Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ashland Railroad Run (10K) -- Updated

The Ashland Railroad Run (10K) is one of those local, small, well-run races that is just a lot of fun. They capped entries this year at 750 but I think ended up with about 600 people -- and that may have included the 5K runners and walkers, too. I got the 600 figure from one of the police officers who were on the course -- he was talking on his walkie-talkie with someone else about how many were registered. The course is basically flat with just enough gentle hills to provide some downhill segments when you most need them. Of course that means there are uphill segments, too. Good volunteer support.

I only have one complaint and then there was one quirk: there were not enough porta-johns for pre-race needs. They only had 2 plus a men's, a women's, and a kids' restroom in the building where we collected packets. They needed at least 2 more porta-johns at the start.

The quirk came at about mile 4. The last half of the course is a long out-and-back. We started that segment running on the right side of the road with those who had made the turn-around running on their right (our left). But, about halfway on the out segment (or back segment, depending on your perspective), everybody switched sides. So, we had to cross the line of faster runners as we headed out -- crossed the slower runners as we came back in. Besides that, it felt odd to race on the left side of the road, even though that's the side I normally run on for everyday runs. I didn't see any collisions and it didn't seem to interfere with anybody's running -- it was just odd.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine had expressed a desire to do a 10K in less than 50:00, so I offered to run with him to push him a bit. Now, I'm among the worst in the world when it comes to knowing how fast I'm running and setting a pace. Once I get settled into the second mile or so, my pace will be pretty even but I never know what that pace will be. But, I figured if I settled into a hard-comfortable run, we would be able to hit about 8:00 mpm.

We'll see what the official results show (it's not chip-timed nor were there wave starts), but according to my watch, we finished in 49:58.95. UPDATE: Official results have been posted and they show we finished in exactly 50:00. Here are the splits:
1.0 x 8:13.44
1.0 x 7:47.45
1.0 x 8:02.97
1.0 x 8:01.47
1.0 x 8:08.68
1.0 x 8:26.82
0.2 x 1:18.12
On a side note: last week, in the last 2 miles of the Ukrop's 10K, I was tired -- out of gas. That struck me as odd because, while 10K is not an easy distance to race, it's a common distance for me. Reflecting on that this week and thinking about today's race, I realized that I probably felt out of gas because, well, I was out of gas. I had waked up at 5:30 and my wave started at 8:33. Before running, I had only eaten 1/2 of a medium-sized bagel. So, perhaps, I had literally run out of fuel.

This morning, I decided to try something different. I got up at the same time but ate a whole toasted bagel and a banana. Then, about 20 minutes before we started, I ate a Gu (my favourite, Chocolate Outrage). Between fueling better and running a bit more slowly, I felt great though most of the race and at the end. In fact, it is very tempting to go run another 6 miles. But, I think I'll bask in the enjoyment of having met our goal (or, at least coming really close) and feeling good. And, actually, I have to go cut our crop of weeds -- my wife says that should count for a long run!

Run well, y'all,
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