Saturday, December 15, 2007

Celtic Solstice Five Miler in Druid Hill Park, Race Report

The Celtic Solstice Five Miler was a good race. I was initially concerned about the projected cold weather, indicated 34F feels like 20F, late the night before the race the projected temperatures were 23F feels like 0F. Courtney and I got on the road at 6:50 (aiming for 6:30) I was concerned about getting to the race with enough time to pick up my bib, chip and warm up.

The drive took about 1:15 and Courtney dropped me off near the south west corner of Druid Lake, when I got out of the car it was DAMN cold. Even wearing two pairs of tights one thermal, insulated shell pants, cold weather top, a running top, a mesh backed vest, light running gloves, a mid weight shell jacket and some lobster claw gloves and a hat with a polar tech band; I was still cold. I ended up not using the gortex booties having located a pair of smartwool biking socks (perfect!).

I have never been to Druid Hill Park however I knew there was a shuttle bus to the start. I saw a pickup and headed over at a light jog to try and get warmed up a bit. Missed the first bus, got picked up and then we all wondered why we took the shuttle, it wasn't much of a ride. After we were dropped of I walk/jogged down the hill to the start to pick up my number plate and chip.

I got my stuff and decided after getting moving that really what I was wearing (under the shell and pants) was going to be enough. I ditched them with my bag at the bag check and headed to the scrum of people waiting for the race to get under way. On my way to the start I saw Emily and turned back with her to get her bib and chip.

At this point running a bit late the tables had been setup for food and there was a little delay on the bib and some trouble finding her chip. As we were setting out for the starting line the last of the scrum started moving and had cleared through the start when we got there. We were hurried on through at around 5min after the clock started with the back of the field about half way across the bridge and caught up just before the starting hill.

A quarter of the way up the hill Emily sent me on ahead knowing that we were on a different pace, almost immediately after that Courtney was standing on the side cheering us on.

The rest of the race: I liked the course, it was indeed rolling hills, I was keeping an eye on my HR, aiming to keep it generally below 175 (I averaged 171 for the duration). The course was well marked, as advertised there were a few potholes and puddles nothing that caused any issues that I saw, it did have its narrow moments and aside from a little squeezing and difficulty passing it also wasn't bad. Around (or possibly at) mile 1 someone was calling the time, I was at ~9.5 (my watch) and feeling good, I missed mile two. A quick sip of water at the turn around (2.65) was welcome and three came quickly after. The middle of three was a little bit of a struggle with a twinge in my side, between 3.2 - 3.6, by four I was feeling better and started accelerating to the finish. It certainly didn't hurt that the last mile is mostly down hill but the kick took me up into the red and final sprint over the bridge and across the line drove my heart rate to a gasping 191bpm.

Took a seat for a minute to take off my chip and went out to cheer Emily across the line. Emily came across the line just about seven minutes later and on my way back to meet her I ran into Courtney who had been sitting looking for us to cross the line. We went to the tent to get a drink, a bite of food and collect my bag. The results were posted quite quickly, but the page with Emily's times wasn't up by the time we left. Unfortunately it appears that putting my warm clothes back on I managed to drop my sunglasses (Rudy Project Kerosene w/prescription insert in a black Rudy case).

On the way home we stopped to pick up my sister Karina and take her to breakfast at my Aunt Jean's. Learned that my younger sister Karina has been running and caught a hard time for not telling her we were going to be running. We stopped in at Jean's to see my Mother, my Aunt Mary and Uncle Bob and chat for a bit. A few cups of coffee, a snack, some fruit and few hours later we hit the road for home. Now we are chilling on the couch watching hockey with Courtney and the cats.

Lessons Learned:

  • One of these days, try to get nearer the front, say maybe near the pace you are intending to run. (It might be interesting to try a run where I didn't start out weaving around passing people, not that this tends to go too long)
  • Trust your previous experience, I was worried about the cold but what I selected was just about perfect (once I got moving).
  • Really do get to the race earlier, this worked but, I didn't really need the rush right before the beginning.
  • I need more practice on hills. Watching HR for climbing is working but descent isn't comfortable/smooth.

The Race site, currently disabled probably due to bandwidth (nice).

The Washington Running Report take on the race, indicating that it has grown too big and the next year it will be capped at 2500 entries.

Preliminary results: 1902 Finishers

Pl Name HomeTown XAG Club GunTime
1. Berdan, David Baltimore, MD M26 25:28.20
1348. Ferry, Shawn Leesburg, VA M31 51:00.20
1672. Ferry, Emily Columbia, MD F24 57:44.90

ChipPl Name ChipTime

1. Berdan, David 25:28.00
1177. Ferry, Shawn 46:44.00
1611. Ferry, Emily 53:26.95

In the end the temperature was around 33F. My pace was ~09:21/mi

Edit: Fixed some typos and editing issues, should have gotten a proof reader for posting while tired.

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