Monday, March 22, 2010

Newport Beach, Ca. Spirit Run 10k 2010 Race Report

Well I've been missing in action for a while now - mostly because I'm lazy sometimes when it comes to my writing.  My last post indicated I was going to do my shoe review - I didn't get it done and felt bad so I haven't written.  I still plan to get this shoe review done, but in the meantime I did run my 10k race and wanted to report on it.

Sunday March 21st.

Newport Beach, California is about 30 mins from my house using backroads.  Registration opened at 6:00am and my race started at 7:00 so I planned to get to the course around 6:15 just so I'd have enough time to get my packet, and get ready to run.  Once again my plan was to run a sub 58:04 that I'd revised down from the sub 60 min goal that I'd set earlier this year.

I felt confident in my breaking my set goal even though over the past two weeks I've taken it pretty easy concerning my running (19 and 10 weekly miles respectively).  I knew my legs were fresh and that's what I really wanted going in.  I knew the distance was going to be fairly easy and a 9:30 pace was easily in my grasp.  All I had to do is go out and grab it.

I woke up around 5:30 am and pulled out my black Nike shorts and my black sleeveless nike shirt (my favorite).  Lateley here it's been 80 degrees during the day so I figured it was going to be hot again, yeah I didn't check the weather report and it would hurt me before the race began.  As I drove towards the coast I hit a pretty dense fog bank hugging the coast.  Keeping the temperatures in the low 50's.  Luckily I had a sweatshirt in my car so I threw it on until right before the race started so I wouldn't freeze to death.

After sheeding my sweatshirt, I lined up in the very back of the crowd and chatted with a nice guy (I think his name was Jeff or Greg, I'm horrible with names.)  Anyway I gather he signed up for the race that morning and was planning to run a sub 60 min race.  I told him I was shooting for the same as I eyeballed his half marathon shirt from San Fransico.  Too bad I didn't get a longer chance to talk to the guy - very nice and seemed to enjoy running as much as I do.  After a great rendition of the Star Spangled Banner we were set to go.  No gun, just a verbal "Ready, Set, Go" got us off the line.  Jeff (or Greg) took off much faster than I and slowly pulled away from me and melted into the crowd.  I settled into my pace and realized right away that this run was going to be pretty easy.  I felt really good and the past two weeks of taking it easy left my legs feeling strong.   The first mile was mostly a slight uphill climbing about 100 feet in a half mile, much easier than any of my training courses.

The group around me was very quiet as we headed out onto the course so I turned on my ipod and put myself into cruise control.  Starting as the very last person enabled me to start passing people right away, and that felt really good as I logged a 9:04 first mile.  Still feeling good I put in a 9:10 second mile on a flat plateau.  My third mile was a 9:05 on a slight downhill and I was still feeling really good still at this point.  My breathing was steady and I was running at the back of a small pack - just dangling off the back end like a rubberband.  Still I wasn't paniced because I knew these people were running a 9:00 pace which was ahead of my race goal pace.  My three mile time was a 27:22 and I'm sure I would have destroyed a 5k PR if I was running a 5k race on this day.

Mile 4 was a little more difficult.  Running uphill again on the second loop of the course, I clocked a 9:27 still without too muc difficulty.  At this point I was really enjoying myself and started picking off more runners who had started to fade.  As I hit the 4 mile marker I look to my left and realized that I was passing Jeff (or Greg).  He was chatting with a 50+ old lady and were slowing down dramically after reaching the top of the hill.  I passed them pretty easily and put him in my back pocket.  I was still bouncing off the backend of the 9:00 group pretty much all by myself once I passed these two, and on the plateau mile 5 I really kind of blew it.  A small kink in my armor and a mental lapse left me with a 9:29 mile.  I should have realized that half of the group about 100 yards in front of me was slowing down.  (The group of runners that were 'hoping' to run a sub 9 min pace.)  I failed to notice this slowing until I checked my mile split and most likely lost 10-20 seconds at this point.  Physically I could have run this mile around 9:10 without too much difficulty, but I failed to notice my slowed pace and it cost me.

The final 1.2 miles are basically downhill and after seeing my split at mile 5, I wanted to pick up my pace a little.  Pretty quickly I closed the gap on about 10 runners who were in front of me and passed the gassed runners - I still was hanging off the remainder of the 9:00 min pace group that had started to thin out.  Some falling back others surging forward.  Even though my pace had quickened I wasn't passing very many people at this point.  The road was wide with very few runners.  Right before I hit mile 6 with a split of 8:54 I was passed by Jeff (or Greg) - where did he come from?  Up to this point only 3-4 people had passed me without coming back to me.  And once I had passed them the second time they didn't come up to me again.  Greg (or Jeff) passed me flying, and once I'd taken a breath and gathered myself he had extened a 50 yard lead on me and had passed another three people.  The rubberband was about to snap between us if I didn't try to follow.  Gritting my teeth slowly I picked up my pace and was suprised to see my body respond.  It wasn't like in the old days where I could go from 1st to 5th in .5 seconds, but I was able to 'crank' up the pace.  Faster and faster I picked it up, just like an old heavy thunderbird on straight road.  Jeff (or Greg) was slowly coming back towards me as I closed the gap.  I cleared out the runners between us and he was only 20-30 yards in front of me with about 400 yard to go.  With the small crowd cheering us on I kept increasing my pace gaining momentum as the distance closed.  By the time we hit the line I was on his back shoulder and I looked at the clock 57:xx!  I didn't know the exact time, but I'd broken the 58 min barrier and set a new PR!

Crossing the finish, Greg turned around and was surprised to see me grinning ear-to-ear.  "Nice run" he gasped.  Patting him on the back I responded with, "Thanks for bringing me home.  You helped me set a new personal best."  Without saying anything else we drifted apart and I didn't see him again.

I had to wait until they posted the official results later that night, and my watch was right on with a 57:25!  A PR by :39 seconds and I could have done more if I hadn't messed up on mile 5.  Still I as very happy with my results.

Official Stats:
Overall: 172nd out of 295
Age: 17th out of 21
Sex: 100th out of 132

Actually I'm suprised with these stats - It sure felt like I passed more males and people in my age group.  But it's my time that I'm happy with.

Keep Steppin'


teacherwoman said...

Way to go with the new PR! Congrats!

Unknown said...

A PR, great job! I have to say that I love developing that special "runners" relationship with someone who has literally helped me run my best at the most difficult times. Sometimes that happens in races, sometimes at track and it's a very unique feeling of gratefulness. Nice work.

The Boring Runner said...

I was hoping that you'd be back soon....

Great work on the PR! Setting a PR during a training run is one thing, but putting it all together when it counts is a completely different other thing. Great job working it out! (That P90X must be paying dividends)

Running Through Life said...

Congratulations on the PR!! Great race report. Very cool that the gut you met helped spur you to such a great finish, whether he knew it or not.

Mel-2nd Chances said...

Congrats on the PR and a great race! Well done! :)

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