Monday, April 18, 2016

Race Report: Loudoun 8k (and Half Marathon)

Race Report:  Loudoun 8k

Ran the Loudoun 8k (and Half Marathon) today.  This race supports the local (Loudoun County, VA) HS track teams.  So, it's a good cause (I have two kids in Loudoun County HS), and it's a nice race for me to transition from my 5k's toward my 10k race in four weeks.

This is my first race longer than 5k, so new territory and not sure how much I should slow down from 5k pace.  McMillan calculator says if my 5k pace is 6:00 (my last 5k), then I should run an 8k at 6:10 pace, which would put me around 30:40 or so if the race is actually 4.96 miles.

So, my plan.  6:10 pace and adjust faster or slower based on the hills (and there are a few).

Race start at 7:30.  So, I set my alarm at 5:20 so I can have a small breakfast of oatmeal and coffee before a short run around my neighborhood to get the blood flowing and let me "process" dinner / breakfast before leaving the house.  Good.  Left the house at 6:00 and arrived at the course around 6:40.  Good.  Right on track.

My wife (gotta love her) agreed to get up early on Sunday and go with me.  We got to the race pretty quickly, arrived at 6:45 (45 minutes before start).  I picked up my bib the day before, so no worries.

Around 7:00 I did my warm-up, and ran easy about 2 miles, plus a few strides....and I'm ready to go.  The 8k race had about 150 people, the 1/2 had more participants, and it felt like there wasn't a lot of serious competition for the 8k.

So, here's how it went:

  • Mile 1 (6:11):  The race started off on a slight downhill, and then leveled off.  I tried not to go out too fast.  Went through in 6:11, all is well.
  • Mile 2 (6:24):  I expected to slow down in mile 2 as the race profile showed this was almost all uphill.  So, 6:24 didn't bother me....still feeling okay.
  • Mile 3 (6:16):  This is NOT good.  My plan was so get back some of what I lost in mile 2 (going down hill in mile 3 and 4).  This is my first race past 5k, so I was not in new territory, and feeling like I was more tired than I "should" be.
  • Mile 4 (6:18):  Well, it's not getting any better.  I'm not getting any time back on my plan of a 6:10 overall pace.  And, mile 3 and 4 are more hilly than I expected, so I'm just getting more and more gassed.....
  • Mile 5: (6:13).  Still can't speed up.....tried to kick at the end, on the HS track....just held my pace.
  • Last bit: (:09):  My watch said I ran 5.02 miles.  An 8k is "officially" 4.96 miles....oh well.   Tangents?  Or miss- marked?  GPS?  
  • Total time:  31:31.  
 Good for 4th place overall, and 1st for my age group (40-49).  This was also good for my "racing experience", and I'll use it to remember how I felt in the later miles when I try a 10k in four weeks.

After about 3 miles into it, it felt like a time trial as the 3rd place finisher had moved significantly ahead of me, and the 5th place was about 30 seconds behind.  I find it much harder to keep my motivation when I don't have someone to chase down.....

This course was hilly, so I think I can keep the same pace for a full 10k if the course is a little flatter, and / or I have a better day.  We'll see!

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