a good pace. Getting closer to the main entrance, I encounter more and more runners just starting out. At the 2.5-mile marker I have stashed my second bottle but I don't need it and decide to go back with my truck to get it after the run. Getting closer to the entrance I also know that getting back to the starting area only gives me about 16.5 miles, needing 3.5 more miles and I have a decision to make on whether to turn around and do a small loop taking me to the 1.75 mile marker and back or continue on out of the park following the road to where it ends about 1.5 miles ahead and turn back...but that would only give me about 19.5 miles. I decide to keep going straight and then come back and do the additional half mile loop after. At the barrier to the park entrance I was able to ask a woman for the time...which was 1:05, making it 2hrs 5 mins for the out and back for the 16.5 miles...not bad...I thought I was going much slower. I do my three mile out and back and then the extra half mile by running to the .25 mile marker and back to get my full 20 miles and check the clock in the truck which reads a time of 2:37 for my 20 mile run giving me a pace of about 7:51 per mile...not bad...not bad at all. Was able to run the whole thing except for the few seconds to pick up my second water bottle, and surprisingly no cramps or other problems except for the weird feeling at the start. I also only drank the two bottles of water and no Gatorade, nor did I use the GU or sports beans that I carried in my pocket...didn't feel the need to. So I was quite happy with my first long run. Went home and took a long hot shower and settled in to watch some football.

Training for this week:
Mon: 6.85 miles run, 20 min elliptical, 15 min stairstepper
Tue: 51 min elliptical, 51 min cycle, 21 min stairstepper
Wed: 8.88 miles run, 16 min stairstepper
Thu: 61 min elliptical, 61 min cycle, 16 min stairstepper
Fri: 45 min elliptical, 46 min cycle, 20 min stairstepper
Sat: 20 mile run in 2:37
Sun: 46 min elliptical, 46 min cycle, 15 min stairstepper, 15 min treadmill

Happy training everyone!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Goals for 2008 goals for 2008. But let's look at last years 7 goals in 2007 and see how we did on those first.

1. Run 2-4 marathons...Accomplished...Ran four...Shamrock, Frederick, MCM and Richmond
2. Run 2-4 half marathons...Accomplished...Ran three
3. Qualify for Boston...Accomplished
4. Run 5K under 20 minutes...Accomplished...Three times
5. Run 10K under 40 minutes...Failed...Missed by 35 seconds
6. Half marathon under 1:30...Failed...Missed by 2:25
7. Marathon under 3:30...Accomplished...3:23

A record of 5 and 2, but those two misses were really close and with my last race as a gauge, I feel they are going down real soon. I ran my 20K race time through McMillan's Pace Calculator and it spit out the following:

5K in 19.01...Done that
10K in 39:31...Can do that
Half in 1:27:55...Can do that
Marathon in 3:05:26...Hummm...Sounds daunting...But it says I can do it!

So here are my 8 goals in 2008:

1. 5K under 18:30
2. 10K under 39:00
3. Half under 1:25
4. Marathon under 3:10
5. Run at least 4 marathons
6. Run a multisport event...duathlon and/or triathlon
7. Run all 12 Strider's Grand Prix events
8. Have fun...Stay Healthy

Events that I have already registered for are:

The Striders Distance Series...25K on 26 Jan and 30K on 16 Feb
Norfolk Half Marathon on...02 Feb
Shamrock Marathon on...16 Mar
Dismal Swamp Stomp Half...19 Apr
The Historic Marine Corps Half...18 May
Rock n Roll Half...31 Aug...My Birthday!

I still need another spring marathon. My options are...ING GA on 30 Mar, CMM TN on 26 Apr, Boston on 21 Apr would fit too...but...I want to wait till 2009 for this one. ;-)

For two fall marathons, I'm looking at NYC on 02 Nov...If they have the same policy as last year...I have a qualifying time and won't need to depend on the lottery, OBX on 09 Nov and Richmond on 15 Nov is always a consideration...wouldn't it be crazy if I did all three...they are about a week apart this year! And then maybe another in early December like Kiawah or Thunder Road in SC.

Here are some long term goals:

1. Run Boston...2009!
2. Run a marathon in a different country...London, Berlin, Paris, China Wall, Antarctica, Comrades...well maybe not Comrades.
3. Run the Disney Goofy
4. Run an Ironman
5. Qualify for and do Kona

Okay...Lots of very ambitious goals and something for me to focus on...Definately need to step up my training if I'm to make good on these goals.

2007 was a good year...Let's make 2008 even better!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Striders Distance Series 20K, 05 Jan 08

The Tidewater Striders Distance Series is a set of three races (20K, 25K and 30K) spaced about every three weeks designed to help prepare runners for the March Shamrock Marathon. It also includes a 10K, 15K and 20K for runners preparing for the Shamrock half marathon. A great way to get your long runs in while running/competing with other runners and having a good time.
I had planned to do the whole series last year but was only able to complete the 20K because of some bad shin splints that I had been nursing for a few months. I had hoped to run this race in a time of about 1:35 last year but because of the shin pain was only able to manage a 1:44. After finishing, I was barely able to walk for nearly a week and took a total of five weeks off to give it a chance to heal.
This year I am healthy and my fitness seems to be improving with every training cycle and even though I was thinking of this as more of a training run, since I had just raced a 5K on the 1st and my training was just kicking in strong the rest of week, but the competitor in me wouldn't let me.
My goal for this race was to start off slow and finish strong around 1:25. The race is run on Fort Story in Virginia Beach, which I think is probably the best place to run in all of South Hampton Roads because of the variety of winding road and hills...probably the only hills you will find in this area...also the scenery is great with the trees, beach and did I mention hills! So I love to run races there and I seem to do very well.
I got there early to register and signed up for all three races in the series, got my chip and went back to my truck to get ready for the race. It was very cold out initially and I warmed up in my warm-up pants and a hoody by running the course backwards up the finishing hill and then running a portion of the start for about 16-17 minutes. I then ditched everything except my running shorts and shirt and headed to the start line. I tried to keep in the middle of the runners to let them shield me from the cold and wind about 4-5 yards from the front.
At 9:00, the starting horn squeaks...I think it froze up a bit from the cold...and we all start running. The 10K and 20K runners all start at the same time with the 10K runners only running one loop of the course while the 20K runners run two loops. So it's quite crowded at the start. After making the first turn I finally free myself from most of the crowd of runners and spy Steve ahead and move up to run with him a bit. I knew he was planning a 6:26 per mile pace and thought I would try to keep up with him as much as possible. After making another turn and going up a slight incline we pass the first mile and it comes in at I figure I haven't slowed him up much. The second mile is along Atlantic Ave next to the beach and it comes in at 12:47. We make a left turn away from the beach and make the third mile in 19:30...our slowest mile and I mention to Steve to not let me slow his pace down, but he says it's still fine. Mile four comes in at 26:00 and we start up the first of two hills on the 10K loop and back down the other side making a hard left turn and back to the level road heading to mile 5. He mentions that a runner about 75 yards ahead is Dave McDonald...a former US Olympic Marathon trials qualifier and soon after Steve picks up the pace and I wish him a good run as he pulls ahead. Mile five comes in at 32:34. Steve soon catches Dave and passes him and I set my sights on Dave to use him to pace off of. We make an out and back turn before the second hill in the 10K loop and I can see who is chasing me. I see my main competitor in my Age Group about 50 yards back and then the first female and then a guy in the 55-59 AG whom I had chased to the finish at the Cape Henry 10 he was chasing me. These three were the ones I was most interested in keeping ahead of. I didn't see mile 6 but going across the start line for the second loop I noticed the finish clock reading 40:30..something and know that I am on a good pace.
The runners in the race have thinned out considerably now since most were only running 10K and are no longer with us. I could still see Dave McDonald ahead of me about 50 yards out and kept pace with him...otherwise it was kind of lonely. Mile seven comes in at 46:13 and then I hear heavy steps behind me. It seems to be keeping pace with me going up Atlantic Ave again, and I know that it's my main competitor. Just before the eight-mile mark he passes and I try to keep pace with him. Mile eight comes in at 52:55. Between miles 8-9 he steadily pulls ahead and mile 9 comes in at 59:52. We come up the first hill again and back down the other side and mile 10 comes in at 1:06:51...almost two minutes faster than my Cape Henry 10 miler but I hear someone bearing down on me. I miss mile eleven but at the out and back before the final hill, I see that the runner hot on my six is the first female and I'm not about to let her catch me. At this time I pass Dave and start up the final hill and try to increase my pace. I reach the top and race down the other side and mile twelve comes in at 1:20:34 and I also hear some one cheering me was Steve's wife Ally and this gave me a bit of a boost.
The chasers...taken by Ally Speirs.

As I made the hard left turn at the bottom of the hill, I looked over up the hill to see who was behind me and found that the nearest runner was quite a ways away. Racing around the final turn to the finish I see Steve and he cheers me on too. I cross the finish line with the clock reading 1:23: something...A nice feeling that I made it under 1:25.

I found out later that my age group was very competitive today. There were five of us that came in under 1:24 with my 1:23:19 coming in 4th and I think 17th overall. Checking last year's race results, 1st in AG 50-54 came in at 1:24:50...we all must be getting better with age!

Race results:

There were 33 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 257 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 17 of 257
Age group finish place was 4 of 33
Time: 1:23:19 for an overall pace of 6:43 per mile

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Hair of the Dog 5K, 01 Jan 08

First day of the new year, why not a first race of the new year! Ran the Hair of the Dog 5K today at Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach. This is the second year for this race and it looks to be a fun annual event. The race has different running catagories like Formal Wear and Weight Division as well as the normal run and walk. So it was fun to see people running/walking in sleep wear as well as New Year's party dresses and tuxedos...and of course then there was all of us party poopers...or rather...serious our various forms of running attire. The race goes almost the same route as the Davis Corner run two weeks ago but is run in a different configuration which makes it a true 5K course rather than the "short" course of the last race. The race also starts at 10:00, so runners can get at least a little bit of rest from the night's/early morning New Year's Eve celebrations. The weather was rather nice, sunny with the temps in the 40-50's with a bit of a wind.

I went to bed a bit early...a little after 1:00 a.m... New Year's Eve but still wasn't able to get to sleep for about another hour because of fireworks being set off in the neighborhood. But because of the late start time, I was still able to get some much needed rest. I still got to the park rather early and was able to get my bib and chip with no problems and then warmed up for about 15 minutes by running up and around the mounts.

The race is chip timed so there was no reason to get on the starting line and I settled into a spot a couple of rows back on the left edge. The starting horn blasts us on our way at 10:00 and we are off on the first race on the first day of 2008. Because of the warm up, I was feeling quite good at the start but by the first turn my breathing started to labor from trying to get around slower runners. About that time Steve catches up to me and we run together awhile and chat until the next turn when we get squeezed together by the crowd of runners making the turn and I let Steve go on ahead. I had planned on breaking 19 minutes today by trying to run a 6 mpm pace and had hoped to pace off of Steve as long as I could but the jostling around the corner gapped us to about 10 meters before I got back on pace. He had on a bright yellow shirt so it was easy to keep him in sight though and I continued on. There was also another fast runner that was just ahead of me that was in the 55-59 age group whom I had beat in the Santa Claus Shuffle about a month ago, so I paced off him to the first mile which came in at 5:55...just about where I wanted to be. We passed a water stop just before going around the lake, where I grabbed a cup to just wet my mouth and then I passed the guy and set my sights on a couple of young men, one wearing a plastic yellow head of hair. I could still see Steve about a hundred yards ahead. About then a runner wearing a tux passes...which amazed me that he was able run that fast with so much clothes on. Mile two came in at 12:32...6:37 pace!...I couldn't believe I lost 37 I upped my pace and soon passed the tux runner. Yellow plastic hair was close now also and they turned to see me catching them and they increased their pace just as we were coming back across the start line again. We came to the last turn heading to the finish and mile 3 comes in at 18:34 and I think there is still a chance for slipping under 19 minutes and sprint for the finish. As I hit the finish line I see the clock read 19:02 and then :03...I should have picked up my pace sooner...the last 1.1 mile was in 6:30. Chip time ended up 19:01.50...1.5 seconds off! So...Some very mixed feelings...I was disappointed to miss by so little, but I was still happy with my 15 second PR, a 1st in my age group and 11th overall.

All finishers received a dogtag on a chain with the Hair of the Dog design and the Age Group awards were very cool Hair of the Dog medals, which I understand Steve designed. Cool design Steve!

Race results:

There were 21 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 414 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 11 of 414
Age group finish place was 1 of 21
Time: 19:01.5 for an overall pace of 6:08 per mile

A great way to start off the New Year.

Happy New Year...You all!