Monday, August 9, 2010

Quad B part I - Beach to Beacon

Ok I'll admit it. I registered for the B2B for selfish reasons: I wanted to see how I stacked up against other runners from the area. My expected pace based on Mother's Day 5K was 37:19, which would be a big PR (which was 38:12). But the 5K was in May and I should be in better running fitness after a great summer of running. But...

I race only 1-2 10Ks per year and while I like the distance, I tend to get side-stitches at this distance. These are not the little niggling stitches but the kind that feels like a knife twisting in my abdominal wall. I have to stop and walk. This happened in my last raced B2B, where the side stitch kept me from my first sub 40.

My risk-averseness won the day - I'd rather have a great run and PR then a side-stitch and walking. The day was perfect for racing, cool temps (60F?) at the start and relatively dry. My 6ish/mi pace seemed easily maintainable; at least I never had the "racing is stupid, why am I doing this?" voice in my head. Still, I was tense about a side-stitch that usually occurs between mile 4 and 5 so I had to focus on my breathing. Felt great at mile 4, felt great at mile 5. But somewhere around the last hill before the downhill before Ft. Williams park entrance (maybe 1/2 mile left?), I got the stitch. Too bad, but I'm running through this one given less than 3 minutes left to race. I think that I had enough endogenous morphines flowing through my CNS that it was all quite bearable and I ran hard enough to pass quite a few people on the final climb after entering the park. Remarkably no one passed me toward the chute, despite my lack of anything resembling a kick. Crossed in 37.24.3 net time. 9th in age group (they didn't include the two Africans who were running as open runners).

Awesome. Except that I couldn't breathe. My diaphragm was spasming, just as it had at Mt. Washington. I find it interesting that when the diaphragm is in a spasm (the source of the side stitch), it is easier for me to breath while running then when stopped. Something about running helps to ventilate the lungs. This is well known in quadrupeds (like a dog or cheetah) but I wasn't aware of it in us.

My son Will ran it for the first time. He ran it as a fun, training run. We waited in the line for the bus back to Sprague field but the line was huge. We decided to run back to the car. A Cape policeman gave us the shortcut, which made the cool-down only 4.5 miles. This was a little more than I wanted, given the 9 mile Bradbury Mountain Breaker the next day.

Elevation Profile and Splits (my Garmin mapped my run as 6.25 miles).
Distance Time Total Time Pace
1 Mi 06:00.7 06:00.7 6:01
1 Mi 06:06.6 12:07.3 6:07
1 Mi 05:57.8 18:05.1 5:58
1 Mi 05:58.8 24:03.9 5:59
1 Mi 05:58.4 30:02.2 5:59
1 Mi 06:05.4 36:07.6 6:06
0.25 Mi 01:19.0 37:26.6 5:16


  1. That's why I park near the high school...2.5 miles is a much better distance for the cool down and doesn't involve having to wait for buses. Also provides for a good warmup.

    Nice race Saturday! (And Sunday despite the hiccup.)

  2. Next year. And excellent double Blaine.