Friday, June 11, 2010

China Grove 5k

Time: 55:38
Distance: 8.12 miles
5k Race: 15:05, 1st

W/u: 22:00 for 3.01 miles
C/d: 18:33 for 2.01 miles

This race didn't pop up on my radar until last weekend while cooling down with Paul Mainwaring. He made mention that the course was flat, fast and at night. Three factors that usually lead to me running well. Last year I ran the Midnight Streak which started/ended at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds and didn't get under way until after 11:00 pm. Despite the hour and July temps, I was still able to clock 15:05. It probably was my best race of the summer/fall given the conditions.

China Grove looked to have similar conditions, perhaps just less competition. I'm not trying to knock Paul and Jay as we three had a wicked good car ride up to the race. I knew from past results that Devin Swann and Ryan Woods sometimes show up and race along Main St. If that were to be the case this year, I just hoped I would be able to put up a fight. Those two both ran about 25:30 for 8k up in Durham a few weeks ago on hot day and hilly course.

Paul, Jay and I used the warm up to scope out the course. It was pretty self-explanatory as an out and back affair. There were a few slight inclines which meant the slight downhills could be used to one's advantage. I spotted Mr. Woods just before leaving on the warm up and knew a race would be had. He usually likes to go out hard to push the pace from the front. I started mentally preparing for a quick opening mile and then settling for a fast final 1k.

When it came time to start lining up for the race, I made sure to stand off to the side. I knew Ryan was racing, but I didn't think he had seen me. My plan was to let him do the work early on and then make it a race toward the finish. I positioned myself at the curb on the far right side of the road while most of the other contenders were right down the middle.

We got off the starting line about 200m behind where we would finish. The crowd cheered as we ran through the most localized part of Main St. Ryan and I ran stride for stride with Chris Lamperski off our shoulders. I could tell the pace was honest, but since I had no watch and it was starting to get dark, I had a hard time judging. We went through the first mile in 4:50 still neck and neck. Chris dropped off just a bit and would have a battle with Jay Holder.

Up front, Ryan and I kept throwing in little surges to the turn around point. He would press the uphill and then I would open up on the downhill. I didn't catch a two mile split during the race, but Ryan told me afterward that it was 4:55 (9:45 for 2 miles). As we ran back into the crowd it was difficult for us to run the tangents. A couple of times people drifted on to the other side of the yellow lines and we were forced to dodge them. It was difficult to see and the course wasn't well lighted from more than 800m out. Our pace stayed honest, but not too pressed. I felt like making a move, but didn't want to go too early.

I heard the mile split for those still going to the turn around at 11:15. I figured I had 1400m to run and roughly 4 minutes to race. I waited patiently before naturally gaining a two step advantage 800m from the finish. Just as I approached the firefighters and their spraying hose, I took off. I sprinted home for the victory glancing over my shoulder a couple of times the final 50m. I missed out on breaking 15:00 by a few seconds, but it was a good race instead of a time trial.

The post race refreshments were great. Big bottles of Gatorade, watermelon, pizza (I scored a whole pie for the ride home), cookies and donuts. People really enjoyed the race atmosphere and I couldn't agree more. Richard Hefner was even there rocking a pair of the Karhu Racers. He wanted to know why they didn't make him as fast as me. Allen Strickland also took home some hardware.

1 comment:

caitchris said...

great job!!! we need to get you out to more of those NC USATF champs. It'd be cool to see you go against all of NC's best...