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Monday, May 16, 2011

ALL OUT

My last Spring race is just under me and I am feeling very good about it. Though for the Spring of 2011, I already PRed in 10K, 10Miles, 13.1Miles, I really wanted to make this the icing on the cake with a new PR in the 5000 Meters. I PRed in this event earlier in the year, in January at the MD Indoor Track Invite, my first race of the year which sparked many good things to come after. I ran 15:26 that day, and though pleased with my effort, knew I could run faster this Spring. So, I decided to enter the Swarthmore Last Chance Meet on 5/14 to close my season out and hopefully end on a high note.

On Saturday we left MD around 3:00 PM in the megavan Joe rented. It was like a bus. Others who came were Karl Dusen, crazy Charlie Ban, Joe's coach Jerry(who I owe for getting me into this race), Patrick Murphy, Dave Wertz, and Michelle Miller and her husband Brian. The one day trip was a blast and we made it to Swarthmore around 6:00 PM, with 3 hours to spare before the race. So we killed some time and watched some events going on. The weather was on and off-at times it rained and others it was just a drizzle or mist. The track was clearly wet however. The Mens 5000 was to go off a little after 9:00 PM, so I made sure to eat something. I also got a very nasty cold in the beginning of the week. I actually developed a raspy voice from it as well. But I knew I could do this race based on the workout I did on Wednesday when I also wasn't feeling great. The cold certainly wasn't ideal, but it wasn't anything in the chest. Just snot rockets pretty much. Nasty. This was a weird time to race...so late, and I certainly wasn't used to it. We warmed up around 8:10 and I felt good on the warm-up, running through the campus as it darkened. It was not raining at this point, but the humidity certainly was higher. As we got back to our stuff, I found that the 5000 was in 3 sections. Joe, Karl, and I were in the first and fastest...I was pretty much the back of the pack of the first heat-I had a good reason to be nervous.

I put on my PR racing singlet, slipped on my Nike Victory Spikes and was ready to go. The rain was gone, but there were puddles on the track. We watched Michelle run the womens 5000 as we did some strides. I felt light and fast. I saw many runners who looked very strong and ready to tear it up. We lined up.

READY...SET..CRACK!!!

Elbows, shuffling around, and pushing happened all in the first 100 meters. I fought for a good position. I was towards the back, with a few runners hanging right behind me. The front surged ahead and Joe and Karl went with them. Immediately my legs and breathing were already working. It is the nature of this race to be cruel in the way that it is run at your maximum capacity for oxygen. VO2Max is the test of this race. It is hard the whole way, after the first 400 meters you already start to feel it.

We stormed around the track, lap after lap. I went through the first 400 in 72, right on target pacing, and I was in LAST PLACE. There was once runner right ahead who i hung onto to keep contact. Must keep contact. Gotta keep contact. We went through the first 800 was 2:23. I hit 1000 meters in 3:00 and the first 1600(1 mile) in 4:49. I was either last or second to last, trading places with the runner I was competing with. There were, however, a few runners just ahead that I was keying off of. I was already starting to feel the fatigue set in, in fact, I was already in pain after the 1st mile. The race hurts like a mother...and it's not like the marathon...it's only 15 minutes of running, but it is INTENSE...a different kind of pain. Anything is painful when you are running all out. But I told myself just get through 2 laps at a time, and hang with the train...

The next mile I still stayed in contact with the pack right in front of me, as well as the guy right on my heels the whole way. Literally, he kept passing me on the back straight, while I kept passing him on the opposing straight. Back and forth, back and forth. 2000 meters I hit in 6:02ish so was just over 15:00 pace. Pain started to set in.

2 miles in I split 9:42(technically a PR). I knew I wasn't going to break 15:00, but was in the cards for a nice PR. I just needed to hang tough. Then, as I went through the 2-mile mark, I began to see runners ahead falling off the pace. I was gaining on them. Friends cheered for me as I began passing a few runners on the back straight. I may have been last place from the beginning, but now I was eating up as many runners as I could! My endurance was kicking in-it is my strength as a runner. The first runner I passed was Kyle Carrick, a great guy who I was running with during the Shamrock Half Marathon(he ended up running 1:09:40something for the half just ahead of me in that race)-he nudged me 'go get em.' As I closed on another runner, the runner who was with me all along from the beginning made a move and passed me again. DAMN! I clung on to him as best I could. We ran down the other runners together. I had no idea what my splits were at this point. I was just competing and running as hard as I damn well could.

With only a few laps to go, I closed on a pack of runners and went through 14:01 with 1 lap to go. I could hear the leaders behind me finishing up their final lap. I stormed around the track with all my might and was so close to the pack...so close...

200 METERS TO GO!!!!! ALL OUT!!!!

I ran with as much turnover I had and gave a kick at the end to pass the pack of runners, going in the outside lane to do so. I could see the finishing clock at the end...barely holding it together...but damn...a few of the runners I just passed re-passed me right at the end, and I had no turnover left to give. It was as fast as I could go. I looked at the clock at this point...15:12...15:13. I crossed the line in pain and went over and layed down on the track for a moment. I was shot. spent. nothing left. all out.

15:13 was my official time, a 13 second PR, I was 24th out of 28 in my heat. 32nd overall out of 77 total runners.

Over the past 8 weeks, each race I have run has been decreased in distance, with the pace increasing. the half marathon in march: 5:20 pace. the CB 10 miler: 5:17 pace. Pikes Peek 10K: 5:03 pace. and now the 5000, 4:53 pace. This race concludes a very successful spring season, and it is now time to take a break from racing for a while and just run some mileage. I am going to Florida this Saturday with Beth's family and will enjoy a great week there. I do have a few races lined up for the summer, but it probably won't be until July that I will race again. There is a time to race, and there is a time not to race. I really want to focus on having a successful fall season, something I haven't been able to do very well. That is my next focus.

My PRs this Spring:

5000 meters- 15:13
10 kilometers- 31:26
10 miles- 52:54
13.1 miles- 1:10:04

Hard to say which race stands out-they were all unique in their own way. I'll probably write some sort of Spring wrap-up.

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