Sunday, September 28, 2008

2008 HARRA Cross Country Relay

The race - 4x2 miles run thru a hilly park in downtown Houston (yes apparently there are actually hills in Houston). 89 teams finished. We made it a family event made easy with its 5pm start time Saturday afternoon. My wife and kids were pretty impressed with people coming up telling them I was a pretty good runner - I'll pay you guys later - I promise.

I got the lead off leg which I was pleased to get. Just before the race my teammates jog me out to show me the harder hills on the course - one guy described one hill as "A rope to help climb would sure be helpful" - I could see what he means - brutal. Race starts with an uphill then runs relatively flat out to the mile marker then turns around and does a series of ups and down back to the finish - some quite steep.

I stuck to my typical ammo on hills - relax the uphills and attack the downhills. There is a quote from a movie I love called "On the Edge" about the Dipsea Trail race - somewhere in that movie the coach described how to run in this trail race downhill - "you run by faith - you put your foot out and believe when it lands you'll figure out how to not loose control". He had a good line for uphill running too but I don't remember it.

5:26 Mile 1 - Out of the blocks I take it a little relaxed on the initial uphill and get to the top with about a dozen people in front of me. As it flattens out I steadily take guys down and move my way up to 7th by the turnaround. I checked my watch a couple times and was hoping for a split around 5:20-5:30 and made a couple pace adjustments to get it - crossed the milemarker at 5:26.

5:44 Mile 2 - The hilly mile. A guy was pretty far ahead and I really was not making any moves on him but he seemed to slowly come back to me. I charged the downhills and with each one got a little closer - uphills I just got up them without pushing too hard and burning myself out. After the rope-climbing hill (it had reasonable footing actually - almost like stairs) he did a backglance at me so I figured he was worried I'd take him but I held off a little longer and he seemed energized at one point to break away but that didn't last long. I got a little closer to the guy ahead then finally took him on a downhill where he was braking and I was flying - I love getting roadkill on downhills - I don't know why people think they should brake on a downhill - just makes wiping out more probable imo. By this time we were within a ~200 yards of the hand-off and the next guy turned out to only be 20 or so yards away - the perfect motivation to sprint it in which I did and passed him with seemingly no fight and did the handoff - finished about 5th for my leg.

Total Split time 11:10
Team Time 50:12 Good enough to score 3rd Master's Team and keep my 2008 Texas Awards Streak Alive (12 for 12 races in 2008 including 3 relays). 2nd was about 1.5 minutes ahead and 1st had us beat handily with a 47:31.83 (11:53 average per runner).

Myself and 3 clones would have scored 3rd place overall.

Fun race - I got to see a bunch from the running community that I haven't seen since Spring Racing and share a couple beers after.

I just love a race where I'm moving forward from beginning to end without anyone passing me - finish with no regrets of "the one that got away".

Next race 10 for Texas - 10/18 (I think).


Neeraj Rohilla said...

Ah, I didn't see you at the race. Actually I am pretty bad at recognizing folks by just seeing their picture. I was at the race too running with a few friends from BCRR.

I could have actually guessed your time :-)

I myself didn't do too bad. I was running the third leg and finished it in 14:28 which is some improvement for me because last year when I had just started running, it took me 16 minutes to finish the leg.

kayry said...

Nice improvement neeraj - 1 1/2 minutes since last year. A pretty fun event - I really enjoyed the atmosphere. Need to get me one of those sombreros one of these years.