Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Run for CJ 5k - Stamford, CT Dec 30 :: Race Report

Going into the final race of the year I had many reservations. It's the morning December 30, so it's gonna be freezing cold. It's also coming off probably my most satisfying race yet. Just two Sunday's earlier I had run the Jingle Bell Jog in Greenwich, a rolling 3 miler. I finished that race in 21:51, so 7:17 splits. Not bad especially considering the weather and hills there. That, though had raised my own expectations for the Race for CJ. I figured though the 5k was adding .10 miles it wouldn't be as hilly, and I was aiming for a 21:40. That would be 6:59 splits. It would also place me in a higher seeded queue for the Indianapolis Mini.

I never sleep well before races. I always attempt to get to bed early, and I always toss and turn. If I were to study I would guess that my race times usually are nearly equal to the amount of continuous sleep I get the night before. It seems I wake up nearly every half hour. Dec 29 though, I got sucked into some hockey and football, and didn't get to bed till midnight. The alarm was set for 6, I was making coffee by 5:45, and outta the shower eating some granola by 6:15.

By 8:15, I've found my way down to the Athlete's Foot where we are getting race packet pickup. For the first time, I look the part, and looking the part makes me somewhat uncomfortable. I have a brand new dri-fit long sleeve Nike tech shirt. When I go to check in, the man at the athletes foot says, "Ah, you look like one of those elite runners." I nervously smile and tell him yeah, I am. I am bib number 10. A nice low number. I take that as a good sign. It's still 45 minutes to race time, I am in my car attempting to stay warm when I get a "Run motherfucker, run" text from Spitz. I complain a bit about the temperature. He tells me to get out there and warm up. I realize thats a good idea.

The Race for CJ is a fundraiser for the family of CJ Sweeney, a well loved kid in CT who passed away from cancer in early December/ After some prerace ceremonies, including a proclimation from the Mayor that it's CJ Sweeney day in Stamford, it's time to get ready to start the race. Somehow I find myself way towards the back middle of a good 200-300 people. This won't work. I nudge my way through a bunch of people and wind up finding myself 2-3 rows back on the outside. The Mayor sets off the race. And we go.

Within the first 100 yards I almost trip over a kid. Twice. Eventually I get by him. I then here two guys I am passing talk, "Yeah, let everyone go out quick at the start then we pick them off at the middle and at the end." Not exactly what I wanted to hear. I had the idea of just attacking this race at the start and hoping I was able to keep up a good pace throughout. If I am gonna do this in 21:40, I can't exactly stay back at any point. Not with my previous times at least. I need to push myself the whole time. At about 1/4 mile in on my right a guy just fly's by me. I think of using him as a bit of a pacemaker for a moment, but at the pace he's going, it doesn't seem reasonable.

It isn't until about a mile has passed, that I think I am getting my feet under me and feeling good. I think it's a mile anyway. I can't tell. There are no mile markers. Nobody is yelling out times. I haven't run this race before, and I sure as hell am not familiar enough with the streets of Stamford to really know. I have nothing to do but keep running. I am more or less by myself. I can hear people behind me, but not really close enough to pass me. And i have a group of 5-6 people about 10-15 yards ahead. This goes on for what feels like forever.

Finally a mile split time. 2 miles down 13:56. Shit! That's not bad. But I am definitely gonna need to pick it up. I pick up the pace and start picking off a few in that group of 5-6 in front of me. Then very soon afterwards, "2 miles down 14:58 !" Wait, what the hell? Which mile marker is right? Shit! At any rate, if either were right I need to pick it up, quickly.

A slight uphill, thats alright, I tell myself I have trained for that. Soon enough I start seeing street signs that I recognize from my drive down. 2rd street. Was it on 6th street that we turned? No it turns out it's on fifth. I can see the shopping center where the finish queue is just a few hundred yards away. And then it comes, that side stich. Are you kidding me? This couldn't happen at the one mile mark. Regardless, I know I just need to run through it. Not as quickly as I would like though, and I get passed by 3-5 people who are having a much more succesful kick than me. When I can read the clock in the distance I can see it at 21:38. Damnit. I am not gonna get in under 21:40. I pass sometime between 21:52 and 21:55 unofficially. Still a personal best, so I shouldn't be too disappointed. Though there are no official results up of the race yet, there is a flicker site up. This is how someone looks when they set there personal best, but are frustrated they didn't reach their goal.

After the race I start feeling better. That cat that passed me around the 1/4 mark? He finished in 19:59. Thats great, I tell him. He asks how I did, and I tell him 21:55. How's that rate for ya? Oh, it's a personal best, but I was gunning for 21:40. Nah, thats great, he says it's not every race you get a personal best. After a few waters, I decide I want a mocha, I hit the starbucks across the street. i see another cat with a race bib, and chat him up. He tells me, "I couldn't keep up with you after that hill, I tried but I just couldn't do it." It turns out he finished 15 seconds behind. And he was in that group ahead of me shortly before 2 miles. I'm not feeling so bad now.

I head home, still a bit disappointed that I didn't hit my goal, but not distraught. My mile splits were around 7:05, and I imagine, if the actual results ever good posted I finished in the top 15-20% or so. Now I just gotta translate that to a 10k this weekend.

Unofficial Results :: 5k 21:55, 7:04 mile splits, still waiting on placement


Anonymous said...

Oh man, that was awesome. You left out some fun details when you told me this on the phone. You should be way satisfied with this run, while still keeping your eye on the goal you set for yourself. Overall, this was a real good race though. Good move on getting up front...that probably saved you a ton of dissapointment.

You went to starbucks. I'm surprised you didn't try to run through the drive-thru!

More of these! More of these!

The Kip Winger Running Team is Go!


scot said...

Kip Winger Running Team is Go!!!

Thanks man. I'm always working my way to the front for future race starts. Even if it means tripping over little kids.

Next race report coming shortly after Sunday's 10k!

Anonymous said...

You could have shaved off another 2 seconds if you wouldn't have stepped over that kid and instead stepped ON him. I mean, seriously. Get the hell out of the way Macauly.

looking forward to the next report...and my t-shirt.


Anonymous said...

Oh yea, and what's up with these race organizers not being able to get people at the correct mile points. Is it really THAT hard?


scot said...

yeah, THAT was ridiculous. just absurdly frustrating.

Anonymous said...

This run was disappointing for me too because the results have (so far) never been posted and I have given up hope. Will not do this run again. Too bad. Was for a good cause. :(

scot said...

yeah, i hear ya. I was really looking forward to seeing an official time since that was a 5k personal best for me (21:50 ish). but unfortunately they just never posted the times.

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