Scott Coffee Moorestown Rotary 8K Pre-Race:
Next race on the schedule for the USATF Mid-Atlantic 2012 Grand Prix was the Scott Coffee Moorestown Rotary 8K. This is as close as it gets to a major hometown race for me. Moorestown is the next town north from Marlton so all the pre-race planning and logistics were a breeze. Packet picket was at the local running store where my USATF team has its HQ so it doesn’t get any easier.
There were plenty of options for packet pickup starting on the Wednesday prior at the Moorestown Running Company all the way to race day morning.
Scott Coffee Moorestown Rotary 8K Race Day:
Even though I was just a 10 minute car ride from the start line with bib in hand, I still wanted to get there an hour before gun time. Main Street where the start and finish area are located is a single lane road in both directions and on a typical day there is always lots of traffic. I figured with close to 1,000 runners descending on Main Street along with their families and vendors supporting not only the race but ‘Moorestown Day’ festivities that went on until evening, there was some potential for serious grid lock.
I headed out of the house at 7:15 for an 8:30 gun time and I’m glad I did. Once I got in the vicinity of Main Street it took me about 15 minutes to cross one intersection to get to the available parking areas behind the shops. Still had about 45 minutes to play with, plenty of time to snap some picks, warmup and get ready for the start.
I have to say that the porta-potties at this race were the cleanest I’ve ever seen. I kid you not I think I was the first one to ever use these. You could have served hors d’oeuvres in them they were that clean. You know those little hot dogs in a blanket, you could have put a whole plate of those in there and no one would have thought twice about sampling one or two… Two Thumbs Up!
The start/finish area was right in front of the Moorestown Community House which is a very stately looking building. Now I might be the only guy to pickup on this but I couldn’t help but notice how that contrasted with a very understated starting area:
As we lined up for the start I made it a point to move to the front. For a race with close to a 1,000 runners this was an EXTREMELY narrow place to start. Scenic and historic yes, but crowded. You had vendors on both sides of Main Street so you were elbow to elbow for a good 1/4 mile from the start. The front of the pack spread out fairly quick but I did gently bump a few runners on the way out. Once we were in the clear and the road opened up there was plenty of room to maneuver and lock in your pace.
Really couldn’t have asked for better weather. There was a touch of humidity but the cool breeze and moderate temps didn’t make that much of a factor. As I stood in the starting chute I couldn’t help noticing who had lined up about three feet in front of me (que Darth Vader’s entrance music…) it was HER. She’s got some serious wheels and so far I’m 0 for 2. She likes to go out fast so I figured as long as I stayed within striking distance I’d have a shot. Notching a win wasn’t on the ‘must have’ list for the day, but the possibility made the race a bit more interesting for me and gave me a bit more incentive to push hard early and see how well I could hold on.
Start to Mile 2
Gun went off right around 8:30AM and off we went, a little bumping early on like I mentioned but nothing disruptive. Once the road cleared up I settled in at about a 6 min/mile pace. A little fast but I’m looking to get my pace at the shorter distances below 6 per mile. Cecily was right there about 10 feet in front of me. First two splits were 6:02 and 6:03, there was a very shallow downhill grade on that part of the course, just noticeable enough to make you aware of it. Once I got past the two-mile marker I could tell I would have to dial it back a tad. Staying around 6 min/mile was my goal to get under 30 minutes but that was a stretch, I’m not quite there yet.
Miles 3 and 4
Splits for 3 and 4 came in at 6:19 and 6:21. I looked at my watch around the 3.1 distance and I was really close to my PR time for the 5k but I stuck with the 6:20 pacing as that was really all I could give during that section. I started focusing on keeping the pace at 6:20 or less so I could come in under 31 minutes. Anything over 31 would be a disappointment so I focused my attention on keeping the pedal down.
I hit the finish with a final split of 6:01 (a 6:11 min/mile pace) for a finish time of 30:41 good for 34th out of 863 and 8th in age group out of 110. Considering the speed that showed up for this event since it was the 8K Championship Event for Mid-Atlantic USATF Athletes, I was pleased with my time and position. Not excited or disappointed, just satisfied. I finished in that 30 sec or so window that my training and fitness level dictated, but I came away motivated.
I need to get faster. Going long has always been the fun and easy part of training for me because that’s where my strength is…but I’ve never been fast. I’m talking about fast as in “when you show up and the guys in your age group get nervous” fast. I don’t enjoy speed work and my body doesn’t either. Recovery takes longer and my injury tolerance drops like a rock. It’s my weakness.
The fact is you’ll eventually plateau if you only focus on your strengths. It’s the folks who focus on their weakness, and focus to the point where it becomes their strength who can break through and reach new levels. This is true in every area of life, not just running. Looks like it’s time to get to work.
Epilogue: Tynan 3 – Savarese 0
I had her in my sights the whole race but couldn’t close on her. After mile three she put a little distance between us and as I fought to close the gap in the last mile I ran out of pavement. It was if her pink accented Bryn Mawr Running Company race outfit was mocking me the whole way (ok, that’s sounds a bit over dramatic but cut me some slack, it’s been a rough week). She clipped me today by 19 secs. Just that much more motivation to hit the track this summer. This isn’t over… (alright that WAS over dramatic but it’s my story and my blog so I’ll tell it my way).