Saturday, April 13, 2013

Another Frozen Race, Beat Beethoven

This is the winter that refuses to let go. Depending on whom you believe, it was in the low mid-teens for this morning's Beat Beethoven 5K, my second running of this ever increasingly popular rite of spring. Spring? Did someone say spring? Surely not here!

I warmed up by running the full course at 10--froze my ass off. But I actually felt almost too warm by the start of the race at 11. Same attire as last week: 2 shirts and a vest, running shorts, under armor half pants, ski tights, wool socks, and then ski hat and buff. Sunglasses this time. My biggest worry was ice and I even had studded shoes and put in a few makeshift traction bolts on my old racing flats. No need really. A few slick spots but the new course was good.

Like last week, I lined up on the front row only to be swallowed up within 30 meters. I didn't panic as 25+ runners including a couple of the women, a bunch of middle schoolers, and even a guy in a Beethoven costume pulled away before we even got to the traffic circle. The 600+ meter hill at 6-7% did  away with any pretenders and I was top 15 by the time we were nearing the crest of the hill. Still I was way way back from top 5 or anything, a good 20-25 seconds already. Passed a lot of runners on the "backstretch" through the campus parking lots and construction zones, and by the time we entered the long downhill on Tanana Loop I was in 8th. With a guy in bright yellow 20-30 meters up, and another guy 50 meters ahead of him, with masters runner Chad another 50-60 meters ahead.

I focused on keeping relaxed but striding out on the downhill, I caught the guy in yellow just after turning onto Farmers Loop (3K) and thought about breaking out, but we had a slight headwind and he was clipping along decently so I just tucked in. The guy in 5th seemed to be coming back to us, but only gradually. Just before turning onto Alumni Drive at 4K I put on  a surge in pursuit of top 5. That last hill is semi-killer. Just long enough at almost 400 meters but still some some 600 meters to the finish, it's enough to make sure that a 55 yr old isn't going to go blasting up and by another runner, even if he was one of those very fast starters (up at the front for the first half mile) and fading. I ran hard but steady, just not ready to dig down yet (zero speed work thus far).

Final damage, 17:36 unofficially for 6th. Also unofficial. Under the radar for sure, but it was a stronger run for me than last week.


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