Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2014 Mesa Turkey Trot 10K Race Report!

Note that this is a (very) late race report that I'll probably double post in its correct "timeslot" as well. Hopefully I'm better about getting these out in the future!

Nothing makes me feel better about eating 4,000 calories later in the day than burning off 500 in the morning. It is called balance, people.

Time: 39:05
Pace: 6:18
Place: 37/1979 (top 1.8%!  Whaaaa!?!?)
AG: Place: 4/105 (Top 4%! Not bad….but lots of ‘trotters’ I’m sure)

I’ve done the Mesa Turkey Trot 10k race 6 of the last 7 years. I LOVE this race. It really exemplifies my running: You want to go all out with some of the fastest people on this side of town? Sounds good.  You want to walk with a stroller and a puppy while wearing a turkey hat? Sounds good. You want to plan on running fast only to be pushed 5-6 rows back because a bunch of kids want to sprint off of the starting line? Eeehhhhh, yeah okay we got that too.

The course is usually a bit boring, but it is always flat, well supported, and super fast. If those three traits don’t describe me, I don’t know what do.

I run either squares or out and backs, so this race is basically my wet dream

This year, in spite of my lack of speedwork, I was going to go all out and see where I was at.  I haven’t gone all out in a 10k for 2 years so pacing was somewhat of a stab in the dark. Granted, not totally as I had ran a few fast 4 mile tempo runs within the past month.  In spite of that, little did I know, my stab in the dark at pacing was a lot like peeing at 2am in the dark – I realized about half way through that I had made some serious miscalculations.

The race started just like many others. I went there with my running partner/buddy Ryan who was hoping to run it all out as well.  We went on a half mile warm up jog with some bursts at what I hoped would be my race pace – 6:10ish. I peed in a bush and lined up at the starting line. I told Ryan that I was going to stay with him for a while but we were obviously going to run our own race. Each of us had headphones on with Abba and Queen loud music cranking.

The course was a bit different this year, instead of looping through a neighborhood, we were doing two circles on somewhat main roads finishing in a local park. Not sure the reason for the change, as you will find out later, hopefully they change it back.

First Half:
My strategy with 5K and 10K races is usually to run even splits. I want to settle into a pace and try to hold it.  So, when we jumped out at around 6:15ish, I wasn’t too worried. Unfortunately any worries about paces were fleeting as around the 0.3 mile mark my shoe came untied. ROOKIE MOVE. I was a bit ‘frustrated’ when I realized it and threw my handheld water bottle 20 yds in front of me to clear my hands to retie it. Trust me, this kind of logic makes sense in my three year old head. Once I was able to do that, I joined the pack noticeably frustrated. I instinctively tried to catch up to Ryan, but that had me running 5:40s for half a mile or so.  Once I realized that I was already starting to pant hard and was being an idiot by trying to catch up, I backed off and settled back into 6:20ish to try to settle down.  Mile 1 and 2 were 6:17 and 6:22 respectively – including the shoe tie.

Unfortunately, the damage was already done.  By mile 3 I was already working really hard. It was hotter than I had expected at around 55ish. Certainly not hot, but hot enough for me such that my shirt was already soaked all the way through.  That said, I was able to hold pace for the most part, but I knew that it wouldn’t be for much longer.  Mile 3 was another 6:17.

Second Half:
Races are hard. Even in the shortest of races, I have to battle the “maybe we could just take a walk for a little bit” daemons. “Come on man, just for a little bit…to see how it feels?” I battled these hard right after the half. I slowed down for a quarter mile to 7:00ish pace to catch my breath and hopefully push towards the finish. It worked, kind of, and I was able to squeeze the throttle back down and get back into the mid to upper 6s.  Unfortunately, in the middle 2-3 miles, I had settled into a pocket void of other runners directly around me. It made the ‘we should walk’ daemons even harder to battle, not having anyone around to help push.  Having settled squarely into the pain zone, mile 4 was 6:38. Ouch.

(This is when 99% of the runners hate me.)  I was also a bit frustrated as there was an ever so slight uphill somewhere between miles 3-4-5 that really seemed to take the life out of me.  By ‘slight uphill’ I mean about 10-20 feet of gain.  Not exactly Mt Everest.  Maybe it was more like Pikes Peak or Mt Whitney – certainly in the Rocky Mountain range and not the Appalachians.

For the last 2 miles or so, I finally found someone to run with.  A younger female was also struggling so I mentally tried to place my exhaustion onto her tried to motion to her that we should run together / finish together. She seemed to get the hint as we ran together for a while…until she outkicked me at the finish….because I’m chivalrous and that is what I do. Certainly had NOTHING to do with the fact that I was completely spent.  Mile 5 and 6 were 6:46 and 6:26.

Before I knew it, I hit the 6.05 mile mark (9.7km) and was finished!!  WAIT, WHAT?!  Yes indeed, the course seemed to be significantly short. I confirmed with a few other runners that it was not just me and that everyone was showing short. While I understand the physics of GPS watches, I have to think something was awry as I should almost never be short in a race.  There were no underpasses or large trees, no opportunity for wrong turns to cut the course, it was just flat out too short.  That said, since it was a certified course, it must have been okay?  Who knows…

Final thoughts:
Overall, this really wasn’t a good race. Like, it was actually a pretty terrible race.  I went out too fast, didn't run enough speedwork, etc.  I’ve ran 5mi tempo runs, while labored, at about the pace that I ran this race. (Well, and I ran a half marathon pretty easily only 20 sec/mile slower a few months later.) But, I really think the mix of no speedwork and going out way too fast caused the crash and burn.  So, I guess I got a little bit of what I deserved. Either way, it was a good excuse to load on 4000 calories later in the day!


Jamoosh said...

I appreciate that you are mostly truthful, but you and I know you let that chick go because you wanted to ogle her booty.

Kate Geisen said...

I'm all about that kind of calorie calculations, too. You definitely earned your meals later.

fueledbylolz.com said...

I like your logic. I think a lot of runners get really upset if a race is too long but I would prefer it too long than too short.

Nice work, even though it was straight up pain train.

Sue's Ramblings said...

Hahahahaha...you weren't anal enough to run the extra 300m and then click stop on the watch???!!!! No, I don't do that, most times I just wanna be done.

Christina said...

I came to give you condolences on your 5K time, figuring you pushed your kid in a stroller.

Then I saw that this is your 10K time.