Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rock 'N' Roll Dallas Tune-up Race

I want to lead off by once again thanking those that have contributed to Midland Children's Rehabilitation Center on behalf of me and the Boston 2 BigSur Challenge. You guys are great!!! Check out the website for MCRC to see what they are all about.

This weekend I had the pleasure of staying with a running buddy and his family in Dallas for the weekend's race. By pure coincidence in relation to my fundraiser, he and his wife have 4 year old twins with autism. Absolutely wonderful boys. Saturday evening while dinner was being prepared we discussed several issues related to autism including the enormous cost that families of special needs children face. While we didn't discuss their needs specifically, it was obvious that it could be a huge burden on families of less means. Fortunately their boys are doing great for various reasons including the therapy that they have received, but I couldn't help but think that there must be numerous children that do not have the same success. Many families just simply can't afford the therapy services that those young boys have had the benefit of receiving. MCRC is there to serve exactly those families. They provide rehabilitation services to children in the Permian Basin with a neurological or orthopedic needs and to date the Center has never billed a child's family for services they have received.

On to the week of training. Being a racing week, there was a fair cutback in mileage to get ready for Sunday's 1/2 marathon in Dallas. Only about 35 miles total from Monday thru Saturday and I bunched up my two quality workouts on Monday and Tuesday to allow for some recovery days afterwards. Easy mileage.

The goal for Dallas Rock 'N' Roll 1/2 was to hit about 6:10 per mile up until through mile 8 which was a steady slight incline and then the course would begin its descent and I hoped to hit about 5:55 per mile the rest of the way in to the finish.

Nice size race, a lot of hoopla at the beginning, Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, loud music and a few elite runners in the field. Pretty exciting and especially since I was starting from the front row of about 10,000 runners. A quick prayer and moment of silence to myself to think of my Grandfather that was buried on Friday. I asked that his strength be with me and that I make him proud.

Well the gun sounds and the 6:10 pace quickly goes out the window. While I tried to stay calm, the adrenaline was flowing and I hit mile marker 1 at 5:54. This pace if continued could be disastrous. Miles 2 and 3 came in at 6:07 and 6:14 respectively. Oh no, now I've slowed down too much. In actuality, mile 3 seemed to have a fairly good hill so that was okay.

I then got into a groove and hit 6:02, 6:06, 6:06, 6:07 and 6:07 for the next 5 miles and that got me right at the turning point where I knew it would be all downhill. Maybe a 1% decline or less, but nevertheless, downhill. At that point I was trying to calculate in my head where I stood and thought maybe about 30 seconds ahead of goal pace.

Once I got headed south and with a runner on my heels, I was able to press the pace and finished up with 5:49, 5:48, 5:46, 5:49, 5:46 and :51 for the last .16 miles for an official final time of 1:18:39. Good enough for 2nd in my age group (40-44) out of 537 and 21st overall out of 9,228 finishers.

The whole race was a picture perfect as I could have hoped for. No issues during the race, some strong competitors to push the pace, great weather with temperature at about 47 to start and not too much wind. I really don't know that I could have squeezed much more out of myself on that day. It was a huge confidence boost 5 weeks out from Boston. While I had previously set my goal at 2:49:59 for Boston, this race gives me hope that I may be able to go as low as 2:46:00 on a perfect day if the next 3 weeks of training and the 2 week taper go well. Feeling really optimistic right now.

I'll ramp the mileage back up for the next two weeks into the 60's and work on endurance while trying to keep the speed sharpened. Hoping to find just the right balance of training so as not to peak too early.

A special thanks to Nick, Sunny and the boys for having me in their home this weekend. I originally had reservations at the Adolphus and I can tell you that their home was every bit as much and more than what I would have expected from a 5 star hotel. Thanks guys! Congrats as well to Nick and my local running partner/coach Popcorn who had great days as well. You guys did awesome!

Finally, a fellow runner died Sunday just after crossing the finish line. 32yr old husband and father of two young girls, Mark Austry. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family and I ask that you take a moment to think of him as well. While I didn't know him, it certainly hits close to home with him being a friend of friends. Truly a sad note to an otherwise fine day.


Puerto Rican Kenyan said...

Simply amazing performance. I figured you would be running well under 6:00 pace those last few miles. I'm sure you made your Grandfather proud!

It's also great that you got to spend some time with Nick and his family. You are definitely headed for a great race in Boston!

screaminzab said...

Awesome performance, Steve. You are a good man and have made yourself into a great runner. All of your hard work and dedication is paying off and it couldn't happen to a better guy.

Can't wait to see how you kick Boston's butt.

Steve Berrones said...

Thanks Walter and Paul! The two of you along with Ron really inspired and motivated me last year through your training and fundraising endeavors. I hope that in turn I can do the same for others. Can't wait to meet up with both of you in Boston.