May 312012

by Kevin Robinson  – It’s funny how I can plan my races down to the smallest detail and somehow I think I can follow the format and accomplish the goal……it never works out that way and the 25K was no different.

First, let me say that when running a race of this caliber and by caliber I mean the venue (erik, Ian and the rest) It is very reassuring to not have to worry about anything but myself because I know there will be no logistical problems related to the race……this allows me to concentrate on my own running.

Judging by last weekends (appr) 12 mile and the weekend before of 10 miles, even though the Garmen is not too accurate at times, I pulled off somewhere in the 10:30  minute plus average which is my PR on this course.

So my goal here was to PR this race (2:48 in 2008) and if things went well perhaps pulling off a 2:40ish, then if I had that perfect day when everything just seemed to fall into place, maybe as well as 2:35.

What worried me most was if I step it up, will the calf’s fail me like years past.  Normally I wear the leg sleeves and that helps a lot but on a hot day like this, the sleeves would probably work against me.

My plan was to start near the front and allow the group to pull me enough so I wouldn’t settle into too slow of a pace off the start but still not get caught up into racing for the first 10 miles…….I planned on skipping all the aid stations except for the first time by the Yurk which is when I would suck down a gel. I also planned on powering the uphills so I could take it easy on the downs.

I know this plan is a bit different than most as usually they slow down and even walk the uphills then use the downs to catch up.  Instead I would merely slow down a bit on the downs and cruise with gravity.
if I could maintain an even pace on the first 10 miles and have relatively fresh legs for the last 5, then I would race the last 5 and surely guaranty a PR.

I did a good job in the first 3 miles of keeping my pace and heart rate where is should be but had wicked dry mouth so at the first stop I broke my plan (already!) and stopped long enough to take a sip of water. I was glad I did.

I was feeling pretty good and had settled into a nice sustainable pace, didn’t really care how many people were passing me ( and there were a lot until about mile 5).

Second change of plan was the first Yurk stop….I was nowhere ready to take a gel, it felt much too soon so I grabbed a water took one sip and dumped the rest over my head in anticipation of a beating sun through the fields.

The fields seemed easy and the memory of last year faded away quickly. I was at the Yurk again and still felt it was too soon to gel so I skipped it completely, but something in the back of my brain told me it would be a mistake.

I powered the hill and then opened up the stride on the downhill, another change of plan….but it felt so good at the time and set up the new plan of cruising the downs.

On the third trip to the Yurk I decided it was time, I stopped, sucked down a gel, drank a cup of ( what ever that yellow drink was) took 4 or 5 sips of water, dumped the rest on my head and hit the trail.things were going well and time was on my side.

The Grove came up quickly and I felt so strong running past all the cheering people. The time was looking pretty good and I felt I would have to really fall apart to miss out on beating my PR. I stopped at the aid station long enough for a couple sips of water and a dump on the head.

Now I needed to pick things up and turn on RACE mode. There would be no more stopping and nothing but pushing the ups and downs until I see the finish line. The first mile hit me hard as I tried to pick up the pace and even though I didn’t feel I was slowing down, I also didn’t think I was speeding up… much for racing, I felt more like I was in survival mode and for some reason, I couldn’t seem to get  a grasp on what to expect for a finish time.

This is when I know my body is fatiguing, when I can’t do the math anymore.  Come to find out, I heard that a few of the last K marks were off, if this is true then that could explain my calculation problems. Miles 12-13 really seemed to drag but once I  got a glimpse of the runners in the field, I knew I was in good shape and breezed right by the last aid station.

The field gave me perspective as I finally had vision of my finish and I still had some energy. I passed several people through the field and could feel the pace picking up. I had a strong finish and of course was extremely happy with my finishing time.

(1)    9:07 —(7)    9:51 —(13)    8:09
(2)  10:23 —(8)  10:35 —(14)    9:09
(3)    9:17 —(9)  10:06 —(15)    9:24
(4)  10:16 —(10)   9:56 —(15.5  ) 8:12
(5)    9:01 —(11)   9:10
(6)    9:57 —(12)   9:43

Garmen even had a good day as it read very accurately 15.51 miles.
15.5 @ 2:28:08   9:34 pace and a new PR
Last 5.5 miles 49:31  (9:00  average pace)