Thursday, June 2, 2011

No Excuses 5k version 2011

video link:

Once again we found ourselves at William Land Park in Sacramento for the mother of all age graded 5ks. The weather tried for perfection, and would have acheived it, save for the wind that kept this flat but winding course quite interesting. Dave travelled with myself, Abby, & the kids, we got our usual pre-race eats at Noodles & Co. in Roseville, and stayed at the Hyatt Place right up the street. LOVE this hotel, even if there were a few scores of adolecent softball players staying there during their softball tourney.
I'd be breaking a cardinal rule of sorts by wearing not only a new pair of shoes on race day, but a type of shoe I'd never worn before. I had gone into Eclipse to inquire about ordering a pair of Nike Mayfly's, a very minimal 4.5 oz racing flat that I've grown fond of over the years. They were, however, unloading Reno's first shipment of the Sauciny Hattori, a similarly flyweight shoe that also happens to be the first zero drop heel from any of the major shoe companies. Even the New Balance Minimus line has a 4 mm drop from heel to toe. Outside of that, I figured these were kind of a Mayfly/Minimus Hybrid. I ran in em for 100 yards, brought em home, and hid them for the rest of the week, wanting a mental boost from putting on the slipper-like shoes right before race time. I put on a couple small patches of moleskin on, to cover any potential hot spots, but I don't think there were any. The upper is supple and fits like a glove, while the sole allowed for more groundfeel than I thought it would, but had enough cushion to make the 5k comfortable.

Onto the race. Almost. Everybody knows how a bad day or two can do a hatchet job on your confidence. Or am I just a head case?? Don't answer that. I'd had one of those days last weekend, running a 10k that seemed to be a step backwards from what I was doing several weeks ago...prior to a LOT of hard quality training. Between that and all manner of nagging owies (that's right...owies!) I really was a bit of a head case going into this one, even during the warm-up for crying out loud. I tried not to, but still noticed several runners at the start who'd kicked my bum either very recently or in the not too distant past. Too many for my liking. But, I talked myself into taking the positive route...they would drag me along for a faster time. I didn't really care how I placed in this one as much as what the clock said at the end. That's usually the case on any course that's either fast or that you have a previous time or two to compare & contrast. I'd run 16:32 here in 2009, placing 4th or 5th (before age/gender grading) and ran a 15:51 last year, placing 3rd by a scarce 6 seconds after going out too fast. With all the turns on this course, it would be very hard to tell what your splits even meant with the headwind/crosswind/tailwind having it's way with you. All I know is there was a very large pack for the first few minutes. Larger than in year's past. At sometime point around or before mile 1 (which I ran in 5:05 as part of the pack) Scott McEntyre took off, with nobdy making a move to match him. There was still a large chase pack, with each of us jockeying back and forth more times than I can count for position. I spent the majority of the race in 3rd & 4th, with 2nd not far up & the rest of the top 10 not far behind. In other words, an actual race, not just a time trial. Like Rocklin, I struggled to hold on near the front of the pack, with several different runners making a bid for the top 3 late into the race. With a mile to go, my breathing was comically ragged. Enough so that I'm sure nobody (myself included) thought I'd be making a move. But that can change when a man gets the end in his sights. Around mile 2.9, upon seeing the 3 mile sign, I changed gears, and attempted to again at mile 3. I was running for my goal time of 16:09 now, though it also wouldn't hurt to not get caught from behind at the tape. Scott was well into the lead at 15:48, but I managed to hold 2nd place with a chip time of 16:06.7 (gun 16:07). 20-21 seconds off last year's peak, but the fastest I've run this year in slightly less than ideal conditions. Getting a couple guys back for earlier butt-kickings is always nice as well, but that can swing back the other way next time out. But a good day is a good day. I'll take it, and as summer draws ever closer (as evidenced by the frikkin hail outside) I am more & more optimistic this just might be a running summer after all. Kinda :)
age & gender graded:
Abby got some great shots of the race, but I'll have to add them in a seperate post when our home pc is working again. Til then, here's a shot from last year's start :)


Turi said...

Hey, good job pushing through there. Wow, that is a fun looking course. Still gonna have to make it to that one sometime...

SnowLeopard said...

Dang dude! I don't know how you keep track of your pace so closely in your head- by seconds! I'm not so good at that while I'm running. I can gauge pretty close when I'm swimming though- usually I can guess within 10 seconds of what my time will be... Anyway, congrats on your very hard won 2nd! I'd like to get the kids back to that race one of these years...