Sunday afternoon just in front of the World Headquarters for the Ruby Tuesday Restaurant corporation, the third leg in the Ruby Tuesday's Triple Crown of Running began in a flurry of fast runners. My ambition that day was to be part of the fast runner group and maintain a pace that would have me break my current PR for the 5000 meter distance, currently at a 21:56 from the Run for the Pumpkins (10-26-2002).
The night before, Jen and I went to a Sushi Party at the home of Marty (Beer Boy) and Solange and I enlisted Marty to be a “rabbit” for the first mile of the race. In the world of running, the term “rabbit” is used to describe someone who is pacing another runner for some period of time during a race. Some the elite women marathoners use male pacers in races. A pacer allows the runner to concentrate on performance as opposed to what is going on out in the road this conserves overall energy stores. The pacer is responsible for keeping up with traffic, possible problems ahead and of course, the actual pace. Having a pacer is also mentally calming because you don't have to worry about if the person in front of you is going to change speed and you have someone to keep you motivated as you do not want to let them down.
Right before race start, I had to go… and there was too much activity for me to “go” out in nature because… well, just because. So, I waited for the porta-potty and as a result, I was sprinting up the hill to the starting line, just so that I could take a 5 second break before the race started. I took off and with in 100 yards, Beer boy was behind me, but for all practical purposes he was still being my pacer. I knew that I shouldn't let him pass me to keep my pace up.
For most of the first mile, I was actually running to the cadence of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” since they were playing Christmas Songs at the race registration. Why, I don't know, but it worked… it's not too fast or a weird cadence, just something smooth. I tried to conserve myself up the big hill in the first mile and that seemed to work. I could tell that I was working hard but didn't want to look at my watch as the first mile marker was just up the road. I decided that if my pace was too slow that I would back off and just run with Beer Boy, but if one the other hand it was on target, I would stay the course.
I completed the first mile in a Terry Record Setting 6 minutes 50 seconds! Much faster than my goal mile of 6:56. Most of the second mile was relatively flat and I had decided before hand that I would slow my pace down a little bit so that I keep enough energy to still run a strong race instead of flaming out in the first mile. My second mile was a 7:19, much slower, but I was only 5 seconds slower than my forecasted overall time. It was only about a quarter mile up the road that I got the most excruciating pain in my side.
It hurt so bad, and only on my right side. It was the same pain I had at Autumnfest, only stronger… much much stronger. I contemplated stopping to walk which was probably the sensible thing to do, but I decided that my pain threshold, although exceed the normal limits was still barely bearable and that I would continue. I ended up being past a few times that last mile and it would really make no difference in standing for my age group… super fast elite freaks were there, so there was no chance to take home any hardware even if I had ran a 21:55. I started to feel better with less than a half a mile to go in the race. I knew that I need to conserve whatever I had left so that I could make a sprint for the finish.
A runner passed me who was the noisiest runner in the world. It sounded like he was slapping the ground with each step, so I heard him come from behind and then pass me. Good thing for me was that he was still close enough in my sights that I knew I could pass him in the end. The last 0.2 of the race consists of a small 0.1 hill, followed with a turn and then 0.1 flat to the end. Most spectators stood at that intersection cheering their favorite racer. One racer named, Lauren, had a big and loud group cheering her on and from the sound of them she was somewhat close to me. I wasn't sure from the cheers if Lauren was starting her surge, but I decided that it was time to give it what I had and lay it out all on the table. At the start of the hill, I cranked it up a notice and passed the noisy runner. At the top of the hill, I accelerated into the turn and focused on the time clock… it read 23 something. I then went full board for the finish line for a 23:16 official time.
It was a good thing that I went all out at the end. Lauren was a 11 yo girl with a finishing time of 23:17 and the noisy runner, was George a 50 yo runner with a 23:18 time. So although I didn't get the time that I wanted, the last 0.1 of a mile was an actual race. I did make a PR time for the mile, so that's pretty nice reward as well. I didn't win any of the race door prizes nor any of the Triple Crown door prizes (min value $100). Maybe next year.
I'll be posting some video footage of me as soon as Beer Boy sends me the file.