Archive for October, 2009

Pacer

On Saturday I headed to Lake Merritt for my short easy run. Some of the LMJS members were entering a 5K/10K organized by the East Bay Front Runners, and it would be nice to shmooze for a bit before going for a run around the neighborhood. There are some nice hills there that are worthy of inspection. But I wasn’t going to race, oh no. This was an easy day, in between intervals on Friday and a 22-miler on Sunday.
Loraine’s suggestion that I pace her in her 5K was hard to resist, though. “What pace do you want to go? 7:45? OK” Oh well, it’s only 5K. That wont do much harm.
I didn’t join the crush at the start, but waited down the road a little way, running up and down to warm up. Loraine came by and I joined her. We ran around the end of the lake and started along the straight section of Lakeshore. Were we going a little fast? This felt like 7:30. I turned my attention to the Garmin. As I’ve mentioned before, Garmins don’t work reliably at Lake Merritt, and mine had been showing some weird paces. It had a period of lucidity and confirmed 7:30 or close to it. Hmm. Her breathing seems OK. There was another woman in front of us with a pacer of her own, so we tucked in behind them and picked off some runners who had gone out too fast. At mile 2, Loraine looked at her watch and said “I can’t think. What twice 7:45?” “15” I lied. Jeepers, she doesn’t know how fast we’re going. This had better work. I think it will. It’s a good sign that she can still talk. Just then the pair in front faltered and we passed them.
“OK, we’re into the final third. You’re doing good!” Loraine’s repartee was down to an occasional monosyllable, but she gave me to understand that this was not fun. It is a truth universally acknowledged that the third mile of a 5K race is not fun. She held pace, though. I slowed just a little for the uphill along Grand Avenue, and was gratified when she started to accelerate again when it flattened out. I waited until we were 100 yards from the finish and instructed “If you have anything left in the tank, start burning it now!”, but there wasn’t much left for a kick. I think the time was 23:33. Second woman and a PR. Plus I learned a few things about pacing. Things not to say include “This is about my marathon pace”. She later remarked “I thought about 26 miles and felt a wave of nausea”. Also not well received: “My Garmin says we just ran a 13-minute mile!”. I think she’s forgiven me though.

I had promised myself six miles so set off around the lake again, more slowly this time. I caught up with Jack C, my teammate at the Tahoe Relay. He had got injured at that event (achilles and calf), but six weeks of physio and cycling had put him to rights, and now here he was on his last long run before the NYC Marathon. He was on his seventh and final circuit of the lake, and was glad to have someone to run with to keep his pace up. Good luck on November 1st, Jack.

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Race: San Jose Rock ‘n Roll Half, 2009

What a difference a week makes. This time last week I was moping about my less-than-dazzling 15K, and today? well…

I had boldly put 1:33 as my predicted finish time on the entry, and was rewarded with a place in start corral 1. I had done my mini taper (3 days, we marathoners can be parsimonious when tapering for other races), hydrated, rested, all that jazz.  The weather was cool and we were sheltered from any wind. Now I was standing in the corral, feeling a little old amongst all these (mostly) young speedys. Those accustomed to standing further back at these affairs can take heart from the fact that the announcer is still inaudible from the front. “Blah blah blah blah…   Blah blah blah…   Crack!“. No problem hearing the gun.

For the first mile I was guided by the 3:30 pace leader who was 50 yards ahead. He would be doing around 6:50 pace as opposed to my target 7:05-ish. I needed to let him gradually slide further away. This mostly worked, producing a first 5K split at 21:36 (6:56 pace) – slightly fast, but not ridiculous.

After the pacer was too far away to gauge distance I was using the Garmin for pace guidance, which was probably a bad idea. It was indicating about 6:58 when I was in fact closer to 7:10, which slowed me slightly. I Should have been checking my mile splits the old fashioned way. There were trees lining much of the route, which probably didn’t help, but It’s good to remember that Garmins are not super accurate at the best of times. All paces and time in this report are from the chip-timing mats.

The second 5K took 21:56 (7:03 pace). I was getting into a groove now, and relying on feel more. The cast of characters in front of me stabilized. One was distinctive. A tall muscular guy with diamond studs, a pink running skirt, and sheer tights. He was quite a long way ahead of me at one point, but I was gradually reeling him in along with some others. As sometimes happens, I slowed a bit, even though I was passing more people than were passing me. When others slow down, you have to spot it early and disengage from them. The stretch from 10K to 10 miles took 27:10 (7:11 pace).

I was getting a little too comfortable and needed to start pushing more. At this point a powerful looking guy with  a buzz cut passed me, and yelled a greeting to some spectators. The runner next to me asked him if he’d gone to the local college, and he delivered  a lengthy reply while running backwards in front of us at 7:05 pace. It was a stunt, of course, but quite an impressive one. Also possibly an expensive one. He dropped back shortly after, and I didn’t see him again. Skirt guy was also gone, and I was overhauling quite a number of people now, gradually accelerating to the finish. The final 5K took 21:34 (6:56 pace).

Final time: 1:32:18 (7:03 pace)
310th place overall (of 9892)
8th in age group (of 341).
Age Grade: 75.1%

Not too shabby. My pacing is coming along, but could still use work. I was a little slow in the middle section.

But more importantly. This was 27 seconds per mile faster than that 15K last week. That’s more like it!


Race PRs

5K20:43 (LMJS 6/28/09
10K43:44
12K54:36 (Across Bay 3/21/10)
15K1:09:51 (LMJS 19/27/09)
Half1:31:28 (Kaiser 2012
Marathon 3;13:14 (CIM '11)

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