Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Old Reliable Run 10k Race Report

Sad to see a great race lost in the shuffle
I ran the Old Reliable Run last year as my first attempt at the 10K distance and have been looking forward to running it again this year.  At first, I didn't think that I would get the chance because of a wedding that Hioko I and are attending was scheduled for the same day.  However, the date of the wedding changed, and I was able to run the race.  Last year the Old Reliable Run was a stand alone race with separate 10 and 5k races.  However, this year it was rolled into the City of Oaks Marathon as its 10k component.  I had and continue to have mix feelings about this set up.  I enjoyed taking part in Raleigh's Marathon festivities, but the Old Reliable Run has an identity of its own, which seemed lost when it was combined with the City of Oaks.  Also, the finish of the race became little more than a side note and lacked the climax of a stand alone event.  It was a shame to see the Old Reliable Run, which drew 2500 runners last year and is in its the 28th year relegated to little more than an after thought.  I am not against their being a 10k component to the City of Oaks, but I think that The Triangle's running community could easily sustain both events.  I will have to admit that despite the course being far more hilly than last years, I did think that this years course offered more challenges, sights, and encompassed more of the city.  Last years course, was mainly run along a portion of Hillsborough street that is used by a lot of races and is rather uninteresting.  This years had a lot to offer -- I am a fan of any course that takes you past a a prison and a state capitol! {Insert political joke here}

Days Leading Up To the Race:
My week leading up to the the Old Reliable Run was spent dreading the race.  The long run I did on the previous Sunday ended with some weird tightness and a lot of pain at the top of my right calf just below the knee.  I went to the gym and hit my gluts and hip flexors pretty hard.  Even though most of the pain was located at the top of my calf, the pain there had been directly precessed by a tightening and soreness in my gluts and hip, so I think that problem stems from issues in this area.  I alternated workouts and short 3 mile runs in an attempt to strengthen my leg and ease my mind in the short period of time that I had before the race on Sunday.  My new dietary and exercise action plan has gone well, and other than concern for my leg I feel alright.   More than likely, I could use a bit of a rest and have planned to take the most part of the week following this race off due to some west coast travel plans.

Game Plan For the Race:
I had a shakeout run on Saturday afternoon and felt good afterward.  I was fairly hopeful that my hip and calf where going to be fine during the race.  So, I decided that my race goals were going to be needed to be simple:

1) don't go out too fast.
2) negative split the course.
3) beat my last bloated 10k time, which I ran in an overly cautious and uninspired 58:08

Due to the hilly nature of the course and the huge number of runners, I doubted that I could challenge my PR. Also considering the very real chance of a DNF if last week's pain returned, I didn't even give a PR a second thought.  Lastly, in the back of my mind, I knew that my last race of the year -- the 8k Ridgewood Turkey Trot is right around the corner, and I would like nothing more than to end my race season by knocking off my 8k PR, so The Old Reliable Run would not be a major goal race this year.

Sleep is not often an issue for me prior to a race, but I just could not get sleepy on Saturday night before this race.  Luckily, the time change was that night, so I would get an extra hour, which was kind of my saving grace.  In the morning, I wasn't all that excited for the raceI had some vary strong feelings of dread concerning the course, which I knew to be hilly -- the finish line was actually on are significant hill -- and the possibility of injury and my first DNF seemed all too real.  All of my runs since last Sunday had gone well, but I was fairly sure that whatever had caused the tightness in my leg was still a lingering issue.  After eating a bagel and some Jelly Belly Sport Beans, I got ready, made sure that Old Bob was charged and decided for the last time that I would not run with my I-pod.  I had been waffling in regards to taking it, but in the end I decided that I didn't need it.  The starting line was only a mile and half from my apartment, so I just rode with Hiroko to the top of the hill and ran the last mile to the starting line as a warm up, which was a really great idea.  If it is an option for me to do this at other races, I will because I felt great at the start of this race and wasn't nearly as shaky in the first mile as I normally am.

The Race:
The starting line was at the NC State Bell Tower just like the Kirspy Kreme Challenge, but thankfully this race would not involve any doughnuts.  There were two starting gates, but I have no idea if there was any significance to the them.  No one around me seemed to know and I couldn't here any announcements.  However, my gun time and my chip time ended up being the same, which defies the laws of physics considering how long it took me to even reach the starting line.  So, either I went through the wrong starting gate or my chip didn't work.  Either way, this seemed to be a common issue when I looked at the results and didn't bother me that much since I had Old Bob to give me a more accurate time.  But, this shouldn't happen because either this was a wide spread system malfunction or a flaw in organization. (UPDATE: When I went back to the results several days later, my chip time was changed to 57:05 which matched up to Old Bob.)
Half Mile mark

Mile 1&2: 
I knew that these two miles would be mayhem like they are at most large events, and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest, people seriously astound me at time.  I'll never understand the people who know that they are going to walk, but line up near the front and give annoyed looks at all the people who brush past them as they walk two and three abreast chatting about god only knows.  And the people who are still talking on their cell phones at the quarter mile mark need to really rethink their lives.  I knew that I should have gotten closer to the front than I did, but I was still near several of the pace group sign that should have given anyone planning to walk that they needed to move to the back.  Luckily there was a nice size hill at the 3/4 mile mark that sort of righted the ship a bit and caused the pack to thin out.  I handled the first mile well with a minimum of weaving and dodging and managed to spot Hiro taking pictures at at around the half mile mark.  I did brush into one person fairly hard who stopped running right in front of me as we climbed the hill but other than that avoided any major collisions.  The second mile was on a much wider street and a lot easier to negotiate.  As we ran past Central Prison I resisted the urge to yell out to some phoney relative about staying strong and that I would see them on visitation day.  I skipped the water station at the end of this mile and was running strong.  One good thing about such a large field was that it aided in my effort to keep from going out too fast and help energize me through the first hills of the course.  I had no problem at all with the hill at the two mile mark, and went in to the downtown phase of the race feeling great.  

Miles 3&4:
This portion of the race only stands out for its relative ease.  Mile 3 was my slowest mile but only slightly, and it might not have been as slow had it not been for getting caught up in the traffic of the water station.  At the end of mile three I still felt awesome and knew that barring any unforeseen issues that I was going to both negative split the course and crush my time for my last 10k.    I picked up my pace for mile 4 and was going strong as the water station at the end of mile four appeared.  The fatigue that usually gets me around this time didn't set in and it was apparent that training for the Half Marathon was paying off in this 10k.  I couldn't help but remember how during my first 10k, I had gone out to fast and spent the rest of the race just hanging on.  

Miles 5&6:
Small lull in the hills and heading to the finish line
The water station was no problem at all.  I hadn't brought my hand held but drinking from the cup went fine.  I just took my time with it and managed to avoid choking myself.  I expected to begin feeling my energy level drop at this point, but I had done well with my pacing and my breathing was holding strong.  I felt like I could push even more, so I began to pick up my pace even more.  About midway through the 5th mile I my glut and hip began to tighten.  It wasn't nearly as bad as it had been on the weekend before, but I was still facing the hilliest portion of the course, so I was beginning to worry.  As I made the turn at the State Capitol my calf began to hurt, but it too was more mild.  It got worse going down the hill on Glenwood Ave. at the 5 mile mark.  But, much to my relief it eased up a bit as we climbed the next hill.  My calf was still tight as I ran past Hiro who was taking pictures on Peace street.  Despite most of the course from 5.5 mile on being up hill I was able to pick up my pace even more.  Even more surprising was that the tightness seemed to ease up as I picked up steam.  Whatever leg issue I have is diffidently worse on downhills.

I finished really strong and tried to leg it out with some 20 year old, who weighed about as much as my gimpy right leg.  I lost.  However, I ran a really strong race.  The 10k finish line was pretty blasé with very few people seeming to give a crap, which is understandable considering it was tucked into the sixth mile of a Marathon.  Kind of hard to get excited for people legging out the end of a 10k as people, who going to run 18 more miles that day stream past.   Still, I enjoyed the race and hit all of my goals!  I negative split the race and even had mile six as my fastest mile, which was pretty cool considering it had the biggest uphill portion of the course.  I bested my last 10k time by more than a minute, and managed to keep myself from acting the fool in the first two miles and paying the price later in the race.  Overall, this may have been one of my best races in many ways.

6.2 in 57:05 for a 9:11 pace.

1 9:18
2 9:12
3 9:22
4 9:11
5 9:13
6 8:54

1 comment:

  1. Gotta love a story with a happy ending! It's these kinds of Races & results that keep us coming back for more.