Sunday, November 24, 2013

Maine Running Company Turkey Trot 5K Race Report

Went quite well today. I haven't been in relatively decent race shape since Boston, so I was really excited about this morning. Glad it all panned out. Here's the lowdown:

Mile One
The start. 
We're off. I was very surprised during my warm-up run to learn the wind would be at our backs during the final stretch. That meant it'd be gusting in our faces during the first mile. It was. Despite a huge downhill, that gnarly wind (40+ mph gusts) slowed us down. 

During that downhill, Ian was beside me and I muttered draft as a suggestion for him to tuck behind me while we passed a few folks. Still, I could tell we weren't moving as fast we could be. That wind... oh man, that wind...  A right on to a neighborhood back street and we hit the mile split in over six minutes (GPS read a very generous 5:47 well before the mile marker, mile clock showed 6:08). I quietly said to Ian slow.

Mile Two
We're still on the back neighborhood road and I start to pull ahead of Ian a little. As we were getting ready to turn right on to the main road, I was surprised to catch one of my cross country runners who was there. I urged him to pick it up. He should have been in the top 10, maybe even the top 5, but was having a really off day. 

We went on to another back neighborhood section and I passed back the first woman. I had been leap frogging with her and a couple of other folks, including Orange Hat Guy, who pulled ahead of me here. More on him later. GPS split said 6:08, which was probably about right (and on par with the clock at the mile one split).

Mile Three
Shortly after the completion of mile two, the course had a small uphill on a third and final back neighborhood section that was magnified by the fact that we were head-on into the wind in an open area. It was brutal. Thankfully, once the hill was crested, the right turn back towards the finish was in sight. It was here the wind would be back at our backs. 

Said right turn came and with a favorable tail wind there was still a brutal hill to contend with. The runners were strung out ahead and spaced apart pretty equally. I like to think I'm strong on uphills, so I hoped to at least pick off a few. 

Orange Hat Guy wasn't too far ahead but running strong, however we did pick off at least one fellow, maybe two? Felt pretty good on the uphill. Yeah, it was work, but it didn't tax me as much as I thought it might. Good. 

With the climb over, there was the final right hand turn and just a little over a tenth of a mile to the finish line. I caught up to Orange Hat Guy and muttered let's go. I wanted to make sure I had a dogfight at the end to push my time down, even if I was on the losing end of it. 

It was also here that I saw my time was in good shape. Could I break 19:00? I'd have to move. 

Final Tenth
Orange Hat Guy remained behind me and was giving me a good push. However, as we rounded the turn and the clock came into view, it read 18:5X from pretty far off. I think I might have said an adult word out loud. Dang, that would have been nice, but I can't really complain. 

I crossed the finish line in 19:10. At first, I was pretty disappointed that I didn't break nineteen or even my time of 19:05 from seven years ago, but that wind and the cold definitely dented my time. Plus, I'm not even up to full speed yet. So, given all of those factors I'm pretty dang stoked.

Orange Hat Guy came up immediately afterwards and we exchanged good jobs and thanks for pushing/pulling each other to a faster time. I love that with running competitively, good sportsmanship abounds. Our sport is awesome. 

Turns out the time was good enough for 15th place overall and second in my AG. Excellent. Once I learned that, I felt much better. Pretty stoked to have placed well in both of those categories. Also very happy for one of the girls on my cross country team who also got an AG award. She was really happy.

Fight to the finish. 

Post Race Analysis
Couldn't have really gone too much better. I paced myself where my splits were pretty even, especially when factoring in the big hill at the end and I felt I couldn't have redlined myself much further. 

Strategically, I can't think of anything I'd do differently. I tucked in behind folks when I could to block any headwinds and was patient when making moves. 

So, a good pat on the back for myself with this race. It showed I'm on a very good track. Not sure if I'll be doing any other races until snowshoe racing season, which will be a busy one. There's also the MWC and I'll be registering for sure tomorrow. All of that also adds to the bank for Boston, which is the 'A' race. Bring it on. 

Ran 3.1 miles @ 6:11/mile pace. 
Official time: 19:10
Overall placing: 15th out of 684
AG placing (40-44): 2nd out of 35 
Paved roads. 
Very hilly. 
Lower 20s, partly cloudy, extremely windy. 
Brooks Mach 13, long tights, sleeveless shirt, long sleeved shirt, beanie, gloves.

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