Monday, December 05, 2011

Jingle Jog 5K (Collegeville PA)

After only running 4 miles all week to rest my hurting foot, I didn't have too high of expectations for my first 5K in about 6 months. But, I couldn't pass up a race in my home town when I had nothing better to do. With around 200 people behind me I toed the line, expecting a top 10 finish. In most road races lately I aim to finish in the top 5-10% of all finishers. I'm not quite as good at trail racing (yet).

Within a quarter mile the front of the race thinned out to the guy who I could tell would win it all, and a group of about 5 of us separated by about 20 yards. I was third in this bunch with a 16 year old kid just in front of me. He was wearing headphones, a sweatshirt, loose calf-high socks, with ratty black sneakers. All tell tale signs of one of those kids who starts the race in front and finishes about 15 minutes behind. So, I kept at striking distance. But, he refused to fade. He stayed within striking distance of the 2nd place runner in front of him. We stayed in this order until hitting the last mile on the perkiomen trail, with my second mile split matching the first - 6:02. I didn't care much about my time at that point. I was focused on catching and beating these two. I've run this stretch of the perkimoen a million times so I was confident with what the last mile had in store. I quickened my stride at this point, and passed the kid with about 3/4 to go. I kept that up and took over 2nd place with a half mile left. I kept this pace and slowly didn't hear him right behind me anymore. Kym and the kids were waiting about 50 yards from the finish and Kym screamed to me that he was going to catch me. An all out sprint to the end, and I kept my lead. We both finished in 18:25. A PR for me by 64 seconds.

I followed this up with a trail run Sunday morning.  I fell harder than I ever have, bashing my knee.  I'm hoping it's just superficial, but it doesn't feel too good walking today.

Dirty Bird 15K

One week removed from the Philly Marathon I ran the Dirty Bird 15K. I ran the race last year, so I was more prepared for the difficulty of the hills. At least mentally. After a half mile of road, the race turns into the woods and goes straight uphill for a mile. I did my best to get towards the front of the pack before entering the woods as it's very difficult to make any passes in that first uphill. The crowd I started with was a perfect pace for me. Little need to pass or get passed. The next section is straight back downhill and very rocky. I would venture to guess it was somewhere in here that I hurt my foot, but didn't really notice. I actually didn't even know I hurt my foot until the next day and was gimpy for much of the following week. I'm not even sure if it was a real injury or I just tied my shoes too tight. But, anyway, the next few miles of the race are less eventful. Smaller hills where I was passing people on the uphills and getting passed on the downhills. Around mile 5 there's a series of 3 steep climbs and decends. On the second set of inclines I ended up passing all those that were passing me on the downhills for good. The marathon training definitely built a good base to not have to do any walking for a 9 mile race, regardless of how steep these hills were (and they're steep!). With about a quarter mile left I missed a turn and got passed when I had to backtrack about 20 yards. I cut 14 minutes off my time and ended up in 25th place, compared to 148th last year.

Below is my gps of the course elevation changes: