Monday, October 7, 2013

Monster Mash Dash 15K Race Report

I bit the bullet not too long ago to run the Cape Cod Marathon on Sunday, October 27 near Falmouth, Massachusetts.  Therefore, you guessed it:  non-traditional training.

I’ve kind of really had it on my mind for awhile.  It is why I did a half in July, August and September, but I needed something a bit closer to give me a test or two.  Today, Sunday, October 6 was one of them in the Monster Mash Dash 15K at Sam Houston Race Park.

I looked for something out of the area that was a half, but nothing was more attractive then to stay at home.  It was a wise choice after being totally, completely wiped out after working – and announcing – Nike South on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.  With any event that I work, I don’t just stand around announcing.  There’s a whole lot more that I do, but I digress.

I was at the race site by 6 a.m. and had picked up my packet.  Saw Cheryl Stitt and Anita, who works for Other Brother, and eventually my very good friend Leanne Rosser arrived with her friend, Dawn Johnson, who was running her first 5K ever.

We all socialized for a little bit with their husbands.  Earlier I had seen and talked to John Moyer, Willie Fowlkes and spent a good 10 minutes or so catching up with David Nemoto right before the race.  (Later it included Kevin Lang and Walt Yarrow.)

I found Leanne and Dawn.  Dawn wanted Leanne to go on, but Leanne, with the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, knew that she really needed to be running easy.

I started off with them as they seemed to be settling into a nice pace.  Dawn was doing well.

I thought we were going about 9:45-9:50, but my watch confirmed that at the mile 2 marker we were at 21 minutes even – a 10:30 pace.  Just didn’t think that the track was going to slow us down that much.

As we turned right onto Fallbrook Drive, the right-hand turn would soon appear that the two of them would take to the finish.  I gave her some tips as we were running, including about ensuring that she keeps her head up at all times – to be able to breathe easier.

As I continued straight onto Fallbrook, the rains masked in the dark clouds looming distantly over the track at the start now started to appear.

I passed the mile 3 mark at 31:21.87 with the last mile being 10:21.30.

Then what started to occur was very surprising.

Given my body frame, I don’t do 40-50 miles a week.  While I might be able to trim some pounds that way, I’m afraid that I’d become injured and couldn’t run.  Therefore, my goal is to get in 4-to-6 workouts a week of 60 to 90 minutes.

So as the air became a little cooler and the rains fell, so did my mile split.  I passed the mile 4 marker in 41:05.81 after a 9:43.94 mile.

I’m starting to do the math as I’m running:  10:15 pace will get me close to 1:33 or 10-minute per mile for the entire race.

I was running strong.  I focused on the pace and form that I work to establish while doing most my training on the treadmill.

Mile 5 took us off the feeder road as we made a right-hand turn onto the street we had come off of the race track on to.  This was a nice and steady 9:51.53 to get me to 50:57.34.  (This might have been one of only two accurate mile splits after leaving the race track oval.)

A 9:50.61 mile 6 got me to 1:00:47.95 on the watch.  At this time, I decided – as I saw a number of runners in front of me – that I would see how many that I could catch.

Miles 7 and 8 were 9:41.37 and 9:51.92 for a cumulative time of 1:20:21.24 – right at 10 minutes per mile.  I started to think to myself if I got the right conditions and the right weather with a totally flat course – and I could hold it another few miles – that I might soon be staring at a half marathon PR.

It was after last Sunday’s Texas10 Katy – it is always good to have some motivation (the same type that allowed me to really get ready for Philadelphia in 2010) -- that I decided to put the hammer down on my training which had been a little lackadaisical the last few months.  Maybe this was a surprisingly quick return on my investment.

Then the last 1.3 miles and knowing what is right or not is a pain in the butt.

So after I passed the mile 8 marker (after hitting a water stop where I caught one or two people), I motored past a female as we turned back onto the Sam Houston Race Park parking lot.

I, at that point, including some 10K’ers, had passed 10 people since mile 6 – nice!

However, here came the kids on the 1K run streaming onto our course.  Ugh!  I looked at Angie Henderson and was like, “What the heck?”  She was like, “Jon, you’re just going to have to run through them.”  Well, not necessarily through them, but around a bunch of kiddos and moms and dads wearing costumes and getting soaked.

It later turned out to reveal that the mile 9 marker wasn’t where it was supposed to be, but that mile turned out to be 9:25.17.  Wow!

And then the last .3 miles was 2:01.72 (actually 2:00.xx), but I accidentally – typing my splits out – hit my watch real quick.  That’s how I knew, however, that the mile 9 marker was misplaced:  the time and then looking back at the certification map.

1:31:46.41 was the “chip time” that I ended up with, but Mike Hutchinson with No Limits Timing had me at 1:31:41.  I’ll gladly take the five seconds.  

However, it appeared that the course – near miles 3 and 6 – wasn’t set up properly, according to the certification map.  We were supposed to go off of Fallbrook Drive into the SHRP parking lot, run towards the Tollway, take a left at light pole 5D, make another left at light pole 6D and then a right back onto Fallbrook.  And, of course, we would have done it twice.

What you couldn’t tell from the certification map is how far from the road to the light poles we had to go to determine how short the course was.

My note to the race director after the race was, “If it was an issue that SHRP couldn’t get the gates open or something, we still should have been notified before the race about how short the course might have been.”

The other could have been too if you didn’t have enough volunteers, which simply didn’t seem to be the issue on Sunday.

Either way, the pace on the results could have been adjusted.

Still it was a pretty solid effort for me that I was happy with, given what’s on my calendar through early February.

Next weekend?  Races in Virginia while visiting the red-headed princess!

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