Monday, April 15, 2013

2013 Mill Mountain Mayhem 10k / RNUTs 4 of 6

2013 Mill Mountain Mayhem 10k
RNUTs 4 of 6

Mill Mountain Mayhem 10k
(Old Course)
2010-time 53:45.62, pace: 8:32/M, Place 46/131 overall,6/7 in my age group,44/81 among men
(New Course)
2011-time 47:51.81, pace: 7:32/M, Place 8/133 overall, 1/11 in my age group, 8/80 among men
2012-time 49:25.72, pace: 7:47/M , Place 18/185 overall,3/11 in my age group,18/116 among men
2013-time 53:38.03, pace: 8:27/M , Place 34/186 overall,3/13 in my age group,29/109 among men

Garmin Data: HERE

The Expectation
     As usual, I approach the Mill Mountain Mayhem 10k as a referendum on how I'm going to do at the Blue Ridge Half Marathon which has always fallen on the following Saturday. This year needed to be different though because in previous years I followed specific training schedules that were geared towards PR's at the Blue Ridge Half and used the Mountain Junkie races as integral parts of the plan. This year I trained for a spring marathon, the VA Creeper Marathon, and with that race now history I find myself just "going through the motions" to get through my race schedule for the next month or so.

     With diminished expectations of doing anything remarkable today, it seemed a good idea to add some character to the race by making it into a duathlon (of sorts). At 7am I got on my Trek Bontrager road bike and cycled just over 14 miles to the race HQ. I tried to think of it as an extended warm up, so I didn't push for speed but just a steady low end effort (14.7 mph avg). Facing a 9am race start, I arrived just before 8:00 with plenty of time to cool down and get rested for the run. 

     Another factor weighing on me was the Angels Race triathlon taking place the next day. I didn't want to sabotage my chances of a PR at Angels, but I wasn't willing to do much in terms of energy management to make it happen either. As long as I didn't totally trash my legs I should be ok (that was the thought anyway). 

The Event

     Standing on the far right side of the front row I'm ready for about anything. When the start horn blasts I quickly come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to be breaking any records as scores of runners blaze past me. Sometimes I can keep up with what spot I'm holding overall and that usually keeps me motivated during the race, but this was not to be one of those days. It was somewhat expected and I didn't feel discouraged in the least. The first mile was steady uphill road climbing along the JP Fishburn Parkway to the Monument Trail head. By the time I reached the trail head everybody had spread out and I was comfortably running with one other person who was content to let me hold the pace for the entire Monument Trail portion.

     Exiting Monument Trail and heading up the "Old Road" to the Star I dropped my effort back and the runner behind me took the lead, but stayed in sight. Maybe 4 or 5 other runners caught us on this 1/2 mile section, some kept hammering till they were out of view, but I ended up entering the next trail section in a group of 4.

     We were all at the same pace for about a mile, but when the trail started getting steep again, I found myself running solo. There was a water stop about half way up this section of trail and some time after the water, but before the trail empties out at the Mill Mountain Zoo I did get passed once out of the blue. 

     From the Zoo to the Star and down the Star Trail to the finish I got passed three more times. I did take this section more conservatively than I had to, but I figured I wasn't fighting for a PR and with all the rocks in some sections I may as well play it safe, besides I doubted I was in contention for a medal and I still had the Angels Race the next day. I did try to push my pace and hold my spot in the last 1/4 mile, but it wasn't enough, so I got what I got.

     Given my recent "post marathon" training stats and the "duathlon" factor I was incredibly happy to see that I had finished in under an hour. As luck or good fortune would have it I also managed a podium spot for 3rd place for the second year in a row. 

Resembling a pirate, it seemed somehow appropriate that I should take "Tharrred place" as one insightful spectator to the awards ceremony pointed out.
     Having successfully adventured across the region, conquered the mountain, and plundered some booty I boarded once again my trusty bicycle and ventured back to my home, but at a more relaxing pace than the ride in (12.9 mph avg).
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