Al’s Run 2014

Date: 09/13/14
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Finish: 34:43.9
Overall: 207/3,148
Gender: 172/1,596
Age: 33/211

I’m pretty pleased with this race, which happened to be my longest race to date. It was only an 8K, which probably isn’t saying much considering most recreational runners seem to focus on running longer distances than this.

However, I ran it in the EXACT pace I was aiming for. I wasn’t really running it as a “race,” per se; however, I wasn’t totally taking it easy, either. My intent was to run this as my long run for the week, but not run it at my easy long run pace. I wanted to find the middle ground between race pace and long run pace, and I feel I did just that.

My pace came out to 6:59/mile, which, again is EXACTLY what I wanted. I didn’t want to go any slower than 7:00/mile for pride’s sake mostly, which is usually a dumb reason to do anything. However, I didn’t want to totally rev it up, either, because I needed to conserve some energy for two upcoming target races (US Bank Tower stair climb on Friday in Los Angeles and the Run With Wolfes 5K on Sept. 28).

Not cranking it up was also aimed at not stressing my left foot too much, as I’ve had a bit of a foot “thing” the past couple weeks. I actually ran only once the entire week before the race — a 2.43-mile test run last Thursday. The time off was designed sort of as a taper, but also as recovery for my foot.

In hindsight, I’m not totally sure how fast I could’ve finished because even though it wasn’t at the faster race pace I ideally prefer for 5Ks, it still was a longer distance, even if only just less than 2 miles. I haven’t been training for an 8K race distance, so maybe a minute? Maybe 90 seconds? Maybe those are generous, even. I’m not sure. Either way, I feel like if I actually trained for an 8K, I could definitely chop either of those amounts off and then perhaps then some.

The course was nice, and the event was well-organized. I would definitely consider doing it again, and I’d probably even train for that distance next time. Obviously, that would depend on my other scheduled races, but as far as races go, this one was really nice.

* * * * *

Running with the HillRunner.com crew

My favorite part of the whole race experience for Al’s Run was running as part of the HillRunner.com team.

This race is the team’s big race each year, which is part of what made me want to do it, even if not as competitively as I’d want. They carpool to and from the event, warm up and cool down together, and then get together afterward for some food. Not only was everyone on the team really nice and chilled out, but they were all experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable runners.

This year’s team was a little smaller than usual (only seven runners), but they — or, well, I guess “we” — still took a firm 2nd place in the corporate division, well behind Performance Running Outfitters (of course) and well ahead of the third place team. Team times were based off of the top five finishers for each team. I was the team “slow guy,” even if I really wasn’t too slow. However, I managed not to finish the slowest on the team due to one of our other guys unfortunately rolling an ankle during the second mile.

Even though I was the “slow guy,” I really enjoyed that part of the experience. I don’t mean it as I enjoyed being slower than everyone else, because I didn’t (but I was okay with it, because everyone else was awesome and put up awesome times), but it was pretty awesome being a sort-of newer runner around seasoned, experienced, well-trained veterans. I feel like just getting to soak up the running-related conversations they were having was as valuable as race experience of my own.

It was interesting hearing about their experiences and a lot of the little things that seasoned runners, especially those who’ve been coached, know. Those are the kinds of things adult novice and recreational runners wouldn’t have a clue about about and might not ever discover.

If I do this race again next year, running with Team HillRunner will definitely be a factor in favor of it.

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3 comments

  1. holy moly! if you were the “slow” guy… what’s the fast guy look like?!? great job! that is a fantastic time especially with a wonky foot.

    1. Thanks! The fast guy on our team did it in 28:02 (5:38/mile). We also had one other sub-30 guy: 29:47 (5:57/mile). The slowest of our five best was a woman who ran it in 33:38 (6:46/mile). I was *only* 14 seconds per mile away from cracking our top 5!

  2. […] The main positive takeaway, however, was getting to hang out with and spend time around a lot of other climbers who are WAAAY better than I am. I should say, though, on one hand it was disheartening because I tend to view myself as decent at this and being around such stair climbing talent was pretty deflating. One the other hand, it was reminiscent of running as the slow man on a team of seasoned, skilled, veteran runners in the Al’s Run 8K in September. […]

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