Now - on to much less important stuff - I ran my first "Mile Race" today - the Loudoun Street Mile in Winchester Virginia.
[[Spoiler Alert: In case you don't want to read the whole post - I ran it in 5:17.4 Official time (I'm rounding down to 5:17...reasons below). Happy with it - since I was hoping for 5:20 (which is also the McMillan predictor). ]
BIG "Thank You" to my wife for getting up early on Memorial Day to be my personal "storage caddy", and to my mother-in-law (Nana) to coming out to join us. Her first time "seeing a marathon" (later she did refer to it as a "mile race"...so kudos for a super senior getting it right after only one light handed correction).
Winchester is about an hour drive from my house - but the men's race wasn't scheduled to start until 9:30. Women's race start is 8:30. My plan - get there in time to check-in, get my bib, find a good spot to watch the finish of the women's race, get my wife and mother-in-law situated - then go warm up and get ready for my race. ALL that, by my calculations and differential math - says leave the house "eh, around 7:00".
We got straight to race - no issues - no traffic - and got a sweet parking spot about 200m from the finish line (thanks Nana for the "Handcap parking placcard - all the way from California). Got there a little after 8:00 - got my packet, all set for the women to come charging for the finish line and "15 minute delay - police road blocking, or escort, or something not ready...figures. No biggie - it's a nice morning - just hang tight....what else are we going to do?
Pretty soon though the women did come thru - it was quite exciting - the race finishes on a "pedestrian only" narrow brick walkway - and I got a spot about 100m before the finish - my first time actually watching the winners of a race come thru. Shout out to Cris (aka Darkwave) for bringing home the Master's title with a big kick at the end, and setting a PR. Nice! All in all, it looked like Cris took home between 3 and 7 awards...back up the stage a few times. And, thank you for the pacing advice!
The course is a straight run down Loudoun Street. The race start is in a nice quiet neighborhood on a small street. The race end - as noted above - is on a brick outdoor shopping mall.
Just because it's straight don't mean it's flat - the first quarter mile (Q1) is downhill, Q2 goes back up hill, and levels off at the end, Q3 back downhill, and Q4 pretty much flat - transitioning to bricks about 300m from the finish.
Warm up - So...I've heard, the shorter the race, the longer the warm-up. Well, this race is pretty short. So...I ended up doing a couple miles warm-up, then some shorter strides, and finally finishing with strides of about 45 seconds - 1 minute what felt like "mile effort". Wanted to make sure I was fully warmed up. No time to "get into the groove". Once the gun goes off.
Shoes - what would a run report be without a shoe discussion? I have two pairs of shoes I could wear for a mile race....NB RC5000 (3oz), and Nike Zoom Streak LT3 (5oz). Obviously I want the lighter shoes, BUT the bricks at the end of the race might be a problem? Also, I really don't want to warm up for 3 miles in the NB, and my wife is holding my bag by the finish line, so with that I chose the heavier Nikes. Of course, then I had huge envy when I saw a couple guys in their NB 5000's....damn it! That's gonna cost me 0 - .783 seconds on my finishing time...I'm SURE of it.
Line up and start - Not a lot of folks in the race - for some reason I thought it was a bigger race - no worries tho. The one worry I did have was a number of "kids" lined up on the front row - I know what they are going to do - sprint for 200m to 300m, then slow and get in my way...mental note - plan for it and "try" not to knock any over. When the gun went off, I wasn't ready...I was about 5 rows back, and I didn't hear the "ready, set...". But, I don't think it hurt me. I just yelled, "Oh shit!", and started my watch as I started to run. This is why I'm "rounding down" my race time, I'm sure I lost at least a half second by being five rows back - and the race is timed from the gun (tortured, twisted logic of a runner).
Race Detail By The Quarter Mile....Goal pace is 5:20 (1:20 per quarter mile).
The race organizer was nice enough to put a line across the road at every quarter mile. Below splits are based on me looking down at my watch as I crossed each quarter mile line.
- Q1: 1:17 - the first quarter was downhill. So, after a silly 200m too fast of a start I settled down some. Even tho I'm 3 seconds faster than plan, I feel okay about it...it was down hill after all. Toward the end of Q1 I had to do a "swim" move a couple time to get around kids who were now gassed and passing out in the middle of the road..."no kids were harmed during these actions"
- Q2: 2:38 (1:21). This quarter was uphill, and I think holding back a "little" in Q1 helped me. It felt like I ran this Q slower than it showed. Under control... (thanks again Cris).
- Q3: 3:57 (1:19). Downhill most of this Q, but I wasn't really able to pick up the pace...getting gassed pretty good already, and I do want to kick at the end.
- Q4: 5:17 (1:20). So much for a finishing kick! I'm happy was able to "hold" my pace till the end. I did try to pick it up a couple times, but it just wasn't there. A couple teenagers passed me about 100m from the end, which pissed me off, I just couldn't do anything about it. My legs weren't hurting, but I could tell aerobically/anaerobically I was all out. Side note: it was really cool to be running on the bricks the last couple hundred meters, the fans were really close and all cheering...all for me I'm sure.
Next year - if I run this again - I'll be in the "Grand Masters" category (over 50). This year, the winning time was 5:02. So, now I have a great goal to set. Maybe if I do some speed work consistently, I can get there? I only gotta take 4-5 seconds off each quarter. What's 2 seconds per 200m among friends?
Don't know what's next...gotta look up local 5k's....I'm Jonesing to run fast again.