Monday, May 13, 2013

Beach Blast 5k

Three times in May I have visited the Beach Blast 5k in Albemarle, NC, and three times I have been lucky enough to win it: 2007, 2009, and 2013. For those that don't know this means that 3 awesome looking Gourds adorn my trophy case. The Gourds are just the "key" to some great memories. Running the Beach Blast 5k, getting to know many of the people, what can I say; Peter and his crew along with the entire Uwharrie Running club put on one spectacular race. The course is always well marked and has volunteers at every turn. The race is chip timed, and the results are posted shortly after the race by the "On the Mark Sports" timing crew. Post race, there was plenty of food and drinks. Not to mention, there were numerous door prizes donated by the Albemarle businesses. I have never been disappointed by doing one of Peter's races and I hope to do many more of them.
I could go on and on about how much I like running this race, but I also need to share some thoughts about my race before this post gets too long.
The last 2 races while I was warming up, I was wearing gloves and a hat. Apparently, the May like temperatures finally found their way in to south on Saturday. The temperature was hovering just under 70 degrees right before the start. I remember the race announcer saying something about "perfect" weather. Well, maybe if I was a spectator for the race. For us runners, we have a different opinion on what "perfect" weather means.
Right before the start, Peter comes over to tell me about "Seth". Seth is a member of Peter's Vac & Dash staff. He recently finished second in their moonlight half marathon race and narrowly missed winning it in just over 1 hour and 30 minutes. He had covered the last 3 miles at just over 6 minute pace. As Peter walked away, he told me that Seth was wearing a white Vac & Dash singlet. I peered across the starting line trying to pick him out. There were numerous high school kids at the starting. This is the point where I reflect about how old that they make me feel. I have a daughter the same age as most of them.
Well, I don't see him, so I turn my attention back to readying myself for the race.
The air horn sounds and we are off. These high school kids only know one speed – all out. If only someone was capturing the first ½ mile splits, they would all be winners. The Bleach Blast course isn't really a "PR" course. There are a number of hills along the way. The saving grace comes in the form of a 600 meter downhill just before the finish.
We cover the first quarter mile and I pick off a few guys. By ½ mile I pick off a few more. By ¾ of mile, there are only two guys in front of me. I catch the leader just before the mile. We are going up one of the steepest hills on entire the course. I am about to pass him and he says to me "I hate hills". If I wasn't breathing so hard, I would have laughed. In reality I could only mutter a small response of "Yeah, me too".
At the turns I am checking out of the corner of my eye to gauge my lead. By two miles, I am feeling pretty good about things. I knew I only have a couple of more hills to climb and then, I have a nice long downhill to the finish. I convinced myself to push hard on the hills and recover on the downhills.
I make the last turn to the finish. The view was awesome. Hearing Peter call my name again was fantastic. Three trips to the Beach Blast 5k and three wins. I must be living under a lucky star.
In 2007 I ran 16:53 on this course. In 2009, I ran 17:15. This year, I ran 17:51. The times are definitely getting slower and I know age has definitely played a role. However, on the drive home, the thought crossed my mind that my slowing times had more to do with my move up the marathon than it did with my age. In 2007, I ran 3400 miles. Since 2007, I have averaged close to or more than 4000 miles per year. This means I am running an additional 600+ miles each year. This is a lot of extra pounding. If I were 25, those miles would probably have made me faster. But being the 40+ runner that I am, I am running those miles much slower. I am taking longer to recover. I could potentially be just running those fast twitch neurons right out of my legs. Definitely, this is a thought that needs to be pondered further in another post.
For now, I am happy with the result.
With the conclusion of the Beach Blast 5k race, my spring racing season has officially ended. I am putting the speed work, tempo runs, and any other hard training on the back burner for the rest of this month. This is the first training cycle that I have finished in a while where I felt healthy throughout the entire cycle. Now, I plan to give both the body and mind a chance to rest before launching into another cycle.

Sharing one thought at time,
The Coo Down Runner


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