Sunday, July 02, 2006

The day after

Please excuse any obvious spelling errors over the next several posts. I don't have my computer with me, so I'm posting through my blackberry ( aka Crackberry)

Race update: I really feel the need to add a few more details concerning yesterday's 5k in Phoenix.

The course was the toughest I've run. It started out at the backend of a parking lot a mile north of the main entrance into South Mountain Park off of Central Ave. There were about 550 people there, but I completed my warm up and got into the chute 10 minutes before the gun. There were several High School cross country teams around me plus an assortment of older runners that I usually see at these races. In addition, David, another local race regular was a few feet in front of me carrying a large American Flag on a staff. The rest of the field was packed in behind me.

When the gun went off, everyone in front of me started running. I didn't need to weave my way through slower runners and immediately got over to the right side of the course to give plenty of room for faster runners to pass. David's flag was unfurled and flutering 15 feet in front of me.

3 weeks ago, the same fellow had passed me at the 2 mile mark and finished somewhere in around 21:30, so I wasn't too suprised that he was in front of me now. What suprised me was that he wasn't pulling away.

After a short distance we exited the parking lot via the access road and turned south on Central, running up the hill towards the main entrance. The roads were not closed for this event, and even though it was 6:30 AM, there were still cars on the road. I contine to be suprised how drivers believe they should be allowed to move forward as 500 runners are coming at them. I'm sure they really had somewhere important to go..

The first part of the hill wasn't too bad,  probably a 5 percent grade and  it flattens out at the Park Entrance as we passed the 1 mile marker. As we were going up the hill, I shortened my stride and upped the turn over rate.

Although I didn't have a watch running, I did have my Garmin on to record the miles. I ran this first mile in 7:06. In the previous 5K I ran the first mile in 7:09, so it was a good thing that I didn't have a clue how fast I had just run up hill. I'm sure I would have convinced myself that I was going to blow out again.

After passing the main entrance, we made a left turn on a side street and continued climbing on the 2nd mile. The hill got a lot steeper on this section and people.around me started walking. At some point the leaders passed us flying down the hill at mach 3. I had passed David and his flag and continued to chug up the hill with a very short stride. I wasn't worried about pace, I just tried to stay within my own race.

Thankfully, the hill ended at the turn around point and now it was my turn to fly down the hill. However, I have zero experience running down steep hills and it showed. I was actually thankful to get back down to the Park entrance as we passed the. 2 mile marker. David passed me again near the mile mark, but again, he wasn't pulling away. My time on the 2nd mile was 7:16.

Most of the 3rd mile was down hill. I caught up to David and briefly chatted about carrying the falg. The guy certainly has stronger arms than me. I couldn't have done it. We turned off of Central onto the parking lot access road again and the course flattened out. My legs were shacking a bit and I was having trouble keeping the faster tempo I'd enjoyed coming down the hill (dah!). However, I did manage to run the 3rd mile in 6:46.

The last 0.1 mile was a blur. I went through the gate and noticed that the clock read 22:05. But it didn' sink in until I had my chip removed and walked back around to the finish line to start my cooll down. The clock read 22:45. Then it hit me. I had just run a 5k in 90 heat on a very hilly course substantially under my PR.


I was scheduled to run a 12 mile easy run this morning, but cut it back to 10. I slept in until 5:30 and didn't get out until 6:00. Average pace was 9:20. This isn't too bad for the morning after a race.

I hope all of you in the US have a great 4th of July holiday and wish everyone a great week of running. Life is good.



Dusty said...

Congratulations on your new PR!!

Okay – I’m in Dallas now, but all my years of running were in AZ. I’m trying to picture the start – where was it at? There is a main entrance to the base of South Mountain off of Central and it is all paved – is that where you were? I have run up that before (hard to forget something that painful), but I can’t imagine it in a race... the first mile though was more of a gradual (in comparison) incline on a long switch back. I love the details you add about the area – reminds me of the old days and makes me want to run more. :)

Again – fantastic job on the new PR!!!

Phil said...

Hi Dusty,

Best on luck on your re-entry into the sport of running. I tried looking for your blog, but didn't find anything. Could you provide the link in your next post? Your profile doesn't have a valid reference.

I'll post the exact race details once I get back to a computer. It's a bit hard to do from a a black berry.

The entrance I'm talking about is the main entrance to the park along Central where the bike riders park their cars. The really steep part of this course was off a road immediatly to the south of the guard house. As I said, I'll post an aerial picture of the course once I get back on a computer.

Good luck running this week. Keep us posted on your progress.