Monday, November 26, 2007

Race Report: Berbee Derby 5k

I hope everybody had a solid Thanksgiving - mine was fantastic. Good food, good company, good pie. What more can one ask for?

So I got up early on Turkey day and headed down the road about 15 minutes to Fitchburg for an annual turkey day 5k. I've never done a 5k, it turns out. In fact, as I think about it, I've never done a 10k. Obviously I've done those races in context of triathlon, but never stand-alone. Huh. Anyway, we had our first snow the night before, big thick wet flakes, and there was a glaze of ice covering the earth, making driving a little slow and thoughts of running seem treacherous. I did think it a good sign when a gaggle of wild turkeys (herd? flock? pride? pack? murder?) were chilling out on the side of the road on my way to the race.

I guess there were 4000 people who raced either the 5k or the 10k that morning. Which is an insane amount of people. I got there early enough to park and have half an hour or so to warm up and stretch out, so I slowly jogged the first half mile back and forth a few times while others warmed up around me, all in various stages of attire, so that the "serious" from the "fun-runners" made themselves apparent. The running path was pretty clear, with just some icy patches here and there that were easily avoided.

I ducked inside a coffeeshop to warm up a bit (it was a cold morning - 20something degrees, but "feels like" 16 degrees) and while I looked out the window listened to two people chatting behind me. They were analyzing their entire year's race schedule, in preparation for Ironman '08, and chatting about how today's race fitted in. If it's any indication of my general sense of the topic at this moment (I am usually all kinds of down for any conversation, however lacking cohesion to the real world around us, of anything Ironman), I found their conversation boring and I wished they'd shut up. So see, I haven't totally lost perspective.

Which is a good time to recap the day's goals - sub 7:00 miles. When I finished my last triathlon, in September, where I was also chasing sub7 and finished with 7:04, I thought a 5k running race, free of the energy expenditures of a bike and swim beforehand, was in the bag. As I discussed in my last post, I haven't been able to nail this strategy down in training. (I appreciate everybody's comments to that post, by the way.) I knew going into this race that the likelihood of accomplishing this goal was pretty small.

As I sat in the midst of the rest of the gaggle of 5kers (herd? flock? pride? pack? murder?), I heard "X! There he is!" and turned to see my buddy RobbyB standing two feet in front of me, where I guess he'd been this whole time. We shared a greeting and chatted about the weather and the day and the race. Cool guy, that RobbyB. I forgot to ask him his opinion about the roundabout we ran through on the course.

So the gun goes off, and we're all trampling down the road. I tried to find my 7:00 pace and hold it for the first two miles, hoping if I did that, it'd leave me with enough in the tank for a push in the last mile.

I clocked mile 1 at a 6:45 pace, and felt good at the 1.5ish mile turnaround - this was encouraging, since lately after my first mile at pace I fall apart to stumbling uselessness. At the two mile mark I was starting to feel it, but clocked a 7:04 pace. Right on schedule. Alas, the road then shifted slightly uphill for most of the rest of the run, and as this happened about the same time I hit my proverbial wall, my last mile was considerably slower - 8 something. I finished in 22:56 - more than a minute off my goal time, with a pace of 7:23. Good for 12th of 68 in my age group (RobbyB was top 5! Whoohoo!), for those intently scoring at home on age group finishes of a turkey day walk/run.

So, that's that. The race was a ton of fun, and I did my very best, which is a good way to feel after any race. My pursuit of sub7 continues, and next time I try it it will be when I'm back on point, firing on all cylinders. And don't think for a second I won't chase that 7 down sometime, because I will, and when I do, it'll be sweet as wine. Sometimes I think: if I had a shred of natural speed in my body, this game wouldn't be so hard. But there's no point to that, and besides. More interesting this way. And, this is a good time to remind oneself that three years ago if one would have run a 5k on this side of a 7:30 pace, one would have peed himself in glee. So. Everything's relative.

Moving on: "Phase 1" of the 3 Phase training regiment that will bring me and 'Zilla into the Racine Half Iron this summer is over. The point of Phase 1 - just to stay active, healthy, and not get out of shape, finish with a strong 5k: Done and done. Next up - Phase 2, which is base training. Now we start concentrating more on long slow running, getting our systems in shape to hit Phase 3, later next spring, in solid form. I'll be looking for an early spring (late March/early April) 13.1 as the goal race for this phase, and the objective is to P.R. that race, or have very clearly understood reasons for why a P.R. wasn't possible (note - gluttony at the plate of one's mother-in-law's cookies is not a valid reason). The attitude now is less "just glad to get a workout in", and a bit more with the gameface on.

State of the union: I feel great. Not burned out, Phase 1 didn't overtrain me, nothing like that. Looking forward to getting back into endurance-minded training, as I've really been doing short speed stuff since late this summer. I have some weight to lose, but not too much and who cares, we all do, it's November. And starting today, all the bad-for-you stuff is out of the house, and nutrition is back on point.

Well. At least until Christmas.


TZilla said...

Atta boy! Mad props for getting out on Thanksgiving to race.

I think it's safe to say I miserably failed Phase 1 of training. I basically did the exact opposite of what was laid out for me.

I own Phase 2, zing zing!

RobbyB said...

Nice race! Turns out I was a minute behind my goal, too. Coming back up those hills really did me in.

And yes, that roundabout is not well designed. It's developer designed injustices like those that give us traffic engineers issues.

xt4 said...

Laughing out loud at RobbyB - JLT in the house!

Steve Stenzel said...

Nice run!! And it's always great bumping into Robby B!

bbieberitz said...

Nice run! You fast guys suck! just kidding...

I did the Berbee Derby also but the 10k. It is kinda a tradition for the past few years. I would say the ice on the trail sucked. One had to pass in the snow, which froze the feet, but it was still fun! Great job!

Triteacher said...

Phew! I'm so glad Robby checked in re: the roundabout. ;)

Good race, X - yep, keep the fire stoking for those 7s. The victory will be all the sweeter.