Grapevine Race Report

by Bob Grumbine

PGRC went 8 strong to the Run through the Grapevine, Sunday, November 4th, and all came back. Given the difficulty of the course, this was pretty good!

Our teams were PGRC 1 and 2:
1: Cindy Cohen
Clare Imholtz
Monique Meleance
Ginny Fromel

2: Bob Grumbine
John Giamalva
David Ferris
Gene Lehr

PGRC 1 finished 1 point out of 3rd in the Open Women category. For Clare it was her 3rd time out, and again a personal best on the course. Cindy turned in the best PGRC time of the day, 46:11.

PGRC 2 finished 2nd in the Master’s Men Category, so won a bottle of wine apiece. This was Gene’s first race since his heart surgery. Quite a day for first racing!

I’ll invite the team runners to post about their takes on the race.
For my personal race report …

The race is a tough one, but with some happy memories of our team in 2004, and when I ran in 2001 (apparently I only do this every third year; there might be a reason?) with friends from MCRRC. That was the year I had run my trail 50k race, and had continued training well. So I had a fast time (38:40 then, versus about 35:00 I’d have done on a flat 8k) and was relatively strong on the hills. (Still walked some. I’d learned about tactical walking by then.)

This year, I hadn’t been training a lot (as in 2004) and ran slower (47:44). More walking, and less speed on the downhills. Still, I’m feeling the progress of this year over last (when I couldn’t consider running the race) as I’ve been getting out more regularly. So I managed to push the downhills some, try to cruise the flats, and survive the ups.

Now, for all that the uphills are indeed serious and will slow you down, all those ups are balanced by downs. It turns out that Clare and I had the same strategy. Take the speed on the downhills. This takes some practice* and confidence. But, since gravity wants you to go downhill, and you want to go downhill, you can take some advantage. If a person you’re racing has fried his legs running the ups, you can take a lot of advantage over her. Consequently, I passed a lot of people, for good, on the downhills. None on the ups*, and only a couple on the flat (namely, the last 200 meters).

With everything going on, I did manage to run hard and feel properly wasted at the end of the race. Good news!

Also good news is that Vickie (my wife, most of you have met her) was _not_ feeling fatigued by walking around the course, standing, waving at me and other PGRC’ers. 3 years ago was shortly after her first back surgery and this was very fatiguing for her. Today, with her having taken up exercises, and such, just a nice (if breezy and cool) day in a pretty area.
Good day, and good people.

To the future: I do find it helpful to have targets to be training towards. Now that I’m back to training more regularly and racing (labor day was my first race in almost a year), some race targets are reasonable again. It’s also the case for most of us, certainly me, that committing to our goal to friends is a help in reaching it. So my major goal is: Run the 2008 Grapevine 1 minute per mile faster than this year. It’s attractive, in that there’s a nice round number involved. It’s not outrageous (this is aiming for about 5 minutes faster, but I did run it 9 minutes faster before), but enough of a reach that I won’t be in shape to do it in a week or two (or month or two). It also has some natural steps of progress. The target is to average 8:36 per mile for 8k on the very hilly course. So, one step is to average that for 8k on a flat course. Another is to average it on the Springburst course. Also for flat 10k, 10 miles. (This is a tough course; if you can run your 10 mile race pace on it, you’re extremely strong. Cindy noted it as her flat marathon pace.)

Side note: I did take my splits on the course. On a flat 5k my average pace is now 8:10. For comparison, my splits in the race were: 9:06 9:46 10:15 10:22 8:10 (8:25 mile pace) I probably took the first mile too fast, and eased up a bit much on the 3rd and 4th miles. The 4th mile is almost all uphill, and I was doing a fair amount of walking+ (so I’m not sure I could have covered it much faster — mile 3 is more of a surprise). The 5th mile is almost all downhill, including some pretty steep ones and I took advantage of that. But no mile is without uphills and downhills. Not many races, though, would leave me fairly happy with a 2 minute difference between my fast and slow miles. On a road 5k, I get annoyed if it’s more than 20 seconds.

+ Walking is something else to practice and get quick with for this race.

* Hills … Clare and I talked a bit about hills training after the race. I’ll be posting a separate note with some thoughts on hill training.


One Response

  1. Just a big congratulations on your run at Greenbelt , Janice , 5k ? not a common distance to run in England , if you can run at all [terrible freezing conditions in Chesterfield Derbyshire at the moment ] look on your site , like to have a little knowledge about the U. S. running scene , so why not follow the progress of runners in a club in Maryland [never been there but i have been to Chicago 3 times to compete in the marathon . ] Just got back from a slow 5 miler in the local woods , icy cold , treacherous underfoot but still loved it ! Anyway happy running in 2010 [ backkcab on garmin site ]

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