Sunday, June 17, 2012

Possum Trot 10K RR

  Frustrations continue.  Throughout the Spring, I've gotten red hot for several days then proceeded to lose my form.  I've only had a couple of really bad days but I've often been off enough to significantly inhibit my performances.  Any chance of a sub-40 was lost early in the week when my legs were so sore that I cut out the pills entirely rather than taper down like I should have.  I relapsed pretty bad on Thursday night, felt pretty lousy on Friday and merely hoped to feel decent on race day.  With realistic expectations coming in, I probably ran the best possible race that I could on this day.  In the end, I overshot that balance point by taking one too many pills.  Even if I was balanced, a sub-40 would have been a very tall order today on this course in less than ideal conditions.

  This is my 5th Atlanta race event and 3rd 10K so I have nothing major to report.  It was a smooth trip that included a stop at Sonny's BBQ on Friday afternoon in Anniston.  I arrived at my buddy Nick's place just after 9 PM eastern and just relaxed for an hour.  It would be an early morning with a race start at 7:30 eastern but I was fine with that because we beat the heat.  In the end, the weather was not much of a factor.  Temps were in the upper 60s with 90% humidity and sunny skies.  Not the best for racing but for mid June in the Deep South, I'll take it.  The course was a bit more difficult than was described to me.  It went gradually downhill (about 30 ft. per mile) for just under 3 miles.  Then, we turned around and went back up in the 2nd half then went past the finish line just before 5 miles to climb another steeper hill before heading back down to the finish.  I'd rate it as a 4/10 in terms of difficulty, which is fast enough that it does not preclude a PR.  My training PR set in top form when I was red hot in January (40:14) was not even considered.  I'd be satisfied with a 41:xx and pleased with an official race PR (40:55) set last Spring at Silver Comet.  I felt decent warming up and believed that I had a good chance at a respectable showing.

  The gun went off and I was out at a fast but smart and controlled pace.  The first quarter mile was just under 6:00 pace, which sounds too fast but since we were going slightly downhill, it was pretty appropriate.  I allowed myself to get passed in the next quarter and allowed the pace to slow.  Lactic acid was already starting to build in my calf and I was only a tenth of the way through.  I knew right then that I would not PR.  Okay, just do your best and try to settle into a pace that is sustainable for the next 5 miles then kick it in.  I managed to pass a few runners who had gone out too fast before the end of the first mile and managed to hit the marker in 6:20.  On pace for a sub-40 but I knew it should have been 6:15 given the terrain.  Next, we made a turn onto another road that was also shallow downhill but slightly less steep than the first mile (maybe about 0.5%).  My pace was slipping a bit here.  Do I bank time knowing that I'll have to go back up at the end?  No, just keep a reasonable pace.  I was passed 3 times before the turnaround and came the first 5K around 20:10-20:15.  Not bad.  Even with the hills ahead, I should at least be better than last time (42:07) when I was on pace for the first 1.5 miles then saw the wheels come off abruptly after that.

I showed surprising life after the turnaround and managed to re-pass 2 runners going up the slight incline while increasing my pace by a few ticks.  As expected, Miles 5 and 6 were painful going uphill but I managed to stay in control and avoid a ghastly fade.  According to the watch, my slowest Mile was #5 at 6:52.  When I hit that Mile marker with a time just a hair over 33, I knew that I was looking at a low-mid 41.  With no threat of a PR and a "decent time" assured, it was difficult to find the drive to push myself past that pain threshold.  I simply got through the hill and did not have much left on the way down. I thought about a possible age group award and made sure that anyone who passed me was clearly over 35.   I did kick hard in the closing strides but it was too little too late.  There was some question about my official time.  The gun time is listed as 41:21 and the chip time has just been updated as 41:19 (6:39 pace).  I ended up 21st overall out of some 600 runners. Out of 42 finishers in the Men's 30-34 age group, I came in 3rd overall but took home a silver medal because one the overall winners was over 30.  Congrats to Nick on his first sub-50 at this distance (49:25).
6:20 (6:20)
6:32 (12:52)
6:40 (19:32)
6:37 (26:09)
6:52 (33:01)
6:50 (39:51)

Final thought:
My best of the 3 10K races that I have done this year and I hope to build on it. This was good for a sub-41 on a pancake flat course in 55 degree weather with no sun and low humidity. Unfortunately, it's wait until Fall for another chance at sub-40.  If I can get my body chemistry in line, I have no doubt that I can do it.  I may take a shot in an indoor time trial.  Note to self: Do not try to fix the dosage too quickly.  Taper down gradually and endure the rough day or two until you reach the magic number.  Next race is a low key local trail race (Peavine) on the 4th of July.  I was HORRIBLE there last year and need redemption.

Grade: No subjectivity in a race unless it's a brutally tough course.
 A time between 41-41:30 is a B+ and that's what I get today.
A 5K today would have been 19:40ish and a half mary would be in the 1:32s.

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