Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Arlington Co-Op Downhill Mile Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 2; 24th Edition
387.43 miles raced in 2007
Race: Arlington Co-Op Downhill Mile
Place: Arlington, VA
Miles from home: 2
Course Difficulty: 1.5
Course Enjoyability: 10 out of 10
Weather: 85 degrees
Finishers' Medal: 10 out of 10 for hilarity (Recycled from a Turkey Trot in Southern MD)

First and foremost, some of the "miles raced" and "editions" have been off in my previous recaps. I have no idea why. But it is fixed here.

What a day. Finally feeling slightly better after 2 weeks of sickness I darn near forgot that I was not only running but running (as in Race directing) the 2nd edition of the Downhill Mile in Arlington. I had been swamped at work lately and Tuesday was a cluster as I was trying to get in touch with a client traveling from Korea so we could rendezvous in Los Angeles. Meanwhile I am trying to book my flight so it coincides with what I thought was his itinerary which meant I would either be flying out Thursday night or Friday morning and then more or less returning a few hours later after the meeting. Hell, the turn-around was so quick, I wondered if the pilot would simply keep the engine idling. But I digress.

When I advertised that I would be running this mile again I hoped I would have an overcrowding problem. Many “If only were in DC…” responses flooded my inbox. Unfortunately, all the people actually living here in DC didn’t seem to give a hoot. So I had no idea if anyone would show up.

Waiting at the bottom of the hill (which doubled as the finishline) after finally remembering I did indeed have a race that night and high-tailing it from work to the course a few miles from home, Anne (who volunteered to assist with the timing) and I cooled our heels (Not a run-on sentence but definitely full of lots of preopsitional phrases. As a side note, Hemingway wrote very SHORT sentences. Just an FYI). Jay soon showed up with the clock and we quickly set it up at the place where we had marked the finish last week. After a brief description on how we were going to get an accurate time (via cellphone, when we started I was going to alert Anne who would simply start the clock with a flip of a switch), Jay and I began the trek up the hill to the start.

As we started our ascent, two women in running clothes asked what we were doing. Going into salesperson pitch mode I had two more racers in about 10 seconds. Sure I paid for their entry fees (they weren’t running with any money) but I didn’t care. I wanted runners!

Halfway up the hill, Jay and I noticed a tree limb partially blocking the course. When we noticed it was about a 60 foot long tree, trying to move it became an exercise in futility so we assessed if there was enough room to get around it. With half the trail still open for runners we realized this was fine and would just let the runners know of the obstacle.

About here we saw the current “meet” record holder, Charlie Mercer making his way down the trail. He was getting a little warm up in before the race and also checking to make sure that Jay and I were on our way (I think).

At the top I was happy to see that the women who said they would join us were waiting as were tow other runners. With Jay, Charlie and I that brings the total to 7 or a full 40% INCREASE! (I am being very facetious here).

After apprising everyone of how Jay and I had re-measured the course and found it to be a little short, we moved everyone to the new and improved starting line. A quick call to Anne to tell her we were about to begin and Jay readied us for the start. Away we went.

1st quarter mile:

As suspected, the extra distance added about 10-12 seconds to the previous strating line. Feeling better than I have in a few weeks I really thought i might give my previosu 4:10 a run for tis money. I could hear Charlie right behind me and figured we were on for a good race.

Down we went through the most windy (I think "windiest" means havingthe most blowing air or "wind" not being "windy" like how you wind a watch) and steepest part of the course and I hit the quarter mile marker Jay and I had noted on a tree at 61 seconds. Ridiculous.

2nd quarter:

Charlie passed me somewhere in the middle of this stretch as we sprinted through through the area where you hit a cup of quick bends and cross two neighborhood streets. At the halfway point I had slowed some and crossed in about a 2:13 right behind Chralie.

3rd quarter:

Did I put a parachute on? Charlie gained a little ground but it felt I was running in sludge. I didn’t even bother looking at my watch. I just wanted to be done.


Charlie put a sizeable lead on me and was maintaining it. I had nothing in me to challenge him. I crossed in 4:46. Immediately, Charlie slapped me five and we both said something akin to “What the hell was that?”. For some reason we both had experienced the same fatigue somewhere on the course that made the race so much harder at the very end. This was quite inexplcableto both of us given it was 15 degrees cooler than the previous time we had done this race. We were both a little befuddled as to why our times had not simply reflected the addition course distance and maybe a few more seconds added on for naturally being more tired.

As the rest of the runners came in we cheered them all on. Almost every single runner crossed the line and mentioned the same sort of malaise that hit them somewhere on the course. It was as if everyone had been affected by the same thing. Most of us attributed this to recent races or running after a hard day of work but it is these sort of odditie in life which make you just shake your head. For all intents and purposes it should have been easier than our previous installment given the weather. Nevertheless, while the times were slower than we were hoping, we can all be sure we have now run a real mile. I think everyone was pretty pleased. and the Arlington Co-op has two more members.

Full results below. With the previous result on the shorter course from three weeks before listed as well.

1 Charlie Mercer, Arlington VA, 4:31 (Prev 3:53; Diff = 38 secs)
2 Dane Rauschenberg, Arlington VA, 4:46 (Prev 4:10; Diff= 36 secs)
3 Bob Weiner, Accokeek MD, 6:11 (2005 time 5:43; Dif = 26 secs)
4 Jay Jacob Wind, Arlington VA, 7:01 (Prev 6:11; Diff= 50 secs
5 Tim Ramsey, Alexandria VA, 7:17 (Prev 6:49; Diff = 26 secs)

1 Gail Klein, Arlington VA, 7:21 (No Prev)
2 Darcy McDonald, Arlington VA, 8:03 (No Prev)

I want to point out two specific things. First, while Jay had the biggest differential between his times from one race to the other he had run the very warm Annapolis 10 miler on Sunday. However, his time was STILL 2 seconds faster than it had been on the shorter course last year. AND he was wearing a nylon sack on his pack carrying the race clipboards and registration material!

Also of specific note is that, Tim matched the lowest differential between his previous time 3 weeks ago and this time. Even more impressive is that his mile time on the “real” course this time was 3 full seconds faster than his time on the short course last year. Both impressive stats and I hope he is proud.

I hope that we can make this mile a monthly event (or even run it UP the hill). I really think taking on this hill is a chance to have fun and really run a fast mile time, even if it is “aided”. That said, today, I ache. The course might be downhill but that downhill sure does a pounding on the old quads.

Then again, I think I would have beaten Charlie if I had not taken the one-minute walk break in the middle of the race as per his earlier suggestion.



KMK said...

Sorry you've been sick :(

How about a 9:00 start? I might be able to make it then :)

Dane said...

You'd need a headlamp! NO light gets in there!

Anne said...

I'm proud of you, babe! You were an awesome race director. There will be many opportunities for you to work on getting the time you want.

When I came into work today, Alan asked how the button pushing went. I told him it was a switch and he said "ooh, we didn't prepare you for that...". He volunteered to flip the switch next time so I can actually run it. My goal is to get Diana the Democrat to do it with me.

CharlieM said...


For shorter races such as these, you only need to take a 30-second walk break in the middle... :)


1L said...

How did you fit in the walk break - after every 1/32 mile?

Sounds like a fun time.

klottey4 said...

From the tone of your blog, I figured you'd won. Great job anyways. It was a hot night.

Dane said...

Thanks Kathy. Not sure why you say though, though.

aharmer said...

Hey Dane,

Just ran across your blog from the forum. When I finished the first 0.25 mile paragraph I said to myself, "uh oh, he's going to pay for that and his time is going to suck compared to what it could have been". Just a thought, sounds like a fun event...too bad I'm about 1500 miles away!

Dane said...

too bad you aren't closer, aharmer.

Although that first .25 is deceiving. It was very easy to run that fast. It wasn't really a matter of expending too much energy and bonking. check one of my earlier blogs for the profile of that hill!

Yellow Scuba said...

Glad you had a good run, Dane. I'm not sure my quads are ready to go all out down that monstrous hill. We'll see about one of the future runs. I can't wait to see what you do on that hill when it's cool outside!

Dane said...

Thanks Scuba.

I honestly do not think the heat affected us al lthat much. sure it was warm but not that bad.

klottey4 said...

Tone of writing voice.