AM: (no watch) :: 3M
PM: 8km race (24:14); 3M wm/cd :: 11M
The first official "race" of the year. Everyone comes out of winter hiding and blows out the tubes on Summit Ave. Today also served as the debut of the new, merged GEAR team. Some of us got to wear snazzy new jerseys.
Leading up to the race I was feeling pretty good. The nagging aches and pains were nearly gone. I felt loose and pretty fired up to run. The conditions weren't ideal, but it could have been worse given the forecast. All in all, it was a good day to run.
The first mile was more of a struggle than I expected, given the speedwork I'd done over the past few weeks. It seemed like it was difficult for anyone to really push the pace. I was determined to run the best time I could today so I did my best to set a fast tempo. The wind was a factor on the way out and, even with my efforts, we came through the mile in a big pack at 5:00. If you told me before the race that we would go through that slow I wouldn't have believed it. I didn't want to be much slower than 4:50, but the conditions...well, excuses, excuses.
Anyway, mile 2 had a good bit of downhill and I was able to force the pace some more as we came through in 9:50. I was really surprised to be leading, but I definitely was not on my own. Without looking back I could sense we probably had a pack 15-20 strong.
As we approached William Mitchell, Jeremy Polson moved up on my shoulder. I know that he has been running a lot of miles over the winter. While he probably wasn't "race sharp" he certainly not someone to regard lightly. I was also aware that Joey Keillor was just off my shoulder, probably casually jogging along. He always makes it look so easy.
We had the wind in our face on the way out, so I knew there would be someone antsy people behind me once we came around William Mitchell and headed back with the wind at our backs. Of course the wind should have been at our backs but it still seemed like a headwind. It was more intermittent now so the pace quickened and I decided to let someone else take the reigns for awhile. Truthfully, I wasn't feeling too sharp either. My calves felt tight and I did not feel very relaxed. I couldn't find a good rhythm.
Jeremy and Joey moved into the lead and I tucked in along with a couple other runners. The return trip was full of surges and people covering. We passed 3M in 14:49 (uphill). I was hanging on at this point, hoping I would feel better once we crested the hill.
And I did, somewhat. I moved up on Jeremy's shoulder and threw in a couple surges of my own. I didn't hear a 4M split, but all I knew at that point is I had to treat this like the last mile of an interval session. I felt strong, but Jeremy looked strong as well. Joey was lurking too. Nobody could seem to break away. I could picture a photo finish coming up. As we approached the yellow gates at the starting line I knew we had about four blocks to go. I surged again and Jeremy covered and surged. I covered and surged. We were neck and neck with a block to go. I finally found some of that relaxation I had been looking for and put on one final all out sprint and managed to beat Jeremy to the tape (barely). Thank you indoor track.
My time of 24:14 wasn't quite what I was looking for. I wanted a PR today, but I was also was looking to enter sub-24 territory. I think if we had a little better day weather-wise I would have been close, but I don't like to get into speculation like that. Given the conditions of the day I ran the best race I could...and I won. Bonus. What does this say about my 100km preparations? Who knows? I feel I've done almost everything I can do prepare, but I'll find out for sure April 7.
Human Race results
Team results will probably show up here in the near future
Glossy Digital photos from the race
Wayne's pictures (thanks Wayne)