Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lake Johanna 4 Mile: Race Report

My first race of the year is in the books. Saturday, March 14 was ideal conditions for an early season race. Above average temperatures, but still cool, a slight breeze, and a cloudless deep blue sky made for an enjoyable run, whether the actual race went well or not.

Warming up before the race
Laura was kind enough to accompany me to the race after doing her own run and a class at the YMCA earlier in the day. The 11 AM start was late enough that she got to do what she wanted before the race and I had plenty of time to get ready.

Upon arriving, I got my race number and did a two mile warmup. Running in a long sleeve for 15 minutes was about perfect to get ready to race. With the small race field and informal setting, I was able to finish my warmup just a couple minutes before the start and still line up toward the front. I tossed my long sleeve to Laura, and after a couple of pre-race instructions, we were off.

There was a lead pack of about seven runners right away, but after about 200m I could tell we were going a little fast. A quick glance at my Garmin let me know that I was running at a sub-5 minute mile pace. I backed off and let the leaders go, passing a couple of them within the first mile.

I came through the first mile in 5:28, right on pace for my goal of under 22 minutes. I was in fifth place at this point--right where I'd stay for the rest of the race.

The course was somewhat hilly, but nothing terribly steep up or down. I came through the second mile with another 5:28, still on pace for s sub-22 minute finish. My legs were starting to feel a little fatigued at this point, but I still felt strong enough to hold that pace. Mile three was a 5:35, which meant I needed to run under 5:30 to break the 22 minute barrier.

Finishing the last mile
 The last mile started with a decent hill, but it flattened out and went downhill, making me think I could pull off the sub-22. Coming off the last turn, one of the volunteers said, "downhill from here!" and it pretty much was. On the final straightaway I could start to see the clock as it ticked up toward 22 minutes. I pushed it as hard as I could, going through the finish line with the clock at 21:58.

Unfortunately, when I looked down at my Garmin, it read 22:05. Apparently the clock was not quite right. Although my official time was 21:58, I'll know that I didn't actually run that fast.

Under 22 minutes?
 Overall I was pretty happy with the race, barely missing my "A" goal and coming in solidly under my "B" goal. I did feel like I finished with a little gas left in the tank, and that I could have pushed it harder that last mile. It was, however, the first race of the season, so I'm still getting the rust out. This weekend I'll be running the MDRA 7 Mile, and I should have a better idea of how to pace that one.

The photographer and I
Happy Running!

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