Striding Through

Because a life well lived always finds the right pace

Monthly Archives: June 2010

More races, and a milestone!

I’ve had a hard time getting over here to post updates about training, and musing about running and other topics these days. Life has been busy. But the good news about that, in part, that I’ve also been busy with my running.

After taking a break from racing over Memorial Day weekend I got out there last weekend, first for a little DC Roadrunners Club event known as the “Triple Crown.” Run on the same day as Belmont Stakes every year, it’s actually three races — the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes — at the same exact distances the horses run in each.

I got to the track at Wakefield High School in Arlington not sure what to expect. I wasn’t sure what other runners were going to show up for an afternoon race on very hot day, and it’s not like I ever train for specifically for a distance like, say, 1-3/16 miles. But as I warmed up I noticed a very light turnout, and none of my typical rivals/nemeses in attendance. I began to get the feeling I could have a very good day, at least from a finishing standpoint. Sure enough when took off from the line for the Derby, I quickly got out in front and never relinquished the lead. Then after a 20 minute break, we ran the Preakness…same result. And then again for the Belmont Stakes. And just like that, I was the club Triple Crown champion for 2010.

So what was the milestone all about? Well, it was my first time winning any race outright since I was in high school. And to think I won three in the same day! I was probably just lucky that some of the really elite members of the club stayed home, but then as my old coach in college used to say, “there’s no such thing as a bad win.”

Anyway, here are the official results from the Triple Crown. These even got published in the print edition of the Washington Post on Sunday. So I even got a press clipping to keep. Sweet.

It wasn’t long before I got out for my next race, two days ago at Bluemont Park in Arlington. Dubbed the “Run After the Women” because it takes place right after a women’s 5k race in the park, this was another DCRRC race and the course is the same one used for holding their annual club 5k championship race in August. In other words it was a great opportunity for a trial run. All day long at work my legs felt ready to go. Moreover, the weather conditions were great, a little bit on the cool side with no humidity in the air whatsoever.

As we got started I fired off the line quickly, a little bit too quickly at first. But after about 400 meters I settled myself down to a little more manageable pace and let the obvious leaders do their thing. Knowing I wasn’t going to win I just told myself to run my race and not worry about the placement. I hit the mile split in 6:02, not as fast as I could be but faster than I have been in recent 5k races. But then as we hit a slight uphill my pace slowed a bit. I picked some speed back up at the turnaround and subsequent downhill, and came through 2 miles in 12:28. That told me that breaking 19:00 would be a mighty tough haul. Nonetheless my pace continued to pick up, even as a really fast finisher (in his 60s no less!) went by me. I couldn’t get back past him but I think keeping him in sight helped me hold on to a strong pace.

I crossed the line in a very respectable (for me) time of 19:27, which meant I did the final 1.1 miles in 6:58, or a 6:15/mile pace. That pace also turned out to be my composite pace for the whole distance. In other words I had opened with a fast mile, then had a slow mile, and then finally returned to the mean. Not bad at all. The finish was good for 9th overall and 2nd in the 40-49 age group. After a couple of May 5k races where I was not sharp at all, this was a very encouraging result. Now I just need to figure out how to shave off some more seconds and get under 19!

And congrats to my friend and sometimes soccer teammate, Sarah, for taking 5th place in the women’s 5k race!

Next up? I’m not sure yet. I probably won’t race this weekend, but almost certainly will the following weekend. Then on July 2 I’m signed up for the Independence 5000 in Fairfax. All this short-distance racing should have me ready to resume marathon training in August. But for now I’m enjoying all this short, fast stuff.