Sunday, March 22, 2015
Race Report: Van Metre 5 Miler (and the week)
This photo isn't relevant to my post at all...I just thought it was funny. Now, on to the week...
I ran an easy 9 miles from The Line on Monday night never dipping below 7:00/mile. I stayed entirely on trails, which, by the way, are completely awesome right now - soft, but not muddy. Although it's not very warm yet, it's definitely starting to feel and look like spring. The color green is even returning to the landscape.
On Tuesday morning, I ran an easy 10.5 miles -- the Walter Reed Annex loop. My legs were definitely tired from running 20 miles in 12 hours so quickly after a hard race, but they're feeling strong.
On Wednesday morning, I ran an easy 4.5 miles. That evening, I hit B-CC again. The "track group" was running 3 x mile hard and the "road group" was running 5 x mile at about 10k pace. I wanted to get in something hard, but I knew I didn't have 3 hard miles in me, so I ran a "warm-up" mile with the road group (5:07) and then joined the fast group for their remaining two miles. My second mile was 4:39, but I struggled on mile # 3 (4:48). Still, it was a fine workout and it was good to get down to this gear. I'm sure I would have been thrilled with this effort a few weeks back. I was breathing incredibly hard and, as a result, I had an acid-like burn going on in my chest for the rest of the week. 9.5 miles that evening and 14 for the day.
I ran super easy on Thursday (9) and Friday (8) again never dipping below 7:00/mile. In fact, all week I'd either run above 7:00 pace or below 5:00 (low) pace. I didn't run a single mile starting with the number "6" and only ran one starting in "5". #stupidrunningstats
On Saturday, I ran the Van Metre 5 Miler out in Ashburn, VA. I've run this race 4 times (I think) and although I don't think it's a fast course, it's definitely a solid race. Plus, I like the various up- and down-hills and turns throughout -- lots of gear shifting. After a 3-mile warm-up with Outlaw, I headed to the starting line. Old Chris Sloane was there and, based on internet scuttlebutt, I knew he was in good shape. When "Go" was yelled into the megaphone, Old Sloane took off -- quite quickly, too. Outlaw and I ran side-by-side in his wake doing our best to run any tangents he might have missed. Unfortunately for Sloane, there was no pace car so he was forced to rely on course markers and arrows. Although they're numerous, one really needs to focus and pay attention in order to follow the route. To make matters worse, the volunteers lining the course weren't very vocal. Having run the race before, this impacted Sloane more than me. I supposed this help me, from a competitive standpoint, but I felt bad for him all the same.
We hit the first mile in 5:01, though the man at the mile mark shouted out 4:44. I didn't look at my watch (until after the race), so I assumed 4:44 was our real split, which worried me to a degree. I dialed my cadence back, just a bit, and allowed Outlaw to make a move. I trailed Outlaw to the 2 mile mark (5:07 -- the man at mile marker # 2 shouted "10:10" so his split was more on point). At this point, I was entirely confused with what pace we were running, so I took my first glance at my GPS to get a better sense. I felt very good, but couldn't keep pace with Outlaw or Sloane, who was inching away. I took another couple glances at my GPS and it read between 4:58 and 5:03 (pace) so I knew I was humming along pretty good. If that was indeed the case, I wasn't going to beat myself up by losing real estate to my competition -- too much. I hit mile 3 in 15:13 and did my best to press the last 10+ minutes of the race, though I caught myself falling asleep at times. I wasn't gaining on Outlaw (in fact, he was pulling away from me slightly) so I kind of drifted in no-man's-land. My final two miles were noticeably slower (5:12 then 5:11), but I never felt as if I was giving up and all and all felt pretty damn strong throughout. The race course has always been traditionally long, so my finish time was 25:55 (vs. 25:36 for 5 miles on the GPS), but, either way, my time was about 20 seconds faster than I ran here last year. I suppose I was happy with the effort; it "feels" about right for where I am at right now and it certainly bodes well for the rest of the season. Outlaw and I ran an easy 3 mile cool-down and then beat feat. 11 for the day.
On Sunday, I ran a solo 16 miles out at Riley's Lock. As I was getting ready to start, I saw Old Sloane running tempo pace south along the towpath. However, I never ran much faster than 6:30 pace, which ended up probably being too fast as it was; my hamstring was aching near the end.
77 miles for the week, including a solid workout and a solid race. This might be my highest weekly total in a couple of years. I seem to be saying things like this a lot lately. Things are definitely progressing, but Sunday's niggle was a reminder to take note of my training and make sure I don't overdue it. That said, I feel as if things are on the right track. Technicians working the stat desk at FOX HALL suggest I'm rounding into 51:30-51:40 10-mile shape, but of course there are plenty of factors in the next few weeks that will impact my fitness prior to race day. I'm hoping a few hard efforts between now and then will ratchet up my leg speed some and give me a chance to run even faster -- especially if race-day conditions warrant a fast day. I'll be in Los Angeles the weekend before Cherry Blossom, so I plan on adding an extra race to my schedule -- the Santa Anita Classic 5k, which starts and ends at the Santa Anita Park (of Seabiscuit fame). It seems to be a fast race and it will serve as one final hard effort before I put on the flats to race 10 miles.
I'm also looking for a fast half marathon to run in mid-late May...so if anyone has any suggestions, I am all ears...