Monday, May 14, 2012

Dance to the Music

The racing week kicked off on Friday with the Armed Services 5k+.  This is a race for NSA employees and contractors who work down at Fort Meade.  Not sure if the results are top secret classified, but in any case we got the inside scoop.  The course was way long, somewhere between 3.35 and 3.4 miles.  Keith Levasseur took 4th in 18:44 while John Chall took the GM crown, finishing 8th in 20:30.

Saturday morning presented the Musical Madness 5k, put on by the Reservoir High School band and directed by fellow Strider Greg Schuler.  On the men's side, Tunde Morakinyo was the first master to cross the finish line, taking 6th in 18:27.  Bobby Gessler was 9th in 19:54.  The ladies race was swept by our speedy trio of Robyn Humphrey, Caroline Bauer, and Pat Wilkerson, who took 1st (19:27), 2nd (19:45), and 3rd (19:47) respectively.  Way to go ladies!!!

Top 3 overall: Robyn, Caroline, and Pat

Finally, Conrad Orloff was spotted in his first race since running a great race at Boston on Sunday.  He won the Run for Coffee 5k in 16:47.

I also heard from Carlos late last week.  He is in Sydney, Australia for vacation.  His plane arrived Saturday night so when he woke up, it was Mother's Day.  No surprise to me, he stumbled onto a race going on just a minute from his hotel.  Here are some of his words about his experience:

"Got out the door this morning with no clue where I would be going. About a block from my house I noticed that there was a race going on for Mother's day. I had no clue what the distance was, but I ran alongside the group of people racing (on the sidewalks) and decided at that point that I would run a workout of sorts. I didn't go all out, but was running somewhere in the ballpark of 5:30 pace, avoiding spectators in the process. The route was very pretty. After I completed the 4k loop, I skipped the finish line and continued to run the second lap (it was a two-loop course). I didn't see anybody, which made me think I had run the wrong way, but I found out later that I had actually been running the 4k race and not the 8k, which would start a little later. I ran the second loop and then made the turn and crossed the finish line. My final time was about 29:15, but the effort was probably more like 28:00 to 28:30, because running on the sidewalks added about 0.15-0.2 miles and avoiding pedestrians was challenging. When I finished, I heard someone on an amplifier near the finish urging people running the 8k to rush to the start. At that point, I was feeling pretty good and figured I still wanted to run 5-7 more miles for the day, so I went back to the start, stretched for about 3 mins and started with the racers. The pace for this race was understandibly faster, but not that out of control. I found myself still running on the sidewalks, because I didn't want to disturb the runners that paid for the race (which it turns out was for Mother's Day). Like the previous race, I took very long routes to stay out of the way of the runners and had to contend with oblivious pedestrians, who were not expecting someone to be blazing at 5:20 pace along the sidewalk. After the first 4k loop (around the Botanical gardens), I think I was in the top 10 to 15, with the first female right on my heels. I picked it up a bit to keep picking people off, but it turned out that the crowds were much thicker in this race, so some spots I had to come to a complete stop to get past the crowds. At one point, I saw the leader crossing somewhere around 5k in about 15:59. I reached the same point about 1:50 later. The second loop was an absolute mess. The crowds were thick and to add to that, the slowest people were only 3k into the race when the leaders reached 7k. I had to almost stop on two more occasions and then I said "screw it" and jumped on the course to run last 2k. The first female had put on a surge and was about 15s ahead. I pushed to catch her and did somewhere around 1k to go. At that point, we were all weaving thick crowds of people. On the finishing stretch, I peeled off to the side and kicked it in on the grass. I could swear that the first female was still gunning for me, because I could hear her kicking about 10 feet to the left of me on the finishing road. I put on a final surge and crossed the (imaginary) finish line around 28:40. A quick compensation for extra distance run and stopping for pedestrains, put this effort around 26:50 or so. Felt really good overall. I was going to congratulate the first female runner, but it looks like she got swept away by reporters. I ran quick cool-down around a park and back to the hotel. Overall a great day for a tempo."

For those who are interested in running the Army Ten Miler (ATM) in October, open registration opens tomorrow (May 15th).  Based on the website, the field is already half full from priority registration so sign up EARLY!!!

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