Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sports Bro Or How To Miss A Medal

Saturday I ran the Wood Memorial Trout Run 10k in Kalkaska, MI. This was the first race that I ran with no support staff/family/friend cheerers. This was another small race and I had showed up early enough to drive the course. Luckily the course was marked very well and exactly as described, 6.2 miles. Since it was such a small event the 5k was run at the same time. I had gotten a new compression shirt the week before and had saved it's inaugural voyage for this race. The start was a bit delayed, which wasn't helped by the cold and wind. Just when I thought I couldn't possibly wait anymore the gun went off and we were on our way. About a tenth of mile in I learned the error of my ways. I have been wearing a 2XL compression shirt, but the new one was XL. My bouncing belly was a little too much for the XL and it started to slide up. No matter what I did, I couldn't keep it down. So by about two tenths of a mile I had resigned myself to run the next 6 miles with what amounted to a 'Sports Bro' (or a 'Sports Manzierre'). I looked at my watch at the first mile split and was shocked to find that I had run an 8:57 mile, a new PR. The rest of the race went fairly typical. Most of my splits came back a few seconds over 10:00. At the turnaround I could see 4 people behind me, which made me happy not to be last. I took water at about 4 miles. The volunteers were helpful and encouraging. At about the 6 mile mark I got 'chicked' by one of the ladies behind me, fun, yeah I didn't have a shot at staying ahead of her. She must have been running 8 mm when she passed, I think I felt a breeze coming off her. I ended up finishing with a PR of 1:02:08 by my watch, no chip times, so I don't care what number they come up with. Most of the race I had been watching the other participants noticing that young males were really not represented well. By the time I finished I had convinced myself that there was only one or two other 20-29 year old males that had run the 10k. So instead heading out afterwards I tried to find the results sheet. It wasn't posted, but they said they'd post it and then hand out medals. Ten minutes stretched into an hour and finally they had printed something and were reading out names from the 5k. Almost immediately though people were calling out that things were amiss, so and so finished ahead of what's his face, that sort of thing. After an hour and a half of waiting I went up to the head table to ask if they could just tell me how many people were in the 20-29 male age group for the 10k. They told me they were still trying to straighten out the 5k. I decided at that point that it wasn't worth it to hang around, since I had friends due at my house from downstate and I was 40 minutes from home. Today they finally posted the results on I found out I was right, 3rd place in my age group, so if I would have stayed I would have gotten a (lack of competition) bronze medal.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Meteor 10K

Saturday was a good day. So far though, race day's are always good days. The race was the Meteor 10K in Dearborn, MI. I have non-running friends that live about 10 minutes from Dearborn so I did the 3 hour drive the day before. Race morning we woke up, had some oats, and were on our way by 7:35. I was a little surprised that there weren't signs on the road pointing the way but I was riding with locals so it didn't really matter to me. Packet pick-up went smooth. The race shirt is really amazing, it's posted on the race website if you haven't seen it. We met up with some other friends who were also running the race. I did a little light stretching, but didn't feel like I needed to warm up too much. There was a DJ at the start/finish so that was cool to have some inspirational classics to run with. The course was an odd one, fitting to the alien theme, I'm sure. It looped back on it self a couple times and had an out and back portion in the middle. The weather was absolutely perfect, spring sprung at just the right time. Before I knew it we were off and running. The first mile went pretty quick for me, 9:47. At about 1 1/2 miles we ran through the start/finish again. Hearing dear friends cheer you on while you put forth great effort is a feeling of elation that is difficult to describe. I could feel myself running faster without trying. I hit the second mile marker in 9:52, still pretty quick. The course then went out onto a divided road (at the time I thought it was an expressway, but it's not). The police support was impressive as they had one lane shut down and every 300 feet or so there was a cop car and officer. I forgot to check my splits the rest of the race. When we left the divided road we ran down one of those clover turns that loops around on itself to merge onto another road, so you got to see a glimpse of who was behind you. Next was a mile or so out and back. I spotted my friends and even a fellow blogger, they were all looking strong and about 10 minutes ahead of me. There was water around the 4 mile mark which was nice since this was the least shaded part of the course. As I was running the back portion I was surprised at the amount of people behind me. I wasn't coming anywhere close to last today. The last mile or so was the windiest and hilliest portion, but that was ok as I was ready for a change of scenery. Near the six mile mark there was the only evidence of winter, a former snowbank had melted into a pond in the trail and muddy bog surrounding it. I made the jump and sprinted off for the finish line. About 100 feet later I slowed down, as two tenths of a mile suddenly looked a lot longer than I had expected. I got faster as I approached the cheering crowds. I could feel tears welling up inside me, and a little nausea. I crossed the finish line at 1:02:58 by my watch, chip time 1:03:00. They clipped off my chip and I reconnected with my friends and a bottle of Gatorade. This was probably the best organized and most fun race that I've run yet. I hope to run in either the half or the 10k again next year.