Saturday, September 21, 2013

9/21/13 Cooks Hill Challenge 10 miler

Centralia WA, my first time at this event.  A while back I was looking for a race on this date and found this one that I had not hear of.  Apparently it has been run for some years, but is a small event.  The 10 mile race is billed as a very challenging course with two major hills.  There is also a 5K "fun run".  I looked at the results from the 5K of last year and saw that the fastest person ran it in 21:51 and second place was over 25 minutes.  If the 21:51 guy does not show up, I could have an easy "win".  Except that it is billed as a fun run....but it is timed.  This week I was reminded of the distinction between group run and race.....

.....On Tuesday I went to Priest Point Park for the Oly Trail 5K run.  It was a fund raiser for a local family that has extraordinary medical bills to deal with.  A 5K run though is not a race.  In fact the City of Olympia will at this time allow races to go through the park but only group runs, not races may be held entirely in the park.  The event was fun, despite the rain, and was a good fund raiser.  No real time goal on the trails here.  I started off well and picked up the pace.  A couple of young kids were very hard to pass but I finally caught all but one of them.  Martino was ahead of me the whole way.  There was a clock (27 something I ran) but no record of times, otherwise that would be a race.  I was in the top 50 and got an Oly Trail Runners bandana. Good hard run, but I will not count that as a race on my "official" list.  It did make me want to run a real race today, so I signed up for the 10 miler.......

.......and then I looked at last year's results from that race.  The winner was 1:33:21, second place in 1:35:11.  That is over a 9/mile and three weeks ago I ran a ten mile race in 1:20 something.  Unless the course is that hard, I have a better chance of winning this than the 5K.  I should not get my hopes up, there is a very good chance that some fast people will show up this year.  But until the race starts I can dream about it.

The course is billed as being challenging.  Two hills, one of 200 feet and another "the hill to beat all hills" according to the race brochure, of 250 feet.  Any of my ultra running friends who are reading this must be chuckling.  As long as I do not go all out, these hills should be manageable.  In fact after the hilly Narrows ten miler, I have been on a hill quest and this race is another part of it.  Bring on the hills!  In the past two weeks I have run up 2,300 feet at Mount Rainier, plus another 1,300 foot run there three days ago.  I also did a tempo run that included a 400 foot climb.  The hill out of the Narrows must be more that 250 feet as well.  So this will not be a PR course, but I think that I can manage the hills.

$30 online registration two days before the race.  No T-shirt but I don't need one.  The 5K is a legit race with timing and finisher ribbons.  For ten miles we will get a finishers medal.  Everyone gets a goody bag with lots of fun items like glass cleaner, a toothbrush and numerous pens.  The race is sponsored by the Rotary Club and is happening at the same time as a large Health and Wellness Fair.  Proceeds from the race go to the National Rotary's fight to eliminate Polio worldwide.

Plenty of volunteers and a well marked and beautiful course. It is foggy and perfect running weather.  Nice to see Barb Johnson.  I will drive the course after the race and take some pictures.

Start -  One fast guy that I recognize is here.  He asks my predicted time (I tell him 1:22) and he says that I will win, but as soon as we start he is off like a rocket and dissapears into the fog, never to be seen again.

Mile 0.25 - So I hope for second, place but now another guy catches up to me.  We chat a little and I am worried because he has no trouble talking and I am gasping for air.  We both think that we are going to fast and will slow eventually and neither of us think that we can get to number 1.

Mile 2 - My running buddy decides to go a little faster and he takes off.  He will get about 100 feet ahead of me quickly, but then stay that way for a long time. Now the first steep uphill.  It is tough but manageable.

Mile 4 - Scenic country roads with no traffic.  The long downhill on Joppish road is welcome.  I pick up the pace and keep working hard.  7:52 average per mile by the time I get to the bottom of the hill.  The flat road then seems harder.  Gatorade and water is offered at each aid station.

Mile 5 - The second place guy is gradually coming back to me.  But now I hear a little talk behind me.  I am by no means locked into 3rd.  Nice flat road, feeling pretty good.  Then the left turn and the biggest steepest hill.  The hill has a little break in the middle.  I make it up the first half OK, but the last part beats me.  Near the top I am still pumping my arms and going as fast as I can, but I think that if I were walking I might be able to move faster.  I really want to walk.  I should not have made light of these hills.  Fortunately the top of the hill arrives and the running gets easier.

Mile 6 - Running better now, but so are the two guys behind me.  They pass me with ease and move ahead.  One of them will take off from the other in a few minutes and really pick up the pace.  In the mean time I am able to catch the guy who was number 2.  He fades out  and for the last three miles I pretty much have a lock on 4th place.

Mile 8 - Very welcome downhill, except that I am slapping on the pavement.  This can not be good for my knees or feet.  I need to relax and make it to next weeks race without injury.  But if I can hold this pace I have a shot at getting under 1:20

Mile 9 - About an 8:30 mile would get me in under 1:20.  But there are some uphills and some 5K walkers to pass and the running is getting more difficult.  When I see the finish clock and see that I will not beat 1:20 I relax some more and cruise on in.

Finish - 10.11 on the GPS.  The course might be a little long, but not so off.  The ten mile marker is placed well in front of the finish line too and I don't know what that means. Simple tag board timing and very fast results.  A nice awards ceremony where the Mayor of Centralia presents me with my 1st in age group super sized ribbon.  Very well organized, great course, good price and worthy cause.  I must do this one again.

4th place of 18

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