Sunday, July 26, 2009


July 25, 2009 - 8pm
Wx – Humid, rainy/drizzly, wet

“10, 9, 8, 7…”

The race director was counting down to the start of the race. "...6, 5, 4.." I looked to my left and to my right and a horde of runners began to step cautiously up to the starting mat. Some, including me, made a hoop with their arms, anticipating that micro-second when you punch the “start” button on one’s watch.


I got out quick but then eased back and tried to relax. Too nervous. Too anxious. I was jostled a bit by a couple of runners as we all attempted to find our groove and place during the first 400m. The rain had stopped but parts of the wet street were slick. There were just a few puddles. I tucked in behind teammate Dirk, the Ethipoian Abebe, Richman’s Guy Alton and PACERS’ Steve Hallinan and was joined by a slew of other guys I had never seen before. By the time we made our first turn, Tefera already had a sizable lead. Dumm and Megenssa led the chase pack.

I hit mile one in a blistering 4:35. I was battling with 6 other guys for a spot in the top ten. The Washington Monument loomed across the Potomac ahead of us. I felt good and made a slight move just after the mile and put a little bit of real estate between myself and the pack. The mile split seemed to psych some people out, so I wanted to take advantage of that…just a little, as I, too, was already in a little over my head. Dirk, Hallinan, Guy and Abebe matched the move. At the turn-around (roughly 1.5 miles into the race), I found myself in 8th place, but quickly surged up and by the end of the overpass got myself into 5th. I planned to hammer my way home. Again, Dirk and Abebe followed. The good news was that each time we surged we dropped a couple guys. Dirk and Abebe then flew past me and I tried to ride their coattails down Old Jefferson Highway. Abebe pulled away slightly while Dirk and I muscled together through 2 miles in 9:30. Yikes. Actually, my intent was to hit mile 2 in 9:30, but not after running the first mile in 4:35. We were on pace to run 14:45, BUT actually we weren’t. We were slowing down…but we were ALL slowing down. The grindfest began. The wicked fight to the finish was going to be heartbreaking. The last 1.1 miles loomed ahead. I envisioned a pack of dudes rolling up on me and running me into the ground. I shook those thoughts from my head and eyed Dirk and Abebe who were slugging at one another with strides and surges. I thought I could catch up to them, get into the money and make a break with Dirk, drop Abebe, and head to the line. Even if I didn’t catch them, I had to try. Trying would at least get me away from the pack that I thought was hungrily coming after me. There was a giant pack, frothing and foaming at the mouth that went out in 4:50 and was mopping up the dead and dying. Or, so I thought. In fact, I was sure of it…“C’mon legs, let’s get moving!” The last ½ mile went on for days. I felt as if I went back and forth from quitting and being content with losing to all out sprinting. One thing was for sure, my legs were cooked and I was fried. I could see the 3 mile mark 10 miles down the road. I heard a few people yell my name and I knew it was time to go all in. I heard footsteps behind me so I lifted my knees and began to kick, but then realized I was beat. Dirk seemed to come back to me, but he was much too far ahead. Everything was happening very fast. What was going on? Suddenly Guy Alton blazed past me on the left. NO! I threw the stick shift into my last gear and kicked back past him just meters from the finish line (note – strangely Guy does not appear in the results, but he should be about 1 second behind me). I tore off my rain/sweat-soaked singlet and immediately felt a crushing sensation in my stomach/chest - likely a relapse of all the stomach issues I’ve been having all week. I changed my shoes as quickly as I could and headed out for a cool down.

I didn’t run as fast as I would have liked (15:07) and ran a very meager last 1/3 of the race, but I was happy with my overall effort and my place. I beat a lot of guys I’ve never beaten before and made a couple of moves at key moments in the race that ultimately contributed to my finishing place. Racing in DC is getting very competitive. Just looking at the results (below) I’m amazed at the depth of runners here in the area. 20 guys under 16:00 is very legit.

I have two weeks before the BIG summer race - the Falmouth Road Race (7 Miles). I am hoping to crush it and will no doubt need to taper in order to do that. I've been running 75-85mpw for the past 10+ weeks and my legs need some relief. I've been working out well, getting in solid long runs and have raced three times (4:22, 25:16 and 15:07) over the past three weeks. I'll then have 4 weeks to ratchet up the mileage (90-100) before tapering for the big dance - Philly Distance Run (13.1) where I hope to sneak under 68 minutes.


dirkdeheer said...

very solid race Jake, slowly but surely moving up in the DC-ranks! I was waiting for you to come and get me that last (very long) straight! How about 15 guys under 15.30!

KLIM said...

Yes, I was hoping to catch up and break open the duel you were engaged in and make one last assault with you at sub-15...but it was not too be.