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Dreher Park Dash 2009

August 7, 2009


August 6, 2009
Chip Time: 24.49.0 (8:00 pace)
Division Placement: 2/25
Gender Placement: 25/173
Overall Placement: (138/372)

I’d been looking forward to this race for a while. It had looked like I’d have to take a miss, since I had family flying into town on the day the race was originally scheduled. But, as it happened, the race had to be rescheduled due to lightning, so I got my chance to race the curving course of the Dreher Park Dash for the second time.

We decided that I’d drive down with Little G and the Boss and the kids would follow later. We got our bibs and shirts, went to the potty, and ran into the family. We said hello briefly before G and I decided go get in a little warm-up. We didn’t run far because we knew it was hot, but we wanted to get our legs primed. As soon as we got back, people were starting to head toward the start area.

It was pretty packed, and I knew I shouldn’t get too far in the back. In spite of this, I broke the cardinal sin of racing: I went out too fast. But it was a conscious decision, a need to get away from the pack, and I almost didn’t care if it cost me time later because I wasn’t gunning for a PR, not in August on this curvy, curvy course, and I just couldn’t wait to get away from all the bodies and feet.

The second mile was my slowest by far–about twenty seconds than my opening mile–but I’m not sure if that’s because I was slowing down or because the course takes so many roundabout turns in the park. I was definitely racing, breathing hard and wishing I’d had something to eat during the afternoon so I wouldn’t have that disgusting feeling in my stomach that I’m finally experienced enough to know means my body wishes it had more energy. I pushed through it–I’d either keep racing or die trying.

Little G and I ran almost Indian-style–she took point the first half-mile. I passed her after that and ran with her on my shoulder until the first water stop, where I walked to get a slurp of water; she passed me easily. I consciously worked to regain my pace slowly, so I was well past the one-mile mark when I was back on her shoulder, then passed her again. But, at the second water stop, she passed me again. I caught up with her at about the 2.5 mile and we ran together for a while, just holding pace together, but after a while my legs caught sight of the finish line and I started to pass. She called out encouragingly to me–this would be the first 5K we’ve raced together where I’ve ever even been close to her–and I pushed through the burn for that last lap into the park.

Considering my last two summer 5Ks, this was definitely my best summer race. In both of the two previous ones, my only sub-8 mile came in that last finishing stretch; this time, my only over-8 mile came in that middle portion of the race. I’m not sure whether to credit better training or the fact that this race was run in the evening instead of the sweltering early-morning humidity; maybe it’s a little of both?

Coming into the finish--bib 137.

Coming into the finish in my snazzy blue tank.

My running was good for 24:49, not a personal best at the distance but far better than my time on the course last year–26:26. Even at that, I remember that that’s the closest I came all summer last year at beating my 26:18 PR, so this race has been good to me in the past. My time was also good enough to snag second-place honors in my age group.

The kids liked seeing the medal; the Boss found it amusing that I’m making it a habit to place second. I’m not getting a lot of third-places, and I’ve never taken the group, but I seem to do well at notching that second place if the field is small enough.

I’ll get to try to do it again at a few races this fall–I got fliers for a couple 5Ks I didn’t know about at the race last night. Fortunately, these races will take place before my birthday, when I will officially (sigh) join the 35-39 age group and say goodbye, at least for a little while, to placing at all. Those women are fast!

In the meantime, I can only focus on improving my own running. Yesterday was great practice at how to run in the threshold of intensity and effort–how not to redline it but to stay on that razor’s edge of effort, to measure the distance against your muscles’ capacity for effort and your heart and lungs’ endurance.

Today, I’m appropriately tired, but basking in the effort of a race well run. Hoping for the same happy tiredness for all my running friends. May our training yield, if not fast results, then at least fulfilling ones.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2009 2:35 pm

    congrats on the ag award! a strong 5k for such a warm summer race 🙂 that’s a huge improvement on last year’s course time!

  2. Brad permalink
    August 9, 2009 3:14 pm

    Congrats on your time….This was my first race since HS running 7 years ago…..I broke 24, which was my goal….Great run to you!!

  3. the Ringmaster permalink*
    August 10, 2009 12:13 pm

    Wow, great running, Brad! If you can run so fast on a twisty course in August, I can’t wait to see what you can do on a straight course in cooler weather. If you’re local, may I suggest the 5k at the Palm Beach Marathon Festival (I think that’s what they’re calling it now)? It’s a straight course, and though temps are warm for northern folk, they’re downright cool for us–hey, it’s December! The field is also fairly small, maybe because most people are running the longer events the next day? If you’re not, though, it’s a great day to set a PR. Check it out the Palm Beach Marathon Festival site.

    Thanks for visiting; come back soon!

  4. the Ringmaster permalink*
    August 10, 2009 12:16 pm

    Thanks for the pat on the back! So far I’m still on the up-curve from year to year. I hate to see the day that stops happening . . .

  5. Brad permalink
    August 13, 2009 10:49 am

    Thanks for the pat on MY back as well!!! I am def planning on running the 5k at the Marathon of the Palm Beaches…I would like to train for a 1/2 marathon, but Im not sure I have the dedication to do it 100%….I live in Boynton, any local 5k’s you know of before December?? Im very impressed with your mileage…Keep it up!

  6. the Ringmaster permalink*
    August 13, 2009 12:17 pm

    Wanna hear something loony, Brad? I decided to train for my first half pretty much right after my first 5k . . . and ran it a little less than three months later. How far do you want to travel for your 5ks? There’s some near me coming up–one August 29, one September 12, then one October 24. I think I saw a flier for one in Boca at the race, but I won’t drive so far south for a 5k (snob, huh?). If you don’t hear about these races, you can email me and I’ll send you some info about them so you can register if you want.

    Before you think too highly of me, you should know that my mileage reflects my long-term goals. I’m training for a half marathon in November. My current PR at the distance was set on a base of about 40 miles per week, so I’m aiming to maintain at least that while time and health permit. In addition to that, about ten weeks after that half, I intend to be standing at the line of my second marathon, and I intend to smash my current best at that distance too (LOL), so I need to start putting in some longer runs well before then.

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