Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hobby Jogging: 3/12/11 - Raleigh, NC - Run for the Oaks 5k

Race number 5 (of 6 to score) for the Second Empire Grand-Prix is in the books! Today was a nice bounce back after a lackluster effort last Saturday. The weather was cool and the course was deceivingly tough, but I was still able to throw down a decent time to hold serve in the Grand-Prix standings.

I got up to the race at Moore Square in Downtown Raleigh about 45 minutes before the gun and picked up my number and chip before heading out on an easy 1.5 mile jog with John Simons. Felt decent. Was a little worried as my runs this week consisted of an easy Sunday 9 miler with Mary Aiken Barrow, a moderate 6.5 miler Monday in Winston (with 2x800 pickups in the middle at just under 6:00 pace) and an easy 6 miler at Umstead on Thursday (with 2x800 and 8x100 strides at the end of the run). I threw in Ab Ripper X on Wednesday because my leg hurt too much from the pounding to run, but wanted to do something physical. 30 miles per week ain't gonna play if I want to run with the big boys, so I will focus this next week on healing before ramping it up again for my last Grand-Prix race and of course my return to the Boston Marathon.

Got in a few strides and got over to the start on Person Street. The whistle blew and we were off. I drove the course last night and realized there were a bunch of long, little hills. I wanted to make sure I had the juice to finish strong, so I went out fairly conservatively. About a half mile in, I was already a good ways behind John, Brent Hale and Rodney Scott and was a little worried I may not have it again. Started to dig in on the slight downhill and began to separate from the B-pack that was right on my tail. Hit the mile in 5:38-ish and made the turnaround at 2k into Mordecai to head back uphill. Mile 1.25 to 2.25 was the hardest section of the course, but I stuck to my plan and soldiered on past the 2 mile at 11:27 or so before the slow rolling last mile. I wasn't gaining much ground, but I wasn't losing any either. At 2.6 miles, I was at 15 flat. I really wanted to break 18 and knew I'd have to run a 3:00 last half mile and change for whatever tangents I didn't run (Garmin measured 3.12). This is when I shed my gloves and dug in. Started to gain ground on Rodney and made the last turn to hit the 3 mile in 17:25 and roll the last .12 at 4:52 pace (per the Garmin dump) to finish strong in 17:56 for 6th overall and 1st in the 30-34 age group.

I can stand strongly behind this race as my effort was strong mentally and physically and it was my 3rd consecutive 5k under 18 minutes (4th if you count my 17:51 solo tempo on the track). I will be able to hold onto 2nd in the Grand-Prix standings when they are released and have all but clinched top 5 barring a collapse at race #6 in 3 weeks (St. Timothy's Spring Sprint). Good day in Raleigh, NC!

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