Sunday, March 19, 2017

2017 Stafford Airport Runway Runaway 5k Race Report

I swear I don't sandbag my races. Seriously. I mean, I may sandbag a little during the race just because I sprint at the Finish line, but I've always done that. And maybe I sandbag about my capabilities just because I usually lack self-confidence. But I don't intentionally line up at the rear, claim to be a walker, then sprint past everyone in an attempt to win the race. That's not my style. Yes, I line up in the back, but that's to slow myself down because I struggle with slower starts and always want to rabbit out front. I also line up in the back of the pack because that's usually where I finish. And I'm okay with all of that. But I'm not that guy that passes you at Mach 3 only a half mile in the race because I'm better than everyone else.

Anyway, I bring this up because yet again competition during a race got the better of me. I'll break it down like this:

- Run 5k race at easy but steady pace
- Turn around and re-run 5k race course at slightly slower pace
- Finish the day with 6 miles

- Run 5k at way fast pace
- Run another 1.5 miles a little later at slower pace
- Finish day with 4.5 miles

So things didn't go quite as planned but they went better than expected. My coach's plan for me was just the 5k race. And that's cool but I missed a stupid 6 mile run last week and it's been gnawing at me even though I know it shouldn't and I wanted to hit that next mileage mark. Well, I missed the 6 mile mark but I walked away with a new PR and a little more distance tacked on.

Now, for the race itself. I forgot to do packet pick-up the day before so knew I'd need to get there a bit early. After getting directions the night before, and reading all the rules about running at an airport, I opted to go even a little earlier. So at 0500 I got up, got dressed, and headed out the door. I got some coffee and breakfast, drove down the road, got gas, and arrived at the airport terminal around 0615. Way earlier than expected.

It was dark so it was cool to see the landing lights and the beacon flashing but it was a little hard to figure out where to park. So I parked at the terminal. It was rainy and cold so I stayed warm in my car. Around 0645 I got out and got my bib and swag and went back to staying warm. Around 0715 I hit the head and repeated the process around 0745. On my way back to my car I ran into an old co-worker and we chatted a bit. It was great to see somebody else that has done well after leaving our previous employer.

I hustled to the Start line, tried to dodge the wind, and we were off. We hit the first mile mark way too fast and I could only assume the sign was backwards. As we looped around the first time, we passed the mile marker at a more respectable, and believable, time so I figured we were on the right track again. But I still wasn't sure if we had started by going the wrong way at the start.

While I mulled that question in my head, I enjoyed the tail wind down the stretch. We turned back around and did the same loop around a second time and this time we hit the second mile mark at another more believable time. Fighting that stupid head wind sucked and I made every effort to tuck behind people in front of me but most of the time I was rolling faster than they were or there was just an open gap in front of me. So I dealt with it.

Headed into the home stretch, we followed our outbound route back to the Finish and I looked at my watch again to see where I was. Seeing that I was close to my old PR time of 30:53, I kicked it. I made the last two turns and kicked it again to pass a couple more people before the finish. The one younger guy edged me out I think, but I'm not sure because my vision was so narrowly focused on the end.

Anyway, I came across, looked at my watch, and then tried to factor in the time it took me to cross the Start line. I knew I was close but wasn't sure until the times were posted. I ended up besting my last PR by 25 seconds giving myself a shiny new PR of 30:28.


Temps were about 35F to 40F. Wind was light to moderate (maybe 10 mph sustained). Sky was overcast with light rain that eased up the longer we were out there.

Fluids and Fuel:
Before the run I had coffee, two boiled eggs, and an English muffin. During the run I had plain water. Recovery was more coffee and two bacon/gouda sandwiches (which was after another 1.5 mile run where I had nothing to eat or drink).

Aches and Pains:
My wonky toenail on the right foot gave me fits the other day and instead of taking care of it, I ignored it. Well, it gave me fits again today and it serves me right. Nothing bad, just a toenail that has been a nuisance for years. Aside from that, I felt a little tight and crampy after the race but that's likely because I didn't drink as much as I usually do during a 3 mile run.

Wore shorts, thermal top, short sleeve shirt, gloves, BUFF, and winter hat. BUFF came off around Mile 2. Wearing shorts was perfect. Was chilly at the start but after a mile, my legs and fingers were plenty warm.

Today's Motivation:
Paying for a race is usually pretty good motivation. A new venue adds to that, especially one as unique as an airport runway (well, technically it was the taxiway, but still). As I neared the finish, that PR pushed me.

Naughty Neil:
I had some cheese and crackers last night and I ate them way too late. But I was busy watching HACKSAW RIDGE and felt the need to snack. Also stayed up a little too late (around 2330).

Start - 00:27
Mile 1 - 10:12
Mile 2 - 10:10
Mile 3 - 9:51
Finish - 30:28 (watch time was 31:00)

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