Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Not So Breeze-y


With Paul at the starting line.

Saturday June 18th was the 6th race in the RFYL Grand Prix Series, the Summer Breeze 5k.  It's not particularly well named since there was no breeze to speak of.  Summer Oppressive Humidity 5k would be more appropriate. The course is pretty tough.  It starts with two hills before settling into a long downhill to the first mile marker.  The second mile is almost entirely uphill, heading up Queens Road.  After a quick turn, the third mile is mostly downhill to Freedom Park then flat around the park before the slight uphill at the finish.  While there are some nice downhill sections, the second mile makes it difficult to run a really fast time.  Well, that and the weather. 

I settled into 6th/7th in the first mile as we went over the hills to East OBlvd and downhill on East to the mile marker. Took the first mile at 5:23 with Billy on my shoulder and a solid group, including the ever present Richard Harris, tucked in behind.

In the second mile, I managed to hunt down Jim McKeon and another guy, then took down Vincent.  Billy was still right on my shoulder, with Harris running too comfortably right behind us.   During the second half of the hill Billy actually took a slight shoulder lead on me and I was pressing slightly to stay with him.   Harris continued to stay tucked in behind us.  Needless to say, I was relieved to get to the top of the hill and take the right to the 2 mile maker.  The second mile was 5:26, very good considering the hill.  Talking with others after the race, I learned that most people posted a second mile time that was 20-30 seconds slower than their first mile time, so Harris, Billy, and I did a great job of really pushing up the hill. 

Kicking to the finish line
I was concerned about Harris with the long downhill to finish.  The one GPx race he has beaten me in this year featured a long downhill finish, in which he seemed to just float away despite my dropping a fast last mile.  After the 2 mile mark Billy began to fade a bit and Harris surged.  I thought I fought well and stayed on his shoulder as long as I could. I threw a surge in myself but he was unfazed and ended up gapping me around the turn onto Princeton, heading towards Freedom Park.  I was moving, but he just had another gear.  I felt (slightly) better when I saw my 3rd mile split: 5:17.  It was all I had.  Harris must have been about 5:08 and I just couldn't match that. 

All and all I am VERY happy with my time. 10 secs off my PR on a hilly course on a warm and humid morning.  It was also my fastest 5k time of the year, soI feel like I made progress today.  It was also my highest GPx points ever (962).  I need to taper a little bit next time as my legs still seem to be missing some pop.   I've thankful for a GPx break until July 16th.   This race makes me more confident that I can take down my 5k PR on the track in 2 weeks and hopefully again at Greekfest. 


Just tacking on a bit!  One of the cool parts about Summer Breeze is the separate mens and womens starts.  The women went off at 7:30am and the men went off at 8:00am.  That allowed the ladies to finally see the men finish and it gave us ladies the full attention of the cheering fans, which was pretty fun.  Michelle took off from the gun, leaving me, Boriana, and Alyson to race for second.  We hit the mile in 5:53, which is what I was hoping for, and Michelle was more like 5:45, so it was hard to be too upset with not being in the race.  I pushed up the hill and tried to get some separation, which worked, but not as well as I would have liked.  Alyson stayed within 10 seconds of me the rest of the race, but never really made a push to catch me.  I wasn't happy with my time (19:14), but that seems to be the theme for this year.  I am happy that I took the first mile out hard for once and made a move to secure second.  It was like I was really racing.  Almost.  Minus the painfully slow time. 

Boriana & I with our awards

On a sad note, this was the last Charlotte race with Jay and Boriana before they move.  Not together, that might make their significant others mad!  Jay left right after the race to head up to his fancy new producing job in NYC and Boriana left 2 weeks later for her new job in Washington D.C.  While we will certainly see them both again, it's always sad when your training partners and friends move.  Good luck and we'll miss you guys!

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