Monday, December 12, 2011

The Jolly Elf without pictures

Saturday I ran the Jolly Elf Trail Run and set a fantastic new 5k PR in 21:58 for a 7:04 pace.  It felt great to go sub-22 for the first time.  My original target was sub-20, but with it being a trail run, my first attempt to really go sub-20, and a large crowded race I had kind of low expectations.  The winner ran a flat 16:00, and my friend Jason came in fourth overall with a 17:30, both incredibly impressive.  According to the official results, I finished 72/599 overall, and 5/27 in the M35-39 age group.  I'll take it for that big of a crowd and that kind of race.

The course broke down into three sections.  We started from the middle of this giant field.  I tried to get as close as I could to the front, but there were too many smart-ass kids on the very front row.  Of course they got caught up in the mad sprint at the start, claimed they went out too fast, and ended up just being in my way.  Every time I heard somebody say they went too fast at the start I would sprint past them.  The first section went winding through some paved greenway and dirt trails, then came back around to the same field, only we ended up going up a huge hill to get to the next section.  The one mile marker was at the top of the hill, and I could see the finish line clock read 6:31 when I hit the marker.

I accidentally left the garmin at home, so I was totally running naked and just relying on my own pacing efforts to maintain.  But a 6:31 first mile was exactly where I wanted to be.  So that worked out pretty good.  They said before the race that the second section was all single track with roots and rocks and stairs to deal with.  So do any needed passing before getting into the single track.  Really the track was wide enough to still do some passing.  I didn't realize this until the people in front of me started running out of steam, and I continued to match their pace until I started getting passed.  I even got passed by one guy pushing a baby in a jogging stroller.  Who brings a baby to a trail race?  He ended up beating me by about 30 seconds.  I know I lost about a minute in the single track.  At least a minute.  I was still surprised by how quickly it seemed like the mile 2 marker came up.

Just after the mile 2 marker we ran across a parking lot where the only aide station was sitting.  I was the only person in my group of runners to take some gatorade.  I know you should be able to run for 22 minutes without having to take in water, but I did anyway, mostly out of habit I think.  The third section of the course was a repeat of the same loop we ran for the first mile.  Again it went by so fast it just seemed like a short course.  That's what I'm thinking as I make it through the turns.  This is a short course, I'm going to end up with an 18 minute finish time or something stupid like that because it's not actually 3.1 miles.  Just when I feel like I'm about to keel over dead or puke, I turn the corner and can see the field again.  So the finish line is right there.  The mile 3 marker is at the edge of the field.  I can see the clock, it says 21:45.  I have absolutely nothing left for a sprint to the finish, but I can't drop pace now.  Must. Push. Through.

I give it all I got and cross the line and I see 21:54 on the clock.  The official results put me at 21:58, so we'll go with that over my bloodshot eyesight.  I promptly try my best not to puke on the volunteer trying to tear the chip off of my foot or the girl that finished right behind me.  My abs were so shot I couldn't hold my upper body upright anymore.  Bent over and limping, I made my way out of the finishers chute and over to a water bottle table.  They had a ton of food, so after I could stand upright again I grabbed a bagel and a cup of coffee and milled around for a while looking for my friends.  I never did find them, so I trucked it on back home.  I knew Kelley also had a 20 mile run on the books for Saturday, so I didn't want to delay her start.

For the record, her 20 mile run saturday ended up being 2 minutes faster than the 19 mile run she did 2 weeks ago.  That's pretty cool.

Sunday I was supposed to hit a 20 miler as well, and I ended up cutting it short at 17.  It was still my longest run since Ironman, I held an 8:00 pace the whole time, but I was a little underfueled, sore from the 5k, and just really didn't feel like pushing out those last 3 miles.  I've got another 20 on the schedule in a few weeks, so we'll see what happens then.  Actually that's Christmas Day.  How am I going to run 20 miles on Christmas day? ah, deal with that later.

So, great 5k PR, didn't break 20, ran another 17 on sunday.  How was your weekend?  I also went ahead and registered for the Run for Young, another local 5k in downtown Raleigh.  This one is all roads that are pretty familiar to me, so I have much highers hopes at a sub-20 finish on attempt #2!


Caratunk Girl said...

NO fair! I want pictures!! :)

Katie said...

whoop, congrats on the PR! you'll get that sub-20!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Um, who runs a trail race with a stroller? I actually feel sorry for the child in the stroller. That could not have been a smooth, comfortable ride. He/she might have like whiplash or something.

congrat on the PR, you speed demon!