Saturday, February 6, 2010

Training Pays Dividends - 25" Improvement in Nut Race...

With the increase in running I've been doing in the past month along with the weekly track workouts, today's "Nut Race" was a perfect opportunity to gauge my progress. My previous best time on this course was an 18:55 back in 2008. Today was a fairly small field, 42 runners braved the 32 degree weather and the stiff 5 - 10 mph wind out of the north. Being a small field and all from Columbia, I had a pretty good idea who I might be competitive with but wasn't real sure how fast I could run as the last 5k I had raced was back in July!

The course starts out with a fast downhill followed by about half a mile of flat and then around a 1/4 mile uphill into the wind. Ryan Hauser took an immediate lead and rather quickly began building a gap on the field. I tucked in behind Stephen Bourgeois and Joe Company as we quickly settled into a 5:30 mile pace. As we rounded the corner to head up the hill and into the wind, I stayed tucked behind Stephen being sheltered from the wind. Stephen cut the tangent around a corner that Joe didn't so we pulled slightly ahead up the hill, but once to the top of the hill and into the start of the second loop, Joe Company picked up the pace and passed us both. I hung back for a second and then decided to go with Joe, hoping to catch back up to him and draft him into the wind and up the hill. The plan worked and I finished the second loop tucked in behind Joe.

As we approached the hill for the third and final time, Joe pulled away from me so for the final climb I was on my own. This third and final mile was my slowest of the race, but eventually I was up the hill and only had some downhill and flat left to run. Mile splits were 5:53, 5:55, and 6:10 with a final time of 18:30 and a 5:58 average. 3rd overall with a nice jar of peanuts as my prize, this being the "Nut Race" after all!

Back in 2003 I ran this race 33" slower and then went on that year to run my PR in the 1/2 marathon at the Drake Relay's, a 1:24:45. I'm hoping to run a new PR in the 1/2 in a little over a month, today gave me confidence that I'm on the right track!