Thursday, April 19, 2012

Westminster Main Street Mile

I know i've done the Main Street Mile before. I don't really remember any times or anything, but I have run that course. I feel like it evolved out the old Midnight Mile from the mid 80's, but I have absolutely no proof of that. Anyway, with the team headed up there for a quick mile on a Wednesday night, I was all in.

I didn't take any days off, but Tuesday was a rather easy 6 on the flat but rocky Big Gunpowder trail. I was breaking in my new trail Mizuno Ascends (at right), and wanted something that resembled a trail to do that. So the legs felt great and I was thinking I could pull a nice time.

So I had to get to Westminster before 6:30 and that meant leaving work early. I worked through lunch and left at 4:20, heading home to take the dogs around the block and change. I put the Fall Road singlet with pride and took the tunnel. It took over an hour. So it's right at 6:30 and i'm dashing over to pick up my number, dashing up the hill to the start. But I think I got enough warm up. A few strides and some stretching, the usual. I line up with the other guys from team TWSS looking very racey.

It's been 15(?) 18(?) years since I did a race that short. I didn't know if my legs would remember how to turn over. But once the gun when we all did, and I was hanging with folks probably a tad faster than me. The hill at the start is steep, almost too steep for my taste. It flattens out as you hit the half and maybe even goes a bit uphill before the final plunge to the finish. They were reading out times for the half and I think I was about 2:29. That's under 5 minute pace, but I was starting to fade.

The clock at the finish was reading 5:10 as I approached and I glanced over to see 5:14 when I crossed. I didn't get the watch stopped until 5:20, but I knew I was 5:15 or 5:16 at worse. Considering my 135 pound 15 year-old PR was 4:52 at the similar Market Street Mile, I was very happy. We had our ice cream sandwiches and I headed over to Western Maryland (McDaniel) to do some moderate 800s on the track. Checking the official results the verdict was 5:14.5. Very happy with that time. Good times all around as the winner went under 4, and a cluster of our girls went under 5 (kicking my butt, like ususal).

Coming up: The Mulligan Metric Marathon. I am not going to race it (famous last words) and I have to do at least a mile warm up and cool down to get 18 for the day.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cherry Blossom

I love the cherry Blossom. I still love it, having only done it twice back in the early 90's and not again until this year. One part of the reason I consider to have 'peaked at age 13' was my Cherry Blossom race in 1992. I can't even remember what training I was doing, I did the Mobil 1 meet indoor, but that was a mile. I stopped doing Knight Striders and any formal stuff. I just went out ran ten miles, and managed 7 minutes per mile. I think I was shooting for 68 so I could submit the time to be 'ranked' nationally. It seemed like a big deal at the time.

Fast forward to this year. After a decent club challenge race I felt like I could break through a bit at this race. And the pancake flat course would mean a PR, if I could just survive the start. I don't know if I would claim I survived the start, but I didn't have a sharp object so no one got stabbed. I used the full course, a bit of grass in places, and most helpfully the area over the yellow line across memorial bridge. I didn't even notice the first mile sign and my best guess is somewhere between 7:30 and 8 minutes. A little more running room meant I could pick up the pace a lot and I passed mile 2 at 14:10 or so. Fatigue was creeping in and I had to settle in a pace. At this point I was concerned about passing, the field was more spread out and I had caught some much faster runners.

All my mile times are from memory (except halfway which had an official split). Also, each 5k was marked and I will list times from those points as well. The first 5k was somewhere around 21:20 after the third mile was under 21, as I started to get back on track for a sub 70 minute race. I saw my sister (with her large Elmo, very popular) just before 5. I was about 27:41 at mile 4 and I think I had settled on a proper pace around 6:50 per mile. Half way split was 34:30, faster than my Celtic Solstice time just 4 short months ago (but hundreds of miles later).

The rest of the course went down to Hains Point and back. I briefly had my brain get in the way. The Veterans Day 10k was over this same stretch of pavement and I had flashbacks of that CF of a race. I fought it off and the miles continued to fall away. 6 was somewhere around 41:21, and the 10k was 42:40, two and a half minutes faster than said Veterans Day race. Come to think of it, that probably helped bust the mental funk as I knew I was cruising and feeling ok. Mile 7 was 48:11 and I started thinking about not just going under 70, but under 69. 8 was 55:05 and I had started to creep closer to 7 minute miles. Mile 9 confirmed this as I was 62:05. But with a short mile to go I picked the pace back up and finished at 1:09 flat. Time for the 15k split was 1:04.12 or so, which would be a PR at that distance as well. The most freaky stat was the second 5 mile split was 34:30 which means I ran exactly the same time for each half of the race. I've never done that.

At this point I should have the woulda, coulda, shoulda conversation. Most PR times beyond 5k should be a big question mark. I didn't run much over 3M/5K while in peak shape during high school. My 3 Mile PR of 16:50 translates to low 60 minute for 10 miles. But I never actually ran that distance, so I can't really claim that PR. The fastest 10 miles, to the best of my knowledge, was the Cherry Blossom in '92 in just over 70 minutes. So it's a PR that doesn't feel like a PR. C'est la vie...