Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dress Rehearsal

As I’ve done in the past before Cherry Blossom, I went out last night, the Wednesday before the Sunday race, and essentially ran a dress rehearsal. More of a confidence booster/pace simulator than a workout, my goal at such a rehearsal is to run 2-2.5 miles at my 10-mile goal pace. This year that pace happens to be 5:12. To be honest, 5:12s might be too fast, but I am going to give myself the opportunity to potentially run a halfway decent time instead of racing too conservative. After all, it is Cherry Blossom and I’ve never run a “bad” race here, but more importantly, this is a big deal. 26:00 for 5 miles won’t kill me, and it’ll give me the opportunity to be in contact with the dead and the dying during the second half of the race. Attempting this pace does make me a bit nervous though. While I’ve been working out around five minutes per mile, those workouts are essentially only 5 miles of speed work broken up with rest and recovery. And, while it’s easy to predict a sustainable 5k pace after running those types of workouts, a 10-mile pace is a different story. Then there is this fact: I haven’t run a race longer than 5k for almost two years (May 2010). Therefor, Cherry Blossom will be a real test. Not only a test to prove how fit I am, but also a test to see how well my legs/injury area will hold up over a sustained period of racing. I suspect next Monday could be painful, but before Monday, there is Sunday…

Last night Dickson decided to join me, which was a huge relief, as I didn’t really want to run the workout alone. We’re also right around the same level of fitness right now…for that distance at least. After a 4-mile warm-up we took off down the Capital Crescent Trail like angry hornets. I foolishly relied on the GPS in the first 30-seconds and adjusted my pace accordingly. When I looked down again, I realized we were running 4:45s. We soon “found” our pace and hit the mile in 5:09, just 3 seconds fast. Not too off, considering we were running downhill. We settled into 5:11s and cruised through 2.5 in about 12:57, essentially pace. We shut it down and jogged back to the track. Dix and I had a long talk about race plans and pace, which went on for what seemed like hours. When I finally arrived back at the track and found my way home, I thought even more about it. I chiseled “5:12” and “26:00” into my brain. Then I wrote “5:12, 10:24, 15:36…” etc neurotically on paper in order to know these splits ad nauseum so that my savant-like brain on Sunday works on keeping pace rather than adding numbers.

I ran an easy 7 on Thursday morning with Sam and Karl. Sam has a huge race tomorrow night in Raleigh and he’s certainly ready to turn some heads. Hopefully he’ll crush the 5,000 and that good mojo will waterfall down throughout the team and we’ll all find our stride on Sunday. The weather also looks to cooperate (50/sunny at race time) and, with GRC having over 20 runners racing, it’s sure to be a good day.

I’ve got a bit of momentum on my side and I’m going to use it. Until race day, I’ll run easy, rest and visualize personal victory.

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