Saturday, January 24, 2009

Race Report: Race 4-Winter Grand Prix 2-mile Road Run (Prediction Event)

The What:
Prediction Time Event!
Predict your time on our flat, double-loop course! There will be special prizes for the people who come closest to their predicted time without receiving any assistance – no watches, no sundials (lots of luck there anyway in a January race!), no calendars, no covert signals or more-than-encouraging remarks from the sidelines! The clock will be at the accurate half-mile point, and will be shut off for lap two (and will not be at the finish).

The prediction sheet will be at registration -- just stop by and put your race number, name, and predicted time in the appropriate places! You do not have to predict a time to run, but you do have to predict a time to win this special contest! And, yes, you have to make that prediction before we start the event!
To which we need to add:
Unfair advantage warning: we will be on the lookout for hand signals, hidden watches, or other assistance! We heard last year that someone timed their music on their iPod and predicted that for their time, so no MP3 players will be allowed, either!

How did I do?

A sundial might have just been a good idea as today is one of those brilliantly sunny and optimistic Seattle winter days—the kind that fools you into thinking that we've turned the corner but will eventually disappoint you all the way into June (with some brief brilliance in May). But, OH MY, was it cold, 29 degrees when PT picked me up. It felt strange to leave without my Garmin but quite liberating too. It is funny, the more you know from of all the data you can collect the less you may actually know about your body as a functioning whole (at least this often the case for me). 

We got there early and PT went off to begin her warm-up and I entered my prediction (16:40, a little faster than my first time for this race) and then began my warm-up trot along the course. I was looking for ice and was not disappointed just a little north of Kite Hill. The puddles had frozen and were quite slippery. I ended up with about a 1.25 miles of warm-up, stretched a bit, and then trotted up and down Kite Hill out on the course for another .25-.35 miles. As I was stretching again a kid came running up, jumped up on the concrete pylon I was using, and said "Look at me Dad!" I looked up when he said this. The boy looked down at me and as he did a look of embarrassment clouded his face. "Uh! Sorry!" he said and then ran off to find his father. I don't look like anyone's dad and, at that moment, I felt very old. Thanks kid! :-P

Something like 130 runners showed up and I overheard the announcer plaintively asking "Where is everybody?" PT and I surmised that it was just too cold but more and more people turned up the closer it got to start time. Even so, the start line seemed uncrowded and it the start horn was kind of a surprise. 

The first .15 to .25 miles felt a bit rough to me as if I had some trouble gaining my rhythm. My left knee felt strange even a bit sore and I was worried that it was going to become problematic but that went away fairly quickly and I put it down to the new shoes I was wearing. There were a lot of high school (and younger) runners out there and it seemed that everyone was blasting past me. A woman wearing a Marine Corps Marathon jacket threaded her way through another runner and I and went out in front. She became my rabbit for a short time as I caught and passed her by the time we got to .30 miles. A young kid also went past me very fast, with such a wonderfully natural and effortless kick that I felt a momentary pang of jealousy. But his/her wheels came off and I passed by the ice puddles at .4. After that I was running pretty much alone, occasionally passing people and only periodically being passed. I could hear people behind me but I just didn't look back. Instead I used their breathing and footfalls and the desire not to get passed as a motivator. It worked and I ran fast and smoothly feeling and enjoying the effort. 

Perhaps you can imagine my surprise at hitting the first mile in 7:45? 

I was stunned and new that there was no way that I was going to be anywhere near my prediction (I should have been running an 8:20 instead). At that moment the race changed for me and I decided that I would try to maintain as fast a pace as I could for the next mile. 

During the second mile I became very conscious of just how cold my hands and legs actually were. The sun felt good  and the air was still but there was plenty of apparent wind. For a time I regretted my decision not to wear gloves but this had all disappeared by the 1.6 mark. The last .40 was a blur as I debated when I should start my surge towards the finish. I waited until 1.9 miles to sprint and found that I didn't have that much more acceleration in my. I was alone, and could not hear anyone behind me until a kid, legs and arms flailing,  zoomed past me in the last moments before the chutes. Couldn't hear him coming that is how light he was on his feet (impressive). I came in 108th but haven't a clue what my finish time was. Still, I felt wonderful. 

Made absolutely sure that my writing was legible on my finish card and went out for a cool down trot up Kite Hill and down again and some stretching. Then some warm coffee. PT came up to me with a big grin and hands full of coffee, cookies, and rice crispy treats courtesy of SJ'NJ. I got mine too, slammed some coffee, got back into my sweats and warmed up during the car ride home. 

What did I learn?
  • Relying on HRM's and GPS devices has made it more difficult for me to judge what I am doing at any given moment. Today's run was a reminder that I need to be more holistic in sensing rather than particularistic. Learning what each pace feels like to me has been a real challenge and one that I'll need to continue to chip away at
  • Racing Nookachamps last weekend certainly helped get me closer towards the ability to push the pace. I haven't run a sub-8 pace for quite some time, since Ragnar actually, and the fact that I did so today has me quite optimistic
  • OK, OK, I admit it. I am sandbagger. But I am not going to feel badly about it. During my warm-up I overheard some people talking about one of their friends who also is a sandbagger. One suggested that it is one way that people motivate themselves to do better. Spot on I think
  • The new shoes are nice —Mizuno Wave Elixir 4's. These are the lightest road shoes I've ever owned and are a joy to run in (yesterday's test run felt really wonderful). They have little studs in the forefoot area that can be a bit grabby depending upon the surface. Mostly they are air-conditioned and light. BUT I think they are not going to be a very good long-run training shoe and I'll need to find something for that

I cannot wait for the posting of the official times!

Next up: Two Mile Track Race on 2/7/09 at Nathan Hale High School
Run hard and keep turning left!

The two-mile track event at Nathan Hale High School will be run in heats according to your pace, so remember to sign the heat sheet when you arrive. The “fast” heat will be the only one with a set time, and is usually first. The other heats will be scheduled based on pace and/or the number of people running. Please check in and sign a heat sheet when you arrive. A preliminary heat schedule will be presented at the second road race and posted on and We reserve the right to change start times and consolidate heats! Just run hard and keep making left turns.

This will be another first for me.


PuddleThumper said...

Robin, you forgot to mention your reaction when you were informed that you could not run with a watch on this run. :-D

So does this mean you will run without a watch? More difficult to judge how you are running because of the watch? I hate to say it but I'm not sure that you ever developed the skill in the first place. Whatcha going to do about it? :-)

Great job sandbagger!

rpd said...

Oh yeah! That's right. Something like "Oh Nuts!" right? :-P

Dunno what I am going to do about this.