Friday, November 29, 2013
Ashenfelter 8k, USATF Team Championship Race, Glen Ridge NJ, 11/28/13
Joe, Andrew, Amy, Keith and Anna met me at the race. Our little group is growing and this makes me happy :) Joe and Andrew's last race was the NYRR 60k in Central Park where Andrew ran a marathon and Joe ran 38 miles. So this race seemed like a warm up. At least Anna, Keith, and Amy would not have to stand out for hours in the cold today.
The weather was the coldest Andrew, Joe and I faced so far: 25 degree with wind chill of 15 degrees. I was really glad to see this did not keep my guys home. I knew it wouldn't. Not my guys. But it is still early in their racing careers and unlike all of us more seasoned runners, they have not yet built up their arsenal of quality winter running gear. Good gear simply neutralizes cold, wind, and snow. Once they find what works for them, the cold will simply be an uncomfortable reality to face pre-warm up.
The best part of today for me was not actually the race, but rather the opportunity to share some gifts with my guys that were sent from people they never met who support their efforts to run their hearts out. It was a really nice thing to be able to do and I am grateful to have been a part of it.
After a mile or so warm up, we headed to the start. The starting corral was barricaded off and we had to get in very far back from the starting line. I couldn't handle starting that far back because I knew it was going to really impede our ability to get a good start. We would likely finish the top 5-15% of the field so moving up was warranted. We worked out way up as far as we could get, until I finally felt comfortable. It still took a few seconds to get across the starting mat after the gun.
As soon as I got started, I felt stiff and tired. However, I feel like I am finally coming out of whatever funk that has been enveloping me for the past 4 weeks or more. I think I just needed some down time to regroup before the build of training volume starts again. If there was ever a good time for me to rest, recover, regroup, it is now. However, I am glad I feel like I am starting to come out of it.
By this point, Joe has caught up an passed me. I can see him slowly pulling away. I am so glad to see he is running so well. Andrew mentioned before the race that he wanted to be in the 7:xx this time. His last 10k was about 8:20, so it made sense that 8:00 or under was a good goal. I hoped he cracked that 8 minute barrier today.
I worked the declines as best I could, but any incline seemed to take a lot out of me. I am heavier than I would like to be, and heavier than I was last year so I am not surprised I am slower this year. I missed M2, but I hit M3 at 19:55 (averaging 6:38 for M2 and M3).
Mile 3.5 sends us back past passed the starting line and gradually inclined up towards the final out-and-back before a fast downhill finish. That gradual incline part of this last out was really beating me up. Legs felt heavy, which they are. It bothers me that I just couldn't find another gear, but it is also Just. If you dont put in the work, you cant expect the gears to be there when you need them. I have taken it easy the past few weeks and now here at a race I ran last year at 6:25 pace, I feel like a slug in comparison. This is good motivation and what I need to experience before December training begins for the Spring. M4 6:41
The last .97 can be really fast if you have it in you. But again, without another gear to tap into, I was just in survival mode. To be honest. I just could not wait for this to be over! LOL. On the last stretch, we can see runners coming towards us. I could not see Andrew. This was good. It meant he was heading around the block for the turn around while I was heading back. He was closer to me than I thought he would be. Last .97 6:23 (6:37 pace)
So basically I had one gear this entire way. I am pleased about how evenly split this race was, but since I ran exactly a minute faster here last year, I still know this is a lesson that I need suck it up and start working hard. Vacation. is. over.
Joe did fantastic running a 6:31 pace and finishing about 40 seconds ahead of me. And ANDREW, OMG! He took OVER 40 seconds PER MILE off his 10k paces here at this 8k race. Sure the 8k is a little shorter than an 10k, but more than 40 seconds per mile is huge! Andrew came in at 7:40 pace. Look out Joe, I think he is coming for us! :)
Time: 32:55 (6:37)