NCA Water for Sudan 5 Miler

They may not have enough water in southern Sudan, but there was plenty of water falling all Friday night into Saturday morning here in Rochester.  I had to bring up some weather maps to show Lisa that I wasn’t crazy and that the storm fronts would be pushed through by the time the race started at 9:30.  Whether it was going to be raining or not, I was still heading out to Greece to run in the 3rd annual NCA Water for Sudan 5 mie race.  I had after all already paid my $20 and there was a $100 winners check to be had.  I was actually thinking the harder it rained the better as it might keep away some of the competition.


When I registered for this race I was thinking it would be a chance to PR, and break 27:00 minutes.  It was clear as I headed out to the race that a PR was going to be out of the question.  The wind was a steady 20 mph, and the rain that did clear out had left the 3 mile stretch on the Erie Canal Trail full of puddles and very soft dirt.  Remember that 9:30 start I mentioned?  As I picked up my number I saw a race flier and found out the race started at 9:00, which meant I had 20 minutes to get warmed up and too the line.  Add to that the fact a nose bleed that started when I first woke up had sprung a leak again, and things were not looking all the hopeful.  I shoved a big wad of toilet paper up my nose and head out for a quick warm up.  Normally I would run 20 minutes very slowly before a race, change into my racing gear and then do 4-6×150 strides just before the start of a race.  Today I had to cut that down to a fairly quick 10 minute run and 4×100 meter strides.  Thankfully there was no blood pouring out of my nose, but the toilet paper was definitely soaked in blood.


As I got in place at the starting line I recognized a few of the high school kids from the Daniel’s 5k, along with some regular middle of the packers, but no one else that normally toes the line at local races.  I was expecting Dave Rappleyea, who won the race last year to make an appearance.  I was hoping to draft off him for a mile or 2 before he left me in the dust but that was not to be.  After a quick prayer the air horn blasted and we took off.  As usual one of the higher schools bolted to the front and I happily tucked in behind him as the first mile was on a stretch of road dead into the wind heading to the canal path.  I wasn’t sure if his weaving was an attempt to prevent me from drafting of it the wind was just blowing him all over the road.  In either case I stayed behind him for about 800 meters until another runner surged to the front and I ducked in behind him.  This new runner did not look like a high school kid and the 2 of us quick pulled away from the rest of the field.  I was later to find out his name was Cory he is 32 years old a 2:34 marathoner (as of 2010) and just in town visiting family for the weekend.


We wound up a short hill and headed west on the canal trail.  At this point the southern wind should have been a cross wind, but for some reason a cross wind always feels like it is blowing into you.  Me and Cory traded places a few several times as we headed down the 1.5 mile stretch of canal to the turn around.  I can’t tell you want our mile splits were, because along with not knowing the starting time of the race, and getting a blood nose, I always forgot my watch.  I think it was probably for the best because at this point I was just running for place and knowing we had just run about a 5:50 mile probably wouldn’t have made me feel any better.  We had a bit of chit chat just before and after the turn around.  I had a feeling he was testing me out to see if I was capable of chatting, so i did my best to sound relaxed.  At 2.5 miles into the race I was in fact feeling fairly comfortable, but the pace did begin to quicken.  Cory began really pushing the pace around mile 3 and was staying a few second ahead of me.  At this point I was content to just not let him put a real gap on me.


At mile 4 we dropped back down the little hill to the road, and I was thankful to be done weaving around small lakes, and to have something solid to push off of.  It was at this point that I think I made a tactical error.  With the wind now firmly at our backs I made a strong move, caught and passed Cory and might have opened up a 2 second lead at most.  Less than 100 meters later Cory was back in front and I was paying for my surge.  I fell 4 second behind him as we rounded a corner and caught site of the finish line less than 300 meters away.  I did my very best Bekele and for the briefest of moments thought I was going to win, but I needed another 20 yards.  I finished .21 seconds behind Cory in a time of 27:27:93 which is my 3rd fastest 5 mile time.  In hind sight, I think if I hadn’t challenged Cory early in the last mile but instead just ran a few meters behind him the whole time I could have taken him down in the last 300 meters.  Not knowing at the time what kind of runner he was, I had to do what I thought was best at the time, and it didn’t workout.  I didn’t win $100 but I ran a very solid race, and did win 2 free subs.

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  1. From a probability standpoint, you are due for some nice weather on race day for a change. Racing two days in a row must of had an effect as well. $100 for 0.21 sec difference….@3600 sec/hr that’s like $1.7MM/hr difference!

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