Branford Road Race

Sadly – another pictureless post.  I need to get better at remembering to take pictures and prioritizing it!

Last week Derek and I ran in the Branford Road Race.  It’s a popular 5 mile road race that starts and ends at the Branford Green.  It’s also the Connecticut state championship – but the only impact that has on us is that it’s a fast race.  This year would be the third year that I’ve run the race.  Even though it’s held fairly late in June (Father’s Day Weekend generally) – they don’t start the race until 10:15am.  Which, if you ask me, is too late.  It’s always hot and often humid – so I’d much rather start as early as possible.  But they have a bunch of festivities on the green – so I guess this needs to fit in with the rest of the fun.

The other tricky thing about this race is that the first two miles are net downhill – towards the shoreline.  It’s not always noticeable (although there are a few good downhill stretches) – but it is downhill.  Then, after you hit the halfway point – you have to regain that distance.  There’s a good uphill after the halfway and another good uphill right after the 3 mile marker.  Tough to figure out the right pacing so you don’t die at the end.

Recently, I’ve been really struggling with my speed in the shorter distances.  I’ve run 8 min/mile in a half marathon (in January), but I can’t seem to come close to the speeds that the pace calculators say I should be running for the shorter distances.  It’s very frustrating to me and I’m not sure what to chalk it up to.  It’s also true that I couldn’t go rip off an 8 min/mile half right now – so part of it may be due to slightly lower fitness.  Anyway – I also have a bad tendency to go out too hard in these shorter distances and then really die – so I really wanted to try and pace this race well.

The weather was looking very promising.  It said that temperatures would be around 65 and humidity around the same.  Not bad for a Sunday in June.  The last two years, the temps were around 75.  Last year was overcast though – which apparently makes a big difference, because this year was definitely not overcast.

We got to the green early – my in-laws were in town and, as they aren’t as swiftly mobile as we are, we wanted to be sure to get there early to get a good close parking spot.  We also met up with someone from my running chat group – so that was awesome to meet him.  As a result though, we had a lot of time just standing around.  Which just made me anxious – I started feeling all sorts of phantom pains and obsessing over how hot it was feeling in the sun.

And it was hot.  In the shade it wasn’t bad, but with the sun blazing down – it felt really hot. The race started just a few minutes late (10:20am) and we were off.  We didn’t get that close to the start line – but I tried not to bob and weave too much and waste a lot of energy.  I felt good in the first two miles down to the water – tried to control my speed and I think I did a decent job.  I drank a little at every water stop, because it felt so darned hot – and splashed the rest of the water on my head.  The turn up the hill was tough – but I still had pretty good legs and energy at that point.  I was really starting to feel it in the last half mile.  Got that head-lolling posture going, always attractive.  But I gutted it out and finished at 39:06 – which was just under my “gold” goal time of 39:10 (7:50 min/mile).  I had held out hope for something closer to 7:40s (38:20 total time) – but I realized when I hit mile 4 that that would not happen – I would have had to run the last mile in 7 minutes to achieve that and I could tell I didn’t have it in me.  But I’m happy with my 7:49s.  Last year I ran it in 8:06s – so 16-17 sec/mile improvement is ok.

Derek was a rockstar again and finished in 34:47!  Sub 7 min/miles!  Wow – I think he improved better than half a minute a mile from last year.  He has gotten so fast – it’s incredible.

Now we turn the page to half marathon training…hoping to accomplish new goals!

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