Monday, May 15, 2006

Rainy Race Report

The title tells you a bit about this race and the weekend. And anyone who is familiar with the current weather situation in New England knows how much rain we are getting here. From Friday through Sunday evening I think we've had somewhere between 6 and 8 inches of rain. But the Cambridge Fresh Pond races are still run every Saturday morning at 10:00 am. They've been going for something like 30 years.

The Fresh Pond races are 2.5 miles (one loop around the pond) and 5 miles (two loops). They are free -- you just show up before the race and run them. So I did a one loop warm-up (2.5 miles) with a couple of strideouts. It was raining (duh) and I wore a rain jacket during my warmup. There were a number of good-sized puddles which I mostly tried to avoid during my warmup (but figured I would be splashing through in the race). About 10 minutes before the hour I stepped into the Cambridge Water Dept. lobby where a few runners were congregating (out of the rain). As I looked around at the other runners it occurred to me: only the serious die-hard runners are going to be running this race today. Great. There were 8 of us, and just before 10:00 we headed out in the rain to the starting line. I left my jacket in the lobby and decided to brave the conditions in t-shirt and shorts. Temperature was probably mid-40's and the rain was steady.

Just as we're lining up, the organizer informs us that there will be only one race today -- one loop -- the 2.5 mile. Dang it! I really wanted to run the 5. But it's not like I'm going to go find another race today. So immediate change in strategy. 2.5 miles, a little less than a 5K -- let's see how hard we can go. With so few of us, I have no idea whether there is anyone near my pace. I figure I'll go out pretty hard and see where I fall in the ranks. The organizer says, "Don't try to avoid the puddles -- because you can't! Ready, set, go!"

And we are off. Fast. I start in the lead group and within 200 meters we are stringing out into a line. The guy in the lead is just leaving everyone in the dust (well, mud). By a quarter mile I realize I am running faster than I will be able to hold. Behind the lead guy (who I can't even see anymore) are two more running fairly close together followed by number 4 a little ways behind them and pulling away from me. Another runner and I are running side by side for most of the first mile. We are numbers 5 and 6. We've left 7 and 8 way behind us. I should mention that the first 5 places get their names in the paper every week in the Sunday Boston Globe (sweet). But by the 1 mile mark, the guy next to me is slowly pulling ahead. There is no way I can go any faster and expect to hold on to the finish. I try to stay close behind him (you know, because I do have a kick, and maybe he'll tire a bit and slow down...). Through the second mile I keep him in view, but he slowly continues to put some distance between us. I hammer out the last half mile and finish in 18:24 (7:22 pace) for 6th place. The guy ahead of me must have also sped up over the last half because he finished a solid minute ahead of me. For reference, first place was something like 14:05 (5:38 pace -- through rain and puddles up to 6 inches deep). Audrey tells me I just need to improve one place to get my name in the paper. OK, yeah -- just run about 30 seconds faster per mile. Thanks, Audrey.

I'm happy with the time. I figure it translates to a 5K at just under 23 minutes -- even though I was supposed to race something a bit longer. Oh well. As soon as I catch my breath, I wring out my shirt, grab my rain jacket, and continue running easy. I put in another 5 miles for a total of 10 for the day.

It rains all weekend.

On Sunday, I get up early to do a 17 miler. It rains steady through the whole run. And like Saturday's race, I find I cannot avoid running through puddles -- some up to 6 inches deep. My feet are absolutely soaked. By 10 miles I am just whipped and for the first time in this entire marathon training cycle -- I bail out on a run and head home. Only 12 miles (of the 17 planned). Which means I also do not make 50 for the week, but rather 45. But I think I'm using decent judgement here. I am very tired. I could really use the break. And -- I still have one more hard week, with a 20-miler scheduled for next Sunday (and it will be a 50 mile week). The only other week where I missed any significant run was the very first week of this training cycle (where I missed my long run due to a blizzard). I'm not going to sweat it. The extra rest will do me more good.

Fell asleep Sunday night to the sound of steady rain on the roof.



Anonymous Audrey said...

I don't get it-what's so funny about the difference between 5th and 6th? Just run faster!! :)

Kidding, that's a pretty funny post. That's so cool you ran outside this weekend-I hid on the treadmill...

5/15/2006 11:46 AM  
Blogger E-Speed said...

It's been raining for what seems like days here too.

Great job. Switching up your race plan like that can be a complete mental mind blower.

Awesome job on the long run in the rain too! 12 miles in the rain can def feel like 17 on a good day!

5/15/2006 6:00 PM  
Anonymous turnip said...

still a lot faster than I can go!

5/16/2006 4:38 PM  
Blogger Rae said...

What's up with all this rain??? The pics of New England on the news have been crazy.

Great job with the race!!

5/17/2006 6:20 AM  
Blogger olga said...

NE is a mess with all the rain! I thought WA should be the rainiest state. But you are so brave to get out and race, and then run on top of it - I only did it once, usually the race over meant the effort stopped and time to go home.
Thanks for your comment. Few stones, may come out. Hope not by rupturing.

5/19/2006 8:07 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

We're running the same marathon (NODM)! I ran it last year too and it was a lot of fun. Good luck with the rest of your training. It looks like you'll be well prepared!

5/19/2006 12:02 PM  

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