What was the secret? They wanted to know, in a thousand different ways they wanted to know THE SECRET. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and sometimes heart rending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottom of his running shoes. - John L. Parker

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Race Recap: St. Malachi 5 Miler

I'd been looking forward to this race for he past few weeks.  I really thought I had a good chance to PR and I wanted redemption for the poor showing at Kent State Tune Up.  This is the 2nd time of run Malachi, and it's one of the biggest races in the Cleveland area and always brings out some tough competition.  My goal was to at least beat 28:09 (my time last year and my 5 mile PR) but I thought that if everything went right I could maybe even run sub 27!

Katie wasn't running this race so I was just there by myself.  I'd been noticing during my workouts that i takes me a while to really get going so I decided  to do an extra long warmup: 20 minutes with 3x30 sec surges.  The weather was in that gray area (mid 30's, windy) where you can maybe get away with just wearing a singlet, so I wanted to make sure I was plenty warm since I always race worse when I have to put on some under armour.  The long warmup though meant that I just barely got to the start on time.  They were playing the national anthem just as I got to the starting line.  It was good though since I didn't have to stand around getting cold for very long.
Off and running!
The race started by going up and over the Detroit-Superior bridge.  The uphill start was reminiscent of the Boardmen course in XC.  I started out at a nice relaxed pace.  With the wind at our backs, climbing the bridge felt easy.  As we came down the other side I let my stride out on the downhill and started passing people.  I was running with Birant at this point and as we wound through the city we slowly picked people off.  We passed the 1 mile in 5:10 and I think we were in 10th-11th place.

I continued to work my way up as we went down the W. 3rd hill and then the long stretch past the stadium/science center/rock hall.  I was in 6th by this point and I could see 4 and 5 ahead.  Knowing we would be going into the wind on the way back I put on a surge to catch up with them before the turnaround at Burke Lakefront.  On the way back I tried to be a good sport and take over drafting duties for the first stretch back to the stadium.  The wind was pretty fierce and it definitely helped to not be running alone.  We passed the 3 mile in 15:40, which was pretty incredible for me because my 5k PR is only 16:13.

The last two miles is where you really run into the teeth of this course.  Coming up W. 3rd was tough.  I was running side by side with one other guy at this point in 4th-5th place.  As we came up the hill he gapped me a little bit, but I was still running strong.  As we headed down Lakeside I could see the 3rd place guy far ahead.  He missed the turn onto W. 9th and the course marshall had to chase yell after him to get him to come back.  I think that may have taken him out of it mentally because we were slowly gaining on him the rest of the race.

Coming back across the Detroit-Superior bridge was brutal as it was uphill and into the wind.  I just told myself to get to the top and then it's all downhill to the finish.  The guy who made the wrong turn was fading and was now in 4th place.  As we came down the other side of the bridge I could tell I was gaining and once we made the turn onto W. 25th I really picked up the pace to see if maybe I could catch him.  The finish was in a different spot this year so I wasn't sure exactly how much distance I had left but I figured if I could get him within striking distance before the final straight then I might have a chance.  Sure enough, as we continued downhill I kept closing the gap and as we turned for the finish line I put on a huge kick and was able to pass him.  My final time was 27:10, 4th overall and first in my age group!
The look of determination as I kick for 4th
So I just missed breaking 27 but I was still thrilled with my time and I was really happy to place this high in a race of this caliber.  Unfortunately, I couldn't stick around long after the race since I had to catch a plane, but it was still an awesome morning.

My next race will be the Bob Kahn Invititational at Oberlin.  Right now I'm looking at running the 1500m and 800m.  I want to see if maybe I could beat my old high school times!


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    1. Way to go man! You ran a killer race! A well earned PR and great start to the race season! Hopefully next time I will be able to stay up there with you... Keep up the strong training!

    2. Thanks! Here's the link for Bob Kahn if you're interested: http://www.directathletics.com/meets/track/33872.html

      Otherwise, I'll see you at the 10 miler!

  2. Thanks for the link! I wont be able to make it (I will have to work that day). Good luck though! I have never run a track 5k or 1500 before...would have loved to give it a shot, hopefully there will be more meets like this in the future. Looking forward to your race recap! You're training super strong this year (and most importantly SMART)- Keep it up!