Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review of the year

On the eve of my last race of 2010 and with apologies to friend and fellow Blogger BMac for copying his idea, I figured now would be as good a time as any to have a look back at the races I ran in 2010, a year I am considering as my best since I moved over here in 2005.

Cupid's Cup 5k: 15:58 1st Place Grade A

I couldn't have asked for a much better start to the year than this. A couple of months after Thunder Road I was only just getting back into hard training so a sub 16 effort (my only of 2010 as it turned out) was a pleasant surprise. Loved the course and was able to take advantage of the 2nd half of the race being entirely downhill. Disappointed I won't be able to defend my crown in 2011 as we will be in Disney that weekend.

Shamrock 4 miler: 22:38 13th place Grade C

Just after Cupid's Cup I faced my only injury setback of the year so far. A calf strain kept me off the roads for a couple of weeks. I had to scratch from the Corporate Cup Half I had entered and was worried I would miss the first race of the GP series. Returning to training a few days before this race I took advantage of my free entry to run this as a tempo workout and ensure I kept my hopes of the Bonus points for running every GP race alive. I had a fun race running alongside Caitlin and Meagan. Caitlin would go on to run a stellar 2:42 in her debut marathon and so qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials while Meagan starred at the NCAA DII track championships later in the Spring. Me? I was just happy to get through this race unscathed and ready to jump back into harder training.

Run For The Money 5k: 16:58 1st place Grade C

A month and some good workouts later, I was pretty disappointed with this solo effort on a very tough course. Fortunately I was still able to get the W and earn $1,000 for my friend's Not For Profit Organization. Very happy to oblige

Skyline 5k: 16:20 5th place Grade B-

Again I was expecting better from this race. On what is definitely one of the faster courses on the GP circuit and with a stellar crew including Jordan, John Compton, Dan Matena and Ben turning up, expectations were high that I could get a good time and certainly attack the 16:00 barrier. I was able to stay with the front group through the first mile but soon got detached and was fighting the rest of the way home. I should have been able to take much more advantage of the fast downhill finish

Twilight 5k: 16:43 4th place Grade C

This is always one of the toughest races of the year. It is run on a Friday night in the middle of May and so it is invariably 90 degrees and humid. This year was no exception. I couldn't latch on to a good pack once the race started and was pretty much struggling throughout. The seeming force nine wind which hit us as we headed towards the finish line was the final nail in the coffin. Easily the best part of this race was coach Budic completely surprising me by flying in to compete! Oh and I beat him as he was short of fitness!

Great Harvest Bread 5k: 16:36 3rd place Grade C+

Again I was dominated by Jordan and John Compton in this race. Again I wasn't offered much competition from behind. The result? Another solo struggle over a new and fairly challenging course.

King Tiger 5K: 16:35 3rd place Grade B-

As above but with Brett Howell replacing John! I purposefully took this one out hard to see what I could come through two fairly fast miles in with a fast 5k the following Friday on the horizon. I came through in 10:20 which I was pleased with and then lost time and momentum as I expected on the significant hill that hits you in the last mile

China Grove 5k: 16:20 5th place Grade D

Probably my most disappointing race of the year. It was all set up for a fast race. Fast, flat out and back course, really solid field, but I just didn't have it. I went through the mile in 5:05 and was tucked in with Chris Lamperski and Jay Holder through the second but when the action hotted up I had nothing and they crushed me. I decided after this race that it was time to chill for a few weeks and reduce the training workload. A Fall Marathon was being considered and I needed to recharge the batteries.

Race For Hope 5k: 16:31 2nd place Grade C

A race I decided to enter as it was being held in Mcalpine and I could jog to the start from my house. There was also $100 on offer for 1st place and I was hoping I would be able to snag that with not much more than a tempo effort. So I was bit miffed when I turned up to register and caught sight of John Compton and Ben Hovis. John took it, I got $50 (my only prize money of the year outside the $1,000 for charity I won and the money for my GP overall placing) and Ben took third

Streetlight 5k: 16:41 1st place Grade C-

The family were out of town so I wanted to get a race in. Headed up to Concord and led from the gun on what was a deceptively tough course- or it may have been the humidity. Last mile was a real grind and again I didn't feel too good about the race, in spite of the W.

Run For Your Life 4 miler: 21:31 2nd place Grade B

This was the race that I labelled "emerging from the funk" when I recapped it later. After a string of pretty disappointing races at last I had something to shout about after this one. Jay was back racing and we were stride for stride through 2 miles before I started turning the screw and managed to pull away and stay away. A good, strong performance, ironically in a time 19 seconds slower then my 4 mile split pacing Jordan at the weekend! This race also saw me beat Bert Rodriguez for the first and probably only time as he took a wrong turn during the final mile!

Panthers 5k: 16:13 7th place Grade B+
The studs always come out for this one as it starts and finishes at the Panthers stadium (although regrettably not on the field itself) and usually has some good prizes on offer. It's a tough course though and always steaming hot so I've had mixed results here over the years. In this race I again tracked Jay with every move but this time delayed the kick until the last 200 yards to grab 7th with my fastest ever time on this course

Greek Fest 5k: 16:03 4th place Grade B-

I didn't have Jay to run with for this one so was back running solo. I hit the first mile hard in around 5 minutes and hoped I would be able to maintain a good pace on what is easily the fastest course of the GP series. I was getting pretty strong from the marathon training that was now in full swing so I hung in there quite solidly to post a decent enough time, although I had been hoping for at least a sub 16 effort. The - is for the way the 3rd place guy came past me during mile 2 and I couldn't respond and go with him. If I had been able to I may have gotten into the 15:40s

Bill Sudek XC 6k Invite: 20:34 28th place Grade B

We headed up to Cleveland to visit the Budics for the Labor Day Weekend and it goes without saying that Tim found me a race to jump in! I ran my first XC race in years and had a blast on a rolling grassy course in true XC weather getting rolled on by a bunch of eager College guys but representing the 35-39 year age group pretty well!

Blue Ridge Relay 206 miles: 21:59:07 3rd place Grade B

Although this was a team race, no review of my running year would be complete without a quick recap of this race. Our mixed team of 12 headed up to Asheville and brought home the Mixed Open title and a crushing new course record. It was a truly memorable run filled, sleep deprived weekend full of great experiences and new friendships forged. My three legs went pretty well, especially my third which included a 5 mile run straight up a mountain which I crushed and set an unofficial course record. Plans have already been set in motion to send a strong Mens team up there next year to take down the overall course record.

Hit the Brixx 10k: 34:12 3rd place Grade B

Just a week after the Relay my legs were still very tired from my efforts there but I was able to put in a solid enough effort chasing down Jay the whole race and pipping him at the post again. This race pretty much sealed my 2nd place overall in the GP series with one race to go

Lungstrong 15K: 50:50 5th place Grade A-

I was really pleased with how this race played out. Training had been going great for Richmond and I was looking for a good performance to confirm that I was moving in the right direction on my path to the big race. I took the pace out aggressively, managing to run alongside John Compton though 6 or 7 miles and hanging on strongly once he went up the road. This concluded the 2010 GP series and confirmed my overall Runner Up status. Only Jordan in front of me after a consistent series.

Richmond Marathon: 2:35:10 7th place Grade A

So an A to start the year and an A to finish. After a really solid 3 month training block behind me I was ready to roll and attempt an average 5:55 pace marathon. I had Jay for company through 7 miles but pulled away at that point and ran the rest of the race solo. It was a great course and we had perfect weather as I was able to stay both physically and mentally strong to achieve my goals and take 3 minutes off my previous PR.

It brought a solid year of racing to and end (save the 5k I've jumped in on today) and certainly after a bit of a slump in performances during the hot and humidity of early summer I was able to get stronger as the year progressed. This was probably my best year since 2005 when I set all my shorter distance PRs. I may not be as fast now as I was then but I am certainly wiser and stronger and the goal going forward will be to build on this so I can attack my other PRs in 2011 and beyond.....

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