Monday, December 15, 2014

Candy Cane 10k Race Report

While Coach Ken had put this on my calendar back in October, I didn't actually sign up until the Tuesday before.  This usually means I don't have any grand pre-race plans or goals.  I just wanted to go out and have a good time.  I contacted Erik and he was in to run the 5k with friend Megan.

The temps were going to be around 50 degrees, which aided in the decision to pull the trigger on the race. It was cloudy but really perfect for a race.

I stopped at Parkville Coffee House right as it opened at 7 so that I could get to Swope Park in time to grab my packet from Erik and do a warm up.

Erik, Megan and I all arrived within a few minutes of each other.  We walked over to Starlight Theatre where they had your standard race booths of food and soft tissue massages.  Once we found that the start line was also the finish line, I decided to take off for about a mile warmup.  This time I stopped about halfway and did some stretches that help open the hip flexors.  I'm trying to do things that help my running form and this is something I've heard helps.  Dynamic stretches during a warmup, who knew?!

I got back to the start line and talked with Erik and Megan for a bit before positioning myself for the start.  I was about 10 feet back from the line.

After the National Anthem, we were off!

The 10k course is 2 loops of the 5k course with a slight modification so that the 10k doesn't run through that start line twice.  The course first has a small decline before a .75 mile incline.  Nothing steep but long.  There is then a mile of flat during the out and back portion before going downhill on the other side of Swope Park.

I decided to not push the hill and kill my race before the first mile is over.  I felt pretty good the entire way and managed a 6:58 first mile.

The crowd was beginning to thin out but there were plenty of people.  We were on the first loop with 5k runners, so that added to the congestion.  The flat section came in at 6:41.  The third mile was pretty much all down hill.  I hit 6:30 while trying to run as long as I am tall.  I was trying to take some long strides and take advantage of gravity.

Now that we were finishing up mile 3, the truth about who was running the 5k was about to be known... nearly everyone.

Suddenly there were only three people in front of me.  We were soon faced with a decision:  I was about 100 feet from a "T" in the road with no markers.  The first of the 3 people turned left, which was toward the start line.  The two remaining looked at each and turned right but a couple seconds later they had turned around and went left.  I finally committed to follow them left when they had turned around to go back right, away from the start line.  I probably lost a second here but they had lost a good 10 seconds or so.  I never did see the first guy again.  He may have missed the 5k turnoff and was going back

I was now running with a female, a guy, and no one else.  It crossed my mind that we may be the top three but I also knew there was a police car as the lead car.  We now hit the long uphill again.  I stayed close with the girl but the guy pulled slightly ahead.  As we started to crest the hill I could see the lead car but couldn't tell how many people were there.  I just assumed that I was forth behind the girl.

Mile 4 was 7:13.  It felt much slower, so I guess that is good.   I passed the girl right as we hit the flat section but the guy was pulling even further ahead.  About mile 4.5 mile I could hear another set of footsteps behind me. It was another guy.

We started catching up with the walkers and stroller people of the 5k.  This added some obstacles to dodge.  I may have used one or two of them to squeeze out my new running buddy.

As we started the downhill again, it finally entered into my mind that I was actually in a race and I needed to strategize my finish.  Based on my assumption, I was now fighting for third place overall.  I wasn't trying to beat a time goal (I didn't think sub-40 was going to happen) but going for an overall podium, which is much better!

During my warm-up I actually ran the last half mile so I knew there was a nasty uphill.  He and I were starting swap positions and by the time we hit that hill, my legs were thrashed.  He began to break away but I knew not to relent.  I pushed it as hard as I could to the finish but couldn't catch him.  My last mile was 6:21.

I didn't mind missing what I assumed was third place.  What I did mind was losing third to a guy wearing the race shirt.... especially since that race shirt was a hoodie sweater.  Doh!

No knocking knees this time but still looking disjointed.

Time: 40:31 / 6:31 pace
Age Group: 1st out of 6
Overall: 4th out of 194

Yay for 1st place!!  Boo for missing 3rd overall... by less than a second!  He ended up having the same time as me but I don't know the milliseconds.  He must have lined up near the line while I was much further back.

I generally hate races of 5k/10k distances because they hurt so much.  Sure, marathons hurt but not the same way.  I never really felt that pain, even with the hills.  I think that may have been attributed to my plan to not push the hill but maybe I didn't push myself as hard as I could.

My watch registered a 5.97 miles, so it may have been short.  I'll call this my 10k PR anyway.

I do love the Age Group win!  It's my second one ever and first in a 10k.

Congrats to Erik who smashed his PR.  He's been trying to going under 30 minutes and blew it out by over a minute!  Megan got a PR as well as she ran with Erik.  PRs all around!

Erik and Megan both flying through the 5k course...literally.

New Facebook Profile Photo!

Megan finishing Strong!

Erik mastering the stop-the-watch finish photo.

My race buddy for the last 2 miles... race hoodie sweatshirt and all