Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Greenway Memory Miler 10 mile

Be sure to read these blogs on this same race:
Running Nicki
Cardioholics Anonymous

Today was planned to be a special day. I've finally found myself with an opportunity to run 2 races in one day, and I'm going to do it! The Greenway Memory Miler was put on as a benefit for the local Alzehimer's Associations to help increase awareness of Alzheimer's and also to benefit Virginia Amateur Sports. (who havent had funding since 2001). I believe the event was jointly organized by the Star City Striders and Virginia Amateur Sports.

Both events were a part of the Roanoke Outdoor Circus. October 21-23, 2011. Tons of stuff going on, and I couldnt do it all.

Event Date: Saturday, October 22nd, 2011
Location: 9AM Along the Roanoke Greenway, Starting at Wasena Park, Roanoke, VA
Distances: 10mile and a 4 mile

Weather said it would be about 45 degrees at the AM.

Excitement increased as the weekend approached. Temperatures were my biggest concern.

I arrived at the GMM, Glad it was a 9AM start. My wife actually got a parking spot for her and the kids in the Wasena parking lot, but there was another large sufficient lot very close by where most people parked. Tricky thing for out of towners is that Wiley Ave, which runs through this park is often one way and it's just best to drive the normal streets in town rather than try to drive through the park. There's a good opportunity to arrive late because of this challenge.

Where's the start?
I arrived at Wasena park, picked up my registration packet, as Lydia parked, and brought the kids to the playground, which was right there at the race registration and finish line. I asked where the start was and was told "down the greenway under the bridge at the skatepark" I headed that way, and founf no one, so I came back... Realizing it was around 15 mins until race start, I headed that way again, finding no one. I asked another runner, and he was wondering the same thing. Eventually other clueless runners all gathered and figured as long as we stuck together.... So, eventually a biker who claimed to be the lead bike, and then a truck with Barry from the Striders and a microphone. Relief. But a simple sign there would have been nice, but it all worked out.

There I am at the race start chatting with others who will soon be running. Marion Childress, Jerry Ballard and Phil Settle. I'm pumping up Phil to thinking he can take this small crowd and really place in the top 3! (Read his blog Cardioholics Anonymous) I really thought he had a great chance of doing that, and he gave a great run... read about his great effort on his blog report HERE. Doug Falls even showed up to cheer on his friends.

The Course
The race is a 10mile and 4 mile.
The Greenway is a paved path commonly used by runners, walkers and bikers.
From the start on the Greenway, we soon get off the greenway for a small loop (about 1/2 mile), and then back on the Greenway for the rest of the out and back course.
The Greenway: paved, wide, flat

I'm thinking I will likely race this rather than run it. I'll start this race a little faster than I normally run, as I've not run much at all this week. (in fact none since running 8m in the rain at the Cove with Doug falls the previous Thursday) so I had fresh legs. Each mile was very well marked. I asked Marion after mile 1 what our pace was, and he said about 7:30. Much faster than I usually run. I knew I'd be slowing down, but I was happy where I was at for the moment.

Not far into the run is the turn around for the 4-mile runners.
Soon before that turn around, I'm starting to follow another runner. I like the line she is taking through the mellow turns of the Greenway. Straightening out her run, saving steps. I like that approach. I'm thinking that I recognize her from Mountain Junkie events, or some other races. When she turns around at the 4-mile turn around. I think to myself. I would have thought she was running the 10, but oh well. She's 2nd female for the 4-mile, and give her a little shout of encouragement as I pass her in opposite directions.

Later in the race, I pass her again. I'm thinking she's getting in more miles after her 4-mile race. "Hey, did you finish 2nd female?" "*!@$%*, I turned around at the 4, and wanted to run the 10!".
I'm thinking of the numerous ways that could have been prevented. By runner, and by race director and by volunteers. but anyway, I can understand her frustration and I wished it werent so.

The course continued on almost to the sewage treatment plant. Passing an older gentleman near the 10 mile turn around who was enjoying the rippling sounds from the Roanoke River and doing what looked like Tai Chi. I bet all us runners, really messed up his whatever that morning. Sorry 'bout that.

I can tell as I am approaching the turn around because of the oncoming runners. I was counting down the leaders until I got to Phil Similar to the IMTR 16m run. He was in 5th at the time, with large gaps between all top 6.

As often happens, I find myself running along side someone and I am enjoying their pace. I found this happening at about mile 4 or 5. I forget his name, I'm sorry to say but he said he runs all the Mountain Junkie events too, so I'll see him again. I stuck with him until at least mile 6. At times I felt that he was keeping me running faster than I normally would be running. but then when I made small attempts to gain on him, I felt him step it up, and I questioned if I was pulling him, or if he was pulling me?

Somewhere about this time, after the turn around, I run past the inspiring Anita Finkle. I havent talked to her at work in weeks and I diddnt know she would be here today, so I looked forward to talking with her after the race from that moment on.

We run past an on coming runner and he tells us we were 19 and 20 overall. I start thinking how sweet a top 20 finish would be. not being a real fast runner, I dont get that chance to perform well overall, and even in age group rankings, really. This was a smaller event, and as I tell others, placing all depends on who shows up to run. 

Eventually what I recall around mile 7, I pulled away from him. The sounds of his feet getting more distant, and I'm getting focused on the next 2 runners ahead of me. From here to the start I slowly gain and eventually pass those 2 runners.

I was well pleased with the result of my efforts today. I ran a 1:19:05, which is a 7:55 / M pace. I never run that fast, and if so only for 2 or 4 miles at most. This shows me what I'm capable of on a flat course.

The only problem with running that fast, is that now all road races that I enter, I've set a standard of running sub-8 minute miles. Well We'll see about that!

 The last road race I entered was the Lynchburg half and I ran at a 8:47 pace and felt strong at the end. Yet this is still a far fetch from the pace I used to run at when running 5 and 6 times a week back around 2003 and doing my first half marathons. ...and just for the record my PR for a 10 mile was set in 2005 at the Blacksburg Classic 10m at 1:16:25, a pace of 7:39. Apparently I'm not too far off!

Another successful race, and strong performance. Small talk along the course with Marion (who has been running over for 30 years) I was reminded that each year, each month, each week, each day is another opportunity to PR. Yesterday isnt going to determine today. Only this very moment will do that. Thanks Marion. Seeing you at the races over the years and seeing you run strong has been a long lasting encouragement.

Post Race
Post race while waiting for results. I enjoyed having my family there with me. Crossing the line and being greeted with kisses from them all is just priceless. I've never seen cheese cake at a race before, but it was a change of pace, though I diddnt have any. some chocolate goodies and sweets were present amongst the bananas and apples. But Panera bagels seemed to be the biggest hit. I enjoyed a few of them myself.

Age Group placing!
It has been a long time since I placed in my age group. Today I took home 2nd place in my age group. There were only 60 runners for the 10 mile. and for such a small race, I thought I had a decent chance of doing well in my age group. As humor would have it, there was only 2 people in my age group. but I'll take that medal any way! The runner just ahead of me was first in my age group, less than one second ahead of me... wish I had known that!

All along the race, I'm picking out who may be in my age group, but since I was always slowly gaining on him, I never really payed attention to him.

Honestly had I known I would make 2nd in AG regardless how I would have run, I bet I wouldnt have run so hard, but I'm glad I did. I feel like I earned it.

What I learned the most
Run hard now and then, it's OK.
I heard not long ago from a trainer that you should first run for distance before you run for speed. Since I feel like I've earned a strong foundation for distance, apparently I can run for speed at shorter distances.
Though my real running goals are to run long distances, especially 50k trail events, it is nice to run on a flat course and surprise myself with my time.

I carried no resources. I used no gels or food. I took water at every water stop except the last one. I ran in my Nike Air Pegasus 28 Breathe and new favorite Smart Wool socks. I diddnt bring headphones, and diddnt miss them either.

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