Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 13th, Brooke Hill 5K

Nice race and for a good cause. I passed on this race last year because of hot weather. It was cooler this year but still hot. I decided to add this race after the Soggy Seal Triathlon. I did better than I expected at the Soggy Seal. I did a sub 21 minute 5K and still had plenty stamina to finish the bike and swim portion of the tri.

It was an 8:00 AM start. My only suggestion for this race would be to consider a 7:00 or 7:30 AM start. The temperature was getting pretty warm and muggy by race time. I started out as usual and was within the first 10 runners. I usually run my fastest within the 1st quarter mile of a race. It seems so easy to run at the start of a race. Adrenaline, excitement, or just being well rested really has an effect on me. As I have gotten more experienced I have tried to temper my initial exhilaration. I still run my fastest but I try to hold back a little for later in the race.

We started on a wide streets that allowed us to jockey for position easily. I had no idea how I would hold up in the heat but the first mile felt pretty good. There were a few youngsters in the lead pack but they faded as thee distance wore on. Sprinting is for the young. The race leaders were well ahead of me by the end of the first mile. I finished mile 1 with a pace of 6:19. I was feeling pretty good at this point.

Mile 2 was a little more hilly. The aid station is around the halfway point of the race. I usually don't drink I just pour the water over my head. This seems to help me more then trying to drink on a short race. I was just trying to hang on and not lose time off my pace. I did loose some and finished mile 3 with a 6:43 mile pace. I was happy with this, but I had Wayne Heckler behind me and he always runs stronger as a race goes on. Wayne is one of my running heroes and I want to be Wayne when I grow up. He has 10 years on me and started running in his late 40s. You will find his name on a short list of better runners in this area. He had just come off some high mileage runs days before the race, so I might have had a little advantage on this day.

I managed to up my pace on mile 3. At this point I was confident I would at least finish the race with a fair time. The run finishes uphill. As I turned onto the last street I could see Wayne behind me. I found this motivational. I tried to pick up my pace and finished the 3rd mile at a pace of 6:38. Now for the last drag race to the finish.

My friend Brad White took my picture at the end of mile 3 and I looked done. I did not feel done. Wayne's picture looked pretty good. I managed to keep pace with the guy ahead of me and started a pretty good kick to the finish. Wayne told me this was what kept him from passing me. I realize that another day a fresher Wayne Heckler would beat me. The last .1 was at around 35 seconds.

I finished with a time of 20:15. (Thank you Wayne Heckler). I finished 6th overall and first in my age group. The good time on I hilly and hot August day has given me confidence that I have a shot at a sub 20 minute 5K this fall.

Soggy Seal led me to attempt this race and this race should lead me to a good 5K time this fall. Everything works together some times.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Soggy Seal Triathlon

I almost passed on this race. I am not for racing my bike on wet streets. I woke up with bike loaded and looked at the radar. It looked wet in Huntsville, but my dear wife had said even if it is wet give it a try. She is the one I had promised not to take chance on wet streets. 2 years ago she had spent 5 hours in an ER waiting for a plastic surgeon to stitch up my face (26 stitches). It was a bad wreck and she was great. I usually ride before church, but that Sunday we did not make it. I also had to have my dentist crown one of my front teeth. So if she said give it a try, I might as well. I drove my little truck to the Southeastern YMCA. The roads were dry and the rain never materialized.

This was a first year for this race and I was not sure how well it would come off. The staff at the YMCA did a great job. I must commend them on putting together a nice sprint triathlon. 5K run, 8 mile bike, and 300 yard swim.

The run and the bike ride were surprisingly hilly and pretty challenging. I managed 10th overall and second in my age group.

The run came first and I decided to run behind my friend Matt Hames. I might of passed him on the run, but he would of trashed me on the bike and the swim. He is the total package. My strategy was to just stay behind Matt on the run so I would not have to wait for him to pass me. He set a nice pace and finished 4th and I finished the run 5th.

Then came the bike. It definitely had some pretty steep hills. There was a long grade about a mile into it and I came to a stop. I was in too high of gears and had not managed my momentum well. Too steep to restart I lost at least a minute creeping it forward over the crest. It was an out and back so I vowed not to let it happen on my return trip. We made our way to the greenway for 2 miles in and 2 mile back. Then back on the return to the killer hill. I hammered it and had no problem on the return trip. I finished the bike ride in 10th place overall.

I racked the bike and put on my goggles which I had around my neck during the ride and headed for the pool. To achieve 300 yards each of the 6 lanes had to be swam down and back. It was a little confusing at one point, but I settled my pace and finished not passing or being passed by any racers in the pool. My strategy was to get to the pool before it got crowded with racers. I finished the race 10th overall and placed 2nd in my age group. 59 people finished the race including 4 others from my church. It was nice have members of my church family share in the race. 3 of them placed in their age groups. There were also 3 members of the Decatur Tri Club who placed (Myself, Matt, and Charlotte) Matt took second overall. It was a great day for my church and the Decatur Tri Club

By the numbers:
Run 5th 20:46, Bike 17th 32:55 (Plus transition),
Swim 23rd 7:01, Overall 10th 1:00:42.

I planned to use this as a tune up for the Huntsville Sprint, but it was a really great race in itself. I will put this on my schedule for next year. This race gave me confidence in my ability to run in the heat and that my summer training was paying off. I was so happy with my run time that I entered the Brooke Hill 5K the next Saturday.