Without getting too long-winded, here's my relatively brief race report for yesterday's Gate River Run 15K in Jacksonville, FL.
Prior to race day, my training was a little lacking. Yes, I was running. Yes, I was getting some variety. But I wasn't really able to get in the vigorous speed work and hill training that I wanted, or at least not as much. So, going into this race, I felt as though I'd probably finish around 1:24:00, based on my VDOT prediction from Daniels' training table.
My initial plan was to go out at around an 8:35 pace and see how it felt the first 3-5 miles. If I still felt strong, I would hold that pace at least until the uphill portion of the Hart(less) bridge (locally known as the Green Monster) where I knew my pace would have to drop.
I arrived with plenty of time to warm up, though I really didn't do much of a warmup at all. Less than a half mile. I was more concerned with making sure that I was done getting rid of the coffee I had consumed earlier in the morning (3 trips to the porta, if anybody's counting). Anyway, we got lined up in our respective corrals and awaited the start gun.
Mile 1 - I held an 8:33 pace for the first mile, and it felt pretty good. Adrenalin was definitely assisting as I felt no need to slow down. This feeling would last for the first 5 miles or so. Mile 1 was relatively flat.
Mile 2 - My pace for mile 2 was also 8:33. It did include a modest uphill/downhill portion as we ran across the Alsop (Main Street) bridge over the St. Johns River. The elevation change wasn't huge - maybe 50 feet up and 50 down. So far, so good.
Mile 3 - 8:24 pace. I don't know why this one was faster, but I felt good so I went with it. Perhaps a little bump in the Garmin measurement, but no big deal. I was on a roll.
Mile 4 - 8:40 pace. I didn't notice my pace slowing, but it did back off a bit as we meandered around the residential streets on the south side of the city. Still feeling pretty good, though I think I was getting just the beginnings of a bit of fatigue. No problem - felt strong.
Mile 5 - 8:38 pace. Still holding my pace. I was beginning to think that I would be meeting that 1:24 finish time. I was starting to get a little bit tired, and I was starting to get those mid-run negative thoughts. You know the ones - the little voices start saying things like "slow down" and "conserve your energy for the Bridge". I ignored them for the most part, by telling myself repeatedly that I was past the halfway point.
Mile 6 - 8:37 pace. Still holding a steady pace, fighting off fatigue, and trying to keep myself moving. Closing in on the 10K mark helped keep my mind on the goal.
Mile 7 - 8:43 pace. Still hilding it steady. It was somewhere during this mile (I think) that a couple of runners and I passed a band playing "It's the end of the world as we know it". We started singing. Kind of a silly thing to do when you're already fighting for oxygen, but it was worth it!
Mile 8 - 8:50 pace. I kept pressing on, having regained my wind after the singing episode. Pace began to drop towards the end of the mile as we approached the beginning of the climb that would be the Hart Bridge.
Mile 9 - 8:43 pace. The surprise mile. The eitire first 4/10 of this mile were uphill, and I was struggling to maintain just under a 10:00 pace. My breathing is usually synchronous with my footsteps, but I went into asynchronous mode here and sucked wind in a major way. I probably sounded like a steam locomotive with a bad piston! Anyway, once I crested the hill, my average pace dropped so that it was around 8 - 8:10 the second half of the mile. Downhill is much more enjoyable than uphill.
It was during this portion of the race that I thought my long legs would help out - nice big, long strides gobbling up real estate would seem to be my advantage. But, alas, it wasn't. Although I sped up, so did my competitors including the young lady with the Savannah shirt on (really wanted to catch her, but she was always 3 steps ahead of me - story of my life).
Last 0.3 miles - 7:51 pace. My attempt at kicking was somewhat feeble, as I had left all I had along the course. From about the beginning of the hill to the end of the race, I was constantly fighting off the urge to quit. I never did quit, and I did cross the finish line fairly strong with a surprising 1:20:55 net time - a PR by over 10 minutes, and about 3 minutes faster than I thought I would be.
Needless to say, I'm very happy with this race. And a little sore, but that will pass. Calves are complaining loudly today!
Tom (formerly known as PhotogTom)
5K - 25:16, 10K - 55:31, 15K - 1:20:55, HM - 1:54:54
And just to prove that I was really there......
Wow, that's quite a PR! Congratulations!
PRs: Marathon (2:49xx; '13) Half (1:24:13; '15) 10k (37:25; '14) 5mi (29:23; '13) 5k (17:27; '14)
A ten minute PR is huge! Nice work!
I guess I should elaborate a bit on the training. I think my big improvement came during my HM training last fall. I was basing my expected performance yesterday on my HM performance back in November. I felt like I had hit a plateau since then, but apparently, I was progressing a bit after all.
Tom!!! What a FANTASTIC race! Strong PR, perfect racing and such a cool RR for us! I really, really enjoyed the way you described each one of your miles. You handled yourself like a pro out there. Bravo!!! Love the pic, you look so happy and victorious!
PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013
Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013
18 marathons, 18 BQs since 2010
Nicely done Tom. Congrats on the great time!
Hot Chocolate 5K Chicago November 4, 2012 30:17
Penguin in the Park 5K Decatur Illinois March 23,2013 27:08
Awesome race and a great report!!
Ron's PRs 5K 24:14 (12/07/2013); Half Marathon 1:53:33 (5/26/2013)
Way to go Tom. Awesome improvement with that PR!
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - T.S. Eliot
Tom, you're a stud dude. I love your description of mile 9. 15k is a very cool distance. Good job!
Great job! The weather was nice down here yesterday, so I assume over there was lovely (10F cooler than here). Congrats!
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner, INKnBURN Ambassador
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
D, it was in Jacksonville. The high yesterday, I think, was about 68 degrees. It was in the 50/s/low 60s throughout the race. Excellent running weather.
PRs: 5K- 28:16 (5/5/13) 10K- 1:00:13 (10/27/13) 4M- 41:43 (9/7/13) 15K- 1:34:25 (8/17/13) 10M- 1:56:30 (4/6/14) HM- 2:20:16 (4/13/14)
I started a blog about running :) Check it out if you care to
Very nice race, Tom. Congrats on the PR. I'm bummed I didn't run it this year. I really enjoyed it the last 2.
The last bridge is a pain in the ass, but it's a nice run in to the finish. Good job.