Sunday, May 7, 2017

Coke 10K and Memphis Trip Report

Why this race:
 I don't mind a little regional travel.  I've raced only 1 10K since turning 35, which was a disaster at Peachtree last year (54:40).  By comparison, my 10K split at NYC was 48:15 and I managed to drag on for another 6.9 miles after that.  This would be a pretty easy age group PR at the very least.  If there is a polar opposite of NYC, Corinth, Miss would probably be it.

Training:
  I've had some pretty decent workouts in recent weeks but overall it's still not very good.  Thankfully, adding a B-complex in addition to B-12 as a stand alone has boosted my energy levels but I still could not shake the abnormal sore muscles.  I gambled with Taurine in an effort to improve mineral transport.  It did knock out the soreness but too much will cause the malaise to re-appear.  Probably a wash overall.  Fortunately, a single ill-advised pill won't spell total disaster now that my methylation has improved.  Based on a few recent workouts, I predicted that I would be able to hold a pace between 7:15-7:25 per mile for the 6.2 mile route on a rolling course.  I would finish right in the middle of that range.

Travel:
I worked half a day on Friday then hit the road.  I found that my GPS watch was not charging so I stopped at the Trak Shak and got that fixed.  Thank you to Jeff Martinez.  I took the interstate up to Cullman then picked up AL-157 to US-72 to Corinth, Miss Sippy.  That's the correct pronunciation of the state to my west.  It was a chilly rain most of the way but it began clearing as I approached Corinth and the next day was a beautiful sunny and 75 in the afternoon.  Race morning dawned still a bit chilly but clear with light winds.  It warmed to about 55 degrees and start and just over 60 by the finish.  Can't ask for much better than that.

After the race, I hit the road again on my way to Memphis.  I didn't plan on going initially but I figured I was only a little over an hour and half away so Why not?  I have been there several times before including one of my favorite half marathons (Memphis St. Jude).  You really need at least a full weekend to do it justice.  I would highly recommend the Rock and Soul Museum, Beale Street and Graceland just for starters.

AAA stadium and finish for
 St. Jude Half mary

Elvis

I took the scenic route so I could drive through the suburbs of Collierville and Germantown.  I applied for a few jobs in that area years ago and it seems like a real nice area but I'm happy with where I am.  As planned, I arrived in downtown Memphis around lunch time and it was jammed.  I had to park in a public lot a few blocks away and had to circle around on foot to get back to Beale Street, which is a long strip of about 30 restaurants and bars with big crowds and live music.  I ended up at a place called the Blues City Cafe, where I got to see a decent local band while enjoying some ribs and a drink.

Memphis skyline


Crowded Beale St.

From there, it was a short walk down to the Mississippi River then back to my car.  I crossed the river into Arkansas just because I felt like it then turned back to Memphis to tour the Stax Museum of American Soul music.  This genre is secular but has roots in gospel music and reached its peak in popularity in the 1960s and early '70s.  That's a little before my time but I still had an appreciation of it.  What struck me most was that during the 1960s in the South, blacks and whites worked together side by side in the studio and were often part of the same band.  Nobody cared about skin color and everyone was treated as equals.  Somebody called it the embodiment of Dr. King's dream.  Amen to that. I left Memphis just after 5 and got home around 9:30 even with a stop in Tupelo for dinner.

Mississippi River



Race:
  I've driven through northeast MS many times so I knew what to expect.  It would be a constantly rolling course with very few flat spots.  None of the hills were particularly steep or long but the cumulative effects will take a toll in time.  It seemed to me that most of the uphills were longer and more gradual while the downs were a bit shorter and steeper, which is what I prefer.  Though it started and finished in town, most of the course was residential.  I was treated to numerous cheering fans, tree lined streets and some pretty nice homes.

I'd say I paced it pretty well.  I aimed for a 7:15 opening mile and came in just a few ticks south of that despite a largely uphill first mile then kept it steady on a mostly downhill 2nd mile.  I felt just okay here and fears of a collapse started to set in.  Fortunately, it was just a 10K so it wouldn't get too ugly and I figured if I could get to halfway still in control, it would be a decent finish.  Mile 3 was gradually uphill until a nice long downhill stretch stretch from about 2.75 to 3.0.  My watch read 21:52 so figure I was near 22:40 at the half.  The "A" goal of a sub-45 is not to be but I'm in good shape to be under 46.

For most of the midsection of the race, I found myself in a pack of about 5 runners, one of which was a well known local kid named Parker who looked to be no older than 13.  I found out later that he is the school's top middle school cross-country runner.  On the uphill in Mile 4, I made a move ahead but I felt my legs go dead with about 2 miles to go.  Then again, nobody feels good at this point of a 10K.  Keep pushing.  The pace slowed but remained respectable as I passed 5 miles in 37-flat.  I was still on track to break 46 and there would be only 1 more uphill stretch to go.  Unfortunately, the pack pulled away from me again but I had increased the pace as well.  By the homestretch into town, I found another gear and unleashed a big league finishing kick that reeled in 2 runners.  Overall, this was about what I expected.  Times will continue to improve with steady training.
7:12 (7:12)
7:14 (14:26) downhill
7:26 (21:52)
7:36 (29:28) uphill
7:32 (37:00)
7:20 (44:20)
1:20 (45:40) 6:40 pace for .2
Age group: 10th out of 56.
Percentile rank: 82
  As I was heading back to my car, a random woman stopped me on the street just to say Thanks for coming to town.  Stuff like that I what I love about the South.


Next up:
 I may do the Cotton Row 5K in Huntsville on Memorial Day and I think I've got a shot at another age group PR there (21:54) but the epic road trip is 4 weeks away.  I'll just jog the Teton half but the one in Helena, Montana the following week will be a serious effort.

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