Monday, February 13, 2017

Krispy Kreme Challenge #3

I first did the Krispy Kreme Challenge in 2015.  Shortly after finishing that race I said I would never run it again.  This year I went back for my 3rd go at it.

The race is pretty awesome and horrible at the same time, as you would expect when running 5 miles and eating a dozen donuts.  The city of Raleigh is probably what keeps us coming back.  Some great breweries and restaurants and of course a bar/arcade.  If the area was shit, I certainly wouldn't make the trip down to NC time and time again...especially when the travel there seems to be cursed.

The first year, as documented in that first link I posted above, was a shit show.  Last year our flight down got canceled.  And....this year it started the same way, with a delay that seemed to grow every time I looked at my phone!  After about 5 hours in the Logan Airport, we were finally en route to NC.

We arrived a bit later than originally scheduled...which meant a modified eating and drinking plan.  I believe in the long run this worked to my advantage.  I definitely felt less full and less hungover the morning of the race this year.  I was ready to roll on race morning.  I felt that I was in as good of running shape as last was just a matter of downing the donuts as fast as I could.  In general, I am a pretty solid eater.  I eat a massive amount of food, but in this race, it is a different story.  If I could eat within a minute of the race winner, I would BE THE WINNER!  Instead, I have yet to accomplish my ultimate goal of top 10.

The first year, I finished 19th in a time of 37:17.  I looked at 2015 as the getting my feet wet year.  It was overwhelming to say the least, sitting on the ground with all those donuts in front of me.

In 2016, I knew what to expect.  I had a better understanding of the race and the confidence that goes with that.  I ran faster, finishing in 35:13 for 13th place.  I could taste the sugary sweetness that is 10th place.  I just needed to either be in better running shape, or figure out how to eat faster.

Going into the 2017 event, I was not in better running shape and I certainly did nothing to attempt to figure out how to eat faster.  I just figured, try harder to eat faster.  Seemed reasonable.

So, the race started.  As usual, the massive amount of college students went out like it was a 50 meter dash.  I started on the 2nd row and found myself with at least 100 people in front of me a 1/4 mile into the race.  I was through the mile in 5:25 and there had to still be 30+ runners ahead of me easily. I was happy with the pace and used the down hill after the mile to bring my pace down a bit.  After that I passed a dozen or so more runners in the last mile of the first half of the race and entered the hall of donuts.  I grabbed my box from a volunteer and kept running hard to an area next to the furthest table to get on the ground and eat away.  I hit a split when I stopped running, I grabbed multiple cups of water and I ripped donuts apart shoving some in my mouth and putting some in the water to soak to make easier to eat.  It was a chilly 27 degrees at the start, so the mix of water and donuts made for some cold hands.  I felt like I was eating well and looked at my watch as last year's winner, whom I beat in the run again, took off, finishing his donuts in around 3 minutes.  I don't know how he does it.  It boggles my mind.  I need to learn his ways.  But, back to the task at hand.  I was sitting around the people that I was running with and we all seemed to be in a similar amount of donut pain.  Some people left and we ate on.  Finally, 8 minutes after starting, I shoved the remaining buggy bits of donut into my mouth and ran towards the exit of the transition area.  I through down my empty box and started tracking down the casual runner and the faster eater whom I could easily out run.  I hit the first mile on the way back in 5:27. I believe that is my fastest post donut mile.  I felt great.  But shortly after that the uphill would begin.  Most of the way back was uphill, with distinct hill, called St Mary's Hill on Strava.  My pace slowed a bit, but I was still passing people.  You make the last turn of the race onto Hillsborough St with just under a mile to go.  It is a straight road and you can see runners ahead.  You can't tell if they are in the challenger or casual division until you get close, so you just hunt them all down as if they were the same.  I was able to pass 6 on that finally stretch, I believe 3 were in my division.  I ran out of real estate to get one more. I crossed the line in a new PR of 34:45.  Breaking the 35 minute barrier.  The winner finished in just over 30 mins.  He beat me by the difference in eating.  Between him and the 2nd place finisher, they have taken the first 2 spots in the last 5 races.

After the race I went and checked out the results to find out I finished in 18th place.  That was a bit disappointing.  But, I was happy to run faster...I guess I will have to wait until next year to try to sneak into that coveted top 10!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Oh yeah, I have a blog!

It has been over a year since I have done a blog post.  Not much in the way of racing happened in 2016, it was just a year laced with a lack of motivation.  I raced a bit in the early months, but then didn’t race in about 4 months leading up to the Newport ‘Almost’ 10k.
Since the Newport ‘Almost’ 10k, I have raced 3 more times.  Here is a re-cap of 2 of those races and Newport.  I also did the Krispy Kreme Challenge this past weekend for the 3rd year in a row, but will re-cap that later!

This feels like many moons ago.  This was my 15th time running this race.  I remember not being overly pumped up about racing, but when I saw some WTAC guys in the lot; I knew I had to be ready to rumble.  There were a few Turtles running…and with Bronson and Dave running, I knew we would be good to go for the team title.  There were other notable runners besides the WTACers.last year’s winner, who passed me at 5.5 miles for that win and also Steve Brightman.
The race couldn’t have played out much better for the shape I was in at the time.  We had a huge pack through around 3 miles.  At that point Bronson and I made a small gap.  I was able to hang on to him until almost 4, but then as expected he pulled away.  Shortly after that Dave caught up and went right by me.  I gave it a solid go to stay with him, but I just could not hang.  I could tell last year’s winner was now catching me and he did right before 5.5…can we say deja vu.  He ended up passing me and catching and passing Dave at the 6 mile mark.  I finished strong enough in a time of 34:24, faster than the 2015 time of 34:40.  I was definitely happy with the performance, as I did not feel like I was in that kinda shape at all.

On a whim I decided to give this race a go, even though I had a race the next day.  I have seen this race listed for the last couple of years, but I always tend to notice right before race day and never go.  It is billed as a snowshoe race, but with no snow to speak of, it was a night trail race instead.  Past results show it is a pretty small low-key race, which is what I was looking for.  Of course, low key does not mean no competition.    I went out for 6 miles the morning of the race, got back and checked the entry list and saw that Scott Leslie and Pat Caron were signed up.  I knew there was no way and hell I would beat Scott and Pat has been running really well from what I have seen.
Fast forward to race time.  The ‘gun’ goes off and boom, Pat flies to the front and he wasn’t messing around.  Scott gave chase and I was a bit behind with some others.  We started up a wide dirt road and then though a parking lot and then down a short hill with some snow and rocks, which I ran on my warm up.  I found myself go from 20 meters back to on the heels of Scott on this section all the way through the mile, passed in around 6:04.  At that point we are on a mile long straight, flat, non-technical rail trail.  This is where I knew I would start falling back.  I ran a decent 5:43 mile, but could no longer see Scott and Pat had gapped me pretty good as well.
Once off the rail trail, we turned right onto a trail that was wide, but a bit rocky and wet and generally uphill.  You pop off of that trail and follow the dirt road from earlier back into the finish, around 3.4 miles after you started.  A very uneventful race, but I was happy to stay within 33 secs of Scott and 23 secs of Pat.  Not a horrible run.

This would be my 2nd time at this meet and my first race representing a different USATF team since joining Turtles in 2000.  It was a bit weird wearing the blue and white colors of CMS, but I was excited for more of a team experience in the USATF-NE Grand Prix this year and this was a nice way to break in the singlet before the series gets underway in Amherst.

I am not a track runner and I don’t even really enjoy running track races, especially indoor track races.  I decided to only run the 3000 meters this year, afterrunning the 3000, mile and 4 x 800 the previous year.  One race on the oval of hell would be enough.  I had the goal of breaking 10 mins.  I was not overly confident that I would do this, but figured that was the only possible goal to have.
There were a bunch of runners in the race that I knew and I had an idea of what they have run recently, so it was easy to have an idea if I was in the right place.  Also, 10 mins is easy math, 40 sec laps.

I made sure not to ge tout too fast and fell into around 7th place or so for the first few laps.  We were a bit slow, but I was OK with that.  I remember being 2:43 though 800 meters and shortly after that I made a move around some runners to get the pace moving a bit.  I believe I led that pack from there to around 3 or 4 laps to go.  I was able to get the pace back under 40 secs per lap and we were now on pace to break 10 mins.  The leading drained me a bit and I was passed by 3 guys that were on my ass the whole way.  I held on pretty well though the finish to get a finish time of 9:55.  I believe that was 8 secs faster than last year.  I’ll take that.

In other news for the year...on top of joining CMS....I was also asked to be part of Jack Pilla's Team Hoka One One New England.  I look forward to representing them as well!

Some new Hoka One One Speed Instints