Monday, May 29, 2017

RACE REPORT: Loudoun Street Mile

Happy Memorial Day!  And, to all the veterans out there (my Dad, and both my Grandfathers who served during wars....and saw the "really tough" part of being in the armed services) - THANK YOU FOR YOUR SACRIFICE AND YOUR SERVICE.

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" kudos for a super senior getting it right after only one light handed correction).

Getting There
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.

Race Prep
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 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. 
Overall, 5:17 is a result I'm proud of.  Don't think I had a lot more in me.  I won my AG (45-49). 

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.



  1. I found your blog! Wow- what an awesome report and a very well executed race, particularly since this was your first time at this distance. In terms of what's next, check out the Lawyers Have Heart 5K in DC. I am doing that on June 10th.

  2. Hey, Thanks Elizabeth! I read your blog all the time, I've learned a lot from your posts. Actually, have some family stuff coming up, but I'm shooting for the 'Twilight 4 Miler' on June 24 (Ashburn). Then, the July 4 5k at the Reston Town Center. In case you didn't know,one of the PR Running promo pics for the Twilight 4 Miler has someone that looks JUST LIKE YOU front and center.