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Jeremy's Run - Run

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Olney, Maryland
United States
85F / 29C
Total Time = 42m 43s
Overall Rank = 7/177
Age Group = M40-49
Age Group Rank = 1/31
Pre-race routine:

Drove the course with Andrea and Zoe (aged 9). I was doing the "10k", Zoe the "5k" (those distances turned out to be guesstimates). Uh oh #1: the out-and-back route was mostly downhill outbound ... so no prizes for figuring out what the second half would be like. Uh oh #2: dewpoint of 70 and working towards a scorching day. Not liking the look of this one. Well, at least I had a ready-made excuse in my back pocket, since this came right after my heaviest few days of S/B/R training of the year. ... didn't know how much I was going to need that excuse.
Event warmup:

Minimal. It was so hot and sticky. Legs feeling heavy from last night's S/R workout, and the long B/R combo the day before that.
  • 42m 43s
  • 6.34 miles
  • 06m 44s  min/mile

Pacing this one right was going to be tricky, given the heat/humidity, plus the course profile, which was mostly uphill for the second half. Plenty of opportunity to crash and burn - literally - in the last couple of miles. It could have been even harder if I had paid attention to the course measurements, which were almost certainly inaccurate. Based on my splits, I'd say that I faded towards the end, but based on my progress through the field, perhaps I was doing fairly well. Started out relatively conservatively, entirely unsure of how fast I was going. At least congestion wasn't a problem. I was surprised how quickly the runners separated, and i was largely on my own from the first corner, around 100 yards into the race. I made an effort to choose a line that put me in the shade as much as possible. Too bad that it was a neighborhood of newish McMansions, so the trees were not yet large enough to provide much cover. Appalled at my split time at the 5k turn-around - surely it was over distance (it was). Tried to hold steady through the 10k turn-around, at which point I counted myself in 10th place. I was far enough away from other runners that I didn't expect this position to change. Upped the effort a bit as the course trended upwards back towards the 5k turn-around, where I started to encounter lots of slower 5k runners (they had started a few minutes after the 10k). It was at least good to now have some company. The last 1.5 miles contained most of the uphill. I dug a bit harder, and to my surprise I started picking off runners ahead of me. I couldn't tell that I was about to pass each 10k runner until I was almost on top of him, as the road was mostly filled with 5k runners. Managed to hold things together through to the finish without crumbling, but feeling rather hot and not terribly strong. 7th overall was better than I had expected. But the time - 42:43 was far worse than I had hoped for. Had I really faded that much in the last couple of miles? I had been looking forward to setting a reasonable time in an open 10k, but this was just seconds faster than I did in a hilly 10k at the end of last week's Olympic distance tri. Confused. It turns out that despite USATF certification, the 10k course was slightly long (a little under a minute's worth), and the 5k course significantly long (around 0.4k). And the other morals of the weekend's racing and training are to respect: (i) heat, (ii) distance, (iii) tapering. All of which are useful reminders of what I need to do in preparing for my upcoming tris.
What would you do differently?:

I might have set out a little faster, but then again that could have been a recipe for disaster on the uphill return. I might have not beat myself up so much in training the past few days, but tapering probably wasn't worthwhile for this event. Or I might have just skipped the event and tried something more organized instead. On balance, this probably serves as a useful reminder that although I'm getting fitter, I still have a way to go.
Post race
Warm down:

Zoe finished her 5k a couple of minutes before I finished, looking rather drained and despondent in 35-something. Poor thing - if the course had been 5k rather than the 5.4k that it seems to have been, then she might have beaten her best time. As it was, she felt that she had done terribly, until we were able to get home and figure out what had happened. She was also bummed (not for the first time) that they were giving out lots of awards in all age groups, except for hers, where she would have done quite well. So we went to the gleaming new Harris Teeter grocery store next door to pick out a prize for the 1st under 10 girl, and it turned out to be much more appealing than Daddy's plastic trinket.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Heat, humidity, hills, heavy training, hopeless course measurement.

Event comments:

I don't think I'll be hurrying back to this race. Course measurements should be accurate; bathroom provisions should be adequate. I have no problem with a tough course, but if the second half is mostly uphill, it probably doesn't provide the fitness test that I'm looking for. The organizers can't be blamed for the weather, though. The finish-line atmosphere would surely have been better if it was less hot/humid - almost everybody was cowering in the shade of the neighboring strip mall.

Last updated: 2011-05-30 12:00 AM
00:42:43 | 06.34 miles | 06m 44s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/31
Overall: 7/177
Performance: Below average
Course: Rolling, out-and-back, mostly downhill to turnaround, then mostly uphill on return, approx. 300' elevation change.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? No
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2011-05-30 12:22 PM

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University Park, MD
Subject: Jeremy's Run
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