Saturday, July 24, 2010

Run For Your Life 4 Miler

AM: 3 mile w/u + strides
Target: 4 mile race @22:30 or faster
Actual: 23:07 (5:52, 5:41, 5:54, 5:39)
1+ mile c/d
Total: 8 miles

Hating life

There are several scenarios in which a girl could find herself in the Jack in the Box men's bathroom at 7:30 on a Saturday morning. The least licentious of which, and the one that necessitated my time in said bathroom, was that it was 10 minutes until race time and the port-a-potty lines were too long. The fact that I was already hot, sweaty and unusually tired before entering the bathroom certainly did not portend an enjoyable race experience, a sentiment that was clearly shared by everyone involved. When I passed Paul on my jog over to the Jack in the Box, I asked something along the lines of, "So, on a scale of 1 to 10, our 5k on the track at Myers Park being an 8, how brutal would you say this race is going to be?" He said 10. I nodded my head in rueful agreement. Paul's coach, Tim Budic, recently posted an interesting blog about how the dew point, not necessarily the temperature or humidity percentage, plays the greatest role in affecting a workout or race performance. According to his chart, a dew point in the range of 75-80 is "extremely uncomfortable, fairly oppressive." Anything over 80 is "severely high, even deadly." The dew point when we woke up this morning was 76.

And so, jogging over to the starting line with heavy legs, a small voice in my head told me that both my dream goal of 22-flat and my second-tier goal of 22:30 were both pretty unrealistic. Instead, I told myself that all I needed to do was win so that I could earn the points for the Grand Prix series. Later in the race, my only incentive to not drop out was the fact that this race would actually earn double points for the Grand Prix, which made fin
ishing (ideally in first, but mostly just finishing) crucial. It was not going to be fun.

Jordan taking a commanding lead

The race started and finished in the street directly in front of Run For Your Life, which was comforting in its familiarity. At 7:30 sharp the whistle blew and we were on our way. The first mile was almost entirely uphill, so right away my breathing was unnaturally labored. I told myself that coming through in 5:40 would be a realistic goal for this mile at this effort level, plus I was surrounded by people who usually run the same pace as me during these races--Cory Tretsky, Chad Crockford and Billy Shue, to name a few. When I came up to the first mile marker and saw that it read 5:52, I was demoralized. Unable to reconcile the time on the clock with the level of effort I was expending was pretty discouraging, but I pressed on. A few meters later I was passed by my CRC training partner Stephen Spada, and I literally willed myself to stay with him for the next two miles. It also helped that the second mile on East Blvd. was a gradual downhill, so I was able to regroup and pick up the pace slightly. Around the 2-mile mark was the only water station on the course, and though I never take water during races I grabbed a cup and dumped it over my head and chest. That, plus the close contact with Spada, kept me focused and invigorated through the middle section of the race despite the uphill third mile, my slowest of the race. (Although I would be lying if I didn't admit that as we approached Kenilworth on East, part of me thought about how nice it would be to just turn right on Kenilworth and jog a few easy minutes back to the store.) I kept telling myself that if I could keep it together until 1200 to go, I'd have the reprieve of a steady downhill all the way to the finish. At this point Spada began to falter a bit and I went around him, grateful for the help he'd provided in the toughest section of the race. My legs and lungs were burning and all I could think about was a tasty drink of water, but I put my head down and kept pushing to the finish. I crossed the line in 23:07, a far cry from my goal and 15 seconds slower than I'd tempoed the Shamrock 4 Miler in March. To say the least, the weather had humbled me.

Drafting off Spada. Apparently I was taking a bit of a nap since my
eyes are closed.

After sitting down for a few minutes and drinking about a dozen cups of water, I was able to see how everyone else had fared. Jordan won decisively in 20:30ish, followed by Paul and Greg Isaacs and then Jay and Aaron. Alice and Danielle had taken second and third for the women, with Spada and Cory finishing in between me and Alice. My friend and coworker Ben, fresh off a several month layoff due to a stress fracture, was stoked to finish his first race back in 29 minutes. Overall, we were an exhausted yet relatively satisfied bunch. Next week we'll have a break before getting after it again at the Blue Points 5k on August 7th, hopefully in more hospitable weather. In the meantime, it's time to hydrate and get rested up after today's efforts. Great job to everyone who participated today!


mainers said...

great recap and great job in the heat Meagan.

I guess it would be remiss of me to say here that typically Blue Points rates as an 11.....

jayholder8k said...

As much as I hate that you felt this way, reading your blog and Jordan's blog make me feel a little bit better about my poor performance. I was a good 45 seconds off my goal.

And I agree with Paul. Blue Points is miserable.

Anonymous said...

Great work in the extreme heat. It is strangely comforting to know that faster runners are struggling like those of us a few paces and places behind you in the field.
- Stan.

Stephen Spada said...

It was awesome running with are tough as nails! Wish I could have pushed you even more!