Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Masters 5km National Champs

I headed out to Syracuse for on Saturday for the USATF masters national 5k championship.  I haven’t really done any speed work so my expectations weren’t very high.  Worst case this would be a good tune-up for the 5k cross-country championships in two weeks.  Best case I would take a shot at my senior (50+) personal best which was 17:11.  I thought I had an outside shot at the 17:11 time.

I got to Syracuse after 300 miles in the car.  My knee was tender from holding it in one place for 5 hours.  I had planned out a visit to the scenic trail along Lake Onondaga.  I was not disappointed as this was a very nice paved trail, with some options for off-road running.  I stuck with the pavement and ran an easy 3 miles and then threw in 4x200 to get my legs turning over.  After that it was number pick-up, pizza pick-up, and sleep.

The next morning I was out the door at 7am which got me to the race well ahead of the 8:50am start.  The high winds from the day before had diminished to 10mph and the low 50 degree temps meant this would be a good day for racing.  I’d raced once before on this course (in 2005 I ran 16:34 for 3rd master) and recalled that it was a flat and fast course with only three turns.  I checked out the course as a warm-up and was happy to see they had Kilometer splits (every “K” race should have them) in addition they had mile marks, a half-way clock and chip timing mat, and the course tangent painted on the ground.  This race really knows how to do things right!

After my warm-up I changed into my lightest racing flats and did another mile with some strides.  I headed to the line and seeded myself in the second row.  After a little bumping around in the first 200 meters things settled down and I found myself in the back of a pack of 5 or 6 guys.  That group included 4 guys from Genesee Valley Harriers who have done very well at Nationals.  I latched on and hit the 1K in 3:21.  I was a little surprised because I felt pretty good.  Tim Van Orden had noted before the race that “a 5k is a 2 mile race then hang on”.  I was already thinking that in the early going.  I got to the mile in 5:22 and was still hanging on the back of my group.  They were running pretty even and it was good having some people blocking the breeze.  I saw Tim at the turn and he was right around the top 10 and I was right around 30th.  I thought we’d get a tailwind after the turn but it was still a cross to head wind.  I hit 2 miles in 10:52 (5:30) and was thinking that I might have a shot at breaking 17.  The group hadn’t broken up and I hung on through 4K.  At that point people started kicking, but I had no kick.  It felt like I’d been at maximum speed from the start and had no gear left.  I ended up just missing sub-17 with a chip time of 17:00.5, and 7th place in the 50-54.

I can’t complain about the new PR and a top 10 finish.  A sub-17 will have to wait until next year.  I was pleased to see how even I ran when I looked at my Kilometer splits after the race.  The Syracuse race will be the masters championship again in 2016 and I hope to go back!

Kilometer splits:

1          15:08    Gregory Mitchell  42         1          M40-44  McMinnville, OR
2          15:41    Alan Black          41         2          M40-44  Hillsboro, GA
3          15:48    Chad Newton      45         1          M45-49  Pisgah Forest, NC
4          15:51    Kristian Blaich     49         2          M45-49  Decatur, GA
5          16:10    Philippe Rolly      43         3          M40-44  McLean, VA
6          16:10    Nat Larson         53         1          M50-54  Amherst, MA
7          16:14    Christian Blondin 42         4          M40-44  Ipswich, MA
8          16:25    Josh Harter        40         5          M40-44  Avon, NY
9          16:26    Peter Boyd         41         6          M40-44  Union City, PA
10         16:27    Tim Van Orden   47         3          M45-49  Bennington, VT
11         16:29    Mark Williams     42         7          M40-44  Columbia, NJ
12         16:37    David Atkinson    45         4          M45-49  Grand Blanc, MI
13         16:39    Mike Nier           50         2          M50-54  Rochester, NY
14         16:46    Matthew Whitis   47         5          M45-49  Columbus, GA
15         16:49    Chris White        41         8          M40-44  Elkhart, IN
16         16:49    Volker Burkowski 44         9          M40-44  Gansevoort, NY
17         16:51    Daniel Dixon, Jr. 51         3          M50-54  Jackson, MI
18         16:51    Gary Rosenberg  44         10         M40-44  Morristown, NJ
19         16:52    Ron Kochanowicz            44         11         M40-44  Smithville, MO
20         16:54    Ruben Henderson           53         4          M50-54  Grand Rapids, MI
21         16:55    Dave Bussard     55         1          M55-59  Elkhart, IN
22         16:56    Richard Cohen    44         12         M40-44  Utica, NY
23         16:58    Alan Evans         52         5          M50-54  Beaver Dams, NY
24         16:59    Derrick Staley     56         2          M55-59  Ballston Lake, NY
25         16:59    Gary Droze         54         6          M50-54  Tallahassee, FL
26         17:01    Dave Dunham    51         7          M50-54  Bradford, MA

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