Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl 4 Miler Race Report

Sunday, February 6, 2011  Super Bowl 4 Miler
Once again the weather could not have been more ideal.  It was a cool morning to begin with but the sun radiated friendly warmth.  There was not a notable wind to speak of.  Cool enough to not overheat, but warm enough to wear minimum clothing.

The Super Bowl course is fairly flat, but most of it was a "false flat," ascending and descending.  I like to think the ups and downs were balanced out, but the reality is the ups take more out of you than the downs can make up for.  Because of the many 90 degree turns onto neighborhood streets, and the pot-hole laden section in Carneros Lake park, I would say this is a fast course, but could have been faster.

I believe this year the start and finish line were a little different and according to my Garmin, the course was a little short.  I determined based on my pace, that it was about 15 seconds short.

The women's race was nicely competitive from my perspective.  Over the first 2 miles there was a jockeying of position among 4 women including Bethany, Jill, Jessica and myself.  I was content to sort of hang back to see how everyone else would settle in.  It was my plan to try VERY HARD to stay at an even pace.  In other words, I did not want the first mile to be too much under my overall pace (overall pace goal for the race was 5:50).

So as the first mile progressed, I did not check my pace but tried to go on feel.  Although there were fast females ahead of me, I felt I was running well, and holding back.  I felt comfortable and resisted the urge to pass the others.  So when the first mile beeped in at 5:39 I was surprised and began to fear that the faster first mile would bite me in the butt later.  Never the less, the pace was comfortable.

The second mile was fairly evenly flat but had several turns.  A 90 degree turn always poses a problem.  A runner has to decelerate prior to the turn, make the turn at a slower pace, and then expend energy to pick it up again afterwards.  The second mile went by in 5:46, still under ideal race pace, still fairly comfortable.

By the third mile, the women settled into pace and position with Bethany in the lead, myself holding several seconds behind her, and Jill a few seconds behind me.  The third mile contained a lengthy gradual incline and also a transition into the park.  I was, at this point, trying to just maintain pace, which put more pressure on my system due to the subtle hill.  This mile dropped to a 6:02.

The final mile was the most challenging as it contained broken asphalt, dirt path and the most substantial incline on the course.  However, because it is the final mile, the challenge and the growing fatigue are often off-set by the anticipation of the finish line and the final kick.  I felt quite fatigued coming out of the park but had enough in me to push strong up the hill.  Once at the top, the finish line was almost in view.  The final mile was the slowest but not too far off.  It was 6:05.  However, since the couse was slightly short, this final mile was not quite a full mile.  My final time was 23:15.

According to my Garmin, my pace was 5:53 overall.  According to the official results, my pace showed up as 5:49 overall.  Either way it was a great race for me.  It was grueling but I could tell my fitness is finally returning, and I was able to hold a better pace for longer.  That was a great feeling.

The other ladies did well too, and having that close competition is always a plus.  Although I crossed the line as the second female, running a strong race is the higher priority.  I would rather take second place with a PR than first with a slower time. 

The race was a great experience and as always, the community of runners in Santa Barbara are top notch.  So many friendly folks.  Oh, hey ... and all you can eat hotdogs post-race.  It just doesn't get any better than this.

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