Saturday, October 15, 2005

WHISTLESTOP 10K RACE REPORT

Actually I should say “Cruisin’ the Corridor 10K Race Report” since that’s the real name of the race. However, it’s one of the events (marathon, half, 10k and 5k) during Whistlestop weekend, so more people associate it with that. One of my main reasons for doing this race is that it’s in my home town, so it gives me another reason to drive 4 hours and see my parents. Plus of all times to make this trip, mid-October is the best as the fall colors were spectacular.

On race morning I woke up to 47 degrees, sunny and a strong NW wind. Since all the events bus you out East of town, I thought everyone would have a nice crosswind and tailwind. If you’re not familiar with Whistlestop, nearly the entire distances for each race are run on an old limestone railroad bed – hence the name of the race. Anyway, the corridor is surrounded by trees on both sides, so you are really sheltered from the wind. With all the leaves, you can really hear the wind, but you don’t feel it as much as if out in the open.

Last year’s results had 2 guys around 32 minutes, while 3rd place was 40 minutes. So I thought this race would be interesting or boring. At the start, 2 guys take it out really hard. 2 more are a little quicker then me. I end up running with another guy and it looks like everyone is pairing up. Well that approached didn’t even last until the first mile as one of the guys just up ahead dropped back and I was in a group of 3.

One guy in his mid-30s looked the part. He was dressed in all black, had the Oakley shades on and his Nike Frees. I think he might have been a triathlete because it looked like his legs were shaved. The other guy was about 50 and overweight. I was kind of surprised he was hanging with us. The first mile felt controlled, but the 5:51 was quicker than I would have liked. However, in a race this small, I’d rather run 5:51 with a couple of guys than run 6:05 by myself.

It’s funny how our minds work. One second I’m wondering where I should make my move, the next I’m just hoping to hang on to 6th place. We go thru mile 2 in 6:11 and everyone seems controlled. We’re basically running 3 a breast with each of us alternating the “lead.” During the 3rd mile I tell myself to stay relaxed until the 4th mile and then I’d throw in a surge and see what happens. I figure I can’t wait till the last mile because I suck at sprinting. We reach the 3 mile marker (6:19) and both guys slow down. It was really weird. It’s like they said “Okay I’m halfway, I’m going to slow down.” Rather than slow down with them I picked up the pace – or at least the effort. I thought I picked up the pace, but my 6:30 4th mile says otherwise.

While it was nice to be ahead of those two guys, now I had to run the 2nd half of the race by myself and wonder where they were at. Just after the 5th mile (6:27) the course turns left onto pavement for the rest of the race. I used the turn as an opportunity to look behind me. I didn’t see anyone running close behind, however by this time I’m passing 5k walkers, so I can’t be positive that no one is close. I tell myself if someone is running with me at 5k and they drop off that quickly, they’re not going to be coming back on me 2 miles later.

As I approach the finish line I see the clock at 38:45 and I’m thinking I can get under 39. I pick it up a little and cross is 39:02. That means my 5k splits were (19:04/19:58). I was a little surprised to see that I put nearly a minute on the two guys I was running with; heavy guy 39:48, tri-guy 39:54.

First place was a 17 year old kid in 31:52. A little research shows he’s won the 10k the last 5 years. How’s this progression?

13 years old 38:04
14 years old 34:43
15 years old 33:13
16 years old 32:13
17 years old 31:52

He’s still in high school, so I’m not sure why he’s driving 5 hours to run a 10k three weeks before state. It looks like it was a big family affair though with 4 kids and 2 adults all taking part in one race or another.

Second place was 32:49 and third (and first in my age-group) was 36:08.

Other notes: I didn’t stick around to watch the half or full marathoners finish. First place in the half went to fellow Eau Claire alum, Scott Chapin, in 1:13:10. Not bad for a guy who “hates running” and would rather mountain bike and cross country ski. The first woman was former D3 all-American, Sarah Anderson in 1:23:52.

The marathon is usually won around 2:40-2:45. I believe the course record is around 2:37. That was re-written this year with a 2:31:43. The women’s winner ran 2:57:49. Third place overall went to former UW-Stevens Point uber-stud, Arnie Schraeder (who’s now 40) in 2:41:42. I first met Arnie the summer before my senior year of high school. He was a counselor at the UW-SP running camp. Back in those days the winner of the D2 and D3 cross country meets were allowed to compete in the D1 meet. I can’t remember his exact placing off the top of my head, but I want to say he was top-15. Heck, he’s probably the reason the stopped allowing D2 and D3 runners in the meet.

7 comments:

brent said...

your 10k time is nuts man! good stuff. you are so right about the mn winters, i haven't figured out a plan in my mind as to how i will tackle it yet. i can't image the 'mill all winter but i think it might be that way. maybe on the weekends i can venture out into the snow for the first time ever (for a run that is).

D said...

Awesome time! I am assuming this is a WI race?

Thomas said...

A good race (and a good race report). Congratulations on finishing 4th, not a bad effort.

Yvonne said...

Great job Chad! As usual, I'm in awe :o)

Susan said...

OMG - that's crazy fast. Good job.

Peter said...

Nice job Chad. It is hard to run and sustain a race pace when you're by yourself, isn't it? I didn't realize you were from Ashland. Is that 17 y.o. from Minnesota? Pretty impressive!

My favorite Arnie Shraeder race story - 7 years ago I ran a 5K in Port Edwards, and he was there pushing his 5 y.o. in a stroller, running 16:50 something to win! Outrageous! I was pretty happy with my 17:56 for 9th place.

I will probably run 2 more races this year. 5 mile race Nov. 6, and a 10k w/ the Hillrunner team in Madison on Dec 11. It's on my all-time favorite course through the UW Arboreteum.

Chad Austin said...

Thanks for the kind remarks everyone.

Brent, I think if you keep training as the weather gets colder, you get used to it. I'm going to try and stay off the mill as much as possible this winter.

dgc, yeah this race was in Ashland, which is right on Lake Superior.

Peter, the 17 year old is from Rochester, MN. Yeah, that course through the Arb is great, I just hate racing in December.