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Monday, April 4, 2016

Cooper River Bridge Run

with a light week of training between the books ends of March's last weekend Half Marathon Trail race and April's first of the CRBR 10k yielded a light week of basketball Monday, 45 mins easy running Tuesday and then full body massage to get the soreness out, 30 mins light running Wednesday, and off on Thursday. Friday was also an off day from running, but was a good night of Pasta, beer, and chilling with Josh Brewer down in James Island, SC. 

never being a morning person, Saturday's wake up came harsh and fast. Was feeling very full from the night before's diet, so didn't attempt any food - which proved to be non detrimental. Legs felt pretty fresh during the shake out - but being in the first wave, i was nervous i was going to go out too fast and not be able to hold a steady pace, so i over protected and regulated myself to comfort that first mile. Still, the shock of not being inside a race for more than an hour seemed to take a while for me to get the notice that i had to start moving. That notice came basically the second half of the race.

How the course lays out - you have that first mile which can be hard with the crowds in general, and where i wanted to go slow (i wanted 630 split and 630 split is what i got)-then the second mile you are just trying to gear up for the bridge so you don't really drop it too much - at least i didn't. i tried to maintain but basically with the split coming just a little bit into the bridge's climb,  i ticked off a 640 mile so was behind the ideal race plan already. The third mile ( the uphill bridge climb) came with a strong left to right wind that really slowed things down. I realized my legs were obviously groomed to make the distance, but the pace was already taxing me, and the hill i started to drift mentally at times. When that happens it's sure to spell a slowdown. and it did, so i rattled off my worst mile of the day at 720 and just trying to hold on and crest the bridge. The bridge is a lot of ways is it's own entity. It's why i love the race. It impacts the first 2 miles, the 3 and 4th mile are all on the bridge basically, and with it's hill, wind, and energy it's a complete obstacle that must be dealt with. 

I think also the long distance marathon training hasn't prepared me well to mentally engage in a race in the first couple of miles, like you have to in the 10k. So once i got over the bridge hill and crossed my 5k split in 21.15 i knew i had sacrificed so much time that i wouldn't be able to get it all back. Those seconds and minutes were gone at the expense of not being ready mentally from the gun, and handling the bridge climb poorly that day. However, i had a lot of running left in me and started to lock in with my mind. 

the 4th mile we started to descend the bridge and i was able to start staying on pace with the people around me rather than get passed like i had been the previous mile. as i started to get in a groove, we hit the 4th mile mark where i brought it down to about a 650, and mentally was starting to get competitive with only 2 miles to go. I thought about having 2 miles to go last week in the trail race and how i was at that point really treating it like the final push, so i did the same here. I started to pass people and quicken my stride to combat some extra heaviness i felt in my non-thinking stride. the shorter pace and wearing my road flats made me feel light, and so did coming up on people's shoulder and passing them by. And yet, from the top of the bridge where a tall large young man in american flag bandanna and american flag racing shorts had strode out past me, he and i remained in sight and near each other the rest of the way. 

The music on the course would give me surges, and i knew i was starting to feel that old familiar boost of adrenaline coming into the last mile. i was excited to run that last mile because that 5th mile i was bringing down the pace even more to a 635 and feeling the vibes as the last mile is lined with loud spectators as you round into King street for the peak of the pageantry and energy. This is where the race feels like Boston (or i'm sure NY or Chicago-  but i just haven't done those...yet). with 40k people the crowds of runners and fans are huge, and it's like you are running down a hall way of straight flat ground where your vision becomes tunnel and your thoughts are just flying down as fast as you can until the end. The last mile .2 of the race ends with two quick turns, by which time i was already in 5th gear, so i used the previous experience to keep up the pace, and put in a good kick on the last straight to the finish, where here a young early 20s looking woman came up with me and went stride for stride with me in one of the fastest finishes i have ever done. i wouldn't let her take it so we just ended up going all out, like we were racing a 100m dash. It sure feels good to have that much in the tank at the end and finish so strong. it's like birding the 18th hole after a not so good round overall, that keeps you coming back. i clocked about a 545 last mile.

All the splits were done off recalling the time clocks on the course. I still don't wear a watch when i run, and that includes racing. 

Time: 41.03--6:36 pace
first 5k 21:15--6:30, 6:40, 7:20---6:49 pace
last 5k 19:47--6:50, 6;30, 5:50---6:22 pace