Saturday was the third race in the Striders distance series, which consists of three races 20K, 25K and 30K. A fun series and a great way to prepare for the Shamrock marathon on 16 Mar, by running progressively longer races every three weeks. They also run a shorter distance series at the same time...10K, 15K and 20K...for those preparing for the Shamrock half marathon. I looked forward to this the final race in the series because it would be a good measuring stick on my preparations for the upcoming marathon. My goal time was under 2:10 and if I got 2:08, I would be very happy.
As with the other two distance series, this race is run on Fort Story Army base, running the 10K course three times. The weather was forecasted to be cold with temps in the 30's-40, which would feel even colder with 12-16 mph winds...but at least no rain.
The race starts at 9:00, so I could sleep in a bit more than usual on race day. I got my shower and breakfast and got to registration/packet pickup in plenty of time, got my bib and chip and got ready for the race. I warmed up by running the course out to the first mile and back. When I got back from my warm up I noticed that a lady from my gym...who was doing the shorter series...was just starting her warm up lap around the block and I accompanied her. When we got back to the start line it was almost race time.
The horn starts at 9:00 and off we go on the first lap. I fell in with a group of runners who consisted mainly of the top runners in my age group...the first, second, third (which was me) and fifth place runners as well as the first place runner in women's open and first place runner in the 55-59. We all ran together for about the first 3-4 miles chatting amongst ourselves until we started spreading out with our different paces with the first and second place runners as well as a few others going on ahead. I hadn't paid too much attention to some of the lap times because I was paying more attention to the conversation than the mile markers but the second mile came in at 13:14 and the 5K in 20:46. Mile 4 was in 26:56 and mile 5 in 33:34. The next two-mile splits were missed but mile 8 was in 54:38. The first 6-7 miles I was still feeling good but around mile eight I started feeling fatigued. I took a gel that was offered on the course around the 15K mark thinking that it would give me some energy but it just seem to set in my stomach and make things worse. I feel bloated and felt like I needed to stop for a port-a-potty but the next one wasn't until near the start/finish line around mile 12. Ten miles came in at 1:09 and just before the turn that takes us up one of the hills, I see the second place runner in my age group is off to the side of the road having his own problem, massaging out a cramp in his lower leg. I make sure it's only a cramp and encourage him as I head up the hill. I missed miles 11 and 12 and when I went by the start/finish, I decided not to stop at the port-a-potty but to keep on going to the next area that had a port-a-potty around the 15-mile mark. Mile 13 came in at 1:31...the slowest split at the time but I was able to pick it up on mile 14 which came in at 1:38 but everything went downhill from there. I felt very little energy and my pace slowed again. Around mile 15 a runner that had been behind me for a while comes up along side and then slightly ahead and seeing that I was having a rough time in the wind, motions and tells me to follow and draft off of him. I was really impressed...no...I was touched by his gesture and his willingness to help me out...I thought it was really cool...Later I found out his name was Cool...well actually it was Iscool. In this sport I have found that runners are always willing to encourage and help each other. I stayed with him for a couple of hundred yards but let him go on his way. 25K came in at 1:49 and mile 17 in 2:01. Went up the final hill before the finish and mile 18 was in 2:09 and then crossed the finish line in 2:13:57. Not the finish I was expecting but thankful that I was able to run the whole thing and finish. There will always be bad days and this felt like a bad day, but...there will be good days too and I feel next week will be a good one.
There were 17 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 195 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 18 of 195
Age group finish place was 3 of 17
Time: 2:13:57 for an overall pace of 7:12 per mile
Mon: 61 min Elliptical, 65 min Cycle, 31 min Stairstepper
Tue: 9.4 miles run, 31 min Cycle, 15 min Stairstepper
Wed: 30 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 21 min Stairstepper
Thu: 10.2 miles run, 16 min Stairstepper
Fri: 23 min Elliptical, 46 min Cycle, 20 min Stairstepper
Sat: 21.2 miles run including 30K race
Sun: 40 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycle, 30 min Stairstepper
Next week I have two races. Saturday will be the Mud in Your Eye 8K, the third and final in that series. I hear there could be actual mud to run through in this one as well as some hay bales to run over...should be fun. Then Sunday I will be running the Anheuser-Busch Colonial Half Marathon up in Williamsburg, which is said to be a hilly course. So it should be an interesting weekend.
Hope all have a great President's Day weekend!