Monday, March 17, 2008

HUMAN RACE REPORT

Has it really been 9 months since I’ve run a decent race? I PR’d at Grandma’s in June, didn’t race in July, ran a bad 15K in August and a crappy 25K in September before shutting it down for the year. And then the 2008 racing season got off to a less than stellar start with a 40:40 10K in January. Sure it was during an 18 mile run on a blustery day, but still, the 6:32 pace for a “workout” felt incredibly difficult.

And then came the skiing and the super fun experience during my first race. I was practically ready to take up skiing full-time. As little as two weeks ago I was thinking about skipping my favorite race of the year – the Human Race 8K, which was yesterday. Being my favorite race, you can imagine that much as been written about it over the years, including these race reports; 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Given the difficult end to 2007, my recent 10K, my reduced mileage, and my lack of workouts, I really had no idea what to expect heading into this race. Part of me was thinking sub-32 might be all I could handle. However, realistically I thought sub-31 would be possible.

With that in mind, I lined up about 10 rows deep and went out really easy. This can be a difficult strategy if you’re not prepared for having a bunch of people in front of you. It’s very easy to get in over your head if you see someone you know you should be in front of. However, if you’re patient, within a mile and a half you should be steadily moving up in the field.

That’s exactly what happened in this race. I went out easy and passed the first mile in 6:12. The pretty easy math of multiplying by 5 puts me at 31-flat. Minus about 10 seconds for being an 8K versus 5 miles and I’m already pretty happy with how things are progressing.

The second mile is a gradual downhill and I just relax and keep things under control. I’m a little surprised when I hear 12:10 for the split – meaning I ran a 5:58. I still feel well within myself, so the sub-6 split doesn’t freak me out.

During the third mile I start catching a bunch of the top local women, including Kelly, Angie, and Jan. The third mile split is 18:16 (6:06) and I’m pretty pumped that I’m still running 6:05 pace - and pretty pumped because I still feel great and I’m steadily moving up in the field. Somewhere around here I catch up with Kurt and Sonya and I see Bonnie about 10 seconds in front of me.

Although I slowed to 6:10 to during the fourth mile, I’m still moving up and passing people. Plus, it means that I’m at the high point of the course and there’s a nice gradual downhill during the last .96 of a mile. Even with this downhill, I’ve never really blasted a great last “mile” in this race. Heck, the year I ran 29:15, I only managed 5:47 for this stretch. Therefore, when I saw 24:26 for the four-mile split, I was thinking that I’d probably end up somewhere between 30:15 and 30:25. Since that was well below sub-31, I was already pleased with my run. However, when I crossed the line in 30:02, I think my jaw nearly hit the ground; 5:36 for the last “mile”. Where did that come from?

Full results can be found here. The website makes it very easy to compare year-over-year results. For me, I see; 29:56, 29:15 and 29:33 from 2005 - 2007. The funny thing is I finished 116th, 110th, 104th and 108th in the last four years. Kind of makes me wonder why I even need to race. Next year I’m just going to pencil myself in at 109th place and write that time in my logbook.

Anyway, normally I bust my ass all winter, have a great Human Race, and then slowly get worse throughout the year. This morning I was looking through my old logbooks and came across one instance where that didn’t happen. In 2003 I did triathlons. In 2004 I switched back to running and really struggled early on. I ran 30:44 at Human Race then ran 3:50 in the heat at Boston. While that was my worst marathon ever, I ended up having a great summer of road racing. Hopefully more of the same is in store for 2008.

Quote of the day;

“I hope you win, daddy.” – Katie, my 4-year-old on my way out the door yesterday

4 comments:

Brian said...

Chad --

It was great to meet you in person on Sunday. Nice job in the race--hopefully this leads to good things in Boston next month and for the rest of the season, too. I'm sure I'll see you around this spring and summer.

Brian

Evan Roberts said...

hey Chad, good race. Make sure you get some good longer runs on the road in over the next three weeks. With the freshness from skiing you can probably do a pretty abbreviated taper.

Hope we can get together the week before Boston for a run! Might have to join you before work or something.

Rocco said...

Chad-

Nice run. I told you this on Sunday, but our little chat on Wednesday really affected to run the race. I'm glad I did. Hopefully we'll run into each other (figuratively) at Boston if not beforehand.

Chad said...

Hey Brian, yeah it was great to finally meet you too. I thought you said you ran 35 minutes, but you were in the low-34s. You're definitely on your way to breaking 70 at the TC10.

Evan, we missed. I think those might have been the best conditions yet for this race; 35, sunny, and the wind wasn't much of a factor.

I'm sure I'll get in a couple of more 20 milers and probably do a 2-week taper.

Mike, great job on Sunday. Glad you decided to come out and race - even if it knocked me down another place in the 35-39 AG.