PHOTO C/O CHERYL YOUNG
On Monday, I ran a very easy 7 on the Rachel Carson Greenway/Northwest Branch Trail in Silver Spring. It was pretty muddy and, in turn, slick, and I collected about 349 gnats and other small bugs on my sternum, in my eyes and up my nose. But, hey, at least the scenery was nice.
I ran a very easy 8 miles on Tuesday morning. Starting to feel good again.
On Wednesday, I decided to not run in the morning, but met the team at B-CC for a workout that evening: 4 x 800m (3:00 rest) - 2:23, 2:22, 2:20, 2:18; 4 x 400m (2:00 rest) - 66, 65, 64, 63. The 63 might have been the fastest 400m split I've run in a couple years. It was the perfect workout for me and I felt very happy with this effort, though my stomach was killing me after the race as it does often after hard/fast workouts. In fact, it still hurt well into the next morning so I decided to take Thursday off (was going to take Friday off already). 9 miles for the day.
On Friday, I ran a moderately paced 9 miles in Cabin John/Cell Phone Field. I felt very good.
On Saturday, I ran a very easy 45 minutes with Tex, Luff and Blur from Old Angler's Inn. It was flat, slow, soft and easy...just the way I like it (when running a day prior to a race). I did 4 x strides then ate an egg sandwich.
On Sunday, I awoke at 5:40, took a quick hot shower, downed some oatmeal and slurped down some black gold. Less than an hour later, Blur was at my doorstep with his automobile. From there we proceeded to chug up Rockville Pike for the always-fast Pike's Peek 10k. The starting line (and staging ground) was shifted about a 1/2 mile further away than it had been from past years, which, admittedly, threw a little bit of a wrench in our warm-up, bag drop and bathroom plans. As a result, I ran a 4 mile warm-up, but never had time for strides. Naturally, this was my own fault.
The word "Go" was barked into the microphone and the 3,000, or so, runners in the race began to lean forward. I was tucked away on the far left side of the line and had a great start, but didn't want to get too carried away so I eased up a bit. As we ascended the large hill (really, the only hill in the race), our paced seemed to crawl. I took a quick glance at the GPS, which read 5:33, so I realized I wasn't running too hard. Still, no one really wanted to take the lead. There were dozens of us bunched up, but by the time we crested the hill, and then made the left onto Rockville Pike, runners seemed to be dialing into their respective paces. I found myself in about 10th, which surprised me since I think 18th (or maybe even low 20s) was the best I'd ever placed here before. I kept thinking a huge pack would come and swallow me up. I took another quick glance at the GPS to get a sense of the pace and this time it read 5:22, so, again, we weren't really rolling. I settled in and found company, once again for the 3rd time this racing season, with Carlos Renjifo. I edged Carlos at Shamrock in mid-March, but he crushed me at Cherry Blossom. A 10k, it seemed, would be good middle ground. We hit the first mile in 5:06 (These are my GPS splits, which I looked at after the race. The clock times were, in fact, a few ticks faster than my GPS splits, for what it's worth). I felt very good and the pace seemed to feel "right". Together we caught Conrad Laskowski and continued to run a similar pace for the next 2 miles (5:05 then 5:04). Ahead of us, I could see Luke Meyer battling a trio or runners in the lead pack. There was a straggler trying to hold onto to the pack, but he was clearly coming back to the masses. Chris Sloane was well off the lead pack battling no one in particular in no-man's-land. Carlos and I kept trading the lead, but I could tell we were slowing down, so I made something of a surge right after mile marker 3. I felt very good and started to focus on the runner who was coming back to us. The long uphill before mile marker 4 slowed my pace a little (5:14) and, to make matters worse, I was starting to develop a side stitch. I kind of lingered in my own no-man's-land for awhile, which is strange because usually there are plenty of people to race with here. I definitely fell asleep a few times, much to my disappointment. Ahead of me, one of the runners from the lead pack was falling back...quickly. As soon as I hit mile 5 (5:11) I started to drive after him. He took a couple of quick glances behind him, but when I passed him it was decisive as we were running two very different paces. I felt like I was rolling, but really I was only running 5:10 pace, which I continued to the end. I crossed the finish line in 6th with a time of 31:51. This is without a doubt the slowest time I've run here, but it's clearly a different course - instead of a downhill last 1/4 mile there is an uphill 1/3rd mile at the start. My thinking was that it was 20-25 seconds slower than the old course, but it's still super fast and a great race all around. I'm definitely pleased with the race and think I competed well amongst my running peers. Most importantly my legs don't feel very beat up at all (after Cherry Blossom, they were a mess), which, hopefully, bodes well going into Broad Street next Sunday.
13.5 for the day. Just 53.5 for the week. The taper is in full effect.