Monday, June 25, 2012

Midnight Sun Run 2012: That was a strange one

This, my eighth at this Fairbanks Solstice event, was definitely the strangest in a lot of ways. Usually, I spend the day pacing around the house all day like a caged wild cat, but thankfully I was more ho-hum about it. In fact during the final hours leading up to the race I almost didn't even feel like going. Blame it on the low pressure as the clouds built up and the rain started falling. Thankfully (again) that cooled things down a bit from the afternoon high of 84.

But the humidity, bleh.

Pacing wise, I almost always hit the mile in 5:40-5:50 and two mile in 11:20 to 11:30 (been five or six years since I've gone at the faster end of those ranges), and then I find out whether I have it or not.

This time I felt off from the start, and ran a conservative 5:56, about 5-6 slower than planned and a good 15 behind a pack of 10-12, most of whom I was hoping to finish ahead of by the time we crossed th line at Pioneer Park. In the second mile I worked up to the back of that group and we were 11:39. That mile was a little faster than I'd planned, so I decided to just sit tight in the group which had whittled down to of six or seven. That was an easy choice because it was windy running down University. Mile 3 was 17:35, another 5:56. On the good side I felt fresh--better than I've ever felt at this point in the Midnight Sun Run--and at times it seemed easier than a tempo run.

I planned to move things along when we made the turn east onto Geraghty, but the somewhat pesky headwind turned into a stiff breeze of 10, maybe 15, mph. So here I'm in a group of teens and twenty-somethings, and we're slowing down, but I wasn't about to take charge and pull them along to a faster 4 mile split only to get left in their wake with unrecoverable oxygen debt. So I chose to bide my time, wait.

As soon as we hit the Riverside/Riverview neighborhood Ted and I picked it up. Still that 4 mile split was very slow (6:06, probably my slowest mile split ever for a MSR) and 23:41. Not a day for fast times I figured, but we had a race going on. The5th mile is usually my worst--and I'm often at or a little over 6:00 for that one. But Ted was keeping a good pace and I just tried to hang on. The youngsters behind drifted close and then fell back a couple times. I had to let up by the end of the 5th mile, which was 5:39, easily my fastest of the day and fastest ever for that split, and 29:20. Ted was about 7-8 sec ahead and the kids were on my heels.

I kept thinking they'd blow by, but I had enough zip to fend them off just enough until we got under Peger on the bike path, and by then I'd surged to a 6 or 8 second gap, and was closing on Ted. Hit 6 mile and the final stretch in 35:08 and cruised it in with a 36:16, for 13th place. Best time in three years. Most years that's enough to place in the top ten, but they had five guys well under 34 and four more under 35. So I'm pretty happy with both.

Kids did well too, with 14 yr old Tristan running 37:26 (5 or 6 min PR) and Mikko doing it as a controlled tempo in 38:20 (1 hour 24 min PR!). 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ted's a tough one to catch :) for me, it's just an honor to have him lap me as he rounds the final stretch. Glad I found your blog this morning- was looking for beta on the Ester Dome Ass-kicker and found a treasure trove of running Goodness. Thanks!

7:33 AM  
Blogger Roger said...

Hey appreciate your note Titanium! Weren't you one of the responders helping with the runner who collapsed at the track the other night? You guys did amazing, and I'm glad there were people with medical skills on hand.

4:10 PM  

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