Monday, December 16, 2013

Run for Hope 10k

This Sunday, 12/15/13, was the 30th Run for Hope 10k in Newport.  The race has changed names and courses over the years, but to me, it will always be called the Run for Hope.

I have a love/hate relationship with this race.  Most of that stems from the fact that the race organizer refuses to get the race accurately measured.  The course is pretty close to 10k now-a-days, but still short, in my opinion.

This year the "hate" part of the relationship came out a bit more...I was tipped off that somewhere in the deep depths of the Internet there was a blurb that the Run for Hope 10k, would be delayed 1 hour, because of the possible storm affecting RI, Saturday into Sunday.  While I applaud the organizers for making a quick decision and deciding to delay the race, they failed in actually TELLING ANYONE!

The timing company, Spitler Race Systems, had a short post on their Facebook page about this delay.  I asked them if the race organizers would be sending out an email to those that pre-registered, they said "NO" and they used a capital N-O.

I thought this was insane, sending a mass email out through an online registration website is as easy as 1-2-3...actually it is easier than that!

So, I started sharing this craziness with everyone I knew, hoping to get the word out.  And it is a good thing I did, because not a single person that I told was aware that the race was delayed!

After dealing with all that bull shit Saturday afternoon, I then had bigger fish to fry, I had the Tuesday Night Turtles Christmas party that night...I needed to somehow get through the night without sabotaging my race.  I pretty much accomplished this...I limited my beer consumption, BUT the 12 espresso shots and being awake until 2:30 am and waking up still wired from said espresso shots, put my confidence level pretty low!  Man, I am glad they delayed the race an hour! But man, if I didn't find out the day before I would have REALLY been pissed!  :)

Have you ever dropped an espresso shot into a Guinness....its pretty good!

The weather was looking good, as I had expected, and I arrived at Rogers High School with dry roads and minimal wind.  The parking lot was looking a bit scarce, this race usually attracts over 400 runners, but the lot was basically empty.

I was feeling a bit better after a short warm-up and was ready to get to business.  Prior to race day I had some goals laid out before me to run under 35 mins and to place somewhere in the top-5.  I knew the WTAC folks would be out in force and was looking forward to racing against them again.  Last year we had a great battle for the team title, this year there were not many Turtles in Newport and the WTAC would surely run away with the title.  So that left me to my own race.

The race course in Newport is pretty straight forward.  A slightly downhill first mile, twisty Ocean Road, some minor bumps and more twisting after 3 miles, a slight uphill from 5-5.5 then a short steep down and an uphill last two-tenths.

Standing on the line it was clear it was going to be me racing against the WTAC, there was no one else there that looked to be competing for the win and surprisingly no crazy kids went out at sub 5 min pace to only die 400 meters in.  The horn blew and as expected Mike Galoob went to the front with Chris Garvin.  I settled into 3rd place and tried to get into a groove.  I felt myself catching up to Chris and finally made an effort to bridge the gap at 2 miles or so.  Once I did that, I committed myself to a duel that would last the rest of the race. 

The Start! Photo by Jana Walker

I got in front of Chris shortly after catching him and started pushing the pace.  Any little downhill or uphill I would push.  If I felt Chris "too close" I would push.  This kept me going and I know that Chris is a bit faster than I am and did not want to be near him late in the race.  To be honest I didn't think I would be anywhere near him in the race at all, so this was a bit of a surprise and I was going to do everything I could to beat him.

A bit after the 4 mile mark Chris was beside me and for the first time since I passed him, I let myself fall in behind him.  I didn't let this last long though, because I felt better when I was pushing the pace, so I went back to doing that.  We passed 5 miles pretty much stride for stride but in the next 200 meters, Chris somehow got the slightest of gaps, it was enough that when we made the left hand turn onto Carroll Avenue I felt like I lost contact.  For mere seconds I gave up on 2nd place.  I was content that I had run as well as I had and didn't care about Chris anymore.  Well, that feeling went away quick and I got my head out of my ass and started chasing again.  With only one more left hand turn and the steep downhill/uphill combo ahead of us, I was running out of time.  I tried to run the downhill as quick as possible but I wasn't gaining any ground.  I had to yell at Chris near the bottom of the hill as a cop almost sent him the wrong way.  This got me a tad closer, but Chris ran the final uphill better than I did, so I had to settle for third.

The WTAC guys all ran great, taking 6 out of the top 7 spots.  I felt like the outsider that happen to show up to their group workout!

Of course I was very pleased with my effort, but disappointed that I couldn't match Chris's final move.  I am especially happy to finally feel like I am back to being able to race well after having an injury full summer and look forward to racing well in the upcoming 4th Season Trail Series starting on 1/4/14!

Here is my history at the Run for Hope...

2013 - 3rd place - 34:13
2012 - 4th place - 33:49
2011 - 2nd place - 35:02
2010 - 3rd place - 35:29
2009 - 3rd place - 34:04
2008 - 4th place - 33:56
2007 - 5th place - 33:36
2006 - 7th place - 35:11
2005 - 5th place - 34:09
2004 - 7th place - 33:50
2003 - Didn't Run
2002 - Didn't Run
2001 - 18th place - 38:17
2000 - 8th place - 36:24

Check out the Full Results!