I started out the month with a trip down to Daytona Beach for the USATF National convention. I’ve gone to the convention at least a dozen times since 1993 and in recent years Paul Kirsch, Richard Bolt, and Jason Bryant have joined me and mayhem ensued. This year we had a lot of fun in between meetings with the Mountain/Ultra/Trail (MUT) committee.
Paul and I kicked off the weekend with a visit to the highest point in Volusia County (120’). We followed directions from the County High Point website (http://www.cohp.org/) and they were spot-on. We parked and knocked on the door of the house located at the high point. The owner was gracious and friendly. I had maps in hand and explained our goal. She noted "It's been a while since I've seen any of you guys". She told us to enjoy ourselves. That was pretty cool! We took a couple of pictures and hit the road.
The next couple of days we found some interesting locations to run, I always try to find a good park or forest and even a fire tower or two if I can, which makes the run all the more interesting. We crammed in some miles and on Saturday morning we also got to race.
The Convention hosts had a 5km race on the beach at Daytona. I hadn’t been there since Spring Break in college and only vaguely recall a lot of drinking and a lot of long hot runs. Race days was reasonably cool (high 50’s) at 6am when we headed out for a warm-up. We did 3 miles then I switched into racing flats and headed out for another mile with some strides. I felt pretty good and was hoping to run a fast time.
The tide was coming in so we were losing the best packed sand as time went on. Just over 100 lined up and we took off into the wind for the first half-mile. Earlier Jason had asked what I hoped to run and I had told him I was aiming for 5:30’s. Richard mentioned “sixes” which I though was hokum. I took it out and found myself in the lead at the ½ mile (2:43). At the turn two guys went by and Jason and I tucked in. We now had a tail-wind and it felt like we were moving. We hit the mile in 5:21 and the two guys gapped me a bit as Jason fell back. Both of the guys looked strong and were chatting the entire time, obviously this wasn’t a fast pace for them. I kept them close through 2 miles (10:36) but right at the two mile mark they took off. Just after two miles I had a spasm in my calf. That was the first time it had done that in over a year. I immediately backed off the pace and tried to not “toe-off”. I was still hoping to break 17:00 but the combination of the calf and the strong head-wind worked against me.
Little did I know Richard was reeling me in as the leaders put 30 seconds on me. Richard passed Jason around two miles and nearly got me at the line. The two leaders ran in together and later I found that respectively they had run 13:25 for 5k and 2:13 for the marathon earlier this year. I wonder if they even broke a sweat running 5:20 pace? The top woman was also an elite runner, 51 year-old Doreen MCoubrie ran a 2:50 marathon last year and had qualified for the Olympic trials at age 48.
Here are the top ten plus some people I know…
Pl Time Name City/St Age Gend AG Pl
1 16:39 Patrick Rizzo Boulder CO 29 M 1
2 16:40 Brandon Bethke Lake Forest CA 25 M 2
3 17:10 Dave Dunham Bradford MA 48 M 1
4 17:12 Richard Bolt Mtn View CA 42 M 2
5 17:23 Jason Bryant Elkin NC 40 M 3
6 17:48 Philip Dunn San Diego CA 41 M 4
7 17:59 Unknown unk M 3
8 18:19 Randy Reina Helotes TX 52 M 1
9 18:37 Jim Garcia Westford MA 54 M 2
10 18:46 Doreen McCoubrie Malvern PA 51 F 1
17 20:04 Paul Kirsch Madison NH 46 M 6
29 21:24 Stephen Peckiconis Roslindale MA 53 M 9
30 21:31 Joe Jurczyk Brecksville OH 48 M 9
48 23:46 Andy Carr Alpharetta GA 49 M 11
60 25:36 Ellen Miller Vail CO 53 F 4
I’m glad I raced but the calf spasm set me back a bit, I tentatively ran 10 on the beach the following day and slowly (very slowly) eased back to quicker running.