Monday, May 19, 2008

Beach to Bay - Mind over Masters

That's our team name - Mind over Masters - just a bunch of old guys out running on a Saturday morning from the Beach to the Bay.

The race - 1636 Teams of 6 finished the marathon distance (9816 total). Race started 7am to an unseasonably cool and dry (for Corpus Christi this time of year) ~70°F and 60% humidity with a very nice overcast sky.

Our team captain (Lance) gave us each aggressive targets to hit pre-race hoping to bring us to victory in our division


Leg 1---Assynt--6:20--4.37
Leg 2---Lance---6:05--4.37
Leg 3---John(Me)5:35--4.37
Leg 4---Gene----5:15--4.74
Leg 5---Predrag-6:30--3.98
Leg 6---Doug----6:00--4.37

Pre-race for me was a 5 hour drive the night before to get to the hotel with my wife, kids and dog (golden retriever). With afterschool commitments we ended up in town around 9pm so missed the pre-race socials with the team and other Striders (my running club very well represented with at least a 1/2 dozen teams). Met up with Lance at the hotel and he tells me of the other Houston Team that looks to be tough to beat - he knew the runners and put them all right around 6 mpm potential on the race - so a close competitor team for us.

Morning drive out to the end of my 3rd leg and check it out around 6:45 - things looked growingly hecktic there so decided to just go ahead and grab a good parking place and leave my darling wife, kids and dog there and do the leg in reverse as a warm-up vs getting dropped off so I head off and jog the leg backwards getting to the start of my leg around 7:25. Most all my leg is run on essentially a freeway with the right emergency lane coned off for runners over water connecting Padre Island to the mainland - it is actually quite loud with the traffic - the start of the leg is a 100' climb to the top of a bridge for ships to go under than a decend down ~80' than flat until near the end for another 20' decend than the hand-off. With the projected times above I was expecting the handoff about 7:55 - That proved JUST enough time to get thru the portajohn line - as it turns out I had a few extra minutes as the handoff was a few minutes behind schedule.

Start my leg and I'm going for some roadkill. In the first 100' climb I try to take it pretty easy but still manage to pass two - by the top of the hill I glanced at my Garmin and noticed about a 6 mpm pace which felt about right targetting an easy climb - then I get to the top and turn on the afterburners to charge down the hill - pass 3 ladies and 1 guy on the downhill so my roadkill count is up to 6 and shortly after I get to the bottom of the hill is the first mile marker - 5:47 - not bad with the hill but I was hoping for faster.

Second mile I think I get another few roadkill working my way up - feeling reasonably strong but I'm not hitting anywhere near the 5:35 target pace Lance set for me. Finish the mile at 5:44.

Third mile I recall specifically 2 guys off in the distance running together for a while - one drops off and I get him but the other guy just doesn't seem to be coming back to me so I have to make a move to catch him - finally I work the distance down and pass him - but for whatever reason the pace didn't feel like I could sustain - so he passes me back not too much later. Finish the mile at 5:54 pace.

Forth mile I'm watchin the guy that I caught up to creap slowly farther ahead - try to keep it strong but I'm just not winning the mental battle here - he is moving closer to the next two runners so by the end of the mile I've got 3 roadkill ready to be squashed just sitting right in front of me. Finish the mile at 5:58 pace.

I managed to get the final .4 miles (by my Garmin) up to a 5:25 pace to the screams of my family and others down the final stretch but that wasn't enough to catch these three and I am sitting here absolutely certain I could have taken them all three of them down AAARRRGGG (post race regrets - the ones that got away)....but at least I set them up for easy roadkill for Gene in Leg 4 - I'm betting he knocked them all down in the first 1/4 mile or so.

In the end - I scored 25:33 for my split averaging 5:50 (15 seconds off target) using the official 4.37 split distance. I figure temperature and the hill cost about 10 seconds/mile and I probably had the other 5 seconds per mile available that I didn't tap into so the 5:35 target was a reasonable target without heat/hills. I just had to hope it was enough.

We head back to the hotel where I catch a quick shower and we walk over to a Cracker Barrel for breakfast (food tastes so good after a race). Checked out and went to the finish line - pretty packed and have to park 1/2 mile away and walk but finally get there and happen across the finish boards.......

2:41:15 6:09 pace - :13 mpm off target (the rest did better than me) - good enough!!

2nd Master's Men (20th team overall)

1st place proved untouchable at 2:26 and 4th overall (that's a lot of fast old dudes!!!)
3rd (the other Houston team) finished just short of 2 minutes behind us.

Lots of post race festivities although I had to stick to the perimeter of the action as our dog was a bit excitable. I must say that beer tastes incredible at 10am post race. Striders had a great showing with at least 3 teams including us that scored some awards - there may have been more.

Stuck around for the awards then started the journey back to Houston - got to meet a couple fellow bloggers including Brett-Take it in stride (not the first time) and Sam-running for Gold and KevinR-Nukerunner. And got most of our team "Mind over Masters" photo (Gene-sorry you had to take off) - I'll post the photo once I get my hands (mouse) on it. Really had a good time.

Thanks for reading --- John.


Steeeve said...


Great report, great run, great result. We're pretty sure both the first and second legs were a bit long which is why you might have gotten the baton a bit late, plus most of the race was into the wind. Times were pretty uniformly about a minute/leg slower than years past.

Strider teams took 1st in the men's 60+, 2nd in the master mens, master womens, mixed 50+ and women's 60+, and 7th (8th overall) in the open men's. Striders were represented on 1st master mixed and 3rd mens 50+.

kayry said...

That's a great showing for the Striders - Congrats on your 2nd mixed 50+ award too.

I was looking up on motionbased and found runners from first two legs - appears it has an extra ~.4 miles buried in there - mostly in the second leg - so yes that does explains the extra few minutes.

There was definately something slowing me down - I ran 4 miles on the treadmill Sunday at a Marathon Effort and ran them faster than this 4.4 mile race effort (10 bpm lower heartrate). The wind for me was mostly cross so I can't blame it on that - but the heat/hills were bigger impact than I would have thought.