Monday, February 13, 2012

Back in action at Sweethearts

I ran 16 times over the 27 days between RnR Arizona and yesterday's Sweethearts 4 miler, the first race in the Grand Prix Series. 95 miles. Not much. I wasn't too concerned with what was going to happen. KC asked me the night before how I felt about the race. I said that I was hoping no one would show up so that I could run slow and win easy. It was snowing and windy at the time she asked, so I thought that maybe I'd just tuck in behind some fatties and then out-kick them at the end. My confidence in my ability to run at least one mile fast was still high, but I knew my endurance would have been shaken from my month-long break.

It was 25 degrees at race time, maybe, with 15 mph winds. So I think my phone said it felt like 12 degrees. Ugh. I was the only person stupid enough to go just shorts and a singlet. Everyone else had on at least two layers. I regret it a little bit, because my lungs got really cold during the race. I can't even remember if I did much stretching before the race as it was so cold on the ground I didn't want to sit. Ugh. When the gun went off, there was no one there. I literally let myself get absorbed by the group, but there was some pushing and I didn't like that. As we approached the parking lot 200 meters in, someone emerged from the back and started to get antsy. He pushed up to the front and I covered the move instantly, probably unnecessarily. But I decided then and there that I didn't want to be behind anyone in the woods. Get to the front, control the pace, control the race. If someone tried to surge on me in the woods, at least they'd have to pass me. So I sprinted to the front for about 5 seconds going downhill. This was the decisive move that won the race apparently.

I got into the woods and heard everyone behind me and just kept running. I felt like I was going slowly. I came out of the trail and could still hear everyone. I thought I felt them. My ears were burning after being in the shade and coming back out to the wind. It was really painful. Mile 1 was a 5:35. I thought about how easy it felt, and thought that I'd slow down a little to let them catch me. Getting onto Hartwood Road, I thought they were getting closer. I turned into the neighborhood and just kept rolling, waiting for them to catch me, slowing down, staying relaxed. Mile 2 in 5:25. That was surprising! I thought to myself, "They can't run this pace for long." I was right. Rounding the cone, they were way behind me. I don't know how I mistook them as being closer. After the turn around, it got really windy and cold, so I just shut it down. Coming back down Hartwood Road, I was just trying not to freeze. This is when I could really feel my lungs icing up. Entering the park, there were still runners coming out. I got to mile 3 in 5:39 and then passed the mile 1 sign before some people actually got to it for the first time.

I followed Vic around the corner to head back to the woods. I took a look back after the turn and saw Joey and Nick Oltman neck and neck. I thought that would probably be exciting, and that they'd be racing each other in the woods. Meanwhile, I was just continuing to slow down. I went into the woods and came right back out without worrying about it. I feel like I jogged up the hill and just walked up to to the line. I stopped my watch a second late, so my 4th mile was 5:48. Really easy. 22:29 FTW. I've run faster there before, but I've also cared before.

Now I can start training again.

1 comment:

  1. Nice race report. Sure was cold. From my perspective (finished 10th), I can confirm that there really was a clump right on your heels through the woods and still basically in contact through Hartwood Road. I think you put the separation on them in the neighborhood and, obviously, it was over from there.


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