Race Report: 2013 Lexington Race Against Hunger

Feb 24, 2013 by

Race Report: 2013 Lexington Race Against Hunger

As I’ve mentioned several time before, the Lexington Race Against Hunger is one of my favorite races.  It is well organized with a great cause, has a good tough route, and has a nice post race spread.  I just realized, though, the extra piece of the puzzle that makes the race so good: the Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church gym.

Huh? You say.

Since the race occurs the last weekend of February, the weather turns out to be a factor more often than not.  Most of the time, the race is cold.  The first year I ran it, it rained the entire time, but the temperature was fairly warm.  This year the forecast was not only cold but also heavy rain.  So, as I hung out in the dry gym as the rain poured, I was thankful to have it. Then, after the race, as we listened to the awards presentation in a nice warm building, I was again thankful for the gym.

I had three goals for this year’s LRAH: set my first PR in a 10K since 2009,  help place our company team in the top 3 of the corporate competition, and, finally, stay injury free with my next marathon just two weeks away.

So, what happened? Let’s find out.

Goal 1: Break 46:45 to Set a New 10K Personal Record (PR)

As I hung out in the gym before the race, occasionally looking outside at the pouring rain, I was thinking to myself ‘No PR today without a good warmup’.  I really didn’t want to go run around any longer in cold rain than I had to, but about 30 minutes before the race, the rain pretty much stopped, and I stepped out into a damp 40 degrees to warm up. I donned my homemade leaf bag rain slick and headed out.  I was able to get an OK 15-20 minute warm up, but certainly not what would have like.  At least I was dry so far.  I wandered up to the starting line,  found a couple of my team mates and waited for the starting gun.

The race started right on time, and we took off.  My basic strategy was this: try to run the easier, flatter miles (1, 2, and 6) around a 7 minute per mile pace.  Then for hilliest miles (3, 4, and 5), just give what I could and hope I could beat 46:45.  I had run a 5K two weeks prior that seemed to indicate I was in the ballpark with these goals.

Mile 1 was right on target, about 7:06, but a light rain had started back. Mile 2 is a very steep downhill, and I ran it in 6:54, for a two mile split right on plan.  Good news/bad news at the point. The rain stopped.  That was good news.  The bad news?  Now the brutal part of the course appeared as we climbed Main Street Lexington.  After the tough hills of South Church Street, my mile 3 split was 7:45.

Mile 3 had really taken its toll, and despite mile 4 being flatter, I could only manage another 7:45 split.  The first half of mile 5 is a decent down hill on Hendrix Street toward Church St.  I knew the second half of mile 5 included a short steep hill up Church St to Main Street, then another tough hill up North Lake Drive as we turned back toward Saxe Gotha and the finish.  So, I tried to make up some time on the Hendrix Street downhill.

Must have work, because I hit the 5 mile split at 7:28.  Not great, but decent.  There was still a bit of the North Lake Drive hill left between Lexington Elementary School and Lexington Middle.  My watch showed just past 37 minutes.  1.2 miles to go, and I couldn’t really do the math to tell if I was I ahead of my goal pace.

Almost There: Sucking It Up at Mile 6

My GPS watch will tell me my per mile pace, but I decide not to check it  Just suck it up, I told myself.  Almost there.  As I topped the hill and took one last swig of water from the last aid station, I just tried to keep the legs churning.    The mile 6 split was 7:24, and my watch showed around 44:30.  I thought I was in the clear for a PR now, but I tried to push it a bit more to make sure.  I crossed the finish line in 45:55, running the last .2 miles at a 7:06 per mile pace and securing the PR by 50 seconds!

To see the complete results, click here.

Goal 2: Help Our Team to a Top 3 Finish in the Corporate Competition

One of the unique aspects of the LRAH, is the corporate competition, where teams compete in cross country style scoring, taking your top five runners as scorers.  Well, this year we could only muster up 5 runners for our team.  I’m proud to report we defended our 3rd place finish from last year.

Goal 3: Stay Injury Free

Hmmm.  Jury is still out on this one. As I mentioned earlier, my next marathon (Columbia, SC Marathon) is March 9th, two short weeks after the LRAH.  The training program that I loosely follow had me running 13 miles at a slower pace instead of a 10K at all out race pace on LRAH day.  Well, I did the 13.  I just did 6 more miles after the LRAH awards to get it in.  I felt pretty good, too.  On Sunday, (today, as I write this) I was pretty sore in the usual post race spots – calves and quads.  As the day has gone on, though, a pain that I had hoped to never have again has appeared in the top of my left foot.  Last time, I found out I had stress fractures.  This time, I hope it is just some tendon soreness, and I will take it easy on the running this week.


Again, to see the complete results, click here.

PS.  Given the weather forecast of cold rain, I took extra care with my playlist, adding several appropriate songs to amuse myself.  Here’s a screen shot of my tunes for the race:

2013 LRAH PlayList



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