Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Race Recap by Matt

What a treat!  Matt did a short write-up of his race on Valentine’s Day so I get the blog post off.  

Here you go…in Matt’s words:

On Sunday Feb 14, I ran the run your heart out 5k in Fairfax Corner. I was getting the itch to race because I haven’t done much racing since November. My mileage has been averaging about 50 miles per week and I was interested in knowing my fitness level.  The week before, I signed up for the race, found a guide (Chuck—who has guided me twice before) and got permission for a guide to run with me in the race in less than two hours. That never happens. I have run several races put on by the Potomac River Running Store and they have always been helpful in making accommodations so that I can run with a guide in their races.  After running so many years without a guide in road races, and missing turns and having near-miss run-ins, it is now my preference to have a guide when possible.  Also, I have to say that I feel lucky to have a good network of running guides. I know a lot of visually impaired runners and how hard it is for them to find guides.

On race day luck would have it that an arctic front came through, so it was VERY cold.  When I work up it was only 9 degrees and that wasn’t including the wind chill. Matt, my coach, was volunteering at the race so he was kind enough to give me a ride to and from the race.  Normally, Sarah and the kids come out when I race locally, but we couldn’t have the kids out there in such cold temperatures.  Thankfully Chuck, my guide, did not chicken out due to the cold. The two of us did a two-mile warm up. We thought we had more time until gun. We ran into the running  store to put on our bibs and warm up for a minute. After walking out of the store, we were probably 150 yard from the start thinking we had time to position ourselves on the start line before gun. There was no warming or countdown until gun.  They just said runners to your mark, then go. I guess with the cold, they wanted to get started, which I don’t blame them.  Unfortunately for me, I was at the back of the race when the gun went off. As a visually impaired runner this makes things hard, to say the least. The first quarter of a mile I was zigging and zagging to get to the front. I can’t see right in front of me so I had to rely a lot on Chuck to move forward in the pack.  If I was smart, I would have just waited till the crowds thinned out and then started the race with clear roads since it was a chip race. Instead, Chuck and I got out to the side of the course and passed everyone till about 1.25 mile. It was about then that I finally found runners at my pace. The first mile was 5:38 with a lot of work getting to the front – I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Chuck and I’m sure all of the calling out took a lot out of him. At mile two, some kid put in a strong surge, so I followed him. I guess he did not have the gas to keep it because I passed him not much later and never saw him again. It was then open rolling hills. With half a mile to go, Chuck got a stitch.  With open road, I started getting my kick and was able to hold it to the end. Because of his stitch, I had to leave Chuck and finish solo. I am guessing it was the fast hard first mile with all of the talking to make sure I didn’t run into anyone or miss a turn at a 5:30-5:40 mile. I finished in 18:15.   Not bad considering I was dead last and then made it to sixth overall and first in my age group.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t give me a good representation of where I am due to the cold.  It was 16 degrees at gun plus wind chill and I had 3 layers of clothes on.  I never wear that many layers and I know I will have shorts and a singlet on when I race in Arizona and North Carolina here soon. Post-race, I got some hot coffee for Matt and Chuck, which we all needed.

All in all, I had fun, but it was not by best race and I don’t know my level of fitness. Since there weren’t as many runners as expected due to the temperature, I got to take home some extra bananas and muffins.  My kids loved them!  Next up is Gallaudet on the 26th of the month.  Here’s hoping for a great race and indicator of my fitness for my qualification races for Rio!

The kids wanted to have race day pictures since they weren't there.  The girls insisted on dressing up for the occasion.

We set the timer so we could all be in the picture. 

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