Sunday, February 2, 2014

2014 - Back to Work

So 2013 was filled with many ups and downs, and certainly was worthy of reflecting upon from both an athletic side as well as a personal side.  But I wont delve into that reflection here.  This first post of 2014 is meant to set the tone for the year ahead, hopefully a very successful and joyful year!

It all started 2 weeks ago with my first race of the year, the Resolution Run 10K in McKinney, TX, where I went out and set my new best 10K split on an honest and hilly course.  All while snatching the first W of the year in the process.  Very optimistic start to the season.

But the real story was my second race of the year, the Hypnotic Donut Dask 5k in downtown Dallas.  This race was the weekend following the 10k, and i was still pretty sore from that race.  Calves were shredded, legs were heavy from starting up tri training again.  Along with all that, I started coaching Track at the high school I teach at, and have been running with the kids every day.  I have really been hitting training well early this year to say the least!  

So, the race...I met a bunch of friends at the race, and it was meant to be a fun 5K we all met up at, and best of all, at the end they had free beer provided by the locals!  Race morning was pretty chilly (by Texas standards) hovering around 20-25 degrees, but it was beautiful clear skies and sunshine.  

With it being cold, I decided to go get in a little warm up, and ended up getting lost on the course because I didnt know where I was going, so turned around doubled back and cut the warm up short.  Went through my stretching routine, put on my flats, stripped into the short shorts, and was off to the start line!

There were close to 1500 people at the race, and the line was jam packed, but I was able to find a spot right on the front line, and shortly after that the race was on.

My plan for the race was to get out strong but comfortable the first mile, assess my position, and then turn the screws and try to get rid of people in the back half of the race.  I got out quick in the first 100 to take the lead, and settled into a nice steady pace. I felt another runner right on my heels but he was reluctant to run on my shoulder, or even take the lead, so I continued on with my race plan. 

We came through the mile at 5:15, and I was feeling really good.  I still had this other guy right on my heels but still wasn't trying to make a move on me.  I heard him breathing somewhat heavy, so I knew the pace was not easy for him, and I decided to ratchet it up slightly over the next mile to see how he would respond.  I would say 4 minutes at this pace or so I started to notice I was creating a gap, and went for the jugular!  I opened it up into a near sprint for 45 seconds and created a nice 5-10 second spread on him.  When I couldnt hear his footsteps or breathing anymore, I settled back into my race pace from earlier.  

I never saw a 2 mile marker, and was starting to get nervous as to how much of the race was left.  I knew I still had some more in the tank, but by no means was comfortable.  Just as things started to look bleak I hit the spot where I had warmed up to and got lost, so I knew I only had 2/3 mile left to go and at that point realized I was really putting together a great race!  I knew I had the race locked up, but wanted to race the clock and possibly put together my best 5K race a week after doing the same for the 10K. 

After hammering it home, I crossed the line in 15:44 and had held off 2nd place by 10 seconds to claim the top spot.  I was in shock at how well I had raced.  I got out exactly the way I wanted to, pushed the pace to separate myself from the field, and then grit my teeth and finished with everything I had left.  I wore my garmin and clocked it at 2.98 miles (unfortunately not a true 5K), but absolutely shredded my old PR based on avg pace.  5:17/mile is not too shabby in late January, and Im really excited for the coming season!

Motto for 2014 "Whatever It Takes"

Below are the rest of the race pics I was able to find, some are of my buddies as well.