"It's a little self indulgent..." - My mom
"After I read a sentence, I get mad at myself for caring what you're doing." -Karl Dusen

Monday, March 28, 2011

In spikes again

It was hard to tell, watching me race the 5k at the Fred Hardy Invitational, whether I was 28 or 18.

On the surface, I was successful. I ran 15:42, which is the fastest I have run for 5k since 2008, though there is no telling what I would have run in 2009 in Scituate (without a train coming through the race and stopping me). As Jerry points out, three months ago I couldn't eat anything but melted sorbet, so running again like this is pretty good. When I look at the race in the context of the work I have put in, the way I have felt in workouts and the experience I have, it was disappointing.

First mistake- indecisive travel planning. My departure from Washington was up in the air until shortly before I left, but that wasn't much of a problem. When I arrived in Richmond, however, I was faced with getting to campus from downtown. I figured I could take a cab, but saw none when I arrived. I came across a Grove Avenue bus, and the driver told me a bus that went to campus was shortly behind hers. I waited on a bench for 75 minutes for that bus, which ended up being hers again. Granted, it was only $1, but it was a long time to wait outside in the relative cold, with smokers hanging out around me. Evidently I somehow missed two buses during that time that would have taken me to campus.

Once I arrived, I walked around a bit, signed in, and started my warmup way too early. Perhaps 20 minutes too early. I did a four laps of Bandy -- God I miss that field -- came back, and realized I had a half hour to freak out. I talked to Sherry and Lori for a while, then went out for my hard warmup. I took my spikes down to the field, put them on for the first time since the 2003 A-10 meet, and did a few strides and drills. Rhue joked that my spikes wouldn't likely survive the race, but I knew they wouldn't let me down. There was some confusion on the line with a kid wearing the wrong hip number, and luckily that gave me a chance to investigate the awful poking in my right shoe. It turned out to be a torn, sticking right into one of my toes. I was able to get the shoe back on before we took to the line.
I was out in 74, feeling pretty good, but far back. Another 74 high, though I was comfortably tucked in. I got a little more aggressive, moved up and ran 72, then a 73, and split 4:55 for the first mile. I was happy with that. I had great support -- Lauder and others along the home stretch, Sherry on the first curve, Steve on the back stretch, all very specific and helpful. I tried to stay aggressive after I heard the mile split, and went 73 and 74 for the next two laps. Then it got a little breezy, so I tucked behind a tall Shippensburg runner. He, unfortunately, slowed down, 75, 76, both high, and I came through two miles in 9:55, a 5:00 second mile. I started to feel taxed, and I stuck behind him rather than try to break free in the last mile- 77, 78, 79. After I saw the 79, I knew I had to do something over the last 600 or the race would be a total disaster. I tried to get moving but it wasn't happening. I came through the third mile at 15:10 and fought to finish in 35, but I didn't catch the Shippensburg guy and a Kutztown fellow I passed a while before kicked in like a maniac and nipped me. I was 15:42.82 and not pleased.
(photos courtesy of Steve Taylor)
Before the race, I told Sherry a good race would be 15:15, a modest race would be 15:30 and a bad race would be 15:45. I guess I came in a few seconds short of a bad race. Molz won in 14:57, with just a little challenge from a Ship dude. I was happy to have beaten the two Lynchburg guys in the race, because that year as a Hampden-Sydney Tiger resonates in me with a competitive urge to beat other ODAC athletes. I only wish I had been able to trounce a Longwood runner...

Surprisingly, though, my legs felt great. Lori and Steve both remarked that a race kicks out the junk and makes you want more. Well, I want more. After watching Little Benford run 8:56 for his first steeple experience since last summer (no practice or anything), I got a good four-mile cooldown around campus, then watched the unfortunate Richmond-Kansas basketball game on the stadium's video screen.

I woke up and did my long run, combining Rosslyn, Collegiate, University and Westham loops. I forgot just how much I enjoyed the Rosslyn loop, Fatty Z was right, we ran it so frequently in college that it is hard to truly appreciate it. Saturday morning, I did not see a single car while I was on the loop, but came across some delightful walkers. I averaged 6:06 at the 6,10 and 12 mile marks, then took it very easy for .75 miles on Westham. Once I hit Patterson again, I started going after it pretty hard down Ridge Top and subsequent roads until I hit campus again. I took it easy up Boatwright and finished kind of hard, averaging 6:15 for 16.25, not too bad a little more than 12 hours after my race. I watched Amy set a school record in the 3k and Ryan Lee and Chris York run great races behind Llano's sub-8 3k attempt. Quinn also ran pretty well, after a fast first lap.

Regardless of my disappointment with my race, it was wonderful to be back in Richmond and on campus. In addition to all the success Steve and Lori have with the teams every year, they do a great job bringing alumni back and keeping them involved. I can't wait until the web broadcast is archived and I can listen to Fatty Z and Stubbs' audio commentary. They really made the meet a family-like atmosphere, with Luke helping at the check-in desk, Howard managing the timing, Mike Cox and Steve Spence bringing their teams to compete. A number of connections worked together to get Quinnipiac to the meet so Jenn Ennis could race one of her high school teammates, with their high school coach Sherry watching. It really is the most comfortable place I can think of being.

After a trip back to DC and not much sleep, I got up Sunday and ran in Rock Creek Park, about 11 miles with Jake, Murph, Karl, Brian, Max and Manitoba. I wasn't feeling great, but got the miles in the books, then took a two hour nap before getting seven more miles at 6:39 pace on Park Plus in the evening.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't that pretty much how all races go? We are never entirely satisified - even on the really good ones - so we just keep wanting more. It's the only reason we get out of bed each morning for the training right? ;) Great job Charlie!! Keep up the great work!