A Simple Running Log

November 25, 2011

Training for 11/25/11

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 7:11 pm

Today I ran the most poorly organized race I have ever been a part of. If I hadn’t run such a massive 10K PR, I might be more pissed about it.

It was the YMCA of the Chesapeake’s annual Run for Hospice 10K and 5K. This was the 10th year they’ve held it, and the third year I’ve run it.

I like running this race the morning after Thanksgiving. It’s a good way to burn off a little of the gluttony from the day before. The first time I ran it, in 2009, I almost puked around mile 4 and my chip time didn’t register. Last year was better — I didn’t feel sick and my chip worked.

Yesterday, I didn’t try very hard to hold back on the consumption. It’s tough anyway, when you go to two family Thanksgiving dinners. Clark’s family deep-fried their turkey for the  first time, and it turned out really well. As much as I ate at their house in the afternoon, I still made room for plenty more when we went to my family’s house in the evening. I was pretty full by the time we got home last night.

I woke up this morning surprisingly hungry and ate some breakfast before heading to the race. I was hoping to run around a 44:20, which would be a 7:09/mile pace, about 15 seconds per mile faster than the half marathon pace I ran Sunday.

The weather was perfect, a little breezy, but sunny and cool. I wore shorts and a long-sleeved warm weather running shirt.

I got to the Easton YMCA around 9:35 a.m. for the 10 a.m. start. After picking up my race bib and chip, I hit the locker room to pee one last time and then headed out to my car. I pulled off my sweats, pinned on my bib, tied my chip into my shoelaces and took off for a warm up mile.

The race started and ended in the parking lot behind the YMCA. I got there just before the 10K runners were called up to start first. The woman in charge of the whole thing was blathering into a megaphone about how we had to get back onto the sidewalk after the first little loop through a neighborhood. No one was really paying much attention until we heard her end the announcement with, “Aaaaaaaaaand, go.”

I blurted out “What?” and I heard some surprised mumblings around me. Everyone lurched forward. I quickly switched to the chrono mode on my watch, only to find I hadn’t yet cleared my half marathon finishing time from last week. It took me about 10 seconds to reset the chrono and get it running again.

As we came out of the parking lot, three guys and a woman surged ahead of me. I caught the woman and passed her before the half-mile point, and then settled in behind the second and third guys, who were running together, and the leader, who was pulling away. I could clearly see the leader, running alone, and the police escort until about when we entered another neighborhood, after mile 2. This is important later.

Since I’d started my watch late, I didn’t know my real first mile time, which showed on my watch as 6:34. Much faster than I had been planning, even with 10 seconds added, and I was already feeling it. Just 5.2 more miles to go!

After the mile 2 marker, I heard footsteps slowly come up behind me, and then a guy in a yellow shirt passed me. I let him get a little ahead of me. I don’t know if he slowed down or I just picked up, but he never got very far ahead of me. He was a good pacer, as far as I was concerned, so I was just going to follow him.

I hit the third mile marker in 20:54 by the watch, and tacked on 10 seconds due to the late start, figuring I’d actually run three miles in 21:04. Not bad. I only had 3.2 more miles. I can do this, I can do this, I kept telling myself. I pictured a 3-mile out and back from my house, and imagined Pepper running ahead of me. I hung with my pacer.

I forgot to look at the watch when I passed the fourth mile marker. I am positive the fifth mile marker is in the wrong place, because I passed it in 33 minutes, meaning I ran five 6:36 miles. I’m getting faster, but I’m not there. I remember thinking the same thing last year about that mile marker.

After the fifth marker, I slowly caught back up with my pacer. Not long after that, we caught up with the back-of-the-pack 5K’ers, many of whom were walking in large groups or with dogs or baby strollers. It really sucked, because just after we caught them, we crossed the highway and got back on the street leading back to the Y, on which we were supposed to run on the sidewalk. There was no room!

I managed to get past my pacer on that sidewalk. We hit six miles. I didn’t look at my watch. I was weaving between 5K walkers and trying to stay ahead of my pacer as we approached the parking lot with the finish line. I was completely spent, but I knew I was going to run a huge PR.

If I could just get to the finish line, that is. My triumphant 10K PR was pretty anti-climactic, because I just about had to walk across the finish line, thanks to the 5K walkers pushing jogging strollers three abreast, clogging up the entire finish mat.

I looked at my watch — 43:11. I tacked on 10 seconds for the start and estimated my time at 43:21, a minute faster than I’d hoped for. My previous 10K PR was 45:09, from exactly two months ago.

I took a bottle of water and walked around, sat on a curb in the shade for a while and then did a short cool down jog. I got a change of clothes out of my car, changed in the Y’s locker room and then went to the post-race party.

This is where the race directors really pissed me off. I could look past the idiotic start and the 5K walkers who held me up in the last half mile or so. I could even look past the fact this particular 10K cost more than any other 10K I’ve ran, including the Dogfish Dash, which had unlimited free Punkin Ale at the finish.

What I can’t tolerate, however, is the total ineptitude at correctly scoring runners. They called me up as the winner of the female 18-29 age group, with a chip time of 43:20, but called up someone else as the overall female 10K winner, with a sub-40 time. I thought maybe I had just somehow completely missed this mysterious, super-fast woman (remember, I could see the lead male, who wound up running a 39-something, for the first two miles of the race) so I went and looked at the posted results.

There wasn’t one woman scored ahead of me, there were three! And I wasn’t fourth overall, I was ninth.

As far I can figure, someone either entered these other runners in the wrong race when they were entering data, and their 5K times were scored as 10K times; or these other runners signed up for the 10K but decided to step down to the 5K for whatever reason, and there was no way for the race directors to know which distance anyone actually completed.

That is just incredibly stupid, if you ask me. I don’t go to these races to win trophies or get recognized. If I had actually been outrun by three other women, I wouldn’t care, because I was really happy with my time (which was the only thing the race directors managed to do right, as far as I can tell.) But I think we all at least deserve correct results. Morons.

I am planning to cut down on the number of races I run next year. This one is going straight to the top of the cut list. I’ll just run my own little 10K the Friday after Thanksgiving next year.

I have to throw this out there though — my average pace was 6:59/mile. At the beginning of the year, I hoped to run under 7:00/mile for a 5K. I did that in June. I never expected to pull that off in a 10K this year.

Tomorrow is my final race of 2011, a 5K in Rehoboth Beach. The age group awards are pumpkin pies. I must have that pie. I only had two slices yesterday — plus a slice of white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and pumpkin mousse. After the race, TK, her mom and I will hit the outlets for a little Christmas shopping, and then tomorrow night is Clark’s and my 10-year high school reunion dinner.

Sunday, I’m running this week’s long run, an 11-miler, and then I’m pulling down all the Christmas decorations and cleaning the house. I already decorated Pepper this morning — I replaced his usual plain blue collar with the Christmas tree-printed one Clark’s mom bought for him last year.

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