Friday, April 29, 2011

Testosterone Loses a Race

Happy Friday! We've made it another week. I hope everyone's training is going well. I'm on pace to hit about 23 miles this week..depending on my long run distance on Saturday...which I plan to do with the same group as last week. If you are an avid reader of this blog,  (and I know you all are) you may remember that I signed up for a race last week. I was excited about the format and terrain...so I give you the...

Leftovers Prediction 5K Run Race Report
Leftovers Prediction? That's the worst race name in the history of race names, right? Well maybe not in the entire history. Let me tell you what it means. Each year at races, there are left over T-shirts and awards that go unclaimed by people who register or win something at the race. These leftovers take up a lot of space. So, in an effort to clear out the inventory, our Track Club is now on its 3rd annual Leftovers Prediction Run. The course is a mysterious mix of roads and trails, and there are NO WATCHES ALLOWED. In order to win the race, you must predict your time, then be the closest racer to that time. So in effect the person who finishes dead last, could actually be the first. A pretty neat concept, and my first race of this kind.

It was also the first trail run I've ever done (in practice or racing) so I had no idea what to expect. I signed up with the predicted time of 25:38. My PR at the 5K distance is 21:55 which I set in January on a flat/downhill road course. My rationale was 1) it will be much warmer, 2) I don't know what to expect with the hills/trail terrain, 3) since it was my first race of this type, I'd run it as a "fun run".

Let me just stop here and say that if you know anything about foreshadowing, based on that last sentence, the title of this blog may be coming a bit more into focus now.

The race is held at the former home of the Greenville Braves, our once mighty AA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. The Stadium area is now being turned into a nature park with trails by our county's recreation department, and it is coming along nicely. Christy and I arrived early and had plenty of time to get moving, and get our shirts and bibs. We received a couple of tech tees from a 10K earlier in March that we missed due to injury..plus a reusable grocery bag...bringing our total of those bags up to 256. (Yet somehow we never have them when we're inside the grocery store)

SWAG from the Reedy River Run...which we did not run

The race started right on time, and since it was a small race (60 people) I decided to line up at the front. This is where testosterone kicked in. After only a few hundred yards, I was in third, in a breakaway pack. Let me just say that to a mid-packer like me, being that close to the front (for any run) is a tremendous thrill, so quickly any ideas of "fun run" went right out the window. We ran about .3 mi (guesstimate) on pavement before we hit the trails. By the time my feet hit dirt, I was still in 3rd, but I knew I was running way too fast. By mile 1 (the only place they called out a split time) I was at 7:12 pace...which is about the pace I would be doing on a road course 5K. WAY TOO FAST.

As I was running through the woods, it occurred to me that this sensation was very familiar..it was just like playing army men as a kid (except I wasn't carrying a stick for a gun). I had a blast on the trails...I think I'm completely hooked on trail running. For most of the time out there I was alone, and it was so quiet and peaceful (with the notable exception of when I swallowed a bug and coughed and spit uncontrollably). Otherwise being on the trails felt great. I didn't expect to like it quite as much as I did. Keep in mind that these are probably not mountain trails or anything, but the experience was great nevertheless.

After the first mile the guys in front of me disappeared into the trail, so I slowed a little to try to get back into the "fun run" mode, and was soon passed by a father and son...wait, a child just passed me? Seriously? I was huffing but I was bound and determined this kid, who I found out later was 12, would not leave me behind.

Guess what? The kid and his dad left me behind. I got them back in sight once we hit pavement to make the return back to the finish line. I closed on that kid...his dad was cheering him on, but little by little I was reeling him in. It did cross my mind that I am a 38 year old man, and I want to rip a 4th place finish out of a little boy's grasp during a fun run...but that was only a fleeting thought. All I had to do was catch him. Screw the prediction..this was now my mission.

You will be happy to know that I did not catch him, and he finished ahead of me. Gracious in defeat, I congratulated my pre-teen nemesis while getting water. As I patted him on the back and told him what a great job he did, he responded..."It wasn't my best time." and walked away. Ouch...thanks kid...I'll respond to that when I can catch my breath here. The event results are not up yet, but I was the fifth finisher (not the point) and came in at 23:39, just shy of 2 minutes early. When you consider that the top 10  predicted their time within 20 seconds...I would not win a prize today.

All in all this was a great race, and we had a blast! Christy came in 12th, hitting her time within 28 seconds. (she won a commemorative plate from a race in 2008 haha). This was a fun night, and I would suggest to anyone in the upstate to give this run a try next year, you are sure to enjoy its laid back feel. Also if you've never tried trails, a race like this is perfect to stick a toe in the water. As for me, I'll just have to lick my wounds, secure in the knowledge that the 12 year old will be old like me one day. I wish you all a great weekend, and for those of you with races this weekend, may you conquer your nemesis on the course, be they 12 or 50!
Christy and I after the race.

4 comments:

OtterPop said...

Sounds like a good time and some good swag to pick up -- those Reedy tees were tech tees, and a good color at that! I wish the run hadn't been on a school night or I could've made it over there.

I know on DM I've mentioned the GUTR runs before (may have even mentioned them to you and Christy in person at GVRR), and my friend who plans them did his first GUTR at that park. He will be doing one again soon and I will keep you guys posted on when it is!

Hope you have a great long run tomorrow!

Randy said...

Jessica...it was a good time. Please let me know about the GUTR runs when you find out about it.

Chandra said...

That's awesome that you got a Reedy shirt after you not being able to run it. That's such a popular race that many who got that shirt probably already have one! Great job on the run... no so much on the predicting part. ;)

Tiana said...

That sounds like fun! I enjoy reading your entries they are so fun and light-hearted. Now I am bummed I missed the race! Oh and just so you know trail running is addicting, you should head up to Paris Mt. sometime and give it a whirl!