Monday, March 23, 2009

Shamrock 5 Miler and Fun Run, Part 2

So we finished up the kids race and I helped Margit get the stroller set up so she could push Ian, while she told me I'd better get my warmup started. If you wanted to read a real blog post, then you'd have to read her account of running five miles pushing the stroller. But you won't see that here, so you'll have to settle for another boring race report from me.


I lined up and two people caught my attention right away- Jesse Efrom and Mike Gyulay. On my best day and Mike's worst, I might push Mike for 3 miles or so in a 5 mile race. On my best day, I might be able to see Jesse for three miles. No one else set off any alarms, then again, I'm sure I wasn't setting off any alarms for either Jesse and Mike.

They started us off and the course is flat for a long time- a long time. This isn't the type of course that plays to my strengths- you basically just start running and hope for the best as you head away from the surf club.

To be honest, until I saw which way we were going from the start, I really wasn't 100% sure what the course was. I ride on a large part of the course almost every weekend, and had previously seen a 3 on the road I thought might be part of the course, however, the last time I'd run the race, we'd run across the soccer field at the start and couldn't begin to tell you what else we'd done.

So here I was, running by the guard shack, less than a 1/4 mile into the race, and I'm in second, chasing Jesse, with Mike just sitting on my heels. The little voice in my head was reminding me that if Mike, who is a faster runner, was behind me, I was probably running too fast early. But hey, I don't know what kind of shape Mike is in, and more importantly, I'm not Mike, So I didn't make any changes to what I was doing, I just ran- a little too hard. The road was flat and straight and then there were two pretty quick turns. I think Mike went by in the turns, and now I was in third and by the mile mark, I was already really in third, a good five or six paces off MIke and growing.

Jesse was in control of the race, and I mean really in control of the race. No offence to Mike, who was definitely kicking my ass, but Jesse putting down the hurt.

By the time we wound our way to the sea wall, I had to shift mental gears. Although I'd been keeping Mike in my sights because I was still evaluating how far he was ahead, what I needed to do to close the gap, because that's what you do, by the time I hit two miles, I certainly knew that I was racing for third. And I could hear the guy in fourth behind me. I could hear his footsteps, I could hear people cheering him on. I had five or six seconds, and that was it.

And I just kept running. I didn't try to evaluate that feedback I was getting. I took it for what it was, that someone was in range, but I was in front. I hit the one hill on the course, powered up it, took another turn. At the next turn, I could have dipped my head to the left- not a look back, just a head dip.

To me, it's the same thing. If you look back, well, I don't look back, that's me.

And then we took one more turn and we were running in the wind and we would be running in the wind the rest of the way.

There were a few turns left and then we were running back towards the clubhouse and I was tired, but I was trying to bear down and find half an extra gear, because someone was chasing me down.

There's that moment right at the end of the race where the finish chute is so close that you can just take it home and even though you're not finished yet- that's the sweetest moment in a road race, maybe half a dozen steps from the finish, with just enough of a cushion that no one is catching you and no one's close enough in front to catch, and you can just relax- not physically, but from the neck up.

And then it was over, and I hadn't been caught and I didn't feel half like throwing up, so it was easy to go back in the chute and shake the hand of the guy behind.

I grabbed Dave and ran a warm-down, and even though I came in at 30:06, I'll take it and head on to the next race.

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