Yesterday was the first race of the year for me and I had a goal time and pace from Coach. The goal was to run a sub 1:10:00 for the 15k with a pace around 7:30/mile. As I mentioned on Friday, I looked up the times from 2010 and a 7:30/mile pace would put me around 4th/5th and that is a great way to start the year.
Friday January 7th: Friday is a rest day from my training and I have difficulty watching my food intake because I tend to eat as if I am training and burning calories. I took this into account this Friday and really held back on my food intake until dinner. Dinner we went to a mexican restaurant in Grapevine, Texas called Uncle Julio’s for my best-WO(man’s) birthday.
We had a big party and we wound up waiting around for a table and let’s just say the chips were being consumed. No alcohol but I could not refrain from consuming these chips. We finally sat down to dinner and I ordered the veggie fajita platter. The first two I had with tortillas but then just ate the veggies without them. I went home and say how my stomach looked and I was scared about how that would react with the race on Saturday. I was nervous. Got to sleep around 10pm and with race day at 8am I should get plenty of rest.
Saturday January 8th:
5:30am – I wake up and get out of bed. Brush my teeth and notice that my stomach is not bloated and I feel great. I guess the saying that nobody got fat on vegetables is true. With so much time prior to the race I decide that I can have more calories at breakfast than a normal 100 calories whole wheat thin bread and coffee breakfast. I decide on granola with dried fruit and banana and coffee. I ate this while watching SportsCenter on ESPN. A few minutes later it was the pre-race nerves and bathroom visit. Then about 30 minutes later there it was again. Maybe not pre-race jitters but more like fiber from veggies and black beans.
I get dressed in my spandex/lycra pants, red wick away shirt, Team Baha shirt and wool cap. Pour two GUs into my flask with water and shake it up. Decide against bringing banana with me as it will be at the finish line. This race is sponsored by HoneyMilk so no reason to bring my stock, there will be lots there.
I think about how to get in touch with Allison to meet her at the race site. As soon as I think that she posts on Facebook (yes, we blog and facebook and email stalk each other.) I ask for her number so that I can text her when I am there. Since chip pick up is at the site I decide to leave an hour early for this 15 minute ride to the race site.
As I pull into the parking lot I text Allison and Shannon to let them know that I am there. As it turns out Shannon is right behind me in the lot and she says to me….ah the red shoes. Oh yes, the En Fuego’s are in full force today. (Don’t know about the En Fuego’s? Go here for info on them)
Well, let’s just say that I actually wish my feet were En Fuego b/c I was frozen. I am a warm-blooded Puerto Rican and would rather run in the 60 degree weather than the 30 degree weather. My hands were frozen and so were my feet. I asked Allison if she wanted to warm up and so we did. It was great b/c I got the frozen feeling out of my feet and hands somewhat….until we had to wait for the race start. Not much fun there.
At 8:07am the gun goes off and I am about 10 feet from the starting line. As we move Allison says to me have a great race and I’ll see you at the end. I start trying to pick my way through people and look at my watch and it says 6:58…..too fast?!?! I don’t want to burn out but I need to get through these people. Once through them the pace settles in and I look up and I am in with the front pack. Being mindful of my pace and goals I pull back a tad and finish Mile 1 in 7:15. I am feeling strong and breathing is not labored.
At this point I know I want to be closer to 7:30 so I pull back again and wind up finding a person that I want to pace with. He seems to be keeping a good pace. As I do this I get passed by a handful of guys and I say to myself what coach would say….let them pass now and bury them in the end when they fizzle out. So I stay with my race plan and don’t go for it. As we near the turn around toward mile 2 I notice that some of these guys are fizzling out already and then I see the local neighborhood Iron(wo)man. Running is her game but if I can be close to her I am doing great. We make the turn at Mile 2 and my pace for that mile was 7:25. I then see Shannon, Jill, Stephanie and Allison and wish them all good luck.
Between Mile 2 and Mile 3 we hit a hill and I pass my pacer as he does not handle the hill well. Instead of leg pumping he shuffles. This makes his stride shorter and harder for him as his breathing becomes labored. I power up the hill with my legs pumping and driving. Coach has me doing strength exercises with weights and pretending to be running and pumping my arms. This works well right here. I cruise up the hill, but then breather boy passes me on the downhill but I am in rhythm and not going to push too hard yet. I finish Mile 3 at a pace of 7:32.
At the Mile 3 point I notice that my pace slows 7:58…..uh-oh I got to comfortable and need to push. Within a few steps I am back down to 7:15 and breather boy can’t keep up, but he does try to pass me and I will have nothing of this. We pass the starting line/finish line and I can hear the crowd and they are cheering the 5k finishers but I am using that as motivation to keep pushing. Mile 4 done at a pace of 7:25 and I am back in the right rhythm.
I begin to pass some of the guys that had passed me earlier. They are laboring and I am in a good flow. Breather boy catches up to me again on the downhill and I let him pass me and use him as a blocker for the wind off the lake (not that there was much.) We make the turn in the loop and it’s back uphill. I push back and pass and can hear the grunt of “How the F is this guy passing me so easily on the uphills?” I smile and think to myself …..’gotcha!!!’ I keep on chugging and after this uphill is a quick downhill and then back to uphill and I know he can’t keep up with that. I am moving and finish Mile 5 in 7:22.
From Mile 5 to Mile 6 it is fairly flat and I can hear him and his breathing and shuffle. Again I don’t want to kill myself and want to hold something in the bank for the last 5k. I am cruising at this point and not really pushing to hard. We are at a gorgeous part of the lake and I am taking it all in. I hit Mile 6 at a pace of 7:31. At this point I know I got 1:10 in the bank but tell myself now is the time to run a 5k like no other.
I make the turn at Mile 6 and now is the time to bury breather boy and take this home. I start to pick up the pace and lo and behold I got passed. Where did this guy come from? I means seriously where did he come from? Yellow shirt with Marine Corps on the back and he cruises past me and I then use him as my passer. We have some tough hill on this part but we are headed back and get that view of the lake again and the sun is just shining off of it and it’s great. Mile 7 done in 7:33. The hills got more of me than I thought they would.
OK, to get to 1:10 and I am doing calculations. Breaking it down and I am looking at something in the range of almost 8:30 I think. I got this but I am upset that yellow shirt passed me and I am keeping up with him. I don’t push and just maintain with him. We are chugging along and wow….Mile 8 marker is already here. Pace for that mile was 7:19.
At this point I see Iron(wo)man up ahead and start to hunt her down. Feather in my cap if I can catch and pass her. As we get near I yell her name and tell her to keep pushing. I catch her and say to her….we are almost home. She says great race Jason keep on going. I pass her and have a little extra in my step. Oh and breather boy is nowhere to be heard. I am now pushing it and get to Mile 9 in 7:14.
Now I know I got 1:10 in the bag and want to keep on pushing. After the hardest hill of the whole race I then put it into another gear and cruise across the line at a pace of 7:06. I look down at my watch and notice 1:09:29. I know I did it and I know I have a shot at the podium.
:30 later Iron(wo)man finishes. I ran to the restroom, got some water, HoneyMilk and a banana. Saw Shannon cross the finish line. I then walked back toward the 9 mile marker and saw Stephanie and Jill run past. A little bit later came Allison. I ran with her to toward the finish and smiled with pride as she crossed that finish line.
I knew that I had surpassed my goal but how good of a run was it. As it turns out I finished in third place in my age group with a 7:21/mile pace and 41st overall. I was thrilled with the results, but as ever the competitor I wanted to know what the 2nd and 1st place runners did. As it turns out the 2nd place runner finished 8 seconds ahead of me and the 1st place finisher was 9 minutes faster (was he on a bike?)
All in all a great race and I was very impressed with the way the race was conducted by the Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers and will certainly be running in another race held by them. There was plenty of water on the course, and plenty of food and coffee for afterwards. The venue was beautiful as well.
|Shannon, Me, Allison|
|Bib and Medal for Bold in the Cold 15K|