Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I'm not a fan of the term 'elite' in the sport of running, or in broader society for that matter, so I felt a tad embarrassed this evening to be lining up with a small crowd of skinny fast dudes for the elite race in the Freeman Myre Corporate Challenge.

Justin Mock had talked me into running this event a few weeks back, noting that Pearl Izumi was a sponsor and that I'd probably be able to get a comp entry. Well, I'm a sucker for free stuff, so enter I did. And that's how I found myself toeing the line in hopes that I'd both PR and not come Dead Freakin' Last.

Some of the faster roadies on the Front Range. All shots: Aaron Kennard. A great photo recap of the two races at Aaron's website.

Quite unusually for the Front Range, it was pretty humid out, which for us dry-air folk is probably equivalent to sea-level folk getting trucked up to 6,000' to race. Anyway, the course was a criterium style three-lapper with six 180-degree turns to negotiate; a slight uphill one way and a slight downhill the other.

I stayed with the lead pack for, oh, 10 seconds and then started to feel the burn in my quads from the effort on Longs yesterday. The race was quickly beginning to register a very low reading on the fun meter. Not a zero, but close. Within a quarter mile I had assumed a position three or four from the back of the field of ~20 and proceeded to hold that for the duration.

Andrew Letherby (Aus) defends his title (14:36), beating James Boitt (Ken, 14:45)

George and I were just there to pad the numbers.

The fourth-best burro racer in the world appeared to be running well and he was up on my shoulder for the first half of the race. We switched positions a couple of times, but other than that I was well and truly locked into place. I'm not quite sure why, but the women's race went out a minute after the men's race, and given that there were a couple of Olympians running, there was a not-unrealistic chance that I would get caught from behind. That didn't happen, which on a technicality means I am still yet to be chicked this year.

Some very fast ladies: Benita Willis (Aus record holder 2k, 3k, 5k, 10k, marathon), Nuta Olaru (Rom, 12th in 2004 Olympic marathon), Fiona Docherty (NZ, World Trail Running Champ, 2:37 London), Nan Kennard (Local speedster looking to qualify for 2012 Olympic trials at the Batimore Marathon this fall), Michelle Suszeck (another fast local runner).

With no mile markers, it was hard to get a read on pacing but I knew that I was mainly fading - as is typical for me in 5ks - so I was surprised to see the clock just tick over to 17:00 as I hit the finish chute. I finished in 17:06, although I wasn't surprised to learn from the Garmin-adorned runners that the course was a bit short (between 3.01 & 3.07).

Contemplating where it all went wrong!

I guess the secret to running faster road times is to actually run fast in training, but that doesn't sound much like fun, so I guess the running fast thing will have to wait. Maybe next year. In the meantime, I'm off to the Wasatch Mountains on Saturday to run at a very slow pace for 5 - 6 hours over the course of 31 miles and ~12,000 feet of elevation gain. Gimme a race and I'll run it.


  1. >I am still yet to be chicked this year

    Personally I'm more concerned with being elementary-schooled. I'll worry about the fairer sex later.

  2. Good seeing you out there last night amigo. Well done. I'd take being that close to you through Barr in a few weeks.

  3. Good race Nick. I saw you a few times before and after the Barr race a couple weeks ago, and didn't have a chance to come shake your hand. Anyway, I'm sure if this 5k course was measured correctly, you indeed ran a 5k. I don't listen to my own Garmin, much less anyone else that has one. Solid time for a 5k. 17s are nothing to sneeze at.

  4. I guess that is still a PR though?

    Looks to me like 3 women were under 17 - I'm saying you got chicked :)

    See you tomorrow.

  5. I guess you have your legs nice and stretched out for Saturday. :)

  6. mtnrunner - not sure I've been elementary-schooled, but pretty certain I've been high-schooled.

    GZ - a pleasure as always. You're a mileage-monster my friend.

    Thanks Charlie - yeah, I guess all things are relative, but when you run with a crowd like last night, they sure make you feel slow.

    Nick - last I checked races were based on first past the finish line, not chip times. Ask Scott J, he can tell you all about that.

    Scott - either that, or I have a good set of excuses lined up if I fold and bonk halfway through!

  7. Nice meeting you last night Nick. I agree with Charlie, and I don't think the garmin's can be trusted to be completely accurate especially when there are 6 hairpin turns involved. Those things are only accurate to 20-30 feet tops in the first place, and with immediate movements doubling back they are sure to measure it short in my opinion.

    So I say congrats on a super solid 5K on tired legs!

    And regarding the pics on my blog, by all means steal away! I put them up there for you all to have and use since it was the easiest mode of distribution.

  8. "The race was quickly beginning to register a very low reading on the fun meter" AND "I guess the secret to running faster road times is to actually run fast in training, but that doesn't sound much like fun" Sounds like a bunch of.... fun.

    Is there even a 'fun meter' at all in 5K races? I stand well clear of 5K and 10K, even though I know I need them. I just can't bring myself to hurt that bad. If I do a 5 or 10K, it's on my own because I know how bad I'm suffering inside and it must look that much worse on the outside...

    For the simple fact that you do zero speed work, anything in the 17 range is pretty damn good. Good luck at SG50K!

  9. I still have not figured out how running 50 miles is "less painful" than running a 5k but thats how it is in some weird way. I guess thats why I decided not to run in college!!

  10. From Meltzer:

    "The Speedgoat odds have not been done because this guy is kinda busy putting on a race. Hopefully you’ll see them on Saturday morning. I give Nick Clark the nod at this point."

    Here's to a great race, Nick. Have a safe trip out to SLC.

  11. Tear 'em up at Speedgoat! Have fun, Steven.

  12. Scott/Marco - yeah, two very different kinds of hurt. However, it tends to be over a lot quicker in 5ks versus a bad day in a 50/100 miler (or even a good day, for that matter).

    Travis - Thanks, man! Who the hell is this Meltzer guy anyway?

    Steven - thanks!