Sunday, October 02, 2005

Rest paid off - Ollie 5 Mile

A great weather day for running in Boston, well South Boston to be more accurate. As you may recall, while I had a good workout on Tuesday, I rested on Thursday to allow the soreness in my left leg to recover.

My leg felt fine today. I drove into Boston heading directly into the sun rising without a cloud to block or deflect it. The temperature was cool. It had dipped to about 45 overnight and was beginning to warm as the sun rose. The race was scheduled for a 9:00 AM start so it would not get too warm while we were on the course. It was only going up to mid-70's anyway.

Whether I had run Thursday or not, this was going to be my tempo run for the week according to the FIRST Plan. Shorter (5 miles) than I would normally do on a Sunday (10 miles) but it was also the last race of the Pacer's Grand Prix series so I had decided to register.

Pre-race advice cautioned to watch out for the mean hill at about 2.7 miles. Even Uta Pippig, a racer with a great reputation, said it was a hill to be feared. Now with the famous Heartbreak Hill on the Boston Marathon course a good distance from here, I did not expect to find a mean hill in this neighborhood. But the cautions came from credible sources, so the race plan for the workout was to take it easy (about 8 minute mile pace) through the 3 mile mark (and the hill) and then see what I could bring in.

The race began and I found myself working my way through the crowd fairly easily. The first mile went by in 7:50 (not bad). The clock at the second mile marker read 15:30 (a 7:40 split). We turned some corners and each time we did I was expecting to see the hill. Eventually we turned right and looked up. It was a pretty good hill. Shorter and steeper than I have run at TriCounty High School with the Pacer hill workouts. Thankful for that practice, it was not bad. I made it to the 3 mile in 23:50, just under my target pace (an 8:20 split).

Now the fun part, coming down the other side, another corner and we're on the main road heading back. Not a lot of runners around me and I was able to start picking some folks off. Another turn and I realize we're up to the 4 mile clock which read 31:30 (a 7:40 split). I was holding my own and beginning to the sense the finish ahead.

I had my eye on a group I wanted to catch. A couple more corners and the finish appeared straight ahead. Cruising into another gear I made it past the pack I wanted and over the finish line with no one passing me. 39:09 (7:40 split for the last mile). A good timed workout.

I hooked up with a group of runners in the parking lot to do a warm down jog along the Boston waterfront and back before changing out of my wet shirt for the drive home.

The race was well executed. Plenty of volunteers. The police had the roads well controlled to limit the traffic. Water stops was properly staffed at the 1.5 Mile, 2.5 Mile and 4 Mile marks. There were a number of recreational runners and walkers so they would benefit from the three water stops. Times were provided at each mile. The only disappointment was I did not see a map of the course before hand but with all the support in place, it was not really a requirement. Even for my first time on the course, it was a good performance. Next time it may be a race instead of a workout. We'll see.

So only two runs this week. Mileage down but that is to be expected. One day on the track (Tue), one tempo run (today). A good week all things considered. Two more weeks of workouts before the Mayor's Cup race. The grand finale for my year of racing.

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