Monday, March 13, 2017

4th Annual Fresh 15 2017


Fresh Running group photo prior to the race.  
I look forward to the Fresh 15K every year and this year did not disappoint. We were blessed with great weather. It was 52 degrees at the race start. Megan Riaz and her team do a great job every year putting this together making it an international level type event, as it attracts a fast field, such as runners of Kenya and of course your top local runners from the Metroplex and East Texas. It also brings in lots of money for $$$ for charities every year. This year was the largest amount donated to charities.  
Good friend JT and I before the race. We seem to have started our annual cool down jog after. He's now living in Virginia and came back for this race. JT would give me a little carrot earlier in the week on a facebook posting that I could go under a 5:39 pace. 

Travis Allred and his team do a great job making sure Fresh 15 and the local races around stay patriotic with this huge flag. I stopped and took this shot on my warmup jog.
The field gets faster and faster every year. 

 I knew better to go out at that 5:15 or so pace like I did at Kilgore to Longview, just three weeks prior. This time I looked early on at what pace my watch was telling me. When we started down Old Jacksonville I settled into a comfortable 5:35-5:39 pace for the first couple of miles. I would say I was fairly comfortable for the first 3 miles or so and high fiving some of the kids at the aid stations seem to give me a mental boost of energy.

The race itself was uneventful as I was between a pack of runners in front and behind, mostly by myself for much of the race. Between miles 4 -7, I tried to start pushing the pace and James Jackson the national 15K Masters champion was who I raced back in January was having stomach issues again and I was able to catch him in the Hollytree subdivision. My pace though was staying about the same with the effort much higher.

Summer Tillson was here taking pictures and cheering us on right before the Dueling Oaks hill.

A bit of relief coming out of the Dueling Oaks Hill. 

 The last hill, which I think is referred to as "Heart Break Hill" was rough at this point. I had visions of being able to sprint at the top of this hill towards the finish line, but by the time I got there, there was none of that sprinting to the finish line. Coming up that hill with everything you got, felt like the end of a hard track session though. It was borderline if you were going to finish making it up or not.

Heartbreak Hill photo, it has to be in this blog.

 As I mentioned before high fiving the kids, feels like it gives me a mental boost of energy and they love it. I ended up beating JT's pace with a 5:37 mile average, finishing in 53:08.  My gps had the course a little longer this year with the route changes to 9.47 miles. It was my fastest pace on this course in all four years to finish 20th overall.

Can't wait for next year! 



Sunday, February 26, 2017

Kilgore to Longview 11 Mile Road Race Classic

As a former member of the Longview Running Club from long ago, I'm glad the Kilgore to Longview Class is back. It was an 11 mile race that started around 1976 and lasted until 2001 when there was construction on the main route. I knew there would be a competitive field of runners. The course can be tricky at first because it's really flat that first mile and you can get going faster than you realize, at least that is what  happened to me. 

                                     

I felt I got off to a relative easy start and it didn't take long for me to settle into third behind Micah and Tomas. I glanced at my watch at mile 3, which was a probably a bad idea to do that and I saw that it said around 16:30, I knew that was a little fast and I was starting to lose steam. (After the race, Tomas said they ran the first mile in about 5:11 and I was not far behind at the time). They did a much better job of carrying out that hard pace early on. 

Between miles 4-5 my right glute, quad, and calves were all tightening up and I was slowing way down. Nick Huff caught me around mile 5 going uphill and I couldn't respond to his pass. I couldn't respond much to anything at that point. I also got passed by Martin Rodriguez, he's a strong kid, a real fighter. I got to watch him battle German for awhile when German had caught him. He would not give up, it took awhile for German to get by him. 

Before I knew it German Garcia was catching me. I ran beside him for about a mile before I fell off his pace.  This put me in 6th. 

Things were not looking good at this point.  I saw Eric Deller cheering on the side of the road and almost asked him if he parked nearby so I could get a ride back in ; ) 

However, about mile 7, a rhythm of fluidity came back. I started gaining ground on Martin. I noticed the distance of the orange cones that were marking the course, the distance was getting noticeably shorter. So every time I got to cone I kept working to make the distance get shorter between us. I finally caught him around mile 8, luckily German had worn him down enough by then, I didn't have to battle him like German did.  

German was a little harder catch, he was keeping a steady pace and it was hard to close ground on him, it took a lot of mental effort and focus to make a comeback on German. Just before we made the last turn to the finish I was gaining really fast on him and when we made the final turn which was about 400 meters to go, I pushed about as hard as I could and ended up putting 13 seconds between us in such a short distance to bounce back and finish 4th. 

This turned about to be more of mental win than a physical win, as there were so many times in the middle and end of the race I wanted to quit and drop out and save it for another day and somehow managed to bounce back towards the end.  It was a lot of fun racing these guys. 


Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Hypnotic Donut Dash

Last weekend we went running for donuts in Dallas and we also made it a weekend family vacation by spending the rest of our time at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine with an indoor water park at its hotel.

The venue for this race was in Fair Park of Dallas. So, it was mostly flat, but that wind on the way back. It was about 42 degrees at race start. I figured I was running for 2nd today with the top Master's Runners (50 years) in the USA here, James Jackson. At least it would be a chance to PR I told myself, if I could hang onto him as long as possible without an epic blow up. There were a few other fast looking guys around too.

I lined up at the last second after a few sets of strides and off we go. I settle in around the top 7 or so at the start. I look for James but I didn't see him right away and he then he comes by. I knew not to get out ahead of him at first. Just keep close and cover his moves. It wasn't very long at all before he formed at gap, but after that first mile the gap wasn't getting any larger and just after the halfway point on our way back in a long stretch of road, I noticed the gap getting closer and his turnover wasn't quick like you would expect. I hadn't looked at my watch the whole race but I figured I'm running much better than I thought I could or he's have a really off day. We took left up a very short steep hill on our way back and I caught him. Alright, I told myself, time to floor it, no waiting around. I pushed passed him and was surprised he didn't go with me. At this point we still have over a mile to go and I'm in severe agony. A half mile out, I'm doing all I can to hang on, my arms feel like I'm carrying weights, they feel so heavy. I wanted to either slow way down or drop out, I was in some severe pain. However, I was impressed how mentally strong I was able to keep pushing despite the extreme discomfort I was in.

Just before the finish we had a  sharp U-Turn about 250 meters from the finish, I look at my watch it says 15:06, I thought yes!! A chance for a PR, I put a huge sprint effort in, collapse at the finish line and curl up like a baby. When I do stand up, I'm super dizzy! Never have I ever felt like that before from pushing hard. I just won by 14 seconds in 15:54, with James and another guy not too far behind.  The course was short at 3 miles but still a 3 mile PR for me. At that point, I knew James and a really bad "off" day and later he would tell me ALL about it.

This was a super fun race. I also participated in the "Chubby Bunny" contest. I'm a little dissapointed how I did here as I finished 4th,, the judge cut me off after I had 21 donut holes in my mouth and couldn't say Chubby Bunny anymore.