Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cazenovia July 4th Foot Races Race Report


“On your mark get set… (long pause) On your mark get set (long pause)” They were having some difficulties getting the gun to fire, but luckily that was no indication of my race start. I started out strong and held a decent pace up a pretty long and steep hill at about the half mile mark. When I got to the top I recovered for a second and then focused on speedy turnover to make up for a little lost time.

By the end of the first mile I was only off pace by about five seconds. My usual race strategy (top secret) is to start at 5-10 seconds slower than goal pace,
hit goal pace in the middle and finish about 5-10 faster.

I was looking forward to hitting my mile 2 pace since I knew there would be a pretty decent downhill. The race course happened to be the same loop my high school track team used as base building at the beginning of the season (I was no track star usually finishing last in these group runs). The length and steepness still caught me off guard. I didn’t know how to approach a downhill like that. I was switching between long bounding strides and quick steps – I probably hit a cadence of 120. Anyone know the best approach? I finished that mile about thirty seconds ahead and decided to readjust my goals.

The final mile is when the pain really set in. There was a slight up hill and all I could think was focus on form and it would all be over soon. About 400m from the finish I was surprised to see a huge crowd. At that point I was running with two other guys. One of them was running out of steam, but the other one decided to kick just as we got to the crowd. I knew I would have to pull the trigger early because the final 50m had a 90 degree turn and a rolling grassy finish, but I thought it was too early. I hung on to my pace for about another 100m and then let go. I flew by our tattooed and struggling friend and pulled ahead of our early kicker. I started celebrating as I hit the grass only to watch the early kicker kick again and charge by me. It was like an out of body experience. There was nothing I could do.

I looked up and saw 19:20 on the race clock. That was a consolation since I’d crushed my time goal. I waited anxiously for the results because my goals also involved some placement.


I had three goals. Finish under 20 minutes, in the top 20 and place in my age group. I surprised myself and accomplished all three. The final results were 19:18/6:13, 19th overall and 3rd place in my age group.

Lessons Learned:

The big lesson was don’t stop pushing until you’ve crossed the finish. I also need to figure out how to attack long steep down hills.


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