Dave and I previewed the course the morning before the race. It was laden with gently rolling hills but a negative elevation for the first half. The second half had some long climbing on the 4th mile, a downhill reprieve on the fifth mile, and a steep hill to start out the last mile before a downhill finish. We agreed upon our race strategy in advance: 1) mantain a 6:20 pace; 2) if either runner could not maintain the goal pace, the other runner would continue on ahead; 3) for the last mile, it was each runner for himself. It was important to communicate these goals in advance because we likely would be unable to speak coherently while trying to maintain a 6:20 pace.
|Fellow DARTer Stephanie with Dave and me before the race.|
I was sure to grab a spot right on the line so Dave and I didn't have to knock down any children at the starting gun. At the "go" call, we were off. Dave and I did our best to ignore everyone else and pay attention only to our watches and each other. For the first couple of miles, our race worked out as planned. When one of us would notice a lag in pace, he would push a little harder, and the other would follow the cue and match him. Racing with Dave was also like wearing two Garmins. Dave keeps his watch configured to show mile splits, time elapsed for the current mile, and instantaneous pace. I also have a data field for instantaneous pace, but I keep the total elapsed time on my screen as well. So Dave could monitor our progress mile by mile, and I could use the kilometer markings against the race clock to tell how far we were ahead of our splits for our 40 minute goal.
During a sustained long hill on mile 3, I asked Dave, "glide or push it?" "I'll take it easy," was the only reply I needed. We had banked some time with negative splits thus far, so it was prudent to save energy for the upcoming hills. Our strategy for the 4th mile was to dig as hard as we could up the series of climbs and endure whatever pain was required to maintain a 6:20 pace, knowing mile 5 would give us a chance to breath on the downhills. Both Dave and I were breathing audibly heavier during this stretch, but this is where I think we benefited the most from each other's pacing. Neither of us was willing to take responsibility for slowing the other down, so we dug deep.
After a turnaround at about mile 4.3, we coasted through a largely downhill stretch. We were about 50 seconds ahead of an even 40 minute pace, so I focused on maintaining speed and energy rather than trying to steal more seconds. Dave slowly faded behind me, but I could track his progress by his footfalls for a while. With only one turn left on the route, he knew the way to the finish line. I focused on the lead bicyclist and carried on. Wait, the lead cyclist? I had been paying so much attention to our pace that I had forgotten Dave and I were in the lead. Now, I was in 1st place! At the 8km marker, my split was 31:11, which was 46 second faster than the 8K PR I had set 3 weeks earlier. I still had one last hill to climb, but as long as I didn't die on it, I was feeling pretty optimistic.
|Me crossing the finish line.|
|Dave's strong second place finish.|
As icing on the cake, we had taken first and second place! Go DART! The third place finisher was a scant 3 seconds behind Dave, close enough to keep Dave on his toes for the last part of the race.
|1st and 2nd place! Go DART!|
You can find Dave's recap of the race on his blog.
Inov-8 Road-X 155: Super light racing flats with a 3mm heel-toe drop. I usually go sockless, but since I wore socks for theis race, I removed the insoles, making these 155 gram shoes even lighter. You can't beat the bright yellow color!
|My Inov-8 Road-X 155's|
Next on my race calender:
4/28/12 (possibly) Our Boys 10K, Concord, NC
5/6/12: Long Cane 50K, Abbeville, SC
6/1-2/12: 24 hours of Loopy for a Cause, Davidson, NC
9/7-8/12: (possibly) Blue Ridge Relay, Asheville, NC
9/29-30/12:Hinson Lake 24 Hour Classic, Rockingham, NC
11/10/12: Anthem Marathon, Richmond, VA