Friday, April 23, 2010

Three races in five days

First race: The Brown Running Club mini-meet on Tuesday. Four people showed up, three guys and me. I was planning to do the mile and the 800 as a sort of interval workout, but no one else was interested in the 800, so we did just the mile and the 400.

Mile: The guys appeared to all be about the same speed as each other and as me, and one said that he didn't know how to pace a mile, so I offered to pace the first lap and said then they could all pass me. This is what happened. I led the first lap (409 meters) in about 79 and then all three went by. I passed the third guy (Simon) on the backstretch of the second lap, but he re-passed me half a lap later and we went through the half mile in 2:41. I had been planning on running about 5:40, so this was much faster than planned! I passed Simon on the backstretch again and ran an 85 for the third lap. Edward was running a few seconds ahead of me, and the gap had been relatively constant for the past two laps, so I harbored fantasies of catching him. I accelerated on the backstretch and caught him just as we came off the last turn. I kicked hard and had him by about a meter with 50m to go, but in the end he prevailed, 5:24 to my 5:25.

400m: Two laps of rest jog and then we were on the line for the 400. I am not even counting this as another race because I lost the ability to run fast about halfway through. For the last 100m I was just moving my legs but with no speed at all. I ran a 72. I probably would have run faster in trainers than in spikes!

Second race: The Red Rooster Ramble on Thursday.
This race was notable for several things:
(1) The first race I have ever run in a raincoat;
(2) Downpour with lightning for the first mile or two;
(3) Complete rainbow for the last mile!

Throughout the warm-up, the flash-to-bang time was between 5 and 7 seconds. Definitely not comforting. But the race went on regardless (with about 2/3 as many participants as usual). Alan and I both opted to wear our super duper lightweight rain jackets because it was pouring rain. Because I have an important race on Saturday, I decided to run 33 minutes for this week's race. At the start of the race, I was surprised to be surrounded by people! This was a nice change. I was running in a whole pack of guys until the 1-mile mark, which we passed in 6:28. I introduced myself to the guy nearest me (Russell), and he said he was trying to break 34 minutes. "Stick with me, and you'll surely break 34 minutes!" I said. He did so, and in the end he even broke 33 minutes.

Two college guys, Russell and I ran the whole race together. I shouted out our times at each mile marker because Russell didn't have a watch and he asked me to. At about 3.5 miles, a guy appeared up ahead and one of the college guys said, "looks like third place is up for grabs!" I was surprised that (1) third place was that slow; and (2) this guy was keeping track of what place we were in. If you had told me the guy ahead of us was fifth, I would have believed you. A little after 4 miles we turned a corner and saw a rainbow! I shouted to the others about it so that everyone would notice. We caught the third place guy shortly after getting back on the bike path. He was not pleased, but I was as pleasant as possible about it, talking about the rainbow. On the bike path, surrounded by water and flat land, we could see the whole rainbow, stretching from the horizon back to the horizon again! I have never seen a whole rainbow like that before. Reminds me of the disk model of hyperbolic space.

In the last 1/2 mile I could hear the college guys accelerating. I staged a couple of preemptive strikes, but in the last 1/4 mile they caught up even though I was kicking, and when I could tell that they had it, I backed off. It turned out that they were really racing each other. I want to save myself for Saturday! I jogged it in and finished in 32:42.

I was pleased during the race that I could maintain 6:30-6:40 pace without straining. I was able to run that pace with four steps per breath, not even needing the usual three steps per breath. This is good news for me because I want to run a half marathon at 6:30 pace next weekend, which will be 2.6 times as long as the Ramble.

Third race: Scott Carlson ALS 5k (results)
Well, basically I just went out and ran this race and that was that. I let Katie go after about 1/2 mile of the race, and for the next 2.5 miles I just watched her run away and finish under 18 minutes while I finished many seconds later. I ran basically 5:45, 6:00, 6:00 for the race, as has become standard for me. I did run a PR of 18:21, a PR by about 3 seconds. If I were getting a performance bonus each time I broke my PR, then chipping off a few seconds at a time would seem like a strategy, but as it is, it is just an indication of my extremely shallow slope of improvement. I won $100 for third place, and our team won the team division. There was delicious sherbet, and there were even lemon poppy seed muffins after the race.

I skipped the RI State Police Foot Pursuit on Sunday to do a long run of the half marathon course. I like the course very much; it basically does parts of all of the runs I do (the 8-mile loop, the River Road, India Point Park and the 14-mile loop are all represented). We only saw mile markers for 2, 5, 7, 11 and 12, so hopefully they will be marked better next weekend!

So far in 2010 I have paid $125 in entry fees and made back $225 cash, for a net profit of $100 (plus things like T-shirts and water bottles). But this will change next weekend, as the half marathon cost $50 and I am guessing there will be no profits.


Anonymous said...

Hello; congrats on your recent races and good luck in your upcoming ½. Another weekend result reminded me of you, as you once blogged about not letting anyone wearing a skirt beat you. Here’s a superstar in a skirt – the winner of the NYRR MORE ½ marathon this past weekend: . What's wrong with skirts (modesty? comfort? flirty fun?)? Another star, my best gal pal, in her mid-40s, runs sub 3:10 marathons (with sub-3:00 potential) in skirts, too. Hmm.

Diana said...

Interesting link, thanks -- this is a big deal for the running skirt industry, to have an elite runner winning a race in a skirt! I don't let anyone in a skirt beat me because I think that wearing a running skirt is associated with taking running less seriously, and wanting to do races more for fun and to look good. If I ever met Sally Meyerhoff in a race, she would definitely beat me! But so far, I think all the women who have beaten me have been wearing shorts (or short spandex / bunners).

I haven't met anyone who wears a running skirt who trains 60 miles per week or does tempo runs and intervals, but on the other hand, I don't know many people who wear running skirts, period! Your friend sounds fast.

Things that make me take runners less seriously:
- running skirt
- sneakers (rather than flats or spikes)
- cotton T-shirt
- headphones

Things that make me take runners more seriously:
- compression socks
- team singlet

Anonymous said...

OK, you are clearly an elite runner in a different environment (and I thought NYC was a competitive running environment). I have another friend who just ran Boston in 3:08, and she always wears a ratty old COTTON t-shirt. None of my local (or even regional) elite running friends/peers wear racing flats or spikes (though I do see others at races who wear them), and quite a few wear skirts (and yup, we all do tempo runs and intervals (duh) and run upwards of 60M/week). Incidentally, the original running skirt maker, Skirt Sports, was founded and is still led by Nicole DeBoom, an Ironman champion. OK, as I've chosen to read (and comment on) your blog, I can just as easily choose not to read it, right, and leave you to your "higher than thou" snobbery. Good luck ... but I hope you gain some humility some day.

Diana said...

No, I certainly wouldn't call myself elite... I run 18:30 for 5k, after all. It sounds like a great environment you're in, with so many people who do intervals and tempos and such! I tend to race against the same couple dozen people at each race. If I were in NYC as you (apparently) are, I am sure I would be exposed to a much wider variety of people, and with it a wider variety of wardrobe choices.

Out of curiosity, since you seem to be the only person who reads and comments -- who are you?