Saturday, February 21, 2009

It was a good day to race: Park To Park race report

The weather held out and there was only a slight headwind. No complaints from me.

Park To Park is a good, flat, mostly straight 5 miler from downtown Houston to Hermann Park. It's a great race to gauge how your spring training is going.

The plan was to run somewhere between 6:05 and 6:10 per mile. Turns out, my buddy Ed had the same plan. He and I have the same negative split racing philosophy (start out slow & run the 2nd half of the race faster than the 1st half), so we decided to work together to deal with the headwind and maintain a proper pace. Ed is much better at this than I am so it was an opportunity for me to work on pacing. I wasn't sure I could hang with Ed the whole race but was ready to give it a shot.

About that whole pace thing. The problem with running with a Garmin watch is that the miles on the watch and the miles on the course may be different. So when you pass the first mile marker *AFTER* the Garmin says you've run a mile....who/what do you believe?

This was the case today. The watch was telling us we were running ~6:05p during the first mile, but we hit the first mile marker ~6:15. Although we didn't discuss it, Ed and I decided to believe the Garmin. Both of us have run too many races to believe the first mile marker. And, to be honest here, I was not ready to pick up the pace by 10 seconds per mile ;)

By the time we hit 3 miles, we were zoning pretty well but the discomfort of the race was setting in. I mean discomfort in the same way a dentist says, " may feel some discomfort..." Ed and I had taken turns blocking the headwind but, as I felt like the wind was actually cooling more than slowing us down, I decided to lead vs tuck in. Somewhere during mile 4, Ed faded back a bit and I was left to my own devices.

Just after mile 4, I passed two very tough competitors. About 300 meters later, one of them passed me back and left me in the dust. Note to self...making a move with a mile to go in a 5 mile race may not be the best tactic. Okay, it worked on one of the guys; but he's coming back from several broken ribs...I don't think it will work later in the season.

I finished with 5.05 miles on the Garmin (likely due to a long 1st mile). Several folks, who also had Garmins, indicated the course was a bit long as well. I measured it later on GMaps and found it to be ~5.08 miles.

We all had to run the same distance so it's probably not that big of a deal...unless the course record was under assault. As for me, I'm really happy with my race and even managed to acquire some 3rd place age group hardware. Ahhhh, no...3rd place in your age group is not quite good enough to turn pro...

Yep, a good day to race

UPDATE: Forgot to mention my time of 30:48.