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<b>Event: Beacon on the Bay, 25K, Champion chip Timing</b><br><b>Place: Lake Stanley Draper (Concession Stand), Oklahoma City, OK.</b><br><b>Date: Saturday, March 8, 2008</b><br><b>Time: 9:00 AM</b><br><b>Goal: Run a pace that feels good, considering my right shin problem.</b><br><b>Age: 55</b><br><b>Weight: 150</b><br><br><b>Goal Event: Boston Marathon, April 21, 2008</b><br><br><b>Div: Male 55-59</b><br><b>Bib: 286</b><br><br><b>Weather: Start, 24 degrees, slight SW breeze, clear skies.</b><br><b>End, 40 degrees, cloudy, slight breeze, daytime high reached 48 degrees</b>.<br><br>
I have looked forward to this race since participating in 2007. Due to construction at Lake Hefner (NW OKC) the race site was moved to Lake Stanley Draper in SE OKC. The location was convenient since it was about 20 minutes closer to Ardmore.<br><br>
Rise and shine was at 5:20 AM. A quick check of the outside temperature revealed that it was very cold. The temperature gauge revealed a chilling outside temperature of 15 degrees. The forecast was for clear skies, slight wind from the WSW, 24 degrees at sun rise with a daytime high of 48 degrees.<br><br>
I packed everything but the kitchen sink including warm cloths for after the race: running cloths for a really cold start: running cloths for a really cold start when I am able to convince myself that I will be warm after I am running awhile. Decisions, decisions. It has taken me years of running to learn how to dress properly for cold weather.<br><br>
Jackie (a friend from Healdton, OK.) and I met in Ardmore at 6:30 AM and proceeded to head north on I35to Oklahoma City (OKC). ETA was about 8:00 AM and we arrived on schedule. We were some of the first runners to arrive.<br><br>
After I parked the truck I called Paul (pftiese) to find out when he would arrive and learned that he had a change in plans so he wouldn’t be running today. I couldn’t raise Bill (evryday) on the phone. No problem, the race population is small enough, so I should be able to find him easily.<br><br>
After picking up our bib’s we quickly ran back to the truck to get warm. Jackie and I wanted to use the porta-potties but they were about 1/8 mile up the road toward the entrance of the lake property. After warming up, pinning my bib and attaching my chip we ran quickly to the potties. The roadway was now a parade of arriving vehicles.<br><br>
While running back to the truck (again, to get warm) I heard someone mention that the race was marked in kilometers. [email protected]#, I forgot about that. But, no problem, I will set my Garmin for auto splits. Well, I pushed every button in the book and never found the place where I could enable this feature. I had done it numerous times before, so I guess I must have gone brain dead. Very frustrating.<br><br>
I removed my warmer outer clothing and decided to take a quick jog, just to prove to myself that shorts, long-sleeve coolmax shirt, gloves and ear muffs would be sufficient to beat the 24 degree temperatures. “Well”, I said to Jackie, “I am not wearing my vest, this will do”. (I sure hope it doesn’t get windy, the wind-chill could get tough). We jogged over to the start (which was just a just a few hundreds feet away) and messed around. Bill (evryday) walked up and introduced himself. We discussed our plans, the cold weather, etc. as we waited for the gun to signal the start of the race.<br><br>
While I was warming my hands and jumping up and down I noticed that all of the 25K and 5K runners had white bibs. There I was within a few feet of the starting line wondering if I was with the right group. We have all been there before, checking out the bibs to confirm that we are in the same race. The announcer cleared things up and told everyone that the 5K runners would start after the 25K group.<br><br>
Since my right shin started bothering me a few weeks ago, I have almost eliminated “faster” running. Anything “faster” than an 8:00/mile pace seems to aggravate my right shin. On the bright side I can tell that it is getting better.<br><br>
So, my plan for the day was to run easy, maybe an 8:15 to 8:30 pace. If I felt OK I would try to push it and run on perceived effort. If my shin bothers me I would convert this to an easy training run.<br><br>
The gun fired and we were off to the races.<br><br>
I quickly ramped up my speed in an effort to get warm. Before I knew it I was moving along at a comfortable rate and jockeying for my position. It took a couple of miles for things to level out.<br><br>
I had “zoned” into a comfortable but slightly challenging pace with a 2x2 breathing rate. Slight glances at my Garmin revealed an instantaneous pace of 7:15 to 7:45. I worked on my cadence trying to achieve 180 steps per minute.<br><br>
The first few miles were relatively flat and I found that I was running fast and comfortable.<br><br>
By this stage of the race most runners had found their comfort zone and were settled in to their first half pace. As usual, I decided to skip the first water stop.<br><br>
After a while another runner had approached and began to pace me from just a few feet behind. Our pace was identical and each corresponding foot strike echoed louder with each passing minute. As we approached the dam area (a long, long, long flat section of road, rising above the lake) we continued to run with what was beginning to be a monotonous clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop. Quite frankly I wanted him to pass or back off. I considered picking up the pace but decided that it was too early in the race to pull away: maybe I could slow down and let him pass? No, I ain’t doin that. So there we were clip-clopping along.<br><br>
The closest runners, in front of me, were a few hundred feet ahead and they were having, what appeared to be, a casual conversation. They appeared to be quite comfortable with their pace.<br><br>
Somewhere near mile 4 we began an upward climb that consisted of long grades up followed by long flats then grade up again, flats again. It continued like this for many miles. It was like a long staircase going up. I felt surprisingly strong as I approached each stretch of upward grade. It was the upward grades that allowed me to slowly catch one runner at a time.<br><br>
I grabbed a cup of water as we passed the second fueling station.<br><br>
By now I had advanced my position in the race and no one had passed me since the first couple of miles. My buddy is still immediately behind me. Clip-clop, clip-clop. Will he ever slow down or pass me?<br><br>
I began to focus on the next few runners a head in my sights. By now I felt like I was in my zone and was deeply concentrating on my cadence and breathing rate. Again, slight glances at my Garmin confirmed that I was running a mid to high 7 minute pace per mile. And it felt natural.<br><br>
I began to think that I might be able to hold this pace throughout the entire race. The grades continued to take us uphill, so if I could make it to the turn around it should be downhill all the way back. Maybe a negative split?<br><br>
So as I approached the next water stop, I skipped it, which enabled me to pass three more runners and finally leave my rhythmic companion behind. The uphill grades felt almost too easy.<br><br>
Soon I saw the front runner, which had a considerable lead. The lead runners were moving at a fast clip, easily a sub 6 minute pace. Incredible. The lead woman was not far behind.<br><br>
The turn around should be approaching soon, or at least, that was what I thought. The front runners were so far ahead that by the time I saw the turn around I had run at least another mile.<br><br>
The turn around point was at the bottom of the last hill and there was a water stop immediately after the turn. I was approaching another runner as I raced down the hill and as I made my 180 degree hair pin turn I grabbed my water and passed him simultaneously and began the uphill pull. I needed to run strong going up the hills and fast while going down. For me to have an edge, that would have to be my strategy.<br><br>
I tried to count the runners as they began their return to the finish so I could get an idea of where I placed. My guess was that there were about 25-30 runners ahead of me. One of which was Jimmy: I will use the name Jimmy (the names have been changed to protect the innocent). He is a well know runner in Oklahoma, races almost every weekend and has been ahead of me during the entire race. Everyone knows him and as they pass, going the opposite direction, they holler is name and clap. I was about a few hundred yards behind him and had closed what probably was a ¼ mile gap.<br><br>
I notice that he has been running strong and fast on the flats but was slightly slower pulling the uphill grades. My only chance to pass him would be on an uphill climb. And if I catch up I will have move quickly in order to catch him off guard. Even at that, if I do pass him the question will be: can I maintain my position?<br><br>
A couple of miles after the turn around I passed a couple more runners and I am right on Jimmy’s tail. As we begin another uphill climb it is time to make my move, I kick in another gear and glide by. I held the pace for a few hundred feet and waited to see how he would respond. I glanced behind me. It appears that Jimmy had not returned the challenge, at least for now.<br><br>
I thought the return effort would be easier but the downhill sections are not as “downhill” as I remember. I continued to focus on the few runners that were still in sight. Maintain pace, steady as she goes.<br><br>
Over the next few miles and until about mile 11, I passed a few more runners. Now there is no one in site. The roadways are bare except for the water station volunteers and vehicle traffic. I can slightly hear voices behind me as I passed the last water stop but a quick backward glance revealed no one. Who ever they were must be pretty far back.<br><br>
The slight breeze was just cold enough that at times my face was numb, even though the rest of my body was comfortable, in fact I began to believe that I could have ran fine in a singlet.<br><br>
I still felt strong but the constant effort was beginning to play its toll on me. It would be nice to take a quick break but there was no time for that: I had expended too much effort to back off now.<br><br>
I could see down the road for at least a half mile and there was still no one in sight so I wondered if I had missed a turn on the road. I knew it was not likely but I still wondered. How awful it would be if I were on the wrong road. But as I pass the 22K, mark on the side of the road, I know all was well.<br><br>
With just a little over 2 miles to go I tried to predict my finish time. Could I beat last years 2:00:58? I filled my head with math as I tried to maintain pace.<br><br>
As I continued to forge ahead, 23K mark on the roadside comes and goes, and as I took the final uphill approach I saw a distant runner probably a half mile ahead.<br><br>
A few glances to the back and I still saw no one behind me.<br><br>
I made the final hill and with a quick turn to the right I was home free: the finish line was easily in sight. I told myself to kick it in one more time and with a quick sprint I finished with a 2:01:26.<br><br>
Wow, that was exhilarating. Runners at the finish line were congratulating each other and then suddenly about 10 seconds after my finish I saw someone cross the finish line.<br><br>
I was shocked to have seen another runner cross the finish line so soon. I congratulated him and said “Where did you come from?” He laughingly replied, “I have been trying to catch you for some time, I though I would catch up on the last hill”. ” Well”, I said, “I came into the park area and decided to try one last sprint to the finish”. He replied, “Yeah, I could tell, that is when I realized that I would not catch up”.<br><br>
Then the next runner came in, and the next, and the next. And it was the same scene we all have observed at every race, the continuing flow of smiling runners as they reach the finish line.<br><br>
I pondered for a few moments afterwards: during those last few miles, when I though I was so alone on that section of road, where other runners were actually just footsteps behind, each with their own goals. For all the runners that I had been fortunate to pass, their were others just like me with their sights targeted on the one runner just ahead of them and waiting for their opportunity to zoom by. If I had backed off during those last few miles when I believed that no one was close behind it is likely that I would have been caught by at least 2 or 3 others, who knows, maybe even more. Racing (when we have trained properly) is definitely more mental that physical. You have to be relentless and stay focused.<br><br>
I was definitely pleased with the day’s results: I ran on perceived effort and not on a known pace.<br><br><br><b>Results:</b><br><br><b>Distance: 25K (15.53 miles)</b><br><b>Garmin measured distance: 15.75 miles</b><br><b>Finish Time: 2:01:26</b><br><b>Pace: 7:49</b><br><b>AG 55-59 (my age, 55):1/3</b><br><b>Male: 24/107</b><br><b>Open: 26/154</b><br><br><br>
One final note:<br><br>
When I calculated my race pace I discovered that I ran a 7:49….hum, I have practiced marathon pace of 7:48 for the last 16 months (never achieved it at a marathon)….just when I thought I was having problems homing in on this pace, I proved myself wrong.<br>
I talked to “Jimmy” after the race: he finished about 10 minutes after me: it was obvious that he had a bad race: so I will wait for another day, if I beat him, it will be when we both have great days. Isn’t that what friendly competition is all about? We hope that everyone has their BEST day and reaches their goals and if we come out ahead, then it is that much sweeter.<br><br>
This is a well organized race; within minutes after I crossed the finish line they were posting results. The awards were Wigwam socks rather that metals which I believe is an excellent idea. However, newer runners may have preferred at metal of some sort. The “feed” afterwards was excellent. But, the porta potties were too far away.<br><br>
The competition was tough, as I recall the 1st place winner finished around 1:25.<br><br>
The numbers were down from last year by about 100 runners. I did not come close to placing (with a faster time) last year.<br><br>
I would highly recommend is race.<br><br>
And, above all, it was great having an “eyeball” (ham radio lingo) with Bill (evryday). He and his wife are really neat. Bill had a great race and is on his way to running the OKC Memorial Marathon.

1,338 Posts
One of the best race reports that I've read in some time. Sounds like a fairly tough course. Your memory recall from mile-to-mile made me feel like I was running right along with you. Thanks! I've run quite a few races, but have yet to run a 25K road race. Maybe in the future.<br><br>
Good luck in recovery!<br>

6,784 Posts
Congratulations Tim on a fine race. It's good to pick off the perceived big dogs! You're report was inspiring.
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