Nice race, all by feel (no watch, no splits). Always killer Canterbury hill at the end. I had plenty of juice left in the tank though, rocketed through finish, so that bodes pretty well for future stuff (ie september marathon).
MTA: okay, 1 day later, able to reflect a bit. Pretty darned happy with this. First, it's a 2+ minute PR on this course. Second, I was very comfortable the whole time...really in my head I was just thinking, "get to the last mile feeling like you can pour it on" - because 2 years ago, I was a mess on mile 8. Calf cramps, destroyed aerobically. Mess. Today, I probably felt like I was holding back a little, so for a while there it was like a comfortable tempo, just hanging with the high school cross country guys (who I stuck with the whole race, and who also by the way were going without watches, and it was actually probably just a comfortable tempo run for them). So, I could have run faster, yes. But I ran the race I wanted to, especially considering the achilles (which felt a little tight at times, but overall okay). Good stuff.
And 1st AG umbrella. 27th overall and 1 ag...lots of good kids in this one (and a serious lack of 30's - though I did beat Jeff Sheldon by a few seconds - didn't know he was right behind me).
IN race report form:
Goal: get to the last mile with enough in the tank to pour it on (a lot of this fueled by a bad experience at this race 2 years ago where I shot out at 5:40 for mile 1 – well above my fitness – didn’t take enough water, and had massive calf cramps at mile 6 and basically limped on to the finish).
Attitude: no pressure, no expectations, just go comfortably fast, lock in, and see what happens. Running without a watch.
Background: Hadn’t run more than 4 miles under about 6:50 min pace since May. Did one 3 mile tempo at 6:15’s the week before that had me pretty gassed. Have been nursing Achilles, but seems to be pretty well healed right now.
Warm up / pre-race: Very easy 3 mile “Kenyan” progression – meaning starting out at near walking pace, and just slowly picking it up. Every area runner comes to this one (46th annual, kind of “famous” race). So lots of faces to say hello to. Very relaxed.
Start / mile 1: No tension, ease into it. Very early get caught up with the high school cross country crew (young dudes, no shirts, no watches, chatting away, running as easy as can be like they were born to do this). And pretty much right away I can feel this is the right pace. This will get me through 8 comfortably. It’s fast, but it’s easy. I’m locked in. 6:08 is called out about 40 meters past the 1 mile mark. It will be the only split of the day. First mile is downhill and it doesn’t concern me. And it doesn’t excite me. Seriously locked in.
1 to 3.5 uphill: really the hills don’t seem so bad this year. I’m taking every water. I’m step for step with the XC guys. I feel really good. Rollin.
3.5 to 6 downhill: let it fly a little more, these are easy miles. For this race, it’s almost like you get to 3.5 (or this is how I thought of it), you get to 3.5 and you’re done. There’s downhill to 6. Then cartoonish hill up 7, cartoonish back down hill for 8. There’s so nothing you can do about mile 7, that you’ve done all the “work” for this race already.
Mile 7: 12% up. Chair lift territory. It’s ridiculous. The man who devised this course 46 years ago thought it would be “challenging” for his runners. I take my medicine and slog up it best I can. What else can you do?
Mile 8: 12% back down. Got to the top of the hill and let rip. Had plenty in the tank. I’m pretty good down hills, so put on a good push. Saw the clock around 49:00. Finished strong at 45:15. XC guys in front and behind me.
Not “surprised” to roll 6:10’s, but definitely happy. Bodes well for future races.
Are there any lessons from the “running by feel” experiment? Not sure. I am good at locking in at pace. And at this point in my running life I can judge a pace pretty well. But it’s all just experience. I am certainly comfortable doing this now, and happy not to have the distraction of the watch – kind of helps me keep level – not excited, not discouraged, just running.