Bold In The Cold 15K Race Report

[caption id="attachment_4991" align="alignright" width="223" caption="Thank You To Sponsor Boundless Nutrition For Their Support"]boundless_nutrition_protein_cookie[/caption] Yesterday Karen and I ran in the Bold In The Cold race in Grapevine, Texas.  Karen ran the half-marathon and I ran the 15K.  Last year at this event I finished in 3rd place in my Age Group and 41st overall with a time of 1:09:26.  My goal going into the race this year was to be at that time and to negative split the race per coach's instructions.  I went back and did some math that if I ran 7:30/mile for the first 4 miles and then 7:15/mile for the final 5.3 miles I would finish at around 1:08:30 and that would be an extremely successful day. When the alarm clock went off this morning I drank a smoothie and ate a bowl of granola along with a cup of coffee.  2 hours later and 2 trips to the bathroom afterwards we were in the car on the way to the race site.  When we got out of the car we could feel a chill in the air as this race takes place right on Lake Grapevine.  We walked and picked up our chips and before we knew it we were walking to the start line and ran into Allison. Standing at the start line I could feel my heart rate starting to climb and I knew it was race day.  I had taken First Endurance Pre-Race approximately 30 minutes before the gun was to go off at 8am and as I was doing dynamic warm-ups my heart rate went up and it felt great.  I knew I would be able to get out of the gate fast without that feeling of 'what the f*ck is going on here' rise to your heart. When the gun went off so did I.  I started about 5 rows back and on the left so I had to maneuver my way to the middle a bit to cross the timing mat.  As I did that I went back left and ran off road for about a mile and I felt great.  My breathing wasn't labored and my turnover felt strong.  I passed a whole host of people when I came up  on a woman who was scooting along pretty well.  I fell in lock step with her and was so close to her that I could hear her racing bib whipping in the wind and her breathing.  When the first mile came up on us and my watch beeped I looked down and saw a split of 6:53.  Two thoughts occurred right then and there:
  1. Keep running as hard as you can and hang on for dear life because you will most likely not negative split this race now.
  2. Slow down back to a 7:30/mi pace and then negative split the race.
I decided to just keep running and bring it back down if I could.  I would not consciously pull back but if I slowed I would be OK.  I was hanging with the woman on what is a flat part of the course.  As we neared the Mile 2 marker and what is a turn back toward the start I heard one of the race officials tell the woman next to me that she was the second overall female.  Then the thought kicked in that I will run with her for as long as I could as I assumed that she would be very fast and would pull me in. In between Mile 2 and Mile 3 you are on a trail that borders the runners heading toward Mile 2.  I looked for Karen feverishly but never saw her and kept right on chugging along staying with Miss Female #2.  Mile 2 to 3 has an uphill climb that I remembered from last year taking me some time to climb but this year I focused on form and made sure to keep my chin up, elbows back and relaxed shoulders and hands.  I climbed that hill and passed two runners along the way.  Once you get over the hill you immediately go down hill and when I hit the Mile 3 marker I saw my split as 7:30.  I added that to the 7:12 for Mile 2 and the 6:53 for Mile 1 and realized I was at a 7:12/mi pace and told myself to forget the negative split and just hang on for dear life as best I can. Mile 4 heads into another covered area and flattens out but only after you have a small climb.  I suddenly felt my breathing begin to labor and a slight burn in my left quad.  A burn not of injury but of 'you are running very fast.'  When I got to Mile 4 and my watch went off I saw the split of 7:24 and a total time of 28+ minutes.  I did some math and figured that at Mile 8 I should be at 56 minutes and that would leave me with 13 minutes to run 1.3 miles and I would beat the 1:09:26 from 2011. Mile 4 to Mile 5 you run toward the lake and all of a sudden there is wind that is holding you up.  You run a loop and head back up from where you came and then make a left turn down another hill.  When I got to Mile 5 I smiled knowing that I was more than halfway done and I just needed to keep pushing and pushing to get the next 4.3 miles done.  The split at Mile 5 showed 7:26/mile. Mile 5 to Mile 6 and I heard that heavy breathing again.  Miss Overall #2 was right behind me and all the sudden passed me.  I fell in behind her and let her pull me along.  If I could stay one step off her I would be conserving energy and moving pretty quickly and ensuring that I would beat my pace from last year.  We kept going and her breathing got more rapid and I thought that she is going to slow down and not make it the rest of the way.  My plan was that when I hit MIle 6 I would pick it up for the final 3.3 miles and pass her.  At Mile 6 my watch showed 7:32/mi and 44 minutes.  I knew that if I could run a 23 minute 5k that I would get to the finish line at 1:07, but of course forgot that a 5k is 3.1 miles and not 3.3 miles. On the way to Mile 7 you run along the lake and the picture is gorgeous but it started to feel like it was taking forever.  I wanted so bad to see Mile 7 and make the turn back toward the finish line.  I started to really struggle as the stretch is a series of up and down climbs that are never really steep but also never stop.  It was last year at Mile 7 that I was passed by a guy in a yellow Marine Corps shirt and I vowed not to have this happen to me again.  When I hit the Mile 7 marker there was a guy in front of me but no guys behind me.  Mile 7 and the watch beeped and showed 7:52.  Of course it felt like forever because it was compared to the previous 6 miles. [caption id="attachment_4992" align="alignright" width="225" caption="The Bahas Flashing Their Bling"]bold_in_the_cold_15k_grapevine_texas_race[/caption] I made up my mind to run faster and so I did.  I had the benefit of a long downhill section at this point and I allowed my legs to turnover and once I hit the flat I saw the runners coming at me and I wanted to make sure to look strong and fast.  I did not want to hit that flat section and slow down but instead keep that momentum.  At mile 7.5 you make a left turn through a gravel parking lot and the volunteer is yelling to run toward the path.  As I'm doing that I don't see an opening and he yells 'to the left, to the left' and I have to make a quick turn left and get through the opening and then a quick right.  You are going slightly downhill just before you turn right and I had to grab a street sign pole to help me make that turn otherwise I would have taken out a group of runners heading toward the Mile 7 marker.  When I hit the Mile 8 marker and knew I only had 1.3 miles to go my watch showed 7:39 and a smile came across my face because I knew I was going faster.  Mile 8 also showed 59:31 and I had approximately 10 minutes to run those 1.3 miles and figured with a 7:30 mile that would give me 3 minutes to run the last 0.3 which I thought was plenty. As you emerge from the covered trail you are supposed to turn left or at least that is what I remember from last year, but I suddenly saw runners running left.  My mind immediately said to me 'where are they going and where does this trail end?'  I was ready to step it up and get moving but those runners through me off.  As I neared the turning point the volunteers pointed us to the left and I realized that those runners were just out for their Saturday morning run.  Last year at this point I saw a neighbor who is a tremendous runner and I used her as my carrot to get to the finish line.  This year I had nothing but the guy running the half-marathon next to me.  I was determined to keep pace with him. Mile 8 to Mile 9 is a steep climb followed by a long drawn out down hill and ends in one of the steepest climbs on the entire course.  When I got to the steep portion of the course I kept my cadence high and pushed through it to the Mile 9 marker and saw a split of 7:40 and a time of 1:07.  Uh-oh......I better step on it for the last 0.3 miles if I want to be anywhere near that 1:09.  I pushed the legs and immediately felt my mind separate from my body and just ignore all the lactic acid.  I truly had no thoughts going on in my head regarding the burn in my legs or lungs, and in writing this post I realize now that I did not hear my breathing either but did hear Miss Female Overall #2 breathing and I vowed to not allow her to beat me no matter what. I came around the corner and looked for the finishers clock but couldn't find it for a few seconds.  I kept looking and finally saw it and saw a 1:08 and change but could not make out the final seconds.  I knew it was going to be close but I just said 'screw it' and ran as hard as I could.  When I crossed the finish line I pressed the stop button on my watch and doubled over and knew that I had just run as hard as I could but did not execute the race I wanted. I am not very happy with the poor execution.  This entire Winter/Spring training is all about Ironman Texas and learning to keep a pace and not go out to hard.  It is about executing a plan and sticking to it.  It is about pacing myself and making sure to eat/drink every 15 minutes.  On this day I failed to execute the plan and I am not happy about that.  Part of me is telling myself that I did adjust on the fly and that is important as well because Ironman will not go exactly as planned. Splits 2011 versus 2012:
2012 2011 Difference
Mile 1 6:53 7:15 -22.0
Mile 2 7:12 7:25 -13.0
Mile 3 7:30 7:32 -2.0
Mile 4 7:24 7:25 -1.0
Mile 5 7:26 7:22 4.0
Mile 6 7:32 7:31 1.0
Mile 7 7:52 7:33 19.0
Mile 8 7:39 7:19 20.0
Mile 9 7:40 7:14 26.0
Mile 0.3 pace 7:34 7:06 28.0
  When the announcer was giving out the 15k awards I kept an ear toward him and my eyes on the course to see when Karen would finish.  As he said 'M35-39' I immediately paid closer attention and when he said in 3rd place with a time of 1:09:07 Jason Bahamundi a smile came across my face.  I had run a poorly executed race and yet PR'd by 19 seconds and finished in 3rd in my Age Group again. I have already made up my mind that I will be back next year and am determined to execute a race plan that will land me in the Top 2 of my Age Group as it will be my last year in the M35-39 category.  

Did You Race This Weekend?  Did You Execute Your Race Plan?

Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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