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Brigance Brigade 5.7K - Run

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Baltimore, Maryland
United States
50F / 10C
Total Time = 25m 38s
Overall Rank = 26/725
Age Group = M 41-45
Age Group Rank = 2/33
Pre-race routine:

This is the inaugural Brigance Brigade 5.7K run, the distance being in reference to the jersey number worn by former Ravens player, O.J. Brigance. O.J. was stricken with ALS several years ago, and he and his wife Sharon have been inspirational pillars of the Baltimore community. His foundation raises awareness and funds for families of ALS patients.

For me, this race was a perfect opportunity to do a test race. I'm solidly in the middle of Phase 3 of Daniel's 24-week 5-to-15K training plan and moving through my build phase of my tri plan for an "A" Oly race at the end of May. This was a recovery week so I had a bit of a taper, plus this race is in my backyard so I figured on a good performance.

I was targeting a PR 5K pace stretched out another 1/2 mile, trying to get close to a new VDOT (about 7:12 pace). The course is hilly but not rolling. The main hill is a pretty steep grade and descent is more drawn out, which lends itself well to pacing.

I broke the race out mentally into 8 "laps", targeting a specific effort/pace:

1) uphill 0.4 mile start: cut through the crowd, hold T pace (7:40), keep HR down
2) downhill and flat 0.7 mile: settle into target race pace (7:15), relax
3) tough 0.6 mile climb; hold sub-8, pass as many people as possible
4) downhill 1/2 mile: recover from climb, open stride, hold sub-7 pace
5) short false flat; get down near 7, commence suffering
6) short downhill, hold at 7, continue suffering
7) final 1/2 mile climb, enter the Pain Cave and hang on to target race pace
8) downhill 0.4 mile finish; open stride, get into the mid-6's, sprint the final 200
Event warmup:

This race was about 1/4 mile from my gym/pool, so I had a great location to warm up. I dropped my daughter off for swim practice, and walked over to the race site to register. Got my bib and walked back to the Merritt to start my WU routine:

- 10-12 spin, getting HR up into zone 2
- stretch
- 8-10 TM run, starting with incline walking up to T pace, short recovery
- stretch and foam roller

I then got my race gear put together and jogged over to the start. OJ and Sharon Brigance were there, and Sharon did the start countdown. I did a few strides to get the legs ready to go fast, sipped on a bottle of water and was ready to go.
  • 25m 38s
  • 5.7 kms
  • 04m 30s  min/km

As noted above, I had 8 "laps' to target throughout the race (which honestly helps mentally more than anything)...I mean, 5Ks hurt. The basic plan was to run the 0.4 uphill start at T pace, and then hammer a 5K PR.

The first uphill section was little crowded at the beginning but within 100 yards I was moving at target pace. As usual, most runners were going out too fast so I was passing them already. I held around 7:45 and got to the top of the hill feeling good The next section was downhill and then flat, and it gave me an opportunity to settle into target race pace without too much pain. Two down, six to go.

The next section is a 0.6 mile, 4% grade with a couple more steep sections. I run though here all the time so I know there's a big downhill recovery on the other side. My goal was just to hold sub-8 and start passing people as their soul was crushed by the hill. I burned some matches here, passed about 8-10 people, and held closer to T pace. Mission accomplished.

Now I get to recover a bit, with two downhill sections separated by a short false flat. The first part I just opened my stride, relaxed, and got under 7. The suck factor of the false flat uphill section was offset by a nice headwind to cool us off (at least that's what I told myself - other than the finish that was the toughest 1/4 mile of the race). I held just about 7, then got to the short downhill recovery, continuing just over 7 pace. Two laps, just under a mile to go.

The next 0.4 miles were uphill and I knew I had to hold pace, so I started looking for competitors to chase/follow/pull me up the hill. This was also the last tough section; a downhill finish followed. So, I started to chase down the only competitor within reach - an 11 YO kid. I slowly gained on him going up the hill and held about 7:20 pace. Got to the top of the hill and knew I could just stride it in and come out with a pretty good time. I wasn't really worried about where I finished in relation to my young competitor - I regularly get my butt handed to me by youngsters. :-)

However, as we started our descent to the finish I started to hear footsteps and knew someone was trying to catch us. With about 300 yards to go, I started to see him just behind us, some guy in his 20s. All right, GAME ON!!! I knew he was pushing hard to close that gap on The Kid and me, and I figured he wouldn't have another gear. There's nothing more deflating in a race than pursuing someone, catching them, just starting to pass, and then they take off. It's happened to me more times than I can count. My turn.. :-)

I waited until 20s Dude just crept past me and The Kid, and then I took off, instantly dropping both 20s Dude and the The Kid, over the final 200 yards. I was holding about a 5:25 pace...I can't remember the last time I've run that fast. Hit the line at 25:37, a 7:15 pace and the final 5K was in 22:19, a 20-second PR.

Lap info (I accidentally hit the lap button during my kick, so 8 & 9 are really one section):

Lap Data
Lap Time Distance Pace/Speed AHR MHR
1 03m 10s 0.41 miles 07m 43s /mile 126 139
2 04m 53s 0.67 miles 07m 14s /mile 137 141
3 04m 51s 0.62 miles 07m 48s /mile 145 150
4 03m 26s 0.50 miles 06m 50s /mile 141 148
5 01m 28s 0.21 miles 07m 02s /mile 142 145
6 01m 51s 0.26 miles 07m 02s /mile 141 145
7 03m 14s 0.44 miles 07m 21s /mile 147 151
8 01m 06s 0.15 miles 07m 08s /mile 145 149
9 01m 38s 0.27 miles 06m 07s /mile 144 151

What would you do differently?:

I've gotten pretty good with being able to plan out races for courses that I know, then it's just up to executing the plan. For this race, I knew exactly what I wanted to do given my fitness and training plan, and more or less executed that plan the way I wanted to. I probably had a little left in the tank; I still need to learn how to kick longer.
Post race
Warm down:

After my usual doubling over, "looking like I'm about to die and the EMTs are starting to get edgy" 30 seconds, I walked over to get my finisher's medal and congratulated The Kid on the a good race. He wasn't looking too good, so I know he gave it his all. I grabbed some water and walked over to get my t-shirt, then jogged my cool down back to the gym, did the stretch, foam roller thing, and then drove the short distance home. I felt a little stiff and sore the rest of the day but not terribly so.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

More racing experience and learning how to bring down the hammer earlier.

Event comments:

This was an awesome race...very well run, good size, good race course. The t-shirt is very nice and entry fee was reasonable (and would've been cheaper if I had gotten my act together). Having OJ there was inspirational of course, and I love running on the streets of Baltimore.

I would highly recommend this race, and as long as it fits in my training schedule I'll look to do it every year.

Last updated: 2014-01-24 12:00 AM
00:25:38 | 05.7 kms | 04m 30s  min/km
Age Group: 2/33
Overall: 26/725
Performance: Good
Course: see pre-race routine for race sections
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2014-04-06 8:30 AM

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Middle River, Maryland
Bronze member
Subject: Brigance Brigade 5.7K

2014-04-06 10:45 AM
in reply to: #4977236

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: RE: Brigance Brigade 5.7K
Congratulations on a very fine race!!
You got 2 PR's, the 5.7K and an embedded 5K (and that counts, IMO)-sensational job.

How fun to outkick people when you've been outkicked previously. It must come with the confidence of a solid run training block.
You ran that last 5K as a progression run, so I'd be fairly certain you have another 5K PR coming soon...

I loved reading about the event. ALS is an awful, awful disease. My cousin died from it, and I helped make the diagnosis...My wife and I do an ALS walk here in CT most years. Very cool to see OJ at the race. If I ever get the chance, I will somehow do this race someday.

2014-04-06 12:46 PM
in reply to: #4977236

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Subject: RE: Brigance Brigade 5.7K


That is a well execute race, my friend.  Droppin the hammer on "20s" and "The Kid" :)

Excellent work this winter, Mike. 

2014-04-06 4:53 PM
in reply to: switch

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Bellingham, WA
Subject: RE: Brigance Brigade 5.7K

Way to go Mike!!  Another great race and awesome report. 

2014-04-07 11:02 AM
in reply to: #4977236

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Subject: RE: Brigance Brigade 5.7K

Suh-weet race!  Way to stay on pace, stay with a youngster, and crush dreams at the end!  I so enjoy reading the race reports of speedy people and racing vicariously.  Congrats on 2nd AG, too!  NIce job all around, you know you are on track with your training, so keep up the good work!

2014-04-07 11:28 AM
in reply to: melbo55

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Subject: RE: Brigance Brigade 5.7K

What a great cause. We lost a good friend to ALS last year and I know how completely awful it is.


Great race! I like how you broke it up!

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