June 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm #12499
Before the weather was known, I was thinking of taking a shot at somewhere around 28 flat for this 5 mile race. Last year, I was in the 28:20s (28:27 sounds about right off the top of my head). Last year, this was my first race while I have already run two 5K races to get myself into the flow this year. Last year, my training was pretty week. This year, it has been inconsistent but, on average, better. Then, the weather forecast became more clear. Our weather here has been at least as inconsistent as my training. Hot days but not enough time with heat yet to acclimate. Well, Saturday turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year to date, if not the hottest. I pretty much knew my goal of 28 flat was gone but I could still compete and take a shot at duplicating my top 3 finish from last year.
The family came to the race with me. After arriving, Lisa and Shayla split off to have breakfast while I got my race things together and picked up my number and Shayla's number for the kids run. I sat down in the shade to put my number on my singlet. Shortly later, Lisa and Shayla found me and Lisa said she saw “the guy with the orange singlet” (Ted Shue) who I had just seen earlier. It turns out Ted was there instead of at a triathlon because he had recently taken a spill on his bike and his road rash was still fresh enough that swimming would have been a painful experience.
Not long after, Charlene found me and we all gathered in the shade under a tree and chatted for a bit before Charlene and I were off for a warmup. Nothing special on the warmup but I was noticing as we were lining up that this year's competition looked a little stronger than last year's. Maybe a top 3 spot isn't such a sure thing. Still, I'm here to race. If not top 3, maybe top 5. If not top 5, I'll fight for heck like top 10. If not, well, you get the idea.
I decided before the race that, given the quality of the field, I wanted to get out at least for the first few steps aggressively so I could avoid getting cut off or boxed in. As the air horn sounded to start the race, I took about 10-15 hard steps to keep clear and I was still being swallowed up by a pack of about 5-10 guys. When I settled into race pace, I probably fell back to around 15th to 20th place. As people got past that initial 1/4 mile sprint, though, I quickly settled into the top 15 and found myself in roughly 10th place at the 1/2 mile. The race was already shaping up. One leader way out in front, then a chase pack of 4, then another pack of 4 before the pack I was now leading. That second pack of 4 broke up, though, with one guy working up and another falling back. Just before the mile mark, I passed the one falling back to move into 9th place. I was now looking at two guys, one wearing blue who was a step or two ahead of one wearing white.
Over the course of mile 2, not much happened. The heat was tough and the wind didn't seem to be helping. When it was in my face, it helped in cooling me but it was strong enough to be a challenge. When it was at my back, it was just the right speed to create dead air and magnify the brutal effect of the heat. I kept trying to close the gap on the guy in white, who seemed to be at times falling back from the guy in blue before he would surge to catch back up. Every time he fell back, I'd feel like I could close the gap on him. Every time he surged, he just pulled back away like there was nothing to it. At the 2 mile mark, I grabbed a cup of water and poured it over my head, letting it run down the back of my neck and soak into my singlet. The coolness of that was nice for about 15 seconds and the wet singlet helped cool me for maybe a minute longer before the heat and the sun had done their job to evaporate it all and leave me baking in what felt like an oven again. Through mile 3, more of the same. I'd gain on the guy in white as he faded back a bit, then he'd surge back to the guy in blue and pull away from me again. In mile 4, he began falling back again but they both were pulling away from me. Was I fading or were they picking it up? Most likely, we were all fading and I was just fading more than either of them. Late in this mile, I began making up a little ground but not much. At the same time, the guy in white was gaining on the guy in blue. Right about at 4 miles, the pass was made and now I was looking at the guy in blue. Still, while I had gained on them, I thought they were too far ahead of me to catch. Even if I did catch them, both of these guys looked very young. Would they just embarrass me in the kick? Whatever the case, I wasn't gaining so it didn't matter.
Suddenly, the blue guy began coming back. With about 1/2 mile to go, we went around a turn and I could see that his lead when he went around the turn had shrunk by the time I went around it. Before I could even consciously put this together and tell myself I could catch him, I seemed to subconsciously figure it out and my legs were already going for him. For a moment, I thought I'm just setting myself up for an embarrassment as I try to hold off some high school miler in a kick but I went for it. I began reeling him in, little by little, until with about 200 yards to go I passed him right before a 180 degree turn. I went to the inside for the turn, hoping I wasn't cutting him off but pretty sure I wasn't. I then hammered it coming out of the turn, hoping he wouldn't try to come back on me. Suddenly, with about 100 to go, I felt someone coming up on my left shoulder. I don't know if he got that far up on me or if I glanced over but I swear I saw a blue singlet there. As soon as I saw that, I don't know if I got an adrenaline boost or if some extra level of ultra competitiveness struck but I was not going to let him pass me back without a fight. I managed to push a little harder, stretch out my stride a little longer. Suddenly, I was back in the clear with no threat on my left shoulder. I gave it everything I had all the way to the finish line and I held him off. Then, I looked back. This was a different guy in a blue singlet. The guy I passed with 200 yards to go fell back to 10th and I held off another challenger for 8th place.
The final result was 8th in 29:44. Personally, I think the conditions cost me at least a minute and a half compared to last year's conditions. Also, the place means nothing compared to last year. I truly believe the competition was just deeper this year. That said, it is what it is. I still have some work to do before I get where I want to be but I have another race under my belt and I know my kick is better than it normally is, which gives me another weapon (or at least one less liability) come race day.
After the race, Charlene and I got to talk some on the cooldown (she had a nice race!) and then we all hung out while other races were going on, until it was time for Shayla's race. She had a little situation right before the start so she started in last place but she didn't finish in last place. After her run, we got to go over to the festival for a while and have some fun over there. Fun day all around!
June 12, 2012 at 3:08 am #32521
Nice race and great report!!
June 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm #32522
what were the temps?
June 12, 2012 at 1:37 pm #32523
Thanks Cesar. I don't know the temp at the exact time of the race but it was already in the 70s when we were driving up. Admittedly, quite a while later, it was above 90 as we were driving home. I don't think the temp would have been that big of a deal in August but, with no time to acclimate, it took a toll on me.
June 12, 2012 at 1:39 pm #32524
That is hot acclimating oneself, let alone without time to acclimate!! Why dont you run half marathons so often?
June 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm #32525
I'm just running for fun these days. I find the shorter races more fun. I'm sure I'll do some halves along the way and probably even an occasional marathon but they just aren't as fun as letting it rip in a short race and the recovery from them definitely isn't as fun. I was even able to do a nice progression run yesterday, only 2 days after the race.
June 15, 2012 at 3:03 am #32526
It was great to see Ryan and his family at the race.
My own Walleye was just about as I expected to run. I am hoping for big things this fall with my form change but I knew that at this race that my muscles were not yet strong enough to support the form change. Plus I knew that the heat could make things painful so I knew that I wanted to start conservative. We have had strange weather patterns with cool weather on weekdays on super hot on weekends so it has been a bit rough acclimatizing this year as Ryan explained. Plus as I am broad shouldered I hate the wind.
My main competitor took off super fast at the start and I knew to let her go. We have went back and forth over the years and have yet to meet up when we are both running our best and I knew that I was not any near my best yet this summer. By about 200 meters out I had a woman on each side of me. Both were wearing i pods. I quickly left them behind.
The rest of the race I just reeled in men that went out too fast or were suffering from the heat. It was odd to pass so many when I was slowing down myself due to the heat. I finished 2nd in 32:51 which while not spectacular is a start for short races for the year. The heat sucked the last mile but I really was not in the pain cave at all this race. I have not raced a short race for a year and I have to get back in the aggressive pain cave racing mode. I still feel like I am in half marathon mode.
Watching the little kids run was super cute. Billy (5) ran with the 6 and under boys for the 1/3 mile. The race had its usual carnage at the first turn but Billy was not involved in the pileup but he did stop to look. I noticed that when running he is much more focused on looking around than running fast. At home he seems to have a competitive drive when racing his sister to the door or end of the driveway but does not yet apply this to non -sister competitors.
June 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm #32527
I like that term “pain cave”. Interesting way to describe it. It does take a different mindset to transition from the longer races to the shorter ones and it takes a couple of races to get that down. It will come around quickly, though.
The kids run was a lot of fun to watch. Shayla isn't competitive at all right now, just more having fun running, but I kind of think that's a good thing. If she wants to be competitive, she has plenty of time for that. I'd like to just let her have fun right now.
June 15, 2012 at 7:51 pm #32528
Ryan, your race reports are fun to read. I feel like I'm in the race with you! Considering the heat sounds like a good race. The weather has been pretty inconsistent in Virginia too. Super hot and humid and then cool again. It's hard to know what to expect. We probably have more consistent heat and humidity here than you do in Wisconsin by now, but it's hard when it first starts to get into the high 70s and 80s when you're not used to it. I have some experience with this last April ;D Takes a while to acclimate.
June 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm #32529
Thanks Jackie. I try to write them as I experienced them. I always realize after I've written them that I left out a few meaningful details (like some hamstring tightness in this race that hit me on the first step and scared me for a split second but ended up being a non-factor) but I think the way I write them helps people see what's happening to me in a race and helps me look back at a later time and reflect on what went right and what I can work on doing better.
Wisconsin is known for its weather roller coasters but this year has been strange to say the least. Once again, we cooled off some during the week this week and now are back to the heat just in time for the weekend. Makes it hard to acclimate when you only get a few days at a time. Of course, I know the consistent heat is on its way and I'm not sure I like that any better.
By the way, last year's second place finisher was 5th so last year's 1-2-3 went 1-5-8. That makes me feel a little better about slipping from 3rd to 8th. A confirmation that the competition was deeper.
June 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm #32530
Strong racing, you two!
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