Saturday, October 20, 2007

American Tobacco Trail 10-Miler - 56:35 (1st Overall)

It's been an amazing two in a half weeks of rest and recuperation leave and now it's time to head back to Iraq for the remaining 5 months of this marathon deployment. My leave was wonderful as I was able to visit family & friends both in hometown Guam and in NC. To make things better I was also able to run 3 awesome races in 3 weekends: Army 10-Miler (DC), Guam Ko'ko' 20K, and the American Tobacco Trail 10-Miler (Apex, NC) this morning. Oh, I can also say that I've won two of the three races.

Of the three races I've ran, the American Tobacco Trail 10-Miler wins the prize for best race. Reasons include: trail race, nice flat course, excellent competition, perfect weather, and good race performance. I went into the race with the mindset to have fun and run a sub-59 since the race was on trails. The race started and I immediately found myself in 3rd place. The two runners up front took off and I had no intentions to follow. They were wearing their running club racing singlet so I knew they had to be pretty good. I came thru three miles in 17:23 (5:44, 5:49, 5:50). The first guy had about a 100 meter lead and the second guy only about 25 meters in front of me. At the 3-mile mark I was feeling too comfortable and I told myself that I'd better put a little more effort into the race. I caught the 2nd runner with a 5:29 4th mile and was still feeling very good. At that point I knew it was going to be a good day. The course is out and back so I knew I'd get a good look at how far I was from the lead runner at the turn around point. I came across mile 5 in 28:27 (5:36). I could now see the lead runner coming back to me and it was only a matter of time before I'd catch him. My 6th mile split was 5:32. A half mile later I caught the lead guy and ran with him for a few seconds. Still feeling good I took the lead and kept pushing never looking back. I came across the 9th mile marker in 50:48, at which I knew a sub-57 was well within reach. I slowed in the last mile (5:47) and finished with a 56:35. The 2nd place runner ended up almost a minute back. I did not know until I got home that my PR was sitting at 56:35. It was a kick in the butt knowing that I definitely could have broken my 10-mile PR. It was my best race this year as I ran negative splits of 28:27 & 28:08. Mile by mile splits were 5:44, 5:49, 5:50, 5:29, 5:36, 5:32, 5:39, 5:31, 5:38, & 5:47. I was awarded a gift certificate which was used to get some new shoes (Saucony Progrid Trigon 5 Ride). It was a good day to end R&R leave.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ko'Ko 20K - 1:13:40 (1st Overall)

My race went fairly well despite the humid conditions early in the morning. I won the race in 1:13:40 with the 2nd place runner a little over 2 minutes back. Coming into the race I was not expecting to run a fast time because of the conditions. I had to remind myself that running in Guam year around is like running in the Southeast during the summer time.... hot and very humid. The race also had an Ekiden (4-person relay) race, which started 15 minutes after the soloist. Personally, I liked the idea because it prevented me from going out hard with guys who may only be running a 5k leg. The gun went off at 5am in the dark. After a couple hundred meters the course took us up a decent hill in which I found myself and two other runners already alone in the front. My plan was to go out at 6:00 pace for the first couple miles. Even with the hill the three of us came across mile 1 in 6:01. A half mile later one runner dropped off the pace and it was just me and a high school runner Chris (later found out he won All-Island Cross Country). After hitting the 2nd mile in 5:59 (12:00) I asked the kid if he wanted to take turns leading every quarter-mile; however, he passed up the offer. I think he was new to the distance and didn't know that exchanging leads would help him. For the next 4 miles (5:53, 57, 56, 54) we ran comfortably stride for stride. I knew that if I kept running at 5:50+ pace then I was only keeping him in the race for the win. Following the 6th mile, I decided to start picking up the pace. We came across miles 7 & 8 at 5:46 pace. After 8 miles I could hear Chris' breathing rate become faster so I increased the pace a bit more. A 9th mile split of 5:44 was enough to put him back about 10 meters. Another 5:46 split and I knew the race was in the bag. Here is an article on the race. My GPS watch registered the course at 12:52 miles.

It felt great to run a race back home again. It also reminded me how tough it is to race here in the beautiful island.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Back home in Guam

Wow! It's been a month since I last posted. Last Sunday I ran the Army Ten-Miler in DC. It was a bad day for racing. Ran 57:28, 54th overall and 20th in my division. It was hot and humid. I know I could have dealt with the heat since I was training in it in Iraq. But the humidity was the problem. It was 87% humidity. Splits were 5:30, 5:37, 5:34, 5:38, 5:43, 5:40, 5:52, 5:57, 6:03, & 5:54. As you can see, everything went downhill after the 6th mile. The good side was that Fort Bragg's men and women's team placed 2nd overall.

I'm currently in Guam spending my last week of R&R (rest & recuperation). What a wonderful feeling it is to be back home with family and friends after 4 years of absence. This morning I went for a short easy run at the War In The Pacific National Historic Park in Asan. I played tourist and took my camera along with me. Below are some pictures. Tomorrow, I will run the Guam 20K Ko'Ko' Road Race. It will be an early morning race as it starts at 5am.

Torpedo missile

A walk into the ocean

Kid drinking on the ride

Running path