Sunday, March 4, 2012

Fredericksburg Area Soccer Association

This morning I ran in the FASA 5K. KC was working the race and I won't be here for the John Robbins 8K next weekend, so I thought I should get in a race before the 5K Olympics in 3 weeks. It was a lot windier than I thought it would be. The course was the first mile and the last two miles of the Spotsy YMCA 10K that I ran in October and the race director was the same as well. On the warmup I felt pretty heavy and tried to decide what I wanted to do during the race. I didn't see anyone near the race that seemed familiar, although I did talk to a man from Rhode Island who was trying to run a race in all 50 states to raise $50,000 for some cause or another. He approached me, said that I looked like the only other runner there, and asked me what my time was. It was a new experience for me, one that I imagine Jon and Chris must be all too familiar with being in New England.

Bright colors
Anyway, on the warmup I thought that I should try to run it hard and see what I could do without dying. I paid $25 bucks to enter and didn't get a t-shirt, I might as well get a hard effort out of it to see where my legs are. I thought about trying to run 5:10 pace. That seemed really aggressive, considering I haven't done anything in the last month besides some hills and struggle to run 7 days a week. But then 5:20 pace seemed to slow... Before getting to the line, KC and I laughed about the fact that I was going to get in the way of all of the children who were on the starting line. It seemed that the adults in the field had collectively agreed to start in the back, expect for me. Scott was there to generously make fun of me and document this experience. Thank you, Scott.

I was curious if any boys high school soccer players were going to take the race out hard. They are usually some of the best athletes out there, sort of a diamond in the rough, not ever knowing how good they could be at running because they never really focus on it. It didn't happen though. The New Englander took the race for the first 100 meters until I rounded the first turn out of Spotsy Courthouse Village. Then I went to work. It was cold so I tried to run a little too fast, probably, to warm up more. The wind was tough for the first mile plus. Getting onto Courthouse Road was a little scarier than I think it needed to be, but there were no cones and no police car stopping the traffic from entering the lane. Doesn't seem like the best idea for a race that had so many teenagers and runners wearing headphones...

Racing SUVs.
Scott got another picture of me approaching the first intersection. A police car did pull into that intersection and sort of stop in the middle of the left lane (why???) From where I was, it looked like this almost caused an accident as two cars were following close behind him and one had the middle one had to swerve not to run into the cop. The first mile was too fast. 5:01. I knew it though, as I accelerated through that intersection to avoid getting hit by a car. There is a lot of downhill in that first mile too. For comparison sake, I ran a 5:19 for that mile in October for the 10K. I turned off of Courthouse Road (Thank goodness!) onto a blind turn that had no one watching for cars on the other side of it. Thank goodness I was wearing bright orange and not talking to my friends or listening to my mp3 player.

This was a classic VIC course as I ran down into Courthouse Commons and turned around a cone before coming back out. This was hilly. On the way out 2nd and 3rd place entered the street. I was dying. I looked at my watch at an arbitrary location and saw that I was at 4:22 and I didn't see the mile marker yet. It was very arbitrary, as I got to the 2nd mile in 5:17. Ouch. Another 100 yards to another turn into the Confederate Cemetery (Hello, Spotsylvania County). This was more of a loop than a cone. I thought about how cold the air in my lungs was and how I didn't want to run a 5:20 for the third mile. I left the cemetery as 2nd place entered it. I had a pretty big lead. The course marshal told me to stay on the left side of the road. I couldn't even see a course marshal ahead of me at the next turn. Apparently he was hiding. I knew Vic had measured the course with the tangents, so I didn't want to stay on the left. I checked the traffic and saw no one coming and moved into the street. As I got to the corner by the courthouse, a police car pulled up into the street in front of me. I asked him "Do I go around you?!?" I didn't want to get DQed for cutting the course short, or worse yet, just miss a wrong turn like the last time I ran at Spotsylvania Courthouse Village... He told me to cut the corner and that's what I did.

To the victor goes the spoils.
I could see daylight at this point and it was relatively all downhill to the 3rd mile, so I started sprinting! I'd probably been walking on my way out of the cemetery, so I had a lot of ground to cover. I didn't look at the split as I got to 3 miles (but it was a 5:16,) and turned back into the Village. I saw the clock was still in the 15:40s, so I just started to lift. I wasn't exactly sprinting anymore, but more trying to make sure my form was good. I ran through the line and stopped my watch at the end for a 16:11. Chip time (start and finish mats!) gave me 16:10. Not a bad debut! A FASA lady asked to take my picture a couple times, and even asked me to run across the chute again! HA! That was a first for me! 2nd and 3rd place were 18:23 and 18:43.

I'm pretty satisfied with this as a "season opener." Am I out of shape? Clearly. Will I be able to run faster in three weeks on the track with presumably more competition? Absolutely. Did I push by myself to make it hurt and die at the end? Yes. But maybe that's what I'll have to do in three weeks. There is no telling. I don't think I'll be running any PRs in March, but my PR is so soft that anything could happen. 5K Olympics on March 24, J Brian's 15K on March 31, Historic Half on May 20. See you there.

Oh, side note. I ran every day this week and got in 63 miles. Let's try to make it two weeks in a row!

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