March 21, 2004 at 4:36 pm #1318
On Saturday I a did a 22 mile long run, along with a 5k race; and WON my age group. In fact I finished 4th overall in a field of about 85 runners.
Friday morning began with several inches of snow and predictions for Saturday of temperatures in the 20’s with winds in the 20-30 mph range. This had me feeling pretty depressed because I had no choice but to do my long run in the morning. Because of high winds the weekend before I had already ‘swapped’ this 22 mile long run with a 16 mile cutback that was scheduled for this weekend. With only 5 weeks until the marathon there was no time to reschedule again.
I was looking forward to ‘fun running’ the 5k at the midpoint of the long run to take advantage of the aid stations. When I got up on Saturday I had no plans to ‘race’ the 5k but I still wanted to dress light because the weather had improved since Friday. Despite a temperature in the mid 20’s I wore only shorts, a long sleeve tee shirt, gloves and a hat.
I began the run and almost from the first moment questioned my choice of clothing. I decided to continue reasoning that it would warm as the morning went on. It was about 9 miles to the start of the race and I kept my pace at a comfortable 8:30 – 8:50 the entire way.
Upon arriving in the vicinity of the race I didn’t see anything resembling a race. I continued running along the streets in the area figuring I would eventually spot a runner. Soon enough I met one and I followed him to the race. I registered, and because the race was still 25 minutes away decided to run along the local streets to stay warm.
When I arrived at the line I still had no plan to race so I positioned myself near the back. As the gun went off I settled into a comfortable pace. My plan was to keep my pace between tempo (7:25) and marathon pace (8:00) which is how I finish the last several miles of most long runs.
Over the course of the first mile I noticed 2 things. First that the leaders were still in site of me. Second that I was passing other runners with ease. Now for me to see the leaders is something that only has happened when I am on the outbound leg and the leaders are on the inbound leg of the out-and-back section of a marathon. Seeing the leaders in site was unexpected, especially since I was not running very hard.
I could see that there were only about 12-15 people between me and the lead police car. For the first time in my short running life I decided to try and ‘pick-off’ other runners. I still didn’t plan to race hard but I did pick up my pace a little.
I knew these runners were mine because, even from behind them, I could hear they were breathing hard and really huffing and puffing. Meanwhile I was still running comfortably and my breathing was steady and easy.
By the end of the second mile I found myself with only 6 runners in front of me. The leaders had turned a corner out of site but the 3 that remained visible seemed vulnerable. They looked like they were laboring to maintain pace and I was still running comfortably. I decided to push the pace in the last mile and try to overtake at least some of this group. They went down one by one and I found myself running in 4th with only half a mile to the finish.
At this point the 3 leaders were well in front, at least a few minutes ahead of me and as I approached the next intersection a police car sitting there began to lead me in! That’s right. I had my own personal police escort for the final quarter mile or so of the race. I felt like a Kenyan!
So without ‘racing’ I still crossed the line in 21:25. Around a 6:53 average pace and I never ran all out. In fact I felt comfortable the whole way, no pain or discomfort. I know that if I race hard I can get down into the 20’s for the 5k. That may be one of my goals over the summer after recovering from the marathon.
After crossing the line, I drank some water and OJ at the aid station, and while saying thanks to the race organizers before heading home was told I had to stay because I had won my age group (40-49 M).
I t took about 20 minutes before they handed out the medals and since I never won anything before (I don’t count the ‘finishers’ medals at marathons) I stuck around. I was really getting chilled the way I was dressed. Very few runners wore shorts in the race and everyone seemed to have a car with additional clothing waiting at the finish. The temperatures had climbed to the low 30’s but the wind, as predicted, had picked up and I would have to run into it the entire trip home!
I collected my medal, tucked it into my shirt and headed for home. Because of the 20 minutes wait I felt rested, but very cold, so I picked up the pace. I ran the rest of my 22 miler between 7:30 and 7:50 pace. My overall long run average pace was 8:02! Only 2 seconds off my goal race pace.
On the other hand having a 15 minutes rest before the 5k and another 30 minutes after it, along with the time gained running the 5k itself is not very representative of race conditions. Still I felt fresh when I got home and this morning (Sunday) went out on my 9 mile mp run feeling good. I did slow it down a bit because the last 9-10 miles of yesterdays long run was, in effect, a marathon pace run so today I ran closer to lsd pace.
All in all, yesterday’s long run was the most fun I ever had while doing a long run. I think I must have been smiling the entire way home.
My only concern is that the 45 minutes of idle time in the middle of the long run compromised the effectiveness of the long run. I still have a couple of long runs remaining (24,16,24,16,13,race) and I will focus on running the 2 24’s with no, or minimal pauses.
My only regret is that I didn’t use my running watch during the race. I wore my gps watch but since my focus was the long run (remember this race was supposed to be a way of getting water at the midpoint of my long run) I was recording total time and mileage. During the race the watch was running but since I didn’t reset it is was still recording from where I left off in the lsd. I hadn’t noticed the time prior to the start of the race so throughout the 5k I had no idea what my elapsed time was. If I had known that I was close to going under 21 I might have picked up the pace earlier.
Still, to win 1st in age group, and 4th overall in my first 5k made for a thrilling day. I know that this was possilble because of the poor quality of the race field but it still made me feel pretty good.
March 21, 2004 at 7:14 pm #13839
nice going! a long run, 5K age group win and (i think) a PR…all in the same run! how did you feel the next day? sore or ready to roll?
March 21, 2004 at 8:08 pm #13840
Great Job! Ride the wave of confidence all the way into the thon and busta move! 😀
March 22, 2004 at 12:09 am #13841
It would have been a PR even if I had walked the distance. I have run 5 marathon and 1 4 mile race since I started runnin a little over 2 years ago. I regret not discovering the sport while in high school or college, I only started running at 44.
Today I felt fine on my run. I kept the pace slower than usual because I had run a MP run on the final 9 miles on Saturday. Today I did the 9 mile mp run at lsd pace with some pickups towards the end.
I have a question for those of you who ran in college. Today I started reading ‘Running with the Buffaloes’ (about the Univ of Colorado XC team). While the author defines PB (which is obvious) he assumes the reader will know what ‘walk-on’ and ‘red shirt’ means. I assume any college or high school runner would know these terms but as someone who began running in middle age I admit I have no clue what they mean. Could someone define these terms for me?
March 22, 2004 at 12:39 am #13842
Very simple stuff. This is any college sport not just running. A walk-on is an athlete who does not receive any money towards his/her schooling while participating on a school team. For instance I recieved a Golf scholarship which paid for my books– tuitions– and fees for all my classes and in return I played on the Golf team and they used my skills to help the program succeed in Golf. My room mate who was a good golfer did not get recruited by the school or coach — but still decided to try out or ” Walk-on” even without a scholarship. he ended up playing great and finally earned a scholarship his 2nd year. What happens a lot of times is the Scholarship athletes play or run in most of the events. A walk-on has to really prove himself to be way better than the other scholarship athletes to get a shot on the team. Most coleege coaches get a certain amount of scholarships to give athletes– so for the most part they hand pick there team by recruiting and these are the athletes that play. BUT every now a then a “walk-on” gets under looked in high school and proves people or recruiters wrong and gets on the team and even earns a scholarship the next year or years of school.
A red shirt is when the coach and athlete decide for whatever reason –to not play an athlete . The term “redshirt” is not an official NCAA term. It is simply a reference to a year in which a student-athlete does not use a season of eligibility. This is usually a conscious decision made by the coaching staff so that an individual can have time to concentrate on academics, gain strength, come back from injury, or gain knowledge of a sport. Your allowed 4 years of eligibility , but if you “red-shirt” a year and not participate you get 5 years to use your 4 years of eligibility.
March 22, 2004 at 2:43 am #13843Woody wrote:A walk-on is an athlete who does not receive any money towards his/her schooling while participating on a school team.
To be more specific, a walk-on is an athlete who does not receive any money towards his/her schooling because of his/her participation in athletics. This does not mean academic scholarships. I was a walk-on (as all D3 athletes are since D3 is non-scholarship) in college, even though I received academic scholarships.Woody wrote:The term “redshirt” is not an official NCAA term.
I thought this was an official NCAA term and it involves very specific rules. In fact, one can redshirt even if one has competed but that’s where the rules become very interesting. The redshirt must be due to injury (medical hardship) and there are very specific criteria that must be met about the competitions the athlete did compete in before a redshirt will be granted. However, the simple answer is that a redshirt athlete is an athlete who is not competing that season. An athlete’s redshirt season is the season that the athlete did not compete. A “redshirt freshman” is someone who is in his/her freshman year of elgibility but redshirted the previous season. Likewise, a “redshirt senior” is someone who is in his/her senior year of elgibility but redshirted in a previous season (could have been last season, could have been his/her first year on campus, or any other season). These are the common terms associated to the redshirt.
March 22, 2004 at 1:37 pm #13844
Thanks for the help with the definitions.
Ialso wanted to clarify something from my original post. I regret my use of the term ‘poor quality’ when referring to the field of the race.
The top 3 finishers turned in excellent times (17:45 1st, and 18:xx for 2’nd and 3’rd). My referrence to still seeing them after the 1st mile had more to do with the long, straight legs of the large rectangular course, plus the fact that I had never run in such a small field of runners before.
March 22, 2004 at 1:59 pm #13845
Randy, nothing against you or any of the other runners in the race. However, to be brutally honest, the race does sound pretty weak. Most high school cross-country races, at least around here, are won in times faster than 17:45 unless the course is extremely difficult and to have the top 5 go beyond 20:00 is a sad statement. Again, nothing against your effort but I don’t think you have to backtrack on that “poor quality” statement as it sounds like a fitting assessment. Unfortunately, this is becoming the norm for many 5k races, partly due to the gluttony of 5k races and partly due to the falling numbers of competitive runners.
March 22, 2004 at 2:26 pm #13846
Great job. Why to get in a long run and bring home some hardware. If you were really worried about waiting around for the awards, you could have bailed. They probably would’ve mailed it to you. However, I wouldn’t let it worry you. You still got in some solid work. Besides, you need to have a little fun and get some enjoyment out of this sport. Nothing like walking up to claim you age group award to help boost your confidence a little – no matter what size the field is.
March 22, 2004 at 3:41 pm #13847
I understand that on a competative level the 17:45 the winner ran would not be very impressive. I just wanted to correct any impression that I may have created that the top 3 finishers had times even close to mine.
Also, while I agree that the quality of top competative runners in the US has declined this race really is no indicator of anything that grand. The majority of the runners in this race ran it to support the charity the race was organized for.
On Sunday, a large, competative, 15k race was run in the area. The best runners from the area were almost certainly at that race and not out running a small charity 5k.
March 22, 2004 at 3:54 pm #13848
Randy, I wasn’t attempting to hold this up as any kind of example, although it would seem to serve as an example of the gluttony of 5k races. The bottom line is that it wasn’t all that competitive but, as was already mentioned, 4th place and winning your age group isn’t too bad under any circumstance. After all, you can only race who shows up.
March 22, 2004 at 5:02 pm #13849
I don’t know what the race scene is like in other parts of the country but on Long Island the glut of 5k’s is very real. And not just 5k’s but every race distance up to the 1/2 marathon.
From now until early winter, I could race every Saturday and Sunday; all within less than 30 minutes of my home (most within 15 minutes). On many weekends I can have a choice of several races on the same day.
Most are local or charity races like the one I ran this Saturday. Others are really big races; some with national level runners participating.
March 22, 2004 at 7:26 pm #13850
Randy, great job on the day. Like others said getting some enjoyment from racing is the key. You will not have lost a thing by taking a few breaks mid-run.
I am glad you chose to run the 5k in the middle of the long run as it definitely helped clear any lactic acid you may have accumulated during the race. You would not want to race the 5k last thing and just stop. That is why you will see all the top runners at most races out running after the race. Whether they know it or not they are clearing the lactic acid so the workout the next day is manageable.
Keep those sights focused on the thon and then turn your attention to the 5k and I really believe you can be running 17:45 yourself and winning a few of those low key races!
March 22, 2004 at 7:34 pm #13851RandyS wrote:And not just 5k’s but every race distance up to the 1/2 marathon.
You should consider yourself lucky. In many places, it seems as though races of 10k to 20 miles are disappearing and being replaced by 5k races at a rate of about 5 to 1. I know a local race I ran in 1998 (Sampson Stomp) dropped the 10k and only has a 5k now. In 1998, I ran the last 10k that race held. I’ve heard reports from people who have been around for 20+ years that, in the 70s and 80s, you would have 1-2 big races a month with a variety of distances offered. Now, you have at least 1-2 races a weekend, mostly small ones, and the majority are 5k. Of course, this is wandering widely off topic and is meant to take nothing away from your run.
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