Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bayou City Classic - 33:18 PR

Well it looks like my previous post jumped the gun a little. I assumed that because I had a bad week that my race would have to be affected. The results say otherwise.

I arrived Downtown and did a 2 mile warm up. During my warm up I was surprised that I didn't feel too cold. I brought two sets of clothes depending on the elements. I eventually decided to go shirtless with my regular racing shorts. This choice would shock a lot of people because as I approached the starting line I was the only one that was shirtless and many people called me crazy. Hey, I already knew I was crazy. The funny thing is when I arrived at the starting line it started to get really windy and cold. I was thinking, "What the heck is this?" I was having second thoughts about my shirtless decision. But I knew I would heat up when the race started.

At the starting line I noticed that there were quite a few more serious runners than at any other race I have been at recently besides the marathon. Everybody was there basically, plus some out of town coaches from some colleges that were competing in the running competitions locally. The coaches looked like they were recently post-collegiate runners. Basically the race was stacked. I didn't even mention that the race also included our local favorites: Sesar Figueroa, Adam Davis, Luis Armenteros, and John Hedengren.

I had no idea how I would do because the warm up didn't make any revelations. I still felt a little tight. That went away at the starting line though because the adrenaline was pumping and I was ready to roll. I could tell that the other runners were pumped up too. The gun fired and we were off. Because of the depth of good runners at the front of the pack I felt that everyone took off at a nice measured pace. I could still see the leaders at the .75 mile mark and it looked like they were just feeling things out. There was probably a group of maybe 10 runners at the front of the pack. I was in a group about 10 to 15 seconds away. I picked the pace up slightly for the last quarter of a mile. I ran 5:28 for mile 1.

At mile 2 I could see Jose Lara ahead of me. He was moving pretty smoothly. I was picking up the pace and eventually we were running side by side. He surged a bit and built a nice lead on me. I just kept my pace steady. It was still early in the race. There was no need to start making moves at this point. I basically followed Jose to close out mile 2 at 5:23 pace.

During mile 3 we hit a couple of hills which slowed us up a bit but we still caught up to Junior Mitchell. Eventually we formed a 3 runner pack with Jose and Junior side by side and me right behind them. We ended mile 3 at 5:27 pace. I was not content with this split so I decided I would need to decidedly pick up the pace before my race would get away from me. So that is what I did.

I picked up the pace and shot ahead of Jose and Junior. I could feel the guys follow me closely. I just gradually started picking it up steadily. I put a couple of bursts in there but they were controlled. I then saw my coach, Sean Wade, and he gave me some words of encouragement. "Hang in there" is what he told me. By now I was even more motivated. We made the turn around and by this time I was in my groove. I received even more encouragement from many friends who saw me on the turn back up Memorial and yelled out my name. My adrenaline pumped up even more. I cannot state how much easier the race feels when your friends motivate you. I finished mile 4 at 5:19 pace and I was sure I was by myself now.

I was moving pretty good when I noticed a guy with a green neon racing outfit. He was very noticeable in the distance. I was positive I could catch him because he looked to be fading. Eventually I caught up to him and he offered me some words of encouragement. "Good race" is what he told me. I offered him some encouragement and thanked him as well. Mile 5 finished at 5:18 pace.

I was really pumped because the race was almost over and I was feeling great. There was one last major hill to go up on and I felt I had more than enough strength to battle through it. But there was a more immediate problem on my hand. I could hear foot steps. What? Who the heck could be putting in such a strong finish that they could be gaining on me at the end? Not that its impossible to beat me or anything but I definitely was not fading and plus I was putting in negative splits in the process and I could still hear footsteps. Luckily I had enough energy to speed up even more and make it harder for the guy behind me. Was this Jose? I came up to the last hill and I sprinted up the hill and powered through it. Then I picked up the pace a little more. I could still hear the footsteps. I finished mile 6 at 5:20 pace.

Now there was only .2 to go. Good, now to unleash anything I have left and make it even more difficult for the guy behind me to catch me. This is what I did and I finished the last .2 at 4:37 pace. I looked up and the clock said 33:18. A PR by 1 minute and 23 seconds. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. The guy behind me wasn't Jose. I can't say I recognized the guy. He was pretty tall and congratulated me on my finish. I also congratulated him on his very strong finish.

As far as the race was concerned Sesar won the race running in the mid 30 minute time range. Adam Davis was not too far behind and also PR'ed. Congrats to him. There were a couple of other guys in the 30 minute range and a bunch of guys in the 31 and 32 minute range. The race was so stacked that I ended up finishing 9th overall. Here are my final splits minus the fractional numbers.

*One final note - The race results seemed inaccurate. It said I had a 33:02 chip time. While impressive I don't feel that it is accurate and results for other runners may be off by 16 seconds as well.

Race splits

Mile 1 5:28
Mile 2 5:23
Mile 3 5:27
Mile 4 5:19
Mile 5 5:18
Mile 6 5:20
Last .2 mile 4:37
Total Average Pace 5:21

Time 33:18

4 comments:

Junebug said...

I KNOW you heard my big mouth yelling at you from the other side!!! :P

When I saw the leader car, I started looking for you...I knew you would be up in the front.

When you hadnt posted this morning, I went and looked you up on the results page to see how you did. I saw you running up to the start without a shirt and thought WTF? I know you dont like the cold!!

Anyway, good job as always!!!

Day Dreamer said...

Great race and great time. You rocked out there.

Lookin' forward to see you at a race sometime after April. Keep it up bud! See ya out on the roads.

Anonymous said...

Bill,
Congratulations on the big PR. What a performance. Maybe you do like cold & windy conditions after all. Either that or you're at a level where those things don't affect your performance that much, unlike us mere mortals.:-)

Tuan

Bill Blancett said...

June,

I SURELY did hear you hear you. LOUD and CLEAR :) Thanks, for the words of encouragement. It definitely gave me a boost.

Sam,

Keep up the good training. This Boston race could be a great spring board for your running.

Tuan,

Unfortunately, I am a mere mortal as well :) Thanks for the kind words.

Bill