Thursday, May 7, 2009

Patriot's Cup Corporate Challange 8k Race Report

Better late than never right? Though I have the "official" results, I was still kinda waiting for them to post them on the race website and maybe even a picture or two. Nope. It has been almost a week and there is still nothing. I figured they took pictures for a reason, but I guess they just want to keep them for themselves and not post anything. I mean, really...who wants to see pictures of themselves running a race or winning a team award? This is just a minor annoyance. For the full list, go here.

So back to the race. When I signed up for this race through my company, I figured I'd just show up and run it, since 1) It is only 2 miles from my house and 2) It is a free race and you can't turn down that! I was however, still sticking to the training plan, since I've never run an 8k race before and really have no reason to try and taper for a better time. The hope was to train through and just run the race comfortably hard.

As you may recall from the day before, I set out for a long, hilly bike ride that turned out to be 56 miles. It was a great ride and I finished it feeling fresh. Race day morning, I woke up to fresh feeling legs too. The plan called for about an hour of running and since I knew 8k wasn't going to take me anywhere close to an hour, after I got my race packet info at the check in, I set out for a longish warm up. The weather wasn't all that great (50s and rain), but it actually felt quite nice. After about 20 minutes of jogging some of the course, I came back to the race start and stretched for a bit, while scoping out the field. This was a smaller race than I was used to (about 350 people), so I knew I'd finish toward the top end. I saw quite a few people sporting their collegiate uniforms, which told me they were fast. Most of them were pretty top D-1 schools, so who was I to judge. They lined us up finally at the start line and the typical types of people thought it would be fun to line up at the front. The race director pleaded with people to only be toward the front if you were planning to run 5-6 minute per mile pace. I knew I wasn't running that pace, but I wasn't to line up just behind that group. I saw maybe one person step back, but all those people who clearly should not be there all stayed! I was stuck a few people deep, which was farther back than I wanted to be, but since the idiots at the front wanted to stay at the front, I had no chance to move up any closer.

The gun went off and within 3 steps I ran right into a slow person. Ohhh...so that's why they want the slower people to move back? Hmmmm. I guess some people will never learn. After navigating those people, I started to settle into my pace about a half mile into the race. What was funny was that there were quite a few people who were at the front of the race that started off on pace with the group, but at about this point, they were all fading fast. One guy was gasping for air. I guess they too don't quite understand the concept of pacing. As we hit the first mile, I could still see the front pack but they were pulling away from the jumbled mess of a group I was running with. We hit the Mile 1 marker in 6:36.

I was still feeling good, but I did not want to "race", because I didn't want to completely trash myself since this was just a training race. I held pace and the course flattened out a bit for mile 2 compared to the hills on Mile 1. At this point, I was pretty much running by myself. The front runners were way ahead and I guess there were some people behind me, but I only had a few people in my slights in front. It was hard to keep pushing a quick pace, but I just pressed on. I passed Mile 2 in 6:40.

The course was a 2 loop design, so we started to loop back shortly after passing Mile 2, which meant more up hill for Mile 3. I was starting to reel in one guy at this point, who didn't seem to like the hills very much. We would keep pace even on the flat sections, but once we hot the hills I'd gain ground. As we approached the Mile 3 marker, I passed him on the up hill. Mile 3 came in at 6:57.

With the end in sight, I started to pick the pace back up a bit. Unfortunately, the 2 loop design of the course made it a challenge, because the walkers were in full effect. Apparently they didn't get it either than this was a race, because they were walking 5 wide on the course, which at this section, consisted of a bike/run path about 5 feet wide. So with a lot of shouting "On your left!" and in most cases passing people on their right, since in response to my heads up they would turn around and move to the left (seriously, why do people do that?) I pressed on and picked off another guy. We passed Mile 4 and headed back toward the start/finish. Mile 4 was 6:46.

As I neared the finish line, I thought I heard some breathing on my shoulder, so I kept trying to pick up the pace. Turns out it was probably my own breathing, because as I hit the steep downhill toward the finish, I glanced back to see if I needed to go with an all out sprint and saw nobody, so I cruised it in. Strange how we sometimes hear things and they turn out to be nothing. My last split, which was .95 miles came in at 6:19 (6:38 pace).

I finished the race in good shape. I wasn't too exhaused, but certainly felt like I ran hard. I noticed they were giving free massages, so I figured why not. I mean, I biked 56 miles and had just run about 8 miles (including the warm up), so I dereserved one, right? The bonus was the fact that there were only a handful of people who had finished by this point, so there was no line. I also think I benefitted because the massage people hadn't given 1000 massages yet, so mine lasted quite a while. She worked my calves, hamstrings, upper and lower back. It felt great!

After that, I bumbled around and grabbed some food and coffee while we waited around for the remaining runners and eventually the awards ceremony. Unfortunately, "technical issues" with the timing caused a major delay in announcing the results. After they started raffling away prizes. Though I didn't win any of the raffle prized, they didn't give away free coupons to get a Road ID to the first 20 people who grabbed them. And guess who got one! I am actually really excited to get this. Normally, I don't leave for my runs or rides without bringing my ID and insurance card. Now, I can just throw on the Road ID and it won't take up room in my shorts pockets. Sweet!

Below are the overall numbers from the race:
Mile 1: 6:36
Mile 2: 6:40
Mile 3: 6:57
Mile 4: 6:46
Mile 5: 6:19 (6:38/mile pace for last .95 miles)
Total: 33:19
Average Pace: 6:42/mile
Average HR: 174
Overall Place: 29/343
Age Group (21-29): 10/57

Like I said at the end of my previous post, I believe I would have easily PR'd in the 10k distance had I run the additional 1.2 miles to make it 10k. But I'll have to save that effort for another day. I will also say that this course was much hillier than the previous 10k I did, so I know my speed and power is coming back. I'll continue to run hard as my training progresses and at some point race another shorter distance in the hopes of dropping that time again.

Any maybe one day they will post the pictures from the race and I'll share those too!

2 comments:

Audrey said...

sweet! super glad you are feeling fit. yup, my Muddy Buddy pics are still missing a week later and you can be sure i'm waiting for those!

congrats on the sweet team prize. that's pretty cool. sounds like your season is going really well. you are so discipllined. i can't stop myself from racing!!!

jeanne said...

congratulations! as a slow person i do my part, i swear. but i know i'm one of the few. these people think they're entitled to the road. i don't get it.

but great race, and well done!

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