Sunday, September 20, 2009

At least he didn't have a disease

Up until today my only win in 2009 had been at the Celiacs 10k in Baltimore. The second place was a high school kid with Celiacs who had won Celiacs races all over the country. It was a little embarrassing - that's until I saw I might have a chance to win the African American 5k. I thought, maybe I could dedicate myself to winning small races named for groups of people unrelated to myself. Unfortunately I got second at the AA race - but, the seed had been planted.
That brings me to today - the Navy 5 miler. The race was held near the Pentagon in Arlington, VA. The weather was perfect. I had decided to take it out conservatively, focusing on dialing into approximately the pace that I'll run for the Army 10 miler - if I was close to the front after 3 miles than I'd compete. Luckily it worked out as I had hoped. At the mile I was in third place and I slowly closed the gap with first until I passed him at the 3 mile mark. I knew that there was a decent sized hill during the fourth mile - so, I pushed it hard during that section. At the final turn around I had some distance on the guy in second, who I would later learn is the assistant coach for Navy - but the last mile was a steady downhill. I knew I needed to keep pushing on the gas - I didn't want to let him back within shooting distance.
My high school coach made sure that we knew early on that looking back in a race was not acceptable. The reason is that it makes you look weak to the guy in second. You can give him confidence to think he might be able to catch you. In long distance racing appearing strong is important - you want the other guy to think it's not worth trying to catch you. That's why you should always put on a little surge when you're passing someone. You don't want it to be easy for them to react.
As I was turning the corner to 150 meters to go a kid stuck out his hand - I decided that probably meant that I far enough ahead - so, I slapped his hand. Of course - right away - I was a little worried that he'd come back on me and I'd look stupid. So, I kicked it in. I ended up about 20 seconds ahead - finishing in 26:37. It wasn't a great time - but, I have to say it's a lot of fun winning a race. I even had a guy from the washington post interview me afterwards. DC & Baltimore has a lot of strong runners - so, winning a race is as much about being lucky that nobody shows up as it is running well.
So I've got two weeks before Army 10 miler. A realistic goal for me would be ~54 minutes. At the beginning of the summer I was hoping for a 52:30 - so, I somewhat disappointed with my progress. I'm not quite sure of the problem. It could be that I'm not running enough miles - although after Boston I needed to pull back a little. The other possibility is that my quality days have not been hard enough. I've been running up to three tough workouts per week - which means that they have been less intense so that I can recover. In the spring I might go back to one track workout and one tempo workout per week.

Last Week
Monday: 7 miles
Tuesday morning: 4 miles
Tuesday evening: 10.5 miles 5X2k 1min10sec rest (6:47.7; 6:42; 6:37.2; 6:33.8, 6:22)
Wednesday: 10 miles
Thursday morning: 4 miles
Thursday evening: 9.5 miles 4X200 (35.6, 36, 34.1, 35.1) 3X1k (3:07.9, 3:05.2, 3:02.2) 2X400 (70.3, 70)
Friday: 8.5 miles
Saturday: 4 miles
Sunday: 15 miles Navy 5 miler 26:37 (5:24; 5:26.1; 5:19.3; 5:25.3; 5:07.2)
Total: 72.5 miles

This Week
Monday: 7 miles
Tuesday morning: 4 miles
Tuesday evening: 10 miles Track workout
Wednesday: 8.5 miles
Thursday morning: 4 miles
Thursday evening: 10 miles Hills
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: 4 miles
Sunday: 9.5 miles Airport 4 miler
Total: 63 miles


RM said...

The funny thing about this post is that I was about to write the SAME exact thing in the email this morning, about how you got your first "real" win yesterday.

After talking to Arjun yesterday about running in general, we decided that if one runs as hard as they can and don't have a mental failure during a race, then you've succeeded. You've gone as hard as your body will allow on that given day. That should be your goal for Army.

Ben said...

That's true - but, I think the main reason of having a time goal is so that you train hard.

alyssa said...

And that's exactly why your time goal for JFK should be 5:59.

Ben said...

i already have a goal for jfk that will motivate me to train: survival.

alyssa said...

blah blah blah.

Sidebar, I am tentatively scheduling trips out to the course in Frederick on oct 18 and 25th if you want to keep your schedule clear, perhaps we can get together a group of sorts.

Ben said...

The 18th might work - but, actually I was planning on running two 20 milers the weekend of 10/31 - 11/1. I was thinking of running most of it on the course.