A Tale of Two Road Races

Blog slacker alert alert alert. Yes it has been weeks since I have posted a race report and I have indeed toed the line in three races and did indeed race two of them while training through a third.

Let's finally post about the two I raced!

It's spring, I am recovering from some injuries and some over training and some life stuff. So expectations were not very high for anything special. Hence coach told me to skip the indoor track scene and head to the roads. (Despite my expressed wishes to race on the track!)

For my first rust buster I toed the line at an old race I used to do way back when it was run on the west side! The Chili Bowl 5k* (~3.09 on the garmin)!

I went into the race knowing it would be pretty low key, so I was quite surprised (pleasantly) to find there were a few ringers there in the women's field and I would actually have to work for a win if I wanted one. I was fired up and found that once we headed out I did, indeed, want to win! Not only that but I found myself seeing a clock time not previously seen for a 5 k. Realistically I know it wasn't a real PR, but it was pretty darn close and given the previously mentioned status I was elated with the performance.

I took it out pretty casual and sat behind my friend Payton who kicked my butt at last years Ohio City Bar Crawl 5k (also short). He is pretty steady and I knew I couldn't be trusted to behave the first mile so I used him as my rabbit. My boyfriend was right there with Payton and I chided him at the mile "What are you doing up here boyfriend?" He did indeed back off a hair and I pushed ahead of both the guys during a flat out and back second mile. The third mile has a nice climb and some wind as you head back into the city. I definitely lost some ground on the uphill and with about a half mile to go thought to myself that I may have tapped the well too early. But something clicked and I just decided that no, there was more in there, and I was going to find it. I knew I had a good chance to run a decent time and that if I hammered I would win so I hauled ass to the finish. It felt great to have a small mental breakthrough and to run such a solid 5km so early in the season. (Garmin splits show the downhill, flat, uphill trend of the course 5:24, 5:50, 6:08, 26)

I was pretty much bouncing off the walls at the awards ceremony where I traded in my first place winnings of $10 to Fleet Feet for a coveted age group chili bowl with the race association after they ensured all the age groupers got their bowls. Funnily enough 2nd place female did the same as she is not a Fleet Feet runner it would be a little odd using that gift certificate. Hermes kindly let us trade our winning's for the fun chili bowls. I still stick to my stance that if a race is going to give awards, they should be awards you can use. As the winner of the Chili Bowl 5k, I most certainly wanted to take home a Chili Bowl not a rock that says first place, thankfully my boyfriend didn't have to sacrifice his age group award to appease my desire for the bowl. (Now I reserve the right to totally go against this statement when it comes to those Punxsutawney 50k rocks, that rock is one of my favorite awards and sits proudly in my garden!)

Next up was the St. Malachi 5 mile* (~4.84 on the Garmin)

For some reason I wasn't quite as fired up for this one despite similar perfect weather. It was a more competitive field and CED was out in force which made it fun, but I just didn't have that extra bit of fire on the back half of the course. Note this may have been mostly because it was uphill and I was alone, but no excuses, I probably could have eeked out 20-30 seconds had I just fired myself up a bit more those last 2 miles!

I may have taken it out a little hard. I sort of tested the waters hanging with the first 3 females for a half mile or so. 1 and 2 pulled away quickly and I stuck as close to 3rd as I felt was reasonable. All three women have kicked my butt in 5 mile races before, but the hope is always that you will get closer every time! Somehow I managed to get myself into no mans land after the hairpin turn around 2.5 miles. It wasn't too bad as I ran around the stadium because there were plenty of cheers from friends making their way to the turn, but once I headed up the dreaded hill behind the Browns stadium things started to get tough. I finally lost sight of 3rd as she rounded the corner and from there I honestly wasn't even sure if I was going the right way. We headed under the highway ramp and down into the flats and 3rd had a major gap on me despite trying to force myself to rally on the downhill.

I never saw the 4 mile mark and glanced at the garmin to see a depressing average pace and even without doing the math I knew a PR was out of the question at that point. We made our way up the west 10th hill and then a sharp right onto the bridge, I was losing steam fast but finally two guys caught me and I rallied and paced with them over the crest of the hill and started to hammer past them on the downhill as hard as I could. Made the final turn thinking there had to be a good ways to go but saw the clock and sprinted in and was caught completely off guard as three guys blew by me at the finish. The clock time made absolutely no sense and sure enough my garmin had 4.84 miles (Splits: 5:37, 5:37, 5:50, 6:37 ouch!, 5:09). I was pretty peeved as my time would have been slower than I wanted and being a new course I really didn't have anything to compare the effort with. I was a bit consoled when most of my friends admitted to that 4th mile being abysmally slow. But I would have loved to have had a bit of extra juice to either cling to 3rd for longer or to have had the mental wherewithal to push a little harder on my own that 4th and 5th mile!

Though the course was short and tough the after party was tons of fun! (To be quite honest I usually just come to this race to cheer and party!) SERC and CED all did very nicely for the first real road racers race of the season!

*These races are not certified and both were short. The 5k was close according to the semi trusted Garmin, the 5 mile was not even in the ball park. I am looking forward to finding either a track 5k or a certified 5 mile road race to run this year and really test out the legs :) I am so ready for some legit PRs!

1 comment:

MP said...

Congrats on some awesome racing!! It was so much fun chatting with you at McCarthy's!!

The short courses are pretty agitating...it's hard to be excited about a PR when the course length is questionable. BOO!!