Monday, March 17, 2014

Redondo Beach St Pats 5K Race Report

Back to racing. This would be my first race since October where I would be really racing hard, and shooting for a goal time at the max of my ability. On the other hand, I wasn't stressing too much about it. I am just starting to get back in shape, and had only one speed workout under my belt. This one would be for fun and to see where I was.

But I had goals.

I wanted to stay under 7 minute pace (21:45). That was the main goal. But I was hoping maybe if all went well, I could beat last year's course record of 21:01, when I was similarly just getting back into racing shape. Under 21 would be fantastic! It gave me something to shoot for anyway.

The course was a crooked T. Run out, turn left, out and back and then out and back on the other side, before returning to the start. There was just enough hill to make you hurt, mostly between 1.3 and 1.9 miles, but then a nice downhill from 2.1 to 2.7.

Like so:
These are streets I run all the time so I was very familiar. DW set up at the main intersection so I would go by her 3 times for maximum photo oppage.

I lined up behind the usual kids on the front row, a couple rows back, so I would be good and not get sucked out too fast. That was the plan anyway. I went out controlled and felt good. After a block or so, I checked Garmin, hoping I wasn't TOO slow. G says 6:22 pace.

What?!?!  OK, take it down a little more. I try to relax and cruise. Here I am about mile 0.4. Still more kids to pass. I look pretty relaxed though, huh?

Pace drops nicely until it is more like 6:45, and I realize I need to step it up a little to keep it under 7. I need to bank a little time before the hill.

Last year my splits were 6:35, 7:02 and 6:36. So I knew mile 2 would be slower, but also that mile 3 would let me get it back on the downhill. So I was patient. Went through mile 1 in 6:48. Great. That's just fine.

Now I was heavy breathing and working but still felt in control. I was tracking a guy ahead of me at my speed, and that helped me stay on pace. Mile 2 pace started heading toward 7:00 and we started up the gradual hill. I was working now.
By the time I crested the hill I was starting to go lactic. The "I want to quit" voice was awake and whispering to me. Keeping up the pace was rough. I just thought about the downhill to come and just told myself to hang on. Mile 2 was 7:07. Perfect.

I had been hoping to catch a local friend who is near my speed. He always goes out fast and sometimes I catch him, and sometimes I don't. At the first turnaround he had me by maybe 50 meters. At the 2nd, it was still nearly that much. It looked like I wouldn't get him today. But having him out there gave me some extra incentive to push it and see if it was possible.

Turning around and catching some downhill was sweet. I opened it up a bit and saw my pace was close to 6:30. I was nearing exhaustion and just hanging on, but catching some people. Here I am with 0.4 to go. Note all the little kids have been replaced with fast old geezers.

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All of whom I beat, by the way. Except I didn't catch my friend.

The last few tenths I just pushed it with all I had. Mile 3 came in at 6:39 with the last 0.10 at 5:50 pace!

Final time: 21:07

I was wiped out and gasping, and felt like puking a little toward the end, but within a minute or two it was all good. I was happy with that time. And I'm excited to get back into shape. Got 5th in my AG, so no bling. Top two in my AG were 17:xx!

DW takes any opportunity to be festive.

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And I may have died and went to heaven.
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And for you Surf City vets, Mickey & Molly say hello.
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Now I have 7 weeks to get ready for a Pikermi in Cincinnati with 30 other loopsters. The foot seems to very slowly be getting better, so I am optimistic and looking forward to increasing the training.

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