Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rocketing and flopping in the Rocket Mile

The week of the Nash Health Care Rocket Mile, affectionately known as the Rocket Mile, arrived.  Oh, yeah!  Going to beat last year's time.  Even if by only a minute.  Sounds good.  On the Friday before the race, I decided not to do Camp Gladiator.  I was feeling a bit achy this week and knew the wiser course was to take it easy the two days before Sunday's Rocket Mile.

Saturday, feeling a little guilty over doing nothing, I decided to try some slow, and I mean slow, half mile jogs.  Well, dang it -- I could not sustain even a quarter mile, even on a dirt greenway with less knee stress. But I had not an iota of energy and wow, my legs ached.  I returned home not exactly in high spirits.  Last year , I had done the Rocket Mile in 8:40, with one walk.  Now I adjusted expectations to between 9 and 9:30. I decided to eat some meat for dinner and applied epsom salt deep penetrating arthritis and sport rub to the legs.

Sunday morning I felt better; the legs did not ache and I sensed more energy.  My pals and I arrived in Rocky Mount around  one p.m.  This event is run in four sections: the men at 2 p.m.; women at 2:20; boys 14 and under, then girls 14 and under.  We did the packet pickup, rest stop business and eyed the place medals as well as the RRCA medals for male and female Open, Master, GrandMaster, and Senior GrandMaster, which were displayed on a table.  The returning live band from last year, Featured Attraction, was playing beach music.

Because this was an RRCA championship race, we figured there would be a lot of competitors.

This is the second year of the event.  It has a lot going for it: a very fast, flat, course with just three left turns!  Great food after: hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, cookies (last year all sorts of salads), nuts and more.  The event begins and ends at The Imperial Center in Rocky Mount which has an inside beer joint, for those who might like such after the race.   I talked with the two Piedmont Pacers who had shown up: Kevin Gobble and Dixon Cook. We four ladies relaxed until abouit a half hour before the men's race.  I then went through my warm up.  Slowly.  This year it was not windy and the temp was about 74.  I didn't do as many run outs as last year, but did do lunges etc.  My running pal I'd trained with was not feeling strong this day and so changed her own expectations.  But our plan was for me to initially stay at her pace (so I wouldn't burst out like a jack rabbit and then burn out before even 1/4 mile)

We watched the men's race and saw our own Sandy Roberts win it in 4:20.5, with a seven second lead over the second place male.

RRCA Grand Master P. Gibson;Master Musa Gwanzura;Sr Grand Master Dixon Cook; Open Champ Sandy Roberts. 

Now it was to be the women's turn.  73 men had run.  72 women were now getting set to go.  The swift elites were tuning up: all slim, some tall some not.  Three of us had decided to move up closer to the start area and towards the left edge.  I was reminded by my training pal to not rush out but to keep near her pace.  (She is younger and of course faster but planned to modertate at the start.)   With the Go command, we were off. I started off adjacent to my pal but found myself moving ahead and so backed off a little.  The Garmin says I started at 09:28 then went to 05:59 then to 07:15.  Now, why is this important?  Why even mention it?  Well because at .04 of a mile (4/100th), near Gay St junction, a lady in a purple shirt passed on my left then cut diagonally in front of me. I had time to think, what the hey! before I was on the ground.  I really don't know how it happened.  Upright and moving one second or partial second and the next on my hands and knees.(my falling speed was 16.33 then 0!)  My sunglasses flew off to the right with the impact.  People began flowing past; one running pal came back and the other stopped and got the glasses, while a volunteer was asking if I was okay. Yep. I berated my pals to get going and they took off like the rockets they are.  Think about how fortunate the runners behind me were!  None stumbled over me and they all got by without incident.  I think that may have been because I was so far to the left (maybe 2 steps from N. Franklin St curb) that the majority of runners were more centered in the street.  I later heard from my other pal that before I was cut off, a runner from that same group (purple shirt, logo on back) elbowed her on the way forward.  Lordy, Lordy!

 Anyway, I got up and ran on starting at 10:06 down to 7:15 and varied between 7:30 and 8, with an occasional 9:30, until I got to the first turn where I slowed up to 9:30 or so.  Meantime, I passed two purple shirted women.  I am rhinking at this point that I needed to back off to keep from burning out.  I'd used a lot of reserve getting back to some kind of pace.  Last year, I'd had to drop to a walk at about 3/4 of a mile.  I hoped not to do that again.  Yeah, sure.  Only if I backed off now and became more leisurely.  (Is this a race?) After the turn onto N. Church St, now beyond a half mile, I stayed mostly in a 9:30 pace.  Several churches on both sides of the street along here.  A fellow on the sidewalk is ringing a sizable bell (church steeple size it seemed to me) as a token "bell lap".  These folks in Rocky Mount really support this event. I made it to the 3/4 mile point without walking (that pleased me!) and then pushed to an 8 minute pace and below seven on the last bit.  

Once across the Finish, I gasped to the grassy area on the side and sat.  My pals come over, one gets the EMS/PD folks over (really -- just a scraped knee!  Actually, both had bled, one was minor since my Rock Tape covered the impact area.  Not only is the tape helpful and attractive in appearance, but it may also act as a shield against unforeseen street impacts.)  We ended up just putting bandaids on, to allow the scrapes to breathe.  What really hurt on into the night was my unscraped left hand's trapezium area -- the fatty area extending on the palm from thumb to wrist.  I needed lots of ice for that.

Of the four of us who came to the race, one got first age group and also RRCA Grand Master (time of 7:43 even after stopping to come back to me), the other two got second in their age groups -- one of whom might have gotten first had she not also stopped for me (missing first by 16 seconds).  I had predicted that if Suzanne Gibson showed up, she would probably get Senior Grand Master.  She did, running the mile in 8:08.

RRCA Open champ Deanna Foshee; Master Allie Bigelow; Sr. Grand Master Suzanne Gibson; Grand Master Paula O'Neal

The Piedmont Pacer folks did well: Kevin Gobble placed second in his age group with a 5:29 and Dixon Cook got first AG as well as Senior Grand Master, running a 5:50.

Oh, yeah -- I did not beat last year's time. I finished in 08:45.5.  Bleh!  OMG! In purusing the event site's photos, I came across many of the start as well as photos of folks as they came to the Finish.  Analyzing them and then looking at race results, it turns out I finished before the lady who cut me off.   (Hey, I understand -- race excitement, enthusiasm -- this may have been her first race in a bit.) But she needed more than a take down to beat this crone in this race, on this day, it seems.



Anonymous said...

Louise, I always enjoy your accounts, as you cover far more than the race. Unfortunately, you suffered a nasty spill in this race and thus could not put up the time you wanted. Still, you told a nice story.

I will see you on June 19 at North Carolina State Univ in Raleigh.

Peter Taylor (still your favorite announcer)

Louise G said...

Peter Taylor, indeed, my favorite announcer. Glad you will be at SEM!