Beat the Bridge 8k Race Report

So I ran the Beat the Bridge 8k in Seattle this morning, and did better than I thought I would, but in a manner that pisses me off.

Going into the day, I felt like crap. I’ve been having hydration issues, and haven’t been able to keep fluids, and have lost 6 lbs in the last few week, none of it mass. I got no sleep, and for this particular race, am still feeling the finals burn from school (no sleep there either). Legs were stiff, and I did a run and erg on Saturday, as this was just a fitness gauge.

Race started at 8:30, got to the course and checked in at ~8:15, and quickly did some striders to get the blood flowing; felt a sharp twinge in my hip, but thankfully, did not deal with it during the race proper. Beat the Bridge is divided into three waves: sub-7:00/mile pace, 7:00-8:00/mile pace, and 8:00+/mile pace, and gets its name from the University Bridge raising at 20 minutes after the start of the last wave. I nestled myself up near the start line of the first (dark blue) wave, maybe 7-8 rows back, and waited for the gun. Had planned on trying for 30:00, but given how I was feeling, was content to aim for 31:00, or even 31:30.

Course started near the Montlake Bridge, and we were to cross it. Gun went off, and as usual, people went out way, way, way too hard. After a tenth of a mile, I checked my Garmin and almost fainted when it said I was running 5:25/mile. Slowed down to a “comfortable” pace, and almost tripped on a little kid trying to cross the course. I can only imagine how my 79 inch frame affected his innocent pscyhe. After growling at him, and moving around, I crossed the Montlake bridge, and took a right parallel to 520. Crossed Mile 1 in 5:51, and was already feeling bad, as I learned quickly that not every course is as flat as Green Lake.

I actually drive on the road that is parallel to the water and 520 every morning (or did) to get to school, but I don’t know what its named. Being a gas cheapo who likes to cruise in neutral, I know the elevation change all too well on this street, so that thankfully helped me. At about 1.75, I passed the only wheelchair racer… unfortunate for her, as two were required for prizes to be given. I looked at my watch, and my heart rate alarmed me, but I was already suffering pace-wise, so I removed the HR monitor so it wouldn’t be distracting. There were some rolling hills here, and by the time I took a right on Boyer and onto the University Bridge, I crossed the two-mile mark, this one in 5:59.

To this point I had been running solo literally the entire time, mainly because everybody who I started with went out way too fast, and the only people I caught in with were people who had blown themselves up running 5:40 first miles when they clearly couldn’t hold that. I moved up from group to group, and probably passed 40-50 people from 1.5-2.5 miles. Kept my pace steady, but I was definitely dying, which wasn’t helped by a large hill in the last quarter of mile 3. Mile 3 split was 6:16, swiftly killing any leeway I had under 6:00/mile avg. pace.

Mile 4 was flat-out awful. I had already resigned myself to not hitting 30:00, and my splits were suffering because of it. We got onto Montlake Blvd. at about 3.3 or 3.4 miles into the race, and from there it was a straight shot to 24th, just before U-Village. Groups started to pass me, and I tried holding onto them, but consistently lost them. Finally, at about 3.9 miles into the race, I found somebody to run with. We made the turn at the end of the course, and I crossed the 4-mile mark, in 6:25.

Having somebody to run with really helped. My pace picked up, and we started passing groups that had passed me a half-mile earlier. Entering the last .95 miles, my watch told me I was back to running 6:00 miles, and at this point I realized that despite giving up on my primary goal earlier, a hard effort could get me there. I started picking it up, passed my partner in crime, and caught a couple of girls who had just passed me. We ran together for a while, and soon we descended into the Husky Parking Lot, past the IMA. I probably pushed it too hard, really picking it up in the last .75 miles, and hit 5:20 going down the hill. By the time I was parallel with the stadium I had nothing left, and another sharp turn around killed my momentum.

Got onto the finishing stretch and saw I had 13 seconds to run 100 meters, and knew right there the gig was up. Limped into the finishing line with everything I had left, getting passed by one of the girls in the process. Final split for last .95 was 5:28, 5:46 pace.

All-in-all, I cannot complain. I felt terrible to start the day, and still have not incorporated any speedwork into running. I probably left 10-15 seconds on the course by nature of me not wanting to run hard, despite still having a chance to reach my goal. In the end, another run, another PR (and this one a course not pancake flat, like Green Lake is), and if nothing else, validation of the fact that I can hold 6-minute miles for long distances. Next up, triathlon in Elma?

Time: 30:02

Overall 70/5427; 6/206 AG (20-24)

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~ by cdviking on May 16, 2010.

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