Saturday, August 21, 2010

OrthoCarolina 10k Race Recap

My mom got in a bike accident and fractured her shoulder, so she's got lots of time to read my blog. She asked that I update my blog since she is bedridden and this is the one thing I can do to make her feel better while her shoulder aches.

Today I laced up my (fairly) new Nike Pegasus to toe the line at the inaugural OrthoCarolina Classic 10k Race. In the early morning hour of 645, I met up with Aaron and Jay to pick up our packets and to warm up through the first 1.5 miles of the course. We picked up Allen Strickland and it was nice to have him join us for the easy jog throughout the streets of Elizabeth.

Once we got back, we found an entourage of CRC running fans. If you want a testament of the camaraderie that the Charlotte Running Club exhibits, then check out this list of people who came out to support the members racing: Billy Shue, Jason Martin, Mark Hadley +2, Alice Rogers, Adrian Stewart, Justin Breland, Lauren Robbins, and Jay’s Dad. If you count correctly, you’ll see that ten people woke up to cheer us all on. Pretty impressive stuff.

After we said our thanks, we all parted to our vehicles to pin our race bibs, to attach our D-tags, and to take that last swig of water. With the expectations that the race was starting at 745am, we meandered over to the poorly marked start line and waited….and waited…and waited until almost 8am when a strong police man got out of his undercover car, walked up to the starter and said “You are starting this race now.” Apparently they were waiting to get the timing equipment from the finish of the 5k race, but with the cop’s orders we took off without that equipment.

I went out in a casual clip, situated behind Alejandro, with Jay and Aaron pulling away as they took off with some Queens kids. Chris Lamperski passed me in the first 400m and I asked him what pace his Garmin said we were going. He said “5:20.” Crap. Too fast. I slowed down (and you’ll see just how much when you get to the mile split). I passed Alice’s cheering squad (Justin, AJ, Jason) and maintained my pace through Elizabeth Ave. At some point, a woman pulled up alongside me and she told me she was visiting Charlotte and asked if I was from here. I asked her what pace she was looking for, and she said she wasn’t sure and then I told her I was looking for 550 pace. Well 50 meters later we came through the mile in 609 so I immediately said “Crap, I’m too slow, I gotta go!” In hindsight, that was probably very rude, so I do hope that Emily Potter understands why I took off in a mad dash: I had goals to meet! I never got to talk to Emily more, so if she sees this, I hope she emails me (I couldn't find her on facebook).

The rest of the race could be categorized as a race against my own mind, in no man’s land, with the exception of two miles in which Justin was kind enough to keep me company.
Continuing on with the race, for Mile 2, I took off and ran a 548 through Plaza Midwood. At mile 3 (550), I was still solo, with Alejandro as the next person in sight - a distant 200m ahead of me. Fortunately, at mile 4 I got picked up by Justin, Alice, and Jason who ran with me through the downhill mile. We cruised to a 544 split for the 4th mile. We saw Aaron walking up one of the hills because he was done pacing Jay. Out of the goodness of his own heart, Justin decided it would be a good idea to stick with me through mile 5, which features a couple of nasty uphills. Boy, was I grateful. We went through in 550 and Justin was telling me really encouraging things. Aaron was behind me for the 6th mile but this did not stop him from cheering me on. It was really great! I finished up with the clock stuck on 36:33 - a full minute than what I ran last year at the Hit the Brixx 10k, which is a comparable course. I was pleased. (Editor's note: pictures to come!)

I regrouped with my boys and we cooled down for a good three miles. The awards ceremony occurred immediately after we got back from our cool down, which is something that I'm not used to. I'm very appreciative of the gift certificate and the check they gave out to the top three male and female finishers. Once I grabbed my award, I got lots of free goodies that were out for the post-race expo. I was impressed with the variety of vendors and the variety of free items available. Look forward to running this again next year!

Later during the day, I ran a nice 5.4 miles with Jordan and my legs felt great!


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