Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Calais International 5 miler

While listening to episode 109 of Phedippidations: Dr. George Sheehan - This Running Life:

"Either what we do every day is important or nothing is. In a sense we can live our entire life every day. I see this most clearly the day of a race. Then the full cycle is evident. The planning, the anticipation, the anxiety, the tension, the worry that fills my life comes before every race. This is followed by the race itself, the soon evident inadequacies, the continuing failure, the falling behind, all the while knowing pain and fatigue, suffering and despair and finally the finish and joy; and the peace beyond understanding." Dr. George Sheehan

Saturday, August 11, 2007: race day for the Calais International 5 mile race

Reality is much less poetic than the Doctor but there were still all the same feelings that he describes. I was more nervous than usual today, despite arriving in plenty of time after parking my car on the Canadian side and making the easy walk across the border bridge. The customs lady was friendly and barely looked at my ID, waving me through with "Have a good race!". After collecting my number and t-shirt there was time for an easy warmup which I did with Anna who used to live in my town. We had even more time than usual today because the race organizers were surprised by the unexpected number of runners (almost 90 instead of the usual 50 or so) and some issues with the Canadian and US customs. This was the 28th running of the unique race which starts in the US, goes across to Canada, then up the river about 2 miles before crossing back into the US and finishing back near the start by the park in Calais. I've done the race many times and enjoy doing the run through the 2 borders and also like the nice t-shirts with the Canada/US logos.

The race: more nerves, quick bathroom stop at a local garage minutes before the start and a good shot of gatorade had me primed to go. In the small crowd we had today it wasn't a problem being near the front of the pack and we were quickly off after a "Ready, Go!". The 1st mile felt pretty easy as I tried to get into a rhythm and sailed through in 6:34 with Virtual Marc close on my tail. Did I mention my race with Virtual Marc? Since he couldn't be there in person to be beat, my goal and challenge was to beat his time of 33:59 from last year. Little did I know how tough he was going to be... The next mile felt good with some jockeying for position as I was passed and then repassed a couple of runners but only managed a 7:14 with the hills. VM had now drawn even. Damn! Time to get serious, and started to press the pace as I pulled away from the runners around me but not able to hold onto speedy the VM. Despite not being passed again for the rest of the race and being able to pass a few more runners the next mile was only a 7:04 with V-Marc now about 20 yards ahead.

And did I mention the hill? Mile 4 is all uphill and it starts shortly after coming through back into the US. The hill starts out very steep for the 1st 1/4 mile before leveling a touch and then shooting back up some more. At this point my HR had almost maxed out and it was just a game to try to hold the effort to a manageable level. Top of hill and end of mile 4 in a painful 7:23 and now V-Marc is almost out of sight! From here on it's all downhill to the finish and I was able to make up a tiny bit with a final 6:28 mile and finish in 34:53. A sound beating I'm afraid but the finish line was a bit of heaven as I was finally able to stop. It was a good race but I was somewhat disappointed in my time. I thought that all my marathon would have helped me but it looks like the lack of faster running is starting to show.

Other running notes as of late:
Last week was mostly easy running with a measly total of 46 miles. I'm still not on track being back to work and haven't worked out a schedule to get the running in that I want.

Sunday - another 3 hour run but this time home alone as I got 21+ miles in with an early start. No real problems but the last 1/2 hour was tough once again.

Tues - easy 1 hour run after work

Weds (today)- nice 10 mile progression run in 75:00 working the pace from 8:00 down to 7:10 and some marathon'ish pace at the end. Despite starting this run feeling like I wasn't going to make it even one mile things went very well for a change as I progressed the pace by 10 sec per mile until it was at MP or better. Slowed over the last 2 miles but I'll blame it on the hills!

There! I'm up to date. Have a good week all!


Thomas said...

Marc doesn't even have to be there to beat you - oh dear! I'm a bit surprised about your time, to be honest. I'd expect you to be faster; how bad are those hills?

Better get that marathon training back on track sooner rather than later, the MDI date is drawing close.

Andrew said...

That jockeying during mile 2 is disconcerting. It happened to me last year. Sounds like a good run.

UMaine Cooperative Extension said...

Whew! Virtual Marc is tired after that race!

Sounds like a solid effort. Finish Lines are always a little slice of heaven. Sometimes its like St. Peter's Gate welcoming you to erternal rest.

Not long now 'til MDI!

Bob - BlogMYruns.com said...

Great Run Mike...u got speeed ...way to go!! Congrats!

and thanks for sharing Dr. George Sheehan - This Running Life:

Good stuff!

Unknown said...

Gotta love, Dr. Sheehan!

I think there are enough people to beat me on race day that I do not need virtual racers to do that. Very brave of you to go toe to toe with Virtual Marc. You'll get him next time.

DawnB said...

Congratulations on a solid race Mike I like that Virtual race idea but I agree with Rob on that one.

Love2Run said...

It was fun trying to beat Virtual Marc and I was hoping for a better time based on my recent training. However, the lack of speedwork left me a bit short. He's in trouble though, come marathon day when we meet again, for real this time!

Olga said...

Love Dr. Sheehan! It's like he listened to every one of us and combined and put it to words...or may be we feel the same...or may be we just all are word-less and agree with what the MAN says:)
Speed rules! Well, for some anyway...