Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How does Danny Hart SIT DOWN with BALLS that big!

I saw this on the Science of Sport "Best Sports Videos of the Year" blog post. If we could get announcers like that for running events, broadcast race commentary might even  be popular!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

GNRCYO race report

I've been waiting for this race all week. Not entirely because of my excitement at another chance to set a fast time either. There was certainly that, but also a feeling that it was good time to reach a caesura--soon. My ankles felt a bit complainy, similar to the ignored signals I felt in late July prior to an enforced period of low activity due to Achilles pain. More importantly, psychologically, I felt like I was peaking out. Rationally (from external measurements such as races and track workouts) I know I'm in the best physical shape of the cycle, but mentally I start to flake a little--not wanting to get up for hard workouts, not really excited about planning what I'm going to do next week.

I deliberately decided not to dwell on this before today's race, however. Instead I just thought about last Tuesday's workout and how well it went. "5:22s", I thought to myself. "I'm physically ready; I can totally run that pace!"

My goals were simple: PR in under 17 minutes, kick home the last 0.1mi in under 30s, OK, winning a race is a tricksy goal--you never know who's going to show up. But winning at CFC wasn't without effect in the way I saw myself, i.e., as a front-runner, imparting that funny, sometimes delusional, usually (but not always) valuable mental state that tells you "yes, absolutely" it should be you out there with the whole field at your back and nothing but empty road in front.

So, when the race started, I did exactly that. After the first 200m or so I captured the lead, spinning down the long decline of Albemarle street to the first mile marker. For brief period the noise of the chasers faded and it was silence, but then I heard foot-strikes behind me. I ignored them and carried on.

Last year I had opened in 4:59, which was bad. This year I was hoping for 5:15, only slightly under-pace. I hit the mile marker and...5:15. On the money.

I held the lead through the half-way, but after turning the rotary, my invisible companion stepped up and took the lead. I tucked in and did my best not to lose contact, hoping to burn past him once back on Alebmarle street.

Mile two in 10:38. My brain informed me, quite incorrectly, that I had just run a 5:19.

Back onto Albemarle. The TriValley guy had opened up perhaps 20m. It wasn't looking too good. Then a CMS guy jetted by me--worse on worse. At this point I had already more or less made my play. Naturally I wonder (like I always do) if I could have toughed out a few more seconds, perhaps hung with the CMS guy for at least some way while he charged up the hill.

In this case, though, it was not to be. I did have one more goal though. After cresting the Albemarle hill, I started pulling for all I was worth back toward the finish. mile 3 in 16:04.

"16:33", I thought.

The last stretch. I saw the clock, 16:20-something, and kicked through in 16:29. 16:29! Unbelievable! Indeed, yes. I checked my watch: 16:49. OK, more believable. Still, that last 0.1 seems a bit long--I don't think I was running a 7:30 mile pace for the final kick!

So, final verdict? I'm happy. What a fantastic run it's been since August, when I had to go 10 whole days without running to let my Achilles rest. I'm feeling grateful that my body gave me the chance to deliver performances better than I could have guessed a year ago. It's so easy to take being healthy for granted--while you're healthy. I'm trying not to.

As a side-note, it's cool to see how this race's field has progressed since its first running in 2007. Then, our own Zac Laidley took it in 16:58, with the next runner almost a minute behind. The next year it was won in 18:03. Then in 2009 Andy took it in 17:32, with only one other runner under 18. Last year Kevin Gray won in 16:49, with 3 runners total under 18, including me. Then, this year: 5 runners total under 18, and 3 under 17. I will flatter myself into thinking that running strong from the front today maybe helped with that.

Final results: 3rd overall, in 16:49 (5:25 pace).

Here are some random photos for you. These are actually from the Norwood TT, two weeks ago: