Saturday, October 02, 2010

Red Rooster Ramble wrapup

The Red Rooster Ramble is a 24-week race series, a 5-mile race every Thursday night. Of the 24 races, I did 16 of them. I placed first in all 16 races I entered. I set course records in week #3 (30:57) and week #13 (30:32). (In the meantime, my record was broken in week #12 (30:45) which is why I had to get it back in week #13.)

There was a points competition, as follows: 5 points for showing up, plus 10 extra points for first place, 9 extra for second place, etc. down to 1 extra for tenth place. So each week that I won, I earned 15 points. I led the points competition for the whole series, but the second-place woman was always very close, and I knew that I had to keep showing up at races or else she would surpass me. I made a few trips to Providence to keep my dream alive, and in the end my 240 points was enough to win.

Over the course of the 16 weeks, I had various goals for the runs. Sometimes I wanted it to be a tempo run. The week before the half marathon, I wanted to practice my half marathon pace. The week after the half marathon, I wanted to survive the race and keep my winning streak alive. Many times in the summer, it was 85 degrees and humid, so I just wanted to finish without collapsing of heatstroke. Here is a graph of my finishing times this year.

It may be worth noting that only three females have ever run under 32 minutes on the course (mostly because no one else has bothered). I did that a number of times this year. Each of the other women has only done it once.

For all but two of the races, I kept track of my mile times for each of the five miles. (One of the times I didn't do it was my slowest one, the post-half marathon race.) I have a secret conspiracy theory that mile 4 is actually a little long and mile 5 is a little short, and I have persisted in believing this conspiracy theory even after Ray officially certified the course. This graph supports my theory.

This graph tells many stories. For instance, look at the orange curve. That was a hot summer night when I just wanted to get through the race and run under 7-minute pace. But in the last mile, there was a man just ahead of me, so I decided to pass him. He didn't want to be passed, so he sped up. In the end, I did pass him, but I had to run a 6:20 last mile to do it!

Another interesting thing to notice is that every mile I ran except one was a 6-something. I never ran 7:00 or over, and I only ran one 5:58. Every other mile was 6:00 to 6:57.

It's interesting to look at the difference between my two course-record runs. In Week #3, I didn't set out to run a course record; I merely decided (somewhat ambitiously) that 31:00 would be a good tempo run, so I set out to do it. Alan ran with me through a 5:58 first mile in which I harbored fantasies that he would let me take the overall win, and then I slowed down throughout the race until, at mile 4, it was clear that I had to majorly speed up in order to hit 31:00. I ran 6:01 for that mile, my fastest last mile of the entire series.

In Week #13, I actively set out to break the course record. I enlisted the help of a friend to set a consistent 6:06 pace. The graph shows that I managed to run a consistent pace.

Many of the curves show a significant speedup in the last mile. I attribute most of this to men. There were often men around me, and I often wanted to pass them, so I often accelerated in the last mile even though there is no specific prize associated with passing men.

At the end-of-season party, I received many prizes for all of this running. I received a trophy and some money for having the fastest overall time, a gift certificate for earning more points than any other women, a bottle of champagne for having the most points of anyone (men or women), and a shirt for running more than 8 races.

I had a good time and made lots of running friends, and I'm planning to do it again next year! I can't wait until March!


Ronit said...

Hello Diana. This is not related to the post, but I'd just like to alert you to the fact that "Into the Wind", a documentary about runner and cancer survivor Terry Fox, is showing today on ESPN2:

I think you would really like this film. All of the previous installments in this ESPN documentary series have been excellent.

Alan said...

Still stalking her, eh Ronit? You must be so sad and lonely. I truly feel sorry for you.

Ronit said...

Mind your own business, Alan.