Thursday, July 04, 2013

Race Report: Firecracker 6, 2013

ORN:  6.0 miles, 47:48, 7:58/mile

The July 4 Firecracker 6 is in its 5th year as an Independence Day tradition in downtown Indy.  I've not run it before but, almost a year ago, I got a flyer offering an early-bird special to register for a mere $12.  I'd almost forgotten about it but remembered it a couple weeks ago and realized a 6 mile run would be good speed work right about now.  

I got up early and sailed through packet pick up, as I was there at 6:30am for the 8:00am start.  Even got a short line for the porta pots...both places had very long lines later.  I got to go back to my car for a 20 minute cat nap and queued up with 900 or so others to run. 

I tried a new food plan, just for this shorter race.  From the time I woke up until the start of the race, I had only one small sip of water and ate only one banana on the drive down.  That's it.  Didn't take any fluids during the race either.  Just wanted to see what it felt like.  In a short race, even on a humid morning, it was just fine.  Won't do this for a marathon but it added a data point. 

The objective for this race was simple.  I  wanted to see  if I could sustain an 8:30 pace comfortably, as my plan for fall marathons is really looking at a 5/1 R/W sequence with the run segments at an 8:30 pace.  While humid, the temps were only in the upper 60s at the start.  

Well, the mile splits turned out to be all better than the 8:30 I had targeted.  They came in at 8:18, :05, :11, :04, 7:56, 7:15.  Amazing.  I didn't really breathe hard  until the burst over the last quarter mile.  It felt very comfortable...I was breathing MUCH easier than runners around me.  I'm thrilled with the downward trend in these mile splits.  Negative splits are fun, steadily dropping splits are even better. It's very nice to be under 8 minutes per mile over this distance.  

I also resurrected my HR strap, which seems to have a mind of its own about working.  It worked today...Avg HR in each mile:   119, 130, 141, 145, 149, 153.   My max HR should be this squares.  I was out of breath at the finish line...consistent with the elevated HR at the end.  

The results were surprisingly encouraging.  Amazingly, I placed 3rd of 20 men aged 55-59.  That's just hilarious.  I was 144 of 810 over all....had lots and lots of walkers and new runners, so my placement proportion is better than usual.  Equally funny...I looked at where my time today would have placed me a year from now in the 60-64 division...would have been 5th of 13!!!  Far worse!!!  The only guys running in their 60s are real serious runners!!!!!

Most races have a funny story, too, and this was no exception.  Being the Fourth of July, there was a patriotic theme.  As expected, we had the National Anthem right before the start and it was sung this year by Miss Oklahoma.  Now, why Miss Oklahoma would be in the capital of Indiana, I have no idea...maybe her second cousin twice removed was on the race committee??  Anyway, she did a nice job, complete in her pretty dress, tiara, silver sash and high heels.  Well, just past mile 3, there was a water stop and who should be there handing out cups of water but Miss Oklahoma herself!!  Still in her pretty dress, tiara, silver sash and high heels!!  I complimented her on her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner then it hit me to sing to her the famous theme song from the musical "Oklahoma", as I bellowed out "where the wind comes sweeping down the plain."  Oh my...she did get the joke.  

So, it was a nice 4th of July for me.  Some speed work and, better, a continuing confirmation of the plans for fall marathons.