After a dreadful Greekfest the pressure was really on to run well at Hit the Brixx. I had two really outstanding workouts under my belt, so I was feeling strong and ready to attack. This was also the first 10k I was running since last years Hit the Brixx race; so I was looking to beat my time from last year and set a new PR.
Race day dawned cool and crisp- a welcome change from oppressive heat and humidity of the past three months. I felt good on the warm-up and confident in my plan. The first mile is downhill, the next four miles are rolling, and the final mile is uphill. In spite of this, I decided to stick with my normal strategy of running even splits the whole race. This requires me to not only hold back and be patient, but to also have a very good idea of my fitness level and the times I can run. I settled on 5:35 pace, knowing if I could maintain that pace I would come in just under 35 minutes, even with doing a mediocre job running the tangents; a distinct possibility on a course with a lot of turns.
At the gun Paul took off and I settle in to a large secondary pack on the shoulder of Billy and Richard. A little before 2 miles Richard picked up the pace and Billy Spada and McKeon went with him; I decided to stick to my plan even though it meant losing the shoulder to run off. I ended up hanging back and running my pace with Lamperski. I felt like if I ran smart there was a good chance some/all of them would come back within striking distance. Eventually that pack began to break up and I dropped Chris and picked off Spada, Billy and McKeon. Through the 5k 17:20-17:25 depending on the accuracy of my garmin.
The second half I felt good and managed to close the gap on Harris, but he seemed to feel me coming without looking and surge just enough to force me to pull back without getting on his shoulder. I had hoped to catch him before his furious last mile, but I couldn’t despite working really hard. I gave it my all in the last mile and hoped the hill on 7th would help me, but while I made some gains I just didn’t have enough. Harris had a small kick and I had nothing; that was enough and he held me off for second overall with a 4 second margin.
I finished in 34:50. Very happy with the time, PR and very even splits maybe a slight negative split. No shame in running well and someone else running faster. Richard now holds a 3 point lead in the GPx series going into the final race, the Lungstrong 15k on October 8th. The training will stay in high gear the next two weeks, with the focus being on running instead of biking and swimming.
In terms of running 2011 has been a complete and total bust. I haven’t been remotely close to any of my goal times and my workouts have been s-l-o-w. I just have not been able to tap into my speed. Really, my poor races times haven’t been a surprise, because my workouts have been really slow. Not for lack of effort, I just have not been able to go any faster. Going into Brixx, I decided to make a very reasonable goal and one that was in line with my current fitness. Although I was sad to make such a slow time my goal time, I knew that mentally it would be good for me to focus on an attainable goal. So sub 40 was the goal.
The race went surprisingly well. I was able to negative split and pick off three girls along the way to a third place overall finish and a time of 39:37. A long way from my pre-season goal of 37:59, but still faster than my projected time based on my recent 5ks. Sometimes, you have to appreciate small victories and keep moving forward.