The Run for the Pies is an annual race held in downtown Jacksonville and put on by 1st Place Sports. The race, which is advertised as a giant block party, is broken into two separate categories: and elite race open to men who have broken 17:00 and women who have broken 20:00 in the last year and an open race open to all other comers. The elites run a circuit style course, passing the other races and crowd three times in an exciting, track style experience which saw a male winning time of 14:42. Upon conclusion of this race, the open race is run on a traditional urban course that spans the city. Regardless of which race you enter, free apple and blueberry pies are distributed to any finishers who break 20:00/24:00 (male/female).
|On the right of the Frame, 1.25 in.|
Result: 20:02, 94th overall, 15th in 30-34 age group
State of Mind: Pleased
Weather: 82, clear, mild humidity, slight breeze
Shoes: Skora Forms with Injinji socks (these felt awesome on the all concrete/brick/asphalt course)
As always, this race was a blast. This event is one you get there early for, cheer on the elites after your warm-up, and then go give it your all. Part of the pleasures of being a coach is that I often have athletes in the elite race, and I was able to watch a fellow coach and one of our runners compete this year.
That said, I went into this race a bit banged up. Since the conclusion of track season I’ve dealt with a lot of nagging injuries that have prevented me from training at the level I normally expect—my Achilles Tendon has been inflamed, and the calf on my left leg, my turn leg from the barrage of track workouts during the season, has been sore and feeling strained. Some hip pains, all the residuals of a hard few months and a failure on my part to take the requisite time off from it before entering a marathon training cycle. So minus the typical two to three quality workouts a week, I’ve been concentrating on mileage a more intense pace and trying to get one solid session of speed in a week.
Going into the race I set a goal of breaking 20:00. I haven’t done this since my teens (before taking a multiyear break from real running and consistency in it) and had run a 20:06 my last time out, albeit feeling healthy and ready in cool February weather. I wore my Skora’s, representing for the team and was excited to race in them again.
|At the Finish|
Taking a coach’s perspective, I aimed for a steady race, not trying to go out too fast and trying to hit negative splits—but I went out a bit faster than I should have, hitting mile one around 6:10. The first mile is a long, flat stretch, an out and back, and I felt strong, but I backed off a hair going into mile two, attacking the brief hill, but knowing I needed to conserve due to a faster than wanted and expected start. Heading onto another straightway, a portion that goes a bit up and downhill (not much elevation change, but slowing nonetheless) I hit mile two with a total of 12:39 on the clock. The 6:29 mile two made me feel good, but also alerted me to the fact that my GPS was a bit off (the buildings can do that) and that the race would conclude mostly on feel.
Yet I felt like I was on. When I came upon the finish I could see the clock, hear the PA announcer, and I fully thought I would break 20:00, yet my kick, perhaps from the lack of speed and interval training, never came, and I crossed the finish at 20:02, as the race organizers literally pulled a you don’t get a pie ribbon across to block the men. Either way, on the same course, I had run a 1:30 slower just one year before, a fact that proves both the joys of running real and the increased vigor of my training the past year.