Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Steamwhistle 12K Race Report

On the last day of the year I decided to "run" the Steamwhistle 12K here in Hattiesburg.  My thoughts were that this would be a good way to get in my longest run so far in training for the NOLA Rock n' Roll half marathon in March.  So far up until then my longest run had been 7 miles.  Probably not the smartest way to increase your long run but it would be a fun way to do it!

AND the race boasted SWEATSHIRTS!!  I can always use a new sweatshirt!  I was hoping for a hoodie but was a little disappointed at packet pick up with a crew neck, but at least I got a small!  Around here if you don't preregister all that is left are large.  Bill is acquiring quite a few new t-shirts!  I was happily surprised with the Pine Belt Pacers (the local running club) Tervis Tumbler that we got!!

I had a plan to run it "moderately easy" - thinking that I'd run around 8:00-8:30 pace per mile.  But you know what they say about the best laid plans.....  Of course I looked at past results to see just how fast most of the people around here run this thing.  I was thinking that even at my planned pace I would probably win the Grandmasters (ugh... it still stings to write that word) division. 

I met my friends Deanna, Judy and Lesley on race morning and we lined up for the start.  I didn't get up close to the front so I'd keep my start slow.  I looked down just after the gun went off to see my pace and couldn't find it on the Garmin.  Doh... it was still in Cycling mode from my last ride.  (Note to self - check the settings on the watch pre-race.)  So I quickly switched the mode to Running and saw 7:30 - uh oh - slow it down.  Right about that time Judy came up on the side of me.  It took her a little longer to weave through the people.  I use a technique learned from my friend Joan in Texas.  When you watch Joan move through the crowd at the beginning of the race she brings her arms together from forearm to wrist and narrows her shoulders as she squeezes between the other runners.  It's a great technique - try it on your next race!

The first 10th missing due to "Operator Error".
Judy had run the Steamwhistle a couple of times before and I'd looked up her last time.  It was a 1:01 - about an 8:10 pace.  She was going to try to better her time and negative split her race.  So we ran side by side holding about an 8 minute pace.  On mile two she edged ahead of me just a bit and I told her to "go on" if she wanted to.  She backed off and we stayed side by side for the next few miles.  My plan was to run the last two miles in "race mode" if I felt good by that point. 

At the turn around I counted the number of women ahead of me - I was 4th.  There was a girl in a blue shirt in third and I decided to see if I could catch her by the finish.  Judy had backed off the pace just a little but caught back up at around the 9K mark.  I closed a little on the girl in blue but then as we came to the last mile she must have smelled the barn and picked it up. (You can see above that mile 6 is where I was going hard to try and catch her!)  So I ended up in 4th place overall. 

I'm really happy about staying with my race plan!  This isn't a good distance for me.  I really like the 5K better.  I'm just not good at hurting for that long.  The last time I "raced" anything close to this distance was at the Turkey Trot in Dallas.  It's an 8 mile race and my PR there was just sub 60 minutes - I think that was back in 2001 - a 7:30 pace.  Most of the time my pace at the Turkey Trot was more like an 8:00.  Gotta admit that I'm pretty pleased with my race.  Nice way to finish off a great year!

The awards for the Steamwhistle are cool!!!!  Pinecones!  LOVE IT!!

Here are a few more pictures from the day!!

Grandmasters Female
Judy - 1st Place Age Group!
Lesley - 2nd Place Age Group!
Lesley, Me and Deanna.
Judy and Lesley at race start.

My friend Ginny finishing with a PR
and 2nd Overall Female!!