Belated race report: 2018 Walleye Run double

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    • #53356

      As I mentioned in my last race report, training this spring has been a little unsteady. First, I pulled a hamstring while avoiding a homicidal driver in a pickup truck. Then, about a week after my last race, I was doing some things around the house and hurt my lower back. Just a muscle thing, nothing too serious, but enough to set me back a bit.

      That said, I overcame. I got it worked out and had some good workouts in May. I came into the Walleye Run feeling pretty confident. With an early week forecast of favorable weather, I even started thinking about breaking 30 minutes in the 5 mile and taking a run at a low-11 kind of time in the 2 mile.

      The early week forecast held but things changed late in the week. As I woke up on race day, the temp was already around 70 and, after some overnight rain, the humidity was nearing 100%. I just figured maybe it will take a little time from me but everyone has to face the same conditions. I’ll just deal with it.

      I got to the race a little later than I would have liked, just in time to take care of pre-race things like grabbing my numbers and pinning them on to my singlets and head straight out for my warmup. On the warmup, I wasn’t feeling particularly great but that was fine. I didn’t need to. As long as I loosened up by race start or even in the first mile, that was fine.

      I got as loose as I was going to, then lined up for the start. Off the gun, I had my usual bit of a slow start. About 1/4 mile in, I began finding my rhythm and got into what I felt like I should be running. Around 1/2 mile in, I was in about 15th place and about to pass enough people to put myself right around 10th.

      I got to the mile in 5:51 in the top 10 and looking ahead, while leading what felt like 2 guys. Shortly after, we passed one more and I was then looking ahead at about 3. I kept pushing for them but was getting no help. I hit the 2 mile mark in 11:53 (6:02) and was feeling the heat and humidity but also feeling good about how things were going. I wanted to be doing a little better but was holding on to a good pace and a top 10 position. The closest guy ahead of me was now gaining on me but the next up was a younger guy who apparently went out too hard and was fading. My eye was now on him. I still had what felt like 2 guys on my back. They were not stepping forward to help out but were persistently right there with me.

      I cruised through mile 3 in 18:03 (6:09) and was a bit disappointed that sub-30 pace was gradually slipping away. Between that and wanting to catch that young kid, I wanted to encourage the guys with me to step up and help me pick up the pace. I asked for age groups, said something about we’re not competing for awards unless we move up to the top 3 so let’s go after the next guy. I got a non-committed response from one and silence from the other as I refocused and tried to step up the pace.

      Mile 4 was long, with a gentle tailwind creating dead air and a long straight that just seemed to drag on. I kept trying to push with no help and was gaining on the young runner ahead. I figured I might be able to give him a shot but it was going to be close. I just tried to focus on slowly closing the gap.

      I went through the 4 mile mark in 24:11 (6:07) and had two thoughts. First, I only have one mile to catch this kid. He’s in reach but, if I leave it to the end, he’ll surely have a kick and I won’t. Second, I need a mile a little faster than the first to get that sub-30. I’m heating up and not sure that’s possible but I can give it a shot.

      I kept closing on the kid and finally, with about a half mile to go, caught him. He instantly responded and ran with me for a bit before I just couldn’t sustain and started losing contact. I wasn’t surprised but I was a bit disappointed. Still, I had to finish strong because I didn’t know how far back the next guy was. I kept pushing around the final turns and thought I had made it. Then, with about 50 yards to go, maybe less, a guy came blazing by on my right. I had no response. I was already going as hard as I could. It was tough to see him go by me like that but there was nothing I could do.

      I stopped my watch at 30:16 for a 6:05 last mile. My official time was 30:14. Not quite the time I wanted but I was 8th place overall, a top 10 finish. Now, off to try to nab that top 10 2 mile finish.

      As I sat down to change back into my warmup shoes, I felt a cramp in my left groin. For a moment, I questioned whether I should continue but decided it’s only a 2 mile. If I feel at risk, I can always pull out and walk back. So I decided to do a little running to stay loose, then see how the 2 mile would go. Given the fact that I just ran essentially 6:03 pace for 5 miles, I figured at least sub-6 pace would be reasonable, at best probably 5:45 pace for around 11:30 at the finish.

      That said, the heat was definitely starting to get to me by the start of this race. It was going to be a battle.

      At the start, I again didn’t have a quick start. Again, by about 1/4 mile, I started to find my rhythm and began moving up. I passed a bunch of guys and, at about 1/2 mile, had myself again right around 15th place. More passing and I was right around 10th at the mile in 5:54. This was going to be a tough one. The first mile was slower than the first mile of the 5 mile and I was feeling the fatigue and heat building. It was going to be a battle but I was ready to fight. I did fight and made a few passes before a couple guys got me. I had nothing to finish but, fortunately, didn’t have anyone close enough to threaten me. The watch registered the 2 mile at 12:02 for a 6:07 mile and I stopped it at 12:10.

      My official time was 12:09 and I just hung on to the top 10 with a 10th place overall finish.

      So I ended up with an 8th and a 10th overall. My official times had me running just a touch slower for an average pace in the 2 mile than in the 5 mile. Giving the rising temperatures and the fatigue from racing all the way to the line in the 5, I suppose that’s not shocking.

      As I was picking up my age group awards (1st and 2nd 40-49) a couple of guys recognized my name as the guy who runs both races. Apparently, my double attempts have been getting some attention.

      5 mile official results:
      5 mile Garmin data:
      2 mile official results:
      2 mile Garmin data:

    • #53357

      Excellent race report and congrats on 1st and 2nd AG and the top 10s. It sounded like you may have regretted not hitting sub 30 but given those conditions, how close you were and the fact that you took the AG and you gave 100% it was a good day.

    • #53358

      Thanks Chris. I do feel bad about falling short of 30 minutes but, obviously, I’m right there. I’m not letting it get me down. Just fuel for the fire to keep me going through the summer so I’m ready to break 30 in the fall with better fitness and hopefully better conditions.

      Besides, I still got my two top 10 finishes and only got beat once in my age group, by someone who was only racing once that morning. I’ll accept that as a good day. 🙂

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