Monday, March 3, 2014

Jug Bay 10k - November 2013

Jug Bay 10k - November 2013
Upper Marlboro, MD

Passing a 5k runner on my way to the 10k finish
This was my second consecutive year running the Jug Bay 10k, and once again, it would serve as my final tune-up race before the Philadelphia Marathon.  Last year, I ran a 38:35, finishing 6th place overall and 1st place in my age group.  I was looking to defend my age group championship and maybe improve a bit on my time this year too.  I was running the 10k, but there was also a 5k, which my wife competed in.

The out-and-back 10k course has a few hills, runs on gravel trail for a couple miles, and goes back and forth over a 1,000 foot long wooden bridge.  So, it is not the best course if you are looking for a PR, but it is pretty fair overall.  In terms of pure scenery, it is a beautiful race, as it runs along the banks of the Patuxent River and through a wildlife preserve. 

Here were my mile splits for the race:
1 - 5:57 (156 average heart rate)
2 - 5:59 (172)
3 - 6:07 (177)
4 - 6:14 (179)
5 - 6:27 (179)
6 - 6:12 (182)
final 0.28 - 1:39 - 5:57 pace (184)

Race shirt
I ran well early on; maybe started a little too fast.  Later on, some of the hills caught up with me and I slowed down.  Mile 5 was where I really lost my chance to improve on my time from last year.  I also lost focus with some water troubles along the way.

 It is an out-and-back course, and they have water stations on both sides of the road around mile 2 (which is also mile 4 on the way back). Ideally, you would grab water from the water station on the right side each time.  But when we were running out, the water station volunteers on BOTH sides were all only handing water to the 5k runners (who were running the opposite direction - towards us).  I tried to grab a cup from a volunteer who was looking the other direction, but I startled her and she dropped the cup!

Then on the way back, no one was handing out water at the first table I saw on the left side of the road (I forgot there was another table on the other side of the road).  So, I had to make a 90 degree left turn to run over to the table, grab my own cup of water, and then go back onto the course and try to regain momentum.  Unfortunately, around a curve about 100 meters later, I saw the other table on the right side of the road, and they WERE handing out water to runners. Crap, if only I had waited! In hindsight, it would have been much better to just forget about water all together.  Hydration improves your performance, but when you are only racing for 38 minutes on a reasonably cool November day, you certainly don't NEED water.  I probably could have knocked 10 or 15 seconds off my time if I had just relaxed, kept running and not worried about the water.

The spoils of victory
I picked it up a little at the end with a 6:12 final mile and finished the race in 38:38 (6:09/mile pace), taking 5th place overall out of 211 runners, and finishing 1st place in my age group! (Race Results)  So, I ended up running a few seconds slower than last year, but finished one place higher, and succeeded in winning my age group for a second year in a row.  For my efforts, I won a free canoe/kayak rental at Bladensburg Waterfront Park and a $25 gift card to Ed's Plant World.  But the big excitement for the day came from my wife, Michelle, who ran the 5k.
 As I mentioned earlier, the 5k and 10k courses cross paths along the way, so I had a chance to see her a little before mile 2.  I cheered for as we passed, but didn't really think much of it.  Later on the course, I thought to myself - Hmmm...she was pretty far up there.  Did I see any other women in front of her? I don't think I saw any other women. Is she winning the race?!  Once I finished, I found Michelle and confirmed that she did indeed win the race, as the 1st place overall female!!  They got an awesome picture of her celebrating her victory at the finish line.
My super-speedy wife: 2014 Jug Bay 5k Champion!

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