Saturday, January 1, 2011

CRC Hangover Run

AM: 2 mile w/u
Target: 1x5k, 2x3 miles @faster than MP (6:19)
Actual: 18:35ish for 5k, 1x3 miles @~18:00
1 mile c/d

Total: 9 miles
PM: 4 miles

Happy New Year! I woke up this morning excited to attend the first annual CRC Hangover Run, but also nervous because I planned to use the 5k prediction "race" as just a small part of my larger workout. Originally, my plan was to start around 6:20 pace and then cut down. However, several things threw a wrench into that plan. The first was that the race was a prediction run, which simply means that watches aren't allowed and that the winner is the person who runs closest to his or her predicted time. In other words, there's no way to monitor your pace other than by feel. Normally that wouldn't be a huge deal to me, but since a) I hadn't run hard since Club XC (three weeks ago) and b) the back half of the xc course was a muddy, sloppy mess, I began to question my abilities. Also, while I wasn't technically hung over, my system was a wee more alcohol-intensive than is ideal for a workout. Whatever. I put my prediction at 19:30, which under normal circumstances I would consider quite slow but hoped would be a good starting point today.

Bantering with official race photographer Leonard Hilliard before
ascending the hill

From the "gun" (Was there a gun? I highly doubt it. I think it might have just been club chairman Aaron shouting "Go!") the pace felt a bit slow, but I chalked that up to the built-up lethargy of having not worked out in three weeks. Allen Strickland sidled up beside me about half a mile in and asked what my prediction was. When I told him he responded something to the effect of "Welp, see ya later," as he elected to throttle back his pace. By the first mile marker no one was ahead of me except Paul, John and Ben, and they were so far in front that I was further convinced my pace was molasses. Still, for whatever reason I could not get my legs to feel 100% comfortable. Aerobically everything was fine, but my lower half seemed insistent at plodding along. Maybe the unseasonably warm, muggy air had something to do with it, or maybe I'm just a weenie. The lone hill came and went without adding too much fatigue, and before long I was rounding the pond for the first time to raucous cheering from the spectators (read: Jay, Aaron, Matt and Jordan). My legs felt momentarily buoyed by the support of all my fans, but I resisted the urge to pick things up by reminding myself that this was supposed to be the first of three intervals. "Supposed to" being the operative phrase.

With about a half
mile to go, the course got messy in a hurry. Last week's snow didn't fully melt until yesterday afternoon, leaving the back mile a slippery, muddy, mucky mess. Ugh. I hate getting dirty, and opted to tiptoe gingerly through the stickiest sections instead of sprinting through full-bore; were this a real race I would've lost valuable time here. Instead I was content to jog light on my feet until I reached the pond, where Caitlin (the club-appointed "sweeper" for the race) was waiting for me. She chose to run me in by starting ten meters ahead and yelling, "You have to catch me!" To which I eloquently responded, "Oh, shut up." We have a loving relationship. At any rate, coming down the straightaway to the deafening roar of the crowd, I hammed it up a bit. A little slow-mo, a little fake flailing and finally a lean at the tape. Victory was secured! Well, not really--I may have been the fastest female, but I missed my prediction by almost a full minute. Whoops. Guess I was moving a bit faster than it seemed. I had a sneaking suspicion this would come back to bite me in the very near future.

Leaning at the tape for my first victory of 2011

And the crowd goes wild!

I have to admit, at this point finishing the workout was not high on my list of preferred activities--it ranked much lower than, say, rehydrating with the bloody Marys from the CRC cooler--but I decided to go for one more interval and see how things felt. To both avoid interfering with the race and tromping through more mud than necessary, I opted for a simple out-and-back trek along the trail toward Old Bell. I figured I should be able to run at least as fast as my pace for the preceding 5k fairly easily, but unfortunately I was wrong. No excuses here; I just haven't put in the work. I split 6:02 and 5:57 before stopping the interval about 30 seconds short of three miles. At this point I was approaching the stage and didn't want to blow by the awards ceremony like a jackass--good call too, as my name was announced literally 10 seconds after I stopped. I graciously received my award of nothing (technically a pair of Balega socks courtesy of our favorite sock salesman, but I sort of already have plenty of those) and spent the rest of the morning mingling with fellow CRC members and helping Jordan hawk old Craft samples. Oh, and turns out Ben Hovis won the prediction contest by guessing a mere 5 seconds off his time of 17:25--perfect pacing, although I have to agree with Allen that it sort of defeats the purpose of that type of race to have a speedy person win. Still, I'm pretty sure a great time was had by all (including me, failed workout notwithstanding). Maybe this is the runner geek in me shining through, but I can't think of a better way to ring in the new year!

First annual CRC Prediction Run contest winner Ben Hovis