Monday, August 8, 2011

St. Barnabas 5k, Pirates Sabbatical, Fall Schedule

Over the weekend, I did the St. Barnabas 5k. When I was mapping out my summer races, this one came on to my radar. After checking out previous years' results, seeing some fast times and tough competition, and getting positive reviews on the course and event, I decided to go for it.

On top of this, St. Barnabas is an amazing place. I really didn't know what it was. However, after perusing their website and hearing people talk about it before and after the race, they do great things there. According to the race site...Proceeds from the St. Barnabas Medical Center 5K Run/Walk benefit the St. Barnabas Free Care Fund. The fund supports the poor and low-income patients of St. Barnabas Nursing Home, Valencia Woods at St. Barnabas and The Arbors at St. Barnabas. Since its founding in 1900, it has been St. Barnabas' mission to never turn a patient away because of their inability to pay. In 2010 alone, St. Barnabas provided more than $4.7 million in free care. Impressive.

Overall going in to the race I felt okay. I put in a lot of volume for the week, but didn't do any speed work because I wasn't sure how the body would react to back-to-back weekends of 5k's. On top of that, my shins were a little tender after last Sunday's race (but this was probably me just being wimpy). This got me thinking about how exactly back in high school we were able to do some weeks in cross country of three 5ks (dual meets Tue and Thu, Invitational Saturday)?

I thought, well surely this was because I didn't take them as intensely in high school. Now that I'm a more competitive runner I put more into it and need more time to physically and mentally recover. But, Kari put it all into perspective by noting to my post on FB that it's simply "cause we are OLD!" So true, so true.

Unlike the last two races where I had thoughts of being in the mix to possibly finish at or near the top, I didn't have to worry about that in this race. The winner from last year went sub-15 and there were about 10 runners sub-17. So, I went into the race trying to employ a more conservative strategy in the first mile (like not going out in sub 5:20 like last weekend).

I did start out in about 20th or so place, however, that still put me through mile 1 at 5:27. I was around two guys I was with last weekend (and the 4th of July 5k) so I figured I would just tuck in there until the turnaround. The course was an out and back on a rolling road called Meridian between Bakerstown Road and Route 910 in Gibsonia. The start was about a half mile up from the finish, so the turnaround was just before the 2 mile mark.

We get to the turnaround and I split an 11:12 (5:45 for mile 2) and figure I'm hopefully in better shape to pick people off than I was last weekend. Sure enough, the two guys I was around from last week started to fall back from me on a little uphill and I make my way up to a pack of three more runners. Things continue to go well and I put a little gap on them and move up to the next group of two young runners. One of the two falls back but the other one is still with me.

It's another little uphill as we approach the 3 mile mark and I'm able to put a little gap on the high-schooler beside me. Mile 3 splits in 16:53 (5:41) and I know I've got a fight on my hands to hold off this young'in. We turn the corner for about a 150 meter stone path to the finish. I'm kicking with everything I've got, but the youthful runner blows past me like I was standing still. No fair. Where have my base-stealing wheels gone? My get-up-and-go got-up-and-went.

I finish through the line holding off another charging youth to run around a 17:28-ish. I say "around" because something happened with the timing mat and they missed about 6 or 7 of us going across the line at this point. And, just my luck, the one race where I go to stop my watch I whiff on hitting the button and notice it's still running as I get a bottle of water. The results on say I was 12th and ran 17:25, beating the 15-year-old, but I know he's the one that outkicked me, so let's go with 13th place and 17:28. Good enough to be first in my age group (and the first person across the line older than 29...another sign of being old!!).

Great course, humid day (fortunately lots of cold Gatorade, fresh-sliced fruit, and superdonuts at the finish line!!!), and well-organized race. I'll definitely be going back there in the future.

On Sunday, Beth brought out her sprinting shoes and won (and set a new course record!) at the North Park Sprint Triathlon (it also had a little cash prize with it!!!). It was also fun to see one of the students on the XC team at my school compete and finish 4th. He's only going in to 9th grade. Very impressive.

In other news, the economy's not doing too well. Not to take political sides, but the bottom line to all of this lengthy debate has to be to make sure our country is not spending more than we take in. Simple budgeting, right? That's the first thing that needs to happen in my opinion.

On to the diamond, I am going on a short-term sabbatical for watching the Pirates games on TV or listening on the radio. They are in the midst of a 10-game losing streak and it was just getting too frustrating. I'm still reading about them in the paper the next day and following the minor league teams, but I just needed a break (and maybe it'll help change their luck).

My sabbatical started on Friday (we watched a movie), continued Saturday and Sunday yet they still lost. I figure the next three days it'll be easy because they're out in San Francisco and the games won't start until after 10pm. I'm just hoping I wake up in the morning to find out they win one of these days.

So many reasons why this happened. First and foremost, the scrappy Pirates were playing way above their heads for the first four months of the season. Their pitching was some of the best in all of baseball yet not having a true "#1" or heck even a "#2" starter. It caught up to them. As the starters wore down, the relievers had to pitch more (plus all those innings from the 19-inning affair), and they were less effective. Throw in the season-long underachieving hitters and you've got a 10-game losing streak.

The "playoff run" and trade-deadline tracking was fun while it lasted, but now the goal is to get to .500 or above and break that streak of consecutive seasons below .500. It was last year around this time that I went down to PNC Park and witnessed history being made when they clinched losing season #18.


Finally, I just wanted to throw out the fall racing schedule that is culminating with the Harrisburg Marathon in November:

Aug 20 - Hempfield Alumni Meet (why do I subject myself to the torture of that course against more youngins? To try to make Varsity--top 7--of course)
Sep 11 - Harrisburg Half Marathon (To scout out the course before the marathon and, why not since Beth is going to be out in Vegas for the weekend racing the 70.3 world championships)
Sep 25 - The Great Race (hoping to feed off of my summer 5k's and PR in the 10k)
Oct 15 - Buffalo Creek Half Marathon (fun downhill course close to home)
Nov 13 - Harrisburg Marathon (with the goal going in to run a 3:10 so that I am CONSERVATIVE and complete a marathon without having to walk or cramp up)

I'm hoping this plan lays out a solid base to then get rolling again in January to hopefully run Pittsburgh next may and hit that elusive sub-3:00 marathon.

Uh-oh. It's 10pm. Better wrap this up and get to bed before I'm tempted to watch the Pirate game....


Steve said...

Busy racing schedule. WOAH!!

Beth said...

Well at least you had some "get up and go" to lose! :)

I have to say, I like this Pirates sabbatical. It was much better when they were winning all the time but if they are going to go back to losing, I'm glad we don't have to watch it.

runningyankee said...

superdonuts?? what?? YUM!!!!