Sunday, August 10, 2008

Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn

The 5th and final 5K of the Arizona Road Racers' Summer Series occurred this morning on yet another hot and humid Arizona morning - go figure. Gun time 6:30AM; and once again, 600+ hardy Arizonians (plus me) showed up to take on the Arizona desert.

This morning's race was in South Mountain Park and presented perhaps the toughest course of the 5 race series; an out-and-back with an up-hill outbound leg that gets progressively steeper as the race climbs deeper into the park. Loads of fun.

I didn't take this race too serious. I'm presenting at an industry conference next week and instead of training this week, I spent nearly every waking hour completing my presentation before the submital deadline on Thursday. I probably didn't run more than 5 miles Monday through Saturday. In addition, I wasn't in any mood to get up any earlier than absolutely necessary to drive 30 miles south and make a 6:30 start. So, I set my alarm for 5AM and hoped for the best. I got out of the house at 5:35, got to the park at 6:10, got my bib at 6:20, pinned on my bib number and attached my timing chip by 6:25 and jog over to the start line for what would have to constitute a warm up.

I arrived at the starting area at 6:29 - one minute to spare - can't beat that. The place was packed. I stood around at the very back of the pack for a few seconds and the horn went off starting the race. Don't know how long it took to get to the start line, but I spent the first 1/2 mile weaving in and out of traffic and dodging 3 or 4 abreast walkers (one day I will figure out why people walking at the beginning of a race feel they need to start near the front of the pack).

Somewhere in here, a 6+ foot tall woman of college age passed me by. Since I was running with no particular strategy, I latched onto her left shoulder and ran with her up the hill to the first mile marker (8:07) were I surged by her before the steep climb to the turn point. She jogged by me half way up the steep section and I surged by her again, thinking (wrongly) that I could beat her to the top of the hill and then out kick her on the down hill - I'm male after all - that's just the way these things are suppose to work.

By the time I reach the turn point, the sun was well over the horizon and the desert was starting to heat up rapidly. I'd more or less trashed my quads playing tit-for-tat with the college kid on the way up and paid for my dalliance on the way down. She passed me within 100 yards after the turn and I had nothing with which to respond ... she just kept running away. Instead of giving chase, my legs squawked on every footfall down the steep section and continued complaining until I passed the 2 mile marker (8:02).

I had expected mile 3 be a joy; a nice downhill, not too steep, not too flat - pretty vistas - who could ask for anything more? Instead, my brain started up a constant chorus of, "WALK WALK WALK". The small collection of synapses that make up the more logical portion screamed back, "are you nuts, we're running down-hill." The internal bickering continued until I could see the buildings near the finish line, although I don't really remember how I got to the finish. The last thing that I can remember is scanning the road ahead for the 3 mile marker, only to have my hopes crushed a couple of times when what I thought to be the placard turned out to be a mirage. I do remember taking a split as I passed the 3 mile point(7:48) and running as fast as I could until I cleared the timing mats at the finish.

24:44 - not my best time this year, but also not my worst - definitely the toughest course however. All in all, a pretty good morning. If you get a chance, go check out my buddy Lisa. Whereas I was totally trashed and could only think about heading off to breakfast, she joined up with her triathlon training group immediately after the race for some hellish bike ride.

I'll be in Seattle most of next week and will try to post again from the road. With any luck, the weather will be a tad cooler than central Arizona.



J~Mom said...

You are such a good friend to help fun me in (and I am such a dork to walk even with a running friend). Not my best race but I did shave 2:17 off from last year. Babysteps. :>)

Great job out there. And, yeah, that bike ride was tough!

J~Mom said...

See, now I am tired. You did not "fun" me in but "RUN" me in. LOL

Gotta Run said...

SOunds like another hot one.. but great one. The a.m. early start sucks but with the heat it is a must.

I just LOVE to read about the chases!! You inspire me :)

Deene said...

this sounds like an excellent course, even better at 6:30 a.m.
good job!!

Ewen said...

Not hardy? I don't believe that Phil!

Sounds like you had a fun race. I can't imagine 600 runners in a 5k - a big field around here is 150.

jen said...

Congrats Phil! Way to push through the tough last mile. Enjoy Seattle. :)

DawnB said...

sounds like the start of most of my races phil you had a nice run. I hope cooler weather is on its way for you

Anne said...

Given the conditions and lack of conditioning, I think you turned in an A+ effort. Good luck with your presentation.

jeanne said...

that's a damn good time for a hot hilly race! i laughed when I read your "walk walk walk" mantra. I'd like to have that word surgically removed from my brain--only during runs though (careful what you wish for and all!)