Striding Through

Because a life well lived always finds the right pace

Monthly Archives: July 2010

Club Race Night at the Track

Last night the DC Roadrunners held their annual mile and 3000-meter track championship races at Wakefield High School in Arlington. I had missed this event last year as I was still rehabbing from an injury and looked forward to participating this year. With so many heats of the mile to run, I considered running not just the Masters Mile but also the Open Mile, in addition to the 3000-meter.

As it turned out the masters’ race was not to be for me. It took about 90 minutes for me just to get to Wakefield and when I arrived, the Masters Mile was in progress. So I prepared myself quickly for the open mile, knowing there would be lots of younger, faster milers ahead of me. Still I hoped they’d pull me along to a fast time. But that wasn’t meant to be either. I got out surprisingly slowly — 45 seconds at the 200 mark, then picked it up to get to 400 in about 87 seconds. But I couldn’t seem to get any faster than that. My breathing was well under control but when I asked my legs to turn over faster, they just wouldn’t do it. I came home in 5:44 and 13th place, a somewhat disappointing result. It was made all the more frustrating by the fact I didn’t even feel that tired afterward, like I knew there was more race in me, that I just couldn’t seem to unlock.

After a fairly short break, it was time to line up for the 3000-meter, which was run as a single heat with about 25 runners in it. I should mention here that in addition to the mile a few minutes earlier, I had also put down 5 miles earlier in the day and that followed up an 11-mile day. That said my goal for the 3000-meter was simply to run at a comfortably hard tempo pace that I could maintain for the entire distance. I got out for  the first 400 in about 91 seconds and was able to stay close to that pace for every lap. The final time was 11:29, far off my PR but an average of 92.5 seconds per 400; I’m pretty certain I didn’t run any lap slower than 94 seconds and all but one was in the 90-93 range. It was good for 11th place overall.  I was satisfied with the fact I ran a controlled but fast pace, and hopefully that sets me up well for the final race of my summer season, the club’s 5k championship race next weekend.

Meanwhile my “Getting Started” pamphlet for the New York City Marathon showed up in the mail, providing yet another reminder of what’s in store for the fall. I’ve already begun ramping up the miles to get ready. More on my training plan in post to come soon. As of today there are 100 days to go!

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Long Overdue Backlog of Results

It’s been a busier summer than I anticipated and my blogging has really suffered for it. But I’ve been quite busy in this “summer of 5k racing.”

Since my last post, I’ve run three more 5k races. If you’re counting, that’s now seven races this year at that distance. Of those three, two were OK, one was a bit of a dud. Unfortunately the dud was the last one I ran, so I now have its memory lingering and I’d like to wipe that away. In summary:

6/16 – Tim Harmon 5k, Fairfax VA. This was a really humid day and I wasn’t feeling all that great at the start. My time, 19:53, was not all that impressive either, among the slower results so far this season but I think the weather conditions had something to do with that. The fact that I won my age group despite the slower time certainly suggest so. It was one of those days where I looked back upon it all and said “I’ll take it.”

7/2 – Independence 5000, Fairfax VA. A far cry from two weeks prior, the weather for this race was almost ideal, in the 70s with little to no humidity. And I felt ready to break out with at the very least, my best time of the year and maybe, just maybe get under 19 minutes. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be as the rolling hills and sharp turns through the George Mason University campus took their toll on the legs. I still came in at a respectable 19:36 but wasn’t in the money for any awards this time as the race drew a very competitive field. Among the competitors was Michael Wardian, one day off of his world record indoor marathon run. How does he do it? I’ll never know. The winning time was 14:56 and that about says it all!

7/16 – Run for the Gulf, Arlington VA. This was the clunker of the three. In retrospect a lot of things went wrong before I even got started which collectively undid me. It was over 90 and humid at start time, and I had some long days at the office, coupled with less than ideal sleep at night. After meeting a big project deadline, I changed quickly and zipped over the race but didn’t have enough time to get ready – no warmup, no stretching, not even enough time to get my number pinned on my jersey. The race went off while I was still doing that. Resigned to finishing out of the money I had little motivation so I just ran at a 10k-ish tempo pace, still passing a few hundred people. I crossed the line in a chip time of 20:49, not even tired, and didn’t even stick around for awards. Only later did I find out my chip-adjusted time got me 7th overall and the age group win in 45-49. Not exactly what one expects from a 2010 PW performance. Beyond that I’m not going to dwell on it.

Looking ahead I’ve got one more 5k race for the summer, and then I may be done with the distance for a while; we’ll see, though as 5k races are always out there and easy to “jump into.” In any case the DC Roadrunners Club 5k championship race looms on August 3, and I really want to excel in that race.

After that I will be well on the road to New York City and the big marathon date on November 7. After a summer of shorter, faster running I’m ready to get locked in on marathon training again. Hopefully my emphasis on speed will yield some gains as I start to increase the mileage again.