Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Race Results & Recap: Week of January 10, 2010

Scott - 9th Annual BankTrust First Light Marathon, Mobile, AL
2nd SCOTT GREGORY - PENSACOLA FL - 3:41:37 (8:28/mi)
(P.S. That is a Boston Marathon Qualifying time.)
Scott: "Bev & I did not stay for the awards. It was just too *@&% cold - 24 degrees, feels like 17 degrees."

Suzanne, MB - 103rd Annual Jackson Day Race, Presented by NOTC & former employees of Radiofone, New Orleans, LA
Scott had it just a skosh worse than Suzanne and MB did in NOLA. Race start was 26*, probable feel-like of low 20s. In the rush to get out to the car, my GPS & my watch both were in the guest room at the Boudreaux' house. That meant MB was completely dependent on the mile split calls to guesstimate pace. See what happens when you kvetch at your athletes to lose their dependence on technology come race day? It comes back to bite you in the @$$.

MB: First mile of (five-mile) jog from finish to start was brutal - jog up Esplanade with wind in face...frozen hands, yada, yada. Almost made the command decision to wimp out & turn back into the Quarter. But, we had driven this far...might as well go for it. After first mile the jog turned out to be a little more comfortable. Kurt made me laugh on the way, telling me one thing a real New Orleans runner would probably never otherwise say: be careful for the ice on the road. First time for everything, I guess. We timed the jog almost good enough, arriving to the race start area on the northeast corner of City Park with enough time to hit the porta line, get the race number &pace around in the start area for maybe 20 minutes.
Start - kind of strange not clutching at my wrist at the gun. My gosh, all these people are hauling @$$; I feel like I'm (as Suzanne would say) channeling the elephant.
First mile - 7:05 - actually feel comfortable, save for the COLD. Wonder what I would have gone through in if not for it being a solid thirty degrees or more lower than my typical racing weather?
Second mile - 14:12 - split is at top of only bridge/hill on course over the interstate. Guess they had to put this in the course for the benefit of us highlanders. Actually feel quite good coming off the bridge, but have to watch the joints on the bridge; there's no "finger" expansion joints on these things, just a gap big enough for your forefoot to slip into & you to go @$$-over-tincup.

At this point, I heard what I consider the obvious line of the day:

Three ladies were walking out in the middle of the course (Many of the walkers & party animals got their bib numbers & made an early start of the course, so as to get to the beer truck early. Hey, that's not my judgment; one of them told my friend Kurt & me this as we were jogging the last mile to the start.) - I do mean the middle of the course...three-abreast, in the tangential line of shortest distance the runners were taking. As I reached them (I was probably in the top sixty participants by this time), one of the three said, 'do you think we might be in the way?'

What do you say to that? I figured that was the perfect time to respond...'yep!' Must have been a good response because I heard the other two ladies laugh a little as I (relatively) streaked by.

Third mile - I was a little perturbed no split timer was here. While there were (possibly) high school girls' cross country runners at the mile splits calling out times, they were hard to spot...until you saw the bundled-up lumps along the neutral ground or curb calling out times sotto voce. Must have been Darwinian here; the fittest survived at the other mile marks. That was the bad news. The good news was that the course turned off Wisner, following Bayou St. John, on to Moss and then Orleans. Heading south on the course was a good thing, in my humble opinion; I could see the business district & feel the benefit of the tailwind Scott must have ordered on my behalf.
Fourth mile - 27:54 - Each race has a point where the people of my ability level (not good enough to be running with the front pack but good enough) feel like they are running a time trial. This was pretty much the point on the course. Police support is one thing, but spectator support is another thing altogether. There's a couple of runners about a block ahead I'm keying on, & one or two are starting to fall back here & there. The tailwind & its relative comfort has put a whole new burst of life in me. I'm probably not running any faster, but I feel less lousy about it. Miss Four Mile Mark is also huddled up & barely calling out. Wonder if she'd like to trade places with me for the next 2200 meters?
Fifth mile - 35:02 - A young guy comes by me looking fairly strong. I compliment him on his effort; he does the same. Think we're both hurting pretty good but he's got a little more gas in the tank & rolls by. My legs are not firing like I would prefer, so I know the caffeine & whatever I had left over in the tank from New York Pizza is gone, gone, gone. Seeing the Quarter helps a little, but my legs feel like wood now. I keep my eyes peeled for treacherous icy spots, so as to keep from ruining a decent effort & a decent day by taking a screamer. Make the turn onto the last blocks of the course & see the finish. Not enough real estate to kick & get one more guy, but at least I can look like I ran strong. Don't slip and fall on your @$$, MB.
9K - 39:05 - Boudreaux calls out the time just as I turn to look back at the clock, since I don't have a watch. A couple of years ago I would have been disappointed with this, & hoped for something closer to 36. However, once I do the math I find it is a sliver under 7:00/mile pace. So I ran a consistent, fairly-strong middle-distance road race in New Orleans (something rare!). A young man who finishes just seconds after me thanks me for running a strong, consistent effort. Yes, he was pacing off me & wanted to kick through me at the end...just not enough real estate. Happens to us all.
Post race - Very chilly. Saw folks eating at the Natchez steamboat dock & moved that general direction to grab something, until I found it was cold pasta salad...warm jambalaya or red beans/rice would have been nice on a day like this. No award (age-groups only two-deep), but the experience & the technical t-shirt was well worth enduring the coldest Jackson Day race in its' 103-year history.

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