Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hermes 10 Miler 2008 – Race Report

The bad news: I did not break 1:10. The good news: I ran very strong and improved my time from last year in what appears to be a slower, redesigned course.

<--- The course taken from my Garmin watch. The start is marked. We started going East, part of a loop, then entered the "Death March". returned from across the street to complete the small loop and finish at the start.

Compare the course this year vs. last year. Dan commented that this year’s course should be faster than last year, because two inclines over bridges have been eliminated. But there were still inclines in the last 2 miles and a head wind resulted in slower times, by an average (I estimate) of about 2 minutes.

The race started at 8:30 am. Temperatures were in the upper 60s and it rained right as we lined up in the start. The roads were a bit slippery at first, but dried out later.

We started running east, then turned around. My first 3 miles were: 6:42, 7:06, 6:44. By mile 3 we had entered the long stretch close to the lakefront which I have dubbed "The Death March" because it is long, boring, and hard, due to strong winds.

<--- My friend Dan (left, facing camera), in front of the "House of Blues" where we picked our registration materials and timing chips.

I spotted Dan running not far ahead of me and caught up with him by mile 4. Dan is a faster runner so I teased him for running too slow. My times for miles 4-6: 6:59, 7:01, 7:07.

At mile 5.5 we turned around to run west. Unlike previous years, we followed a different route to run back so we did not get to see the front runners. Now we got the head wind and our times slowed. By mile 8 we were out of the "death march" but now the head winds were even stronger My times for miles 7-10: 7:29, 7:19, 7:26, 7:12.

I struggled in the last 2-3 miles but had some strength left for the infamous DrT kick. According to my Garmin watch, the course was 10 miles and 391 feet. My pace in this last 391 feet was 5:16 min/mile.

Final time: 1:11:28

Even though I did not meet the 1:10 goal, my time was faster than last year. I was also pleased that I finished very close to Dan (last year he was 3 minutes ahead) and also, during the kick I passed Aaron, a younger runner who is faster than me.

<--- Tired but happy, with a nice medal around my neck.

I stayed around for a while but then left to go home. And here comes the big surprise: I checked the results in the internet and I WON 3rd AGE GROUP AWARD! And I was also 53rd overall This is amazing because we are talking about a 800+ people race, with 53 people in my age group. Last year with a slightly slower time, I was 86th overall and 11th in my age group. This unexpected success was, I believe, the result of a generally slower race. I have asked if it is possible to go and pick up my award. I might never get an award in such a large race.

Next race: Cleveland Marathon in 3 weeks. Ultimate goal: 3:30. (The McMillan calculator predicts 3:20 time based on my 10 mile time, but my times are always slower, compared to the predictions, as the distance increases, so it is going to be a very difficult goal to achieve!)

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