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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Crescent City Classic 10k: A well-executed race, except for pace.

Saturday was the city's biggest race, the Crescent City Classic 10k. I and 20,000+ others headed out to spend Easter Saturday running a 10k from the Superdome to City Park.
Getting ready. Enjoy the bed-head. 
Obviously, at three and a half months post-op, I was by no means racing this thing. Not happening. Too risky! But I wore my Garmin anyway, mostly to restrain myself if need be.
We picked up our neighbor Joseph and headed to the start. I parked in the Tulane parking garage, and we jogged less than a mile to the start - then I wandered around trying to get into my corral. There were ten corrals, and I finally discovered that the three seeded corrals were entered from the other side of the street, and I had to loop all the way around the back to get there. We'd arrived at 7:30, but by the time I got to my corral, it was 7:50, and I barely had time to say hello to runners I knew before the starting announcements began. Right before then, the volunteers dropped the barricades, and the front (seeded) corrals merged into one group: we all started with the gun, then each following corral started with an air horn at two minute intervals. This was new for the CCC, but it really smoothed the start out.
I didn't have much of a race plan, just wanting to run a strong effort, but avoid pain and avoid anything strenuous. It's too early to stress this hip. At the gun, the speedy runners next to me bolted, but I moved to the side and controlled my pace. I let everyone pass me, and before long, the colors of the bibs around me changed - from pink, to gray, and eventually to orange and green. No big deal. I relaxed. Or relaxed as much as I could: there was a cold headwind to fight. I hit mile one at 7:30 exactly (race clock) and, since that had felt slow, decided to bump it up a touch each mile. Garmin: 7:23.
But mile two wasn't the time for speeding up. The wind hit us strong in this section! It was tough going, and I could hear runners around me give a collective "Oof!" as we hit the wind. 7:22.
I noticed several young boys were running this race, and I talked to one of them at mile three. He was nine years old and told me that his goal was 46 minutes. Seriously cute. He told me, "I don't want to race too much, because I need to save some for high school. I think I'll be a beast in high school" - oh my gosh. Hilarious. Mile three: 7:18.
Mile four was the last mile along Esplanade Avenue. There was some wind cover on Esplanade as long as you ran by large houses; every cross street or a smaller home let the gusts hit you. But I still felt fine. I grabbed a beer from some firemen handing them out at mile four; it wasn't very easy to drink, though. 7:15.
I noticed now that I was indeed taking two or three seconds off per mile, and still felt like this was a very easy pace. We turned onto City Park avenue, and I struck up a conversation with a runner friend of mine taking it easy. He actually biked 100 miles the day before! So he didn't have a lot of juice in his legs - we chatted, and I felt like we slowed way down to talk, but actually this was the one small section with a slight tailwind, and I ran 7:13.
I decided to run mile 6 under 7:10, but not under any circumstances under 7 (an arbitrary recovery rule that prevents me from RACING-racing or doing speedwork unadvisedly), so I said bye to my friend and picked it up. Another runner friend came along side me and I urged him on - his goal was 45 minutes and I realized that if he really booked it, he could make it! I stayed at my sedate pace: 7:06.
Speeding up at the finish. I look so enthused. I promise I only straighten my legs when I'm speeding up...still,,,things to work on, right? That looks terrible. BTW the Crescent City Classic gives everyone one free race picture, as nice touch. But you can't pick which picture!

Then I hit mile 6 and decided I might as well kick a little. Just a little. I passed a few people at the last minute, even though it felt silly to do so, for a 6:30 final 0.2. Time: 45:16, but fun all the way.
Also fun: freezing to death in a garbage bag after the race.
If only I could race like that when I'm faster - gradually dropping the pace down. But no! Instead I bomb it every time!


  1. Atta girl, double fisting at the finish! Great "race!"

  2. Atta girl, double fisting at the finish! Great "race!"

  3. Totally awesome! Negative splits just feel good, even if it's not for a PR.

  4. I love that you're "taking it easy" 10k pace is my "feel good about this race" pace! Way to jump back in and accomplish your goals!

  5. I agree with Amanda, you're easy pace is pretty fast. I love your race reports, and it's good to find the remote again. I know it's not your best, but that is a really solid effort all things considered. And systematically dropping the pace each mile is awesome. Great pictures too, except for the bed head. No offense.

  6. Oops, stupid AutoCorrect. I meant "finally read one again", not "find the remote again". Hahaha.

    1. I wondered what you meant, but I figured it was just the generation gap.

  7. Well done! You are so speedy! I remember my comeback 10K last year was a 45:54, and I felt like DEATH at the end of it. Looks like you are well on your way to your old self. :)

  8. You are going to be dangerously fast, when you are ready to race again. A 45 minute 10k is a pretty good bench mark for normal folks. You did that three months post surgery! I'm so happy that everything went smoothly for you on race day.

  9. Maybe all this enforced taking it easy racing will help you to be able to pace yourself to drop the hammer when you're for real RACING again. That kid is hilarious and totally reminds me of my 11 year old. His favorite self-descriptor is beast, despite many, many conversations about the virtue of humility.

  10. Great race! I know it's your easy but it was so controlled and measured. Obviously your aerobic capacity hasn't taken too much of a hit from the enforced time off.

  11. Nice work! Negative splits is a great accomplishment. I still think your pace is so impressive after the time you've taken away!!