Saturday, February 21, 2009

Race Report: Race 6-Winter Grand Prix 2-Mile Handicap Road Run

The last race of the 13th Annual New Balance/Super Jock 'N Jill/Club Northwest Winter Grand Prix!

Time to retire my series bib (#44). :-)

The Bottom Line (at least until the official results are out):
Distance: 2 Miles
Time: 15:05
Pace: 7:21
The Blow-By-Blow:

I did NOT want to get up this morning. The bed just felt so warm, soft, and comfortable and the prospect of running in 30-degree weather, even if sunny, was a bit much. So I slept in until about 7:30 and got out of bed something of a reluctant runner. Left about 8:15 to get to the park and realized I forgot my Garmin (Oh boy), came back, got it and went on down to the park.

Got there and checked in.  I  listened carefully as another check in person explained the process. This was a Handicap race which meant that we were assigned start times based on our times in the previous races. There were 5 start groups with the "E" group being the fastest. I was assigned to the "B" group with a seed time of 15:33 and was the second starter in my group. I chuckled at being a member of the Golgafrincham B Ark for the day, quite an odd thought to have really. The clock would count down backwards from 14:10, the seed time of the first runner. I was set to go when the clock counted down to 6:06. 

Start ticket in hand I trotted off for my warm-up at about 8:30. It went well but my hands got really cold. I did some accelerations which also did not feel good and some high stepping. My chest felt fine but my legs were still a bit asleep and I began to worry if I was going to be able to kick it into the high gear during the race. The sun felt wonderful though and I felt pretty warmed up by the time I finished.

The line up was interesting. I was right behind the one person who I had been trading places with the whole series and right in front of one of PuddleThumper's nemesi. We chatted a bit and I mentioned to CP, runner #1,  that it felt strange to be up at the front. JF, runner #3, and I started talking about the Rock-n-Roll Marathon. She has signed up for the full already and I will be soon. We talked about the course a bit as well (it is a doozy). I mentioned that I really enjoyed the Sea Fair Half, especially the run across the 520, and she told me I was nuts as it was hot, hard, and hilly. Grin! That's me, lovin those nasty conditions. 

Then 9:00 rolled around and Group A started launching according to the clock. Pretty soon they were all gone and it was time for B to start. CP went off at 6:20. I watched her go and then the clock hit 6:06 and off I went. Immediately things felt smooth and I figured I would be able to do this. I closed within about 20-feet of CP and we both passed someone from group A before the first turn and then started reeling in people from that group along the top straightaway. CP was ahead of me for the first mile. I took a manual split for the first mile (screwed up the watch I think as it took and automatic split on its own) and kept going.

The second mile felt better than the first. I caught more people on the top straightaway and then caught CP just before the parking lot we park in. As I did she asked if I was sandbagging her. I said "No" and that I was really running about as fast as I could go. She said that I was a good pacer for her and I returned the compliment. At this point I was running somewhere between a 6:50 and 7:10 pace. CP dropped behind me but I think she also was close as we went. I have to admit that the "sandbagger" comment kind of stung. I really was running maybe just a little under what I could do all out but not because I'd underestimated what I could do but because I really seemed to have improved over the course of the series. This is a nice realization. 

I got passed for the first time at the turn near the dog park. Someone from the B pace group maybe or the C group went striding past. Two more people also passed me in the last .3 mile going in towards the finish. I recognized another B runner from his height but not the other runner.

As the finish line neared I sprinted for all I was worth, going around a clot of A runners and hitting the chutes running a 4:52 (12 something mph) and then just kind of doubled over and tried to breathe all the while trying to get to the back of the chute as everyone was finishing. CP finished right behind me to and I congratulated her as we exited the chute. I held off JF as well.

Now I know that this really doesn't matter because I had a head start on this one, JF was 18 seconds behind me, but I have this deep sense of accomplishment.

15:05 moving time for a 7:21 pace on my watch (the official time will be slower I know, it always is). 

Drank some water than then trotted up over the hill for a cool down.

Didn't go to the awards and pizza as I've too much to do today. Lots of grading. M and I are going off to a tea house with wireless to work. Seems a shame though as the sun is out.


What a great run and one in which I did not repeat the mistakes I've made in the past. This was a good start followed by a controlled first mile with enough to have a nice finishing kick. 


PuddleThumper said...

What great progress you've seen over these six races! It's amazing and sets you up for some great marathon training. :-) congrats!

rpd said...

Amazing progress. Thanks so very much for your support through all this.

And now, for something completely different . . .