Author Topic: Race report: Al's Run  (Read 4725 times)

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Offline Ryan

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Race report: Al's Run
« on: October 12, 2010, 11:49:51 AM »
I think it's pretty much well known by now that I was going into this race tired and a bit worried about how the tired legs would respond to another race effort. I got through the two 5K races decently but even the faster of the two was still a fair bit slower than I normally run at that one and a 5K is still a bit different than an 8K.

I met up with Charlene, a new team member, at my place bright and early in the morning and we headed into the Pettit to pick up Jeremy and Rick. Once picking them up, we headed in and got there plenty early to ensure we wouldn't have to worry about freeway ramps and streets closing for the race (which they begin closing well in advance of the race). We walked about 5 blocks to the team meeting area and found Ed waiting inside so we hung out in there. Kyle came along shortly after and, knowing that Robin would likely be warming up separately, we had the whole team that I was expecting together far earlier than I'm normally used to. I actually had some time to sit back and relax without worrying about when everyone would arrive, which was nice.

We headed out for our team warmup about 35-40 minutes pre-race and went a bit longer than I'm used to but that was probably good, I needed plenty of easy running to get my legs ready for the race effort. I stopped by the car on the way back to change into my racing gear, then met back up with the team to complete the warmup. I saw Robin near the start line and knew our team was complete (or as complete as it would be on this day). Now, time to focus on my race.

I did a few strides and some loosening up, which helped but also made me more concerned than I already was. I was feeling some pretty bad tightness in my hips and I couldn't seem to loosen it up.

The start line is on Wisconsin Ave, a main road through the Marquette campus and the middle of downtown Milwaukee. The start line actually goes across both sides of the median. I ended up making my way to the left side and saw Corina over there. We said hi, I told her how happy I was to see her come back from such a difficult injury in fairly quick time to still pull off a top 15 finish at Lakefront and especially to hear that the marathon didn't aggrivate the injury. We said a few words, then it was time to line up.

At the gun, I realized pretty quickly that I picked the slow side of the road to start on. There was a good pack out in front of me on the right side of the road but, on my side, I was in second in the real early going before another runner bolted by, putting me in third on that side. After a few blocks, though, the median ended and we were all together. The two runners from my side faded and I was left with the pack from the far side of the road.

I pretty quickly found Kyle and Jeremy running pretty close to me. We shuffled around a bit but I recall looking shortly before the mile mark and seeing Jeremy just to my left and Kyle just to Jeremy's left. Seeing that, I felt pretty good about our team prospects. That's lining up for a pretty solid 1-3 finish. At the mile, Kyle was just slightly ahead of us but Jeremy was still right there with me. The mile split seemed to come up earlier than I recalled it, though, and the 5:22-5:23 that I went through in didn't seem quite right. I said something to Jeremy to not worry about it and we continued on our way.

At about a mile and a quarter, we turn to the left and head up toward the north shore area. I was a bit surprised at this point because I still saw the lead vehicles. I knew I wasn't running terribly fast this year and, even when I am running fast, I can't recall ever seeing the lead vehicles at this point. The leaders really aren't getting out very fast. That was a bit of a good feeling. Shortly after, though, my first bad feeling hit. I began feeling my leg leg tightening up near the back of the groin/inner hamstring reaging right up by the hip. I tried to work my way through it but eventually started falling off from Jeremy a little. I did all I could to keep him in reach through miles 2 and 3, hoping that the hip would loosen up again and allow me to get back up to work with him. In mile 3, though, the right leg started feeling the same thing in the same place. Not quite as bad as the left but still there. I tried to stretch the legs out some on the downhill going into the 3 mile mark but it didn't work out.

As I hit the 3 mile mark, I reminded myself that I've always considered mile 4 the make or break mile of this race. I tried hard to close in on Jeremy. At times, I gained a few steps on him only to see him pull back away. The hips, especially the left, were getting worse through this mile, also. Things just weren't going my way but I was still third man for the team, my team was counting on me. I could feel my knee lift dropping as my hips tightened up but I tried to focus on driving hard in the back stroke and picking up my tempo.

As I approached the 4 mile mark, I heard some guys coming up behind me. Just before the 4 mile mark, someone (I think Jeremy Burks) passed me. Just after, Andy Ruffalo went by and someone else tried going by with him. My first thought was what is it with Ruffalo? He did the same thing to me at Fish Day when he's supposed to be well ahead of me, even if I'm having a good day. I held off the other guy and got him back behind me and thought this is my chance to beat Ruffalo. I worked on him hard. He got about 10 yards on me but, with about 1/2 mile to go, I closed it back into a couple of steps. With about 1/4 mile to go, though, he found another gear and, with my hips still bothering me, I didn't have another gear. I did all I could to keep him as close as possible but he pulled away with ease.

Around the final turn and pushing as hard as I could with little to no knee lift, I came through the finsh line about 5-10 seconds behind Ruffalo. At least I held off the other guy who tried to pass me with Ruffalo.

I've already posted a little about the results. 29th across the finish line, 30th in the improperly handled official results, 29:08. The guy I held off didn't bother getting a seeded bib and, as a result, ended up lining up where he shouldn't have been. I got punished for getting the seeded bib and lining up where I belonged. In all honesty, though, no matter what the results say, I know I was 29th across the finish line.

Team results were closer than I like them to be but I better get used to this. I'm sure we're going to have tight battles against the PRO team from here on out.

As a review, here are the team results:

   1.  INSTEP/HILLRUNNER.COM           
            28:29   28:43   29:08   31:47   32:17 = 2:30:24
         KYLE UDOVICH, JEREMY DUSS, RYAN HILL, RICK SMITH, CHARLENE LARSON
   2.  PERFORMANCE RUNNING OUTFITTERS 
            26:17   27:31   33:05   33:31   34:55 = 2:35:19
         CAMERON AUSEN, JAMES DAUL, GARY DOBRZYNSKI, JULIE FANGMANN, LAURA
         CAULFIELD


Robin Treder and Ed Pankow were the final two finishers for our team. Thanks again to everyone who joined us this year. I hope to see you all there again next year, along with some new and old faces who couldn't be with us this year.

Offline ksrunner

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2010, 12:05:33 PM »
Good run, Ryan. I hope that the hips are feeling better. It's always easier to dig a little deeper when there is a team involved.
We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves.
   - Sir Roger Bannister, former athlete

Offline Ryan

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2010, 12:15:41 PM »
Thanks. Actually, the hips were killing me the rest of the day Saturday and even worse Sunday. Yesterday, they started loosening up. Today, I had a pretty decent run. I think they will be OK pretty quickly, I just need to give myself an extended break from hard workouts or races to let my body fully recover from a difficult year in which I made some mistakes. Then, I'll be back for bigger and better things next year.

Offline cesar

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2010, 12:33:58 PM »
Nice report!! no more races for you this year?

Offline Ryan

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2010, 01:04:41 PM »
Thanks Cesar. I'm considering the 2010 season over. There is a 5K near my home in December that I'm not yet ruling out but, if I do it, I'll look at it more as a preparation for the 2011 racing season than an end to the 2010 racing season. As of 11:00 Saturday morning, I had decided my 2010 season is over.

Offline cesar

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2010, 05:38:19 PM »
What was your reaction when you saw the clock ticking the 29:00s? Did you know the pace you were running or did you surprise yourself when you saw your finising time?


Another thing i noted off your report is that they were only mile readers at the 1 mile mark, which is somewhat uncommon at als run.

Offline Ryan

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2010, 06:11:56 AM »
I pretty much knew where I was, I knew by the 3 mile mark, if not 2, it was going to be a battle to get under 29 and it's a battle my body wasn't quite ready for.

Actually, there were splits given at every mile. I noted 5:22-5:23 because I knew it felt wrong. I also heard 11:09 at 2 miles. I think just over 17 at 3 miles and just over 23 at 4 miles but I wasn't really paying attention by those mile markers. I knew without hearing the times that I was off pace and was just focusing on trying to find any way possible to go a little faster without causing injury.

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2010, 08:56:56 AM »
In all honesty, though, no matter what the results say, I know I was 29th across the finish line.
  Exactly.


Good run!
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.

Offline Ryan

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2010, 09:06:57 AM »
Thanks Andrew. Just like Chicago. I still think I was 142nd, even though the official results say 143rd. I was 142nd across the line so that's what matters.

Offline Andrew A.

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2010, 10:25:30 AM »
Certainly, and at the end of the day that is really all that matters on a personal level.


However, the compromise that we have seen comes with chip timing tears at the fabric of the sport.  To my knowledge, it was not 'old school' runners who wanted and pushed for going to chip timing -- seems like it was more about those who could barely hit the John Hancock BAA standards and those who cater to (i.e. make a buck off of) them.  It also seems like a way for race directors to reduce reliance on volunteer manpower, even if that increases expenses and that increase is passed along to participants.
Why dink around? Go for it, be the best. It is worth whatever risk there is even if you fall short. You will be better.
‎"There is no such thing as an overachiever. We are all underachievers to varying degrees." - John Wooden.

Offline Ryan

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2010, 11:42:56 AM »
Indeed, I have yet to find a competitive or "old school" runner who supports the kind of results keeping, tied to chip timing, we see here. Personally, you're right, I know what I ran and that's what really matters. Of course, I get strange looks if I say I was 142nd at Chicago and someone looks it up and finds me 143rd but people who really care usually get it when I point out the cause of the discrepancy. Everyone understands 142nd across the finish line is 142nd, very few can even comprehend the idea that 142nd across the finish line is actually 143rd.

As for race directors, it seems to be easier for them to pass along an additional cost than to find the volunteers to do manual timing. I'd be curious, though. Over 3000 runners at Al's Run paid the $5 timing surcharge. Did the timing system actually cost over $15,000? If so, wouldn't it be cheaper to pay 10-20 people for an hour or so of work plus one a little more to enter the results into a computer?

Offline ksrunner

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2010, 02:15:38 PM »
I consider myself competitive and perhaps old-school as well. I don't really see a problem with using chip timing systems so long as the official results and awards reflect the order of finish.

I've been at chip timed events that only deployed a single mat at the finish line. In that configuration, only gun time is available despite the use of chip timing. The problem is using chip time for official purposes. (The DJ was announcing chip timing like a big selling point prior to my race last weekend.) For official results and awards, only the order in which runners crossed the finish line should matter. Order of finish has been the standard for race results before timing was even invented. Timing is not really necessary for a race. Timing is really only for the statisticians and for comparing of performances.

If you're going to use chip time, then there is really no point in lining everyone up at the same time. Just keep the starting line open for an hour or two and let people start whenever they're ready.

That just seems so wrong. I am imagining the first finisher standing after the race with a big medal and media members clamoring for his attention. Then, someone else finishes and some official results board updates and shows that the latest finisher had a faster time. The race director reclaims the medal with a terse apology and he and the media converges on the new winner. The winner is the guy who crossed the line first. If someone else started late and covered the distance faster, that is newsworthy, but it does not make him the winner.

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Offline Ryan

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2010, 02:36:51 PM »
I consider myself competitive and perhaps old-school as well. I don't really see a problem with using chip timing systems so long as the official results and awards reflect the order of finish.

Actually, that's what I was trying to get at. I don't have a problem with chip timing. What I have a problem with is using chip times ("net times") to determine place. I haven't encountered a competitive runner or "old school" runner who would support anything other than order across the finish line as official finish place.

For official results and awards, only the order in which runners crossed the finish line should matter. Order of finish has been the standard for race results before timing was even invented. Timing is not really necessary for a race. Timing is really only for the statisticians and for comparing of performances.

Precisely. If it's truly a race, timing is good, even expected these days, but secondary to ensuring that first across the line is first in the results, 5th across the line is 5th in the results, and 349th across the line is 349th in the results.

If you're going to use chip time, then there is really no point in lining everyone up at the same time. Just keep the starting line open for an hour or two and let people start whenever they're ready.

Exactly. Is it a race or is it a mass time trial?

Offline cesar

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2010, 02:40:45 PM »

If you're going to use chip time, then there is really no point in lining everyone up at the same time. Just keep the starting line open for an hour or two and let people start whenever they're ready.




Lol. I imagine that situation and i laugh, that is insane.

Offline Ed

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Re: Race report: Al's Run
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2010, 11:42:43 AM »
I have been thinking of dropping the chip timing but if I do I will need an additional 5-8 voluunteers even at an event as small as mine.  Lately, I have had a difficult time getting enough volunteers to stand at intersections along the course.  I will not compromise safety. 
Next Goal Race - Al's Run