I'm full into Triathlon training this year, and this year's focus is the bike, so running has been taking a distant second place priority wise, and soon will be in third place after swimming, although that piece hasn't become a reality yet.
Having said that, I have been splitting time pretty evenly between running and biking with 30 miles of running over 4.5 hours running and 73 miles of biking over the same amount of time. I've also put in about 2,000 yards of swimming.
Packet Pickup / Race Day
Packet pickup was the evening of the race and this race was only a few miles from my parents house, so we went to Alexandria the night before, sort of hung around the house all day and then made our way to the site. It was only about 50 degrees with on and off rain. It felt downright cold, but I was comforted that I was not the only person who thought it was cold. We got our numbers and ankle chips and headed inside.
The start pretty cramped, they put us in a pen of sorts said a little prayer, and let us know the start was going to be a gun time and not a chip time. After the initial jostle of the start we settled into a pace that was probably faster than I could hold. It was me, Levi, Dan and Anderson. I was looking for a pace that felt comfortable, but checking with my brain to make sure I wouldn't have an "easy out" later in the race and be able to rationalize going out too fast with slowing down too much. The first 1/4 mile we ran at about 7 minutes/mile and then settled in to what was a pretty stable 7:50 pace.
The course was through a neighborhood with a bunch of turns, maybe 10 or so. The course was pretty good and had plenty of volunteers out. They even had a water stop, which wasn't getting too much action when we passed it. I thought to myself: "can't feel my fingers, cold water isn't going to help."
The rest of the race was pretty steady, we talked a little, joked a little, and made goals like "don't let the 12 year/old in front of us finish before us." After we passed the second mile markers Anderson picked up the pace and left us behind, and while I did not match his pace, I did pick it up a little. It was good motivation. At 2.5 miles I asked how Levi was doing, I could hear him breathing pretty hard, he was said "almost there" and I said "1/2 mile to go" and then picked up the pace to finish strong.
My wife says I didn't look like I was going that fast coming into the finish, but according to Garmin I ran the last little bit sub 7:00. Again it was nice to have people at the end cheering, my wife and sister-in-law and various other people. Apparently someone I had just passed was trying to close the gap, but I held him off. I grabbed some water, turned in my chip and then hung out waiting for others to finish.
|Overall Place||24 / 135|
|Division Place||7 / 19|
The Garmin has my splits
The splits sort of describe the course. The first mile was sort of fast, and downhill. On the second mile we had two small uphills that had some impact on the pace I was trying to hold. It was funny, when we got the top of the first 40' elevation change the race emcee was saying "it's all down hill from here" and there was a small downhill and then a turn, and then another uphill. We all commented on his lies :)
This time is a PR - by two minutes. So I'm very happy with the results. It was chilly, but not cold and in the end the lack of heat probably helped keep me moving. Running with the three other guys was a lot of fun, it's hard to say if I would have kept that pace on my own or not. When Anderson started to pull away it was pretty motivational, and now afterwards I wonder if I could have stayed closer than I did; he ended up beating me by a full minute.
This event was pretty good, I like chip timing, it feels very official, though to have ankle timers felt weird, I am used the chips that are built into the bibs - but that's just an observation. I'll probably do this race again next year, hopefully the course is the same so I'll have an apples to apples comparison.
Next up - a 10k in two weeks.