Thursday, March 06, 2008

Shamrock and Roll

One thing that has definitely changed for me when it comes to road races is my desire to warm-up before the race.

I got to the race about 40 minutes before it started, quickly registered and went out and ran about a mile and an half. After that I went straight to the starting line, did my strides and picked the straightest course I could through the start by doing about 20 stride-outs. The start is not as all straight- the street kind of winds it way up the road, but you can run a perfectly straight line if you want.

Surprisingly, people didn't really want to stand right on the line. So I was pretty amazed that as we went to turn the first corner I was in about 30th place and some clown in black cut me off at the corner like it was a 1500 indoor track meet. As there was ice at the corner, I let the man in black cut right across me, something I usually wouldn't do. Then it was into the canyon of everlasting night there at the turn and we were running uphill into the wind.

I looked at all the people in front of me and forced myself to stick with my plan. I mean, it was disheartening- I have rarely run a race this size (less than a thousand people) and been so far back place-wise so early (later yes, this early no). And it didn't exactly look like the usual crowd of kids, high school students, and the terminally insane. But I started up the hill- and noticed what looked like a guy in a red-white and blue jacket running on the sidewalk to our right. The running form looked familiar but all I could think as I started slowly moving up was 'Why is some guy in a jacket running as fast as me ?'

That guy was Chris Schulten, who was out for a training run and intersected the race by accident. I won't say that he dropped me on the hill, but it was close to it. I continued moving up and even passed Michael Dolan (who would pass me back after 2 miles). I took the turn and settled in and wouldn't really change places much except to fall behind Michael on the downhill.

The race is really a hard race, because it's a real dash up the hills for the first half of the run. At least this time, none of the motorcycle cops tried to run me over...

I thought I ran the downhill well, and pushed hard to the finish. Not much really happened on the back half of the race- I ran as hard as I could, held my position, and banged out an 18:15, after I which I downed two Guinness and did my warm-down with Charlie Hornak. I beat my time from two years ago by 15 seconds and for the second time this year felt like I ran a good race, which, since I raced twice, I'll take.

But I still went out in the afternoon and ran for 75 minutes because Sunday is my long run day and I'm training for an Ironman.


Anonymous said...

Alan, good race in New Haven. The course isn't runner friendly, w/ a major hill near the 1/2 mile point which you have to run up in the first half, and down the second half. Though, it is a well organized race.

Great blog. I enjoy reading your thoughts on races, and training.

R Barker

alan said...

Thanks, Barks. Hope the training is going well !