Thursday, July 14, 2016

Belmar 5 Mile with my first CMRC Open Ladies Team, Belmar NJ, 7/9/16

Bettina, Me, Alanna, Kim
Training has been going well. I wanted Kim and I to race a 10k to see where we stood.  After a lot of searching, I could not find a 10k within driving distance. Kim suggested the Belmar 5.

My last 5M race (Sunset Classic) went well for me (6:35 pace). I feel like Sunset is a fast course and I suspect a net descent but I could be wrong.  There is a huge hill in Sunset but it comes early and the second half of the race is mostly downhill.   

Alanna, Laura, Suzanne, Kim, Me
Belmar is pancake flat. This had me concerned it would be slower than Sunset. I tend to run better on rolling terrain.

Alanna met me early for about 6 miles of warm up. We are both training for longer races. This was not a goal race, so it was not a big deal to run a long warm up before we started.  We arrive in the rain, both baffled because there was nothing on the radar predicting rain, but there it was.

Regardless, we did our miles, got our bibs, and waited for the rest of our Team to show up. A few days prior I posted a request on the Creating Momentum Running Club’s (CMRC) Facebook page asking if there was any interested in forming a team. The CMRC is new this year and I am doing a lot to attempt to create a club that has a lot to offer runners nation-wide and locally. Within a few days we had formed a CMRC Open Ladies Team. Thank you so very much Kim, Alanna, Bettina, Laura, and Suzanne!  Despite the short notice, we had a great team!

About three months ago Honey Stingers generously sent me some gels and chews to share with my running club. I looked forward to bringing these supplies along. Thank you Honey Stingers. (For those who are looking for something new to try during training, the Honey Stinger Waffles are truly awesome! Kim and I used those for most of our 24 Hour race at the end of May and they were light and easy to digest with good flavor). 

The Race:
As gun time approached, the misty rain slowed and the humidity was obvious to me. There was some wind, but the temperature was much cooler than it had been in the week before.

I line up towards the front. A woman steps up next to me and asked “What pace are you going to run today?”  (Sigh. After over 350 races, I still dislike this part of standing in a corral).  I am polite. I am honest. I tell her probably 6:40-ish. I wanted to start at 6:40, at least.  She tells me she is planning to run a 6:20 pace. She mentions some past races she ran and how she thinks she can do the 6:20 since this course is so flat and she trains on hills.  I wish her good luck. 

The gun goes off and she pulls away. I look at my watch after it settles down and I see my pace is 6:12. I reign myself in right away. There is no need for this speed this soon. I find my pace, something I feel is as fast as I can sustain for the whole way, and plan to focus on one mile at a time. M1 - 6:38

This pace felt appropriate. As we make a right turn and I notice a wind pushing us. I want to take little advantage of it, but I also want to stay fresh enough to have some energy when we turn back into it, which I know will happen when we round the lake. M2 - 6:34

I am happy to feel fluid and comfortable as we round the lake and head back out on the long straight away. But there is a chick ON MY HEELS… I am mean she was like glue. I felt her breath. I really wanted to drop my pace to get away, but I knew I was running right at my red-line and making a move this early was not wise at all.  

On the corner, before we turn onto the straight away, I hear a trumpeter… It always makes me feel good to hear, then see, Dave on the course.  I haven’t run many races he has been at in the past year.  When I saw him, he made me feel so good. He stopped playing, cheered my name, and gave me a High Five as I rounded the corner. 

This girl was still on me as we ran into the wind. I could not blame her for tucking in behind someone, even if she did not make a good choice, choosing me (at 5ft 2in) to try to draft off of! :)  I looked at my watch and saw the pace had dropped a lot and this made me realize there was more of a wind than I expected. I pushed through, catching up to the pack of men ahead of us. 

She stayed on me most of this mile, right up until I saw Todd wearing long red tights with scales printed on them, no shirt, but a set of huge bat wings, devil horns, and holding a sign that said to “Run like the Devil” (or something like that)… Again I got a wonderful ego boost when Todd cheered my name and called out “Shannon!!! Run Like Hell!”  Oh my goodness, Todd is hilarious. I forgot to mention his tied-dyed beard really made the ensemble work.  :) 

Right after I saw Todd, I was finally able to pull way from the chick.  A man on the sideline called out 18th and 19th Females!  (I really love when spectators call out placement to the runners.  This really can help).  I assumed I was 18th and the chick behind me was 19th. M3 - 6:50
I did not need to see that split to know that I slowed in the wind. I could also see 5 women in range ahead of me. I had some work to do and I wanted to see if I could try to reel in and pass all by the time we reached the finish.  I thought about my form and how to run tall to minimize my back issues. I could feel my back tightening, but it was not yet painful.  I adjust my form as I approach M4 - 6:38

As I hit M4, a man next to me points at the ladies and says “Go get ‘em!”  

I reply “It is still early”.  

I was getting tired. My legs were heavy. I could not hold a faster pace for the entire mile. I knew that.  I was already reeling them in at my current pace.  So I wanted to slowly reel them in and pass them as I approach, speeding up as I pass to make sure I do not get passed back. I counted my place in my head as I passed, “17th, 16th, 15th, 14th…”  It took me the entire last mile, but I was able to gradually run progressively faster, moving past each lady except the last.  One of those women was the chick from the start who shared she was going to run a 6:20 pace today when she quizzed me about my intentions at the start. She talked about how she wanted to run fast on this flat (easier) course than she trained on.  Sometimes flat courses are harder than rolling hills. We think the hills will slow us, but we can often make up lost time and sometimes gain even more time when running down hill.  The fact that we get to use different muscles help keep us feeling fresher longer.  I always expect flat courses to be tough. M5 6:28

Time: 33:10
OA: 120
Gender: 14th
AG: 2nd
Team: Second Place Open Females, despite most of my women being Masters Age.

Photo by Laura DeLea. Picking up our award! 

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