Jun 9 2012

Army Birthday 10k

I meant to post a couple weeks ago, a warning about the Army Birthday Marathon if you are planning on doing the full. Murderest will do it’s best to kill you. Of course, some of us like that sort of thing anyway… so what good’s a warning?

I am running the 10k which I have smartly decided on for a multitude of reasons which I have based on several predictions – which, if they run their course, I will happily clue you in on later.

Of course, should they falter… I can always just delete this post…

And by the way… I’ve been watching Radiohead on this live Bonnaroo concert on YouTube for the past couple hours. Great show! It has really delayed – my already and often delayed – Hospital Hill Run Race Report 2012 which you should see below… Can’t believe I actually managed to get this year’s done… but er uh… if the last bit sounds rushed or makes no sense — that’s why… just trying to get it done.

So… Army Birthday 10k tomorrow (Sat)… On the Run 5k (Sun)… and I think I might try for a race next weekend too. I’ve also got a race lined up while I’m ON an upcoming vacation… then plan on the All Star 5k with my son, and THEN the 20 mile PSYCHO RUN. That sounds appropriate right?! Maybe I’ll take a break after all of that… or maybe not. Kansas City Full this fall sounds like it could be happening too… so… for now… zzzz….

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Jun 8 2012

Post Hospital Hill Run 2012 Thoughts…

Another year done, sixth in a row for me. In many ways the course and event were the same but from year to year there are a few things that change…

This year the start corrals were instituted. They seemed to be somewhat “soft” barriers (before the race started) as they would allow you to cross over into another corral if you really wanted to no problem — but there was the suggestion to stay put. I imagine most people did… after all, they were organized where runners had volunteered that they would be running / finishing in that time period. When I registered I chose 1:53 for my projected finish time. A little later on I decided I was going to go for 1:48. My original prediction put me in corral C while my new goal was corral B. My bib said “C” but I had no trouble crossing the rope into B and starting there.

I wanted to line up with the 1:50 group and then stay with them and then end up finishing a couple minutes ahead of them. I further supposed the best course of action would be to line up in between the 1:45 group and the 1:50 group and see neither one again… for the most part that is exactly what happened.

For those curious – the corrals did indeed have staggered starts. Corral A started at approximately 7:00. Corral B at 7:01 – and presumably – Corral C at 7:02, etc, etc. From what I saw everyone took this in stride as it was communicated to the crowd right before it happened. There was no complaining that I saw and complete cooperation – and that’s great of course! Perhaps that what was expected – and you would hope it would be… I only really have one thing to compare it to which was the Chicago Marathon I ran last year… In THAT race the human wall that separated the Seeded Corrals from the open corral was nearly trampled as it began to burst at the seams behind me. Most reasonable runners realize that your chip time is your official time, your PR time, and clock time just becomes another cool anecdote – so starting 5 minutes after 7:00 is fine even — time doesn’t start for you until you’re across the line.

Ok – so it went smoothly. How did it compare to years past? I never had any trouble in years past really although in one respect I would say it was greatly improved. That is, the general density and congestion even before the race started. Usually it’s cram-packed shoulder to shoulder and this year there definitely felt as if there was breathing room – everywhere! Sure it was still crowded but you actually had room to sit down and stretch if you wanted and this didn’t relinquish – right up to the start of the race. There was such a difference in fact that I wondered if the announced record field was actually in fact smaller than past years – it wasn’t. There were 6,600+ lined up.

So I started at 7:01 with corral B. One fun aspect over the first couple of miles was every time we crested a hill and I got a look at the field in front of me there was the usual mass of runners but this year there was a nice huge gap with a scattered few runners in-between it and then the mass of the “A” corral runners.

Another thing I noticed is that when it was the mass start… you’d immediately be passing people left and right and having people sprinting past you right and left as everyone vied for their position and pacing rhythm…  fading from their overly ambitious start position or latecomers galloping forward to unite with likewise runners and pace teams — with the corral start it seemed as if most people were going one speed… this made it a little more difficult to pass as no obvious lanes presented themselves, but everyone was going at least an adequate speed I suppose. I went out fast I thought, perhaps too fast remembering past instances of going out to strong early and past pacing teams that went out moderately and worked into good paces eventually. I was a little unsure and in a sort of mode where I was treating Hospital Hill with special care… certainly didn’t want to overdo it too early as I believe I did the year prior when I missed my goal by 8 minutes or so.

I was ahead of the 1:45 and 1:50 pace groups from Corral B through mile 4 or 5. Here 1:45 passed me, but that was mostly the plan… finish between them and 1:50. They actually looked pretty serious as they passed me in formation… some serious runners there. I think now, that I probably could have hung with them the rest of the way no problem… but I was just still a little apprehensive. I kept my steady non-pace team pace.

This being my sixth HHR I really feel like I know the course well now. I looked upon every mile with recognition and memories of past years… every stretch is quite familiar and I’m continually pleasantly surprised to encounter them all as I turn corners and crest hills with a smile on my face. Each landmark a silent mile marker.

Well 1:45 was passed and I never saw them again, and the group that I didn’t want to catch me, the 1:50 group I never saw again either. It all went according to plan! I hit the mile 5 aid station and downed a gel, a full cup of gatorade — (which was mixed SO tightly it was very salty! YUM!), and even some water and walked for a brief moment. After this I was fully refreshed and also quite warmed up. The temperature was absolutely perfect and for the remainder of the race I never once felt a twinge of a cramp, never once was “beat” on a hill or had to slow due to any sort of uncomfortable sensation whatsoever… in short… I felt great! There was a point… around mile 7 – Meyer and Brookside – where last year… I was soooooo grateful for buckets of ice waiting there which I scooped up handfuls of and melted them on my forehead and neck… which helped to cool me down greatly. Here this day however, I daresay I was just moderately sweating and not at all hot or tired or uncomfortable.

The weather was so perfect I guess I should have just gone for an overall Half Marathon PR after all… but I was still well on track to run a nice HHR PR, so that’s what I stuck with. Then even at mile 11 or so I felt as if I had a second wind and picked it up a little. Broadway hill wasn’t too bad this time… Trinity hill I knew would be there… and I heard someone remark it cruel… yes it kinda is… but I bounded up it and ran it in at a very brisk but comfortable pace. It was here in 2008 I believe I over exerted myself and had some blood vessels in my calves pop and cramp as I ran the final 400m or — attempted to sprint in some fashion… that was a scary moment then… but not so this time.

I ran it in comfortably and knew what I had awaiting me… Three Little Pigs BBQ, a beer (sadly not boulevard, but I suppose I’ll drink any free beer), flip flops, etc.

In the eating area was live video of people crossing the finish line and an enthusiastic DJ. Last year there was a band here… but the DJ was sufficient I think. Speaking of bands there were a few out on the course and they were enjoyable. The one though, shortly after the turn onto Brookside… was the same spot this year and last in which I got a big adrenaline boost. That’s the spot 🙂

Well, anyway… watching this live video it occurred to me that Hospital Hill is just this technologically bleeding edge, over the top, commercialized, blaring, furious heart pounding, glamorous, in your face, concrete, trendy blue, tasty, better than well done, furiously organized, bright, new-and-improved event! Hospital Hill Run has some of the best swag ever too that is just, as I’ve said before, bombastic. There is nothing wrong with any of those adjectives either…. Hospital Hill is old, storied, it is-what-it-is and its one of the best pulled off and organized races from top to bottom anywhere. I guess I have this perfect scent of it in my mind’s eye but it’s difficult to convey. You’ll just have to run it yourself six times and see what you think.

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Jun 3 2012

Hospital Hill Run 2012 by the numbers

Let’s revisit the 2011 and 2010 numbers by looking at the 2012 numbers shall we?

Participation Year by Year:

Year Total Half 10k 5k Increase
2006 2692 1339 594 759 N/A
2007 3036 1545 710 781 344
2008 3434 1823 817 794 398
2009 4829 2400 1273 1156 1395
2010 6176 2970 1528 1678 1347
2011 6584 3172 1410 2002 406
2012 6610 3355 1531 1724 26

And then my updated numbers…

Year Date Time Overall Age Gender Pace
HH 07 6/2/2007 1:56:32 637/1545 59/105 479/955 8:54
41% 56% 50%
HH 08 6/7/2008 1:54:57 390/1823 41/111 290/993 8:47
21% 36% 29%
HH 09 6/6/2009 1:51:37 668/2400 102/204 521/1267 8:32
27% 50% 41%
HH 10 6/5/2010 1:48:42 443/2970 72/258 360/1502 8:18
15% 28% 24%
HH 11 6/4/2011 1:54:51 595/3164 90/278 450/1604 8:46
18% 32% 28%
HH 12 6/2/2012 1:47:23 660/3348 83/246 514/1695 8:12
19% 33% 30%
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