18 June 2009

Race Report

Evolution trained athlete Craig Segal recently finished 2nd at the George Sheehan Classic. Below is Craig's race report.

George Sheehan Classic – June 13th
Red Bank, NJ
Overall time: 25:27
2nd place overall
Coming off of a solid effort at the Spring Lake 5 miler, I had high hopes for the George Sheehan Classic. Prior to the race, I had similar expectations as I had before Spring Lake – break 25 minutes and/or win the race. I have had a solid 3 weeks of training since the last race, and believe that these goals were well within reach. That said, as all long distance/endurance athletes know, not every race will go as planned, nor do you always feel your best at every race. This unfortunately was the case with Sheehan this year.
After a 5:30 AM wake up, I had my regular English muffin with peanut butter and a cup of cereal, along with my Multi V vitamin. After finishing up breakfast, I mixed up some Gatorade Endurance, and sipped on it up until the race. I headed over the Nick’s place at around 6:15 and we got in to Red Bank around 7:00. After meeting up with coach and friend Rich Airey, the three of us headed out for an easy 20 minute warm-up. Throughout the warm-up the three of us noticed how humid it was, and that it was getting hotter as the start time approached. After finishing up the warm-up, both Nick and I did some stretching and strides in a parking lot before heading over to the start.
After a short jog over to the starting line, both Nick and I were ready to go. As is the case with many of the local races, you are never 100% certain about who is going to show up. As the race got under way, the front lead pack was narrowed down to six competitors, two of which were Nick and I. Both of us sat off of the pace for the first mile or so, feeling out the other runners in the pack. We came through the first mile in about 4:58 or so.
As we headed towards mile 2, Nick went to the front and started to gap the field a bit. Although the pace was not fast at all, I felt as though I couldn’t get into a groove, nor could I really respond. This early on, my legs felt a bit sluggish, and fatigued. As we rolled through two miles in 9:58, the race looked as follows – Nick a bit out front, with myself and two other runners in the chase pack. I knew I was not feeling my best, but I wanted to make sure I put forth an honest effort, and stick with the chase pack.
The race stayed pretty much the same as we came through mile third in around 15:10 and mile forth in 20:20, with Nick out front, and myself and one other competitor a bit behind. Running this course a number of times, I wanted to sit with the chase pack until the forth mile and the make a surge up Tower Hill, the only real challenging hill on the five mile course. Even though I was not having a good day, I still stuck to this plan and made a move up the hill and gapped the other runners in the chase pack and finished the race up in 2nd place (25:27).
Post Race:
After taking in some water, and a short walk back to the car, Nick, Rich and I headed out for an easy 30 minutes around Red Bank for our cool down. Once we got back, I took in a mix of orange Endurox R4 and water and we finished up with some easy stretching.
Reflecting back on the race, I am extremely pumped for Nick and how his race panned out. He has battled injuries for the past four years, and has been on and off with consistent training over that period of time. I am glad to see that he is back on course.
As for how my race went, while although I am disappointed with the race itself, and how I felt during it, I still can take away positives from the effort. Even though I did not feel my best, and probably ran about the worst I could have run for my fitness level, I was still able to run sub 25:30 (faster than I ran to win this race last year). Looking forward, I am still confident in my fitness and the direction it is going. This race has shown me that even though you can prepare to the fullest, you can still going to have “off” days. That said, the great thing about our sport is the ability to walk away from a disappointing race, and start the next race with a clean slate. Every time you step to the line, you have the chance to forget about previous races, good or bad, and focus solely on the immediate opportunity to excel.

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