Thursday, July 11, 2013

Race Report: Northside Stride by Jeremy Geer

Every year, Dr. Jeff Young, my former college cross country coach puts on the Northside Stride.  Although Jeff is still critical to the race, Hector Martinez has taken the reins of the fund-raising race benefitting the Marcia Mounsey Foundation.  Since I didn't have a race or work conflict, I jumped back in the race this year after a couple years of not participating.

I was treating the race as training, so I got up early and did some 100 yard intervals in the pool, then went down to the race at Sloan's Lake.  Nutritionally, the only thing I did different from normal workout days was start sipping on a can of Monster Energy drink for the caffeine.  I had a bunch left over from a poker night I decided to see how my body, particularly my stomach, would react to drinking that before a hard training effort.  Otherwise, I took my normal regimen of 1 x Hammer Mito Cap, 2 x Endurolytes, and a slurry of other vitamin supplements.

It was great to see some familiar faces, including guys that I had trained with in college that had also developed a case of Slow & Old disease.  And, I was excited that two of my friends, Jim & Cathy Loftus, had shown up to support the cause as well!

As the race started, I made sure to dial things waaay back.  Typically, this is a race that has a group of 4-5 lightning fast high schoolers and collegiate runners on the front, followed at a distance by recreational runners that live in the Highlands neighborhood.  I had been sucked into going out with those guys before, only to be dead after a mile of racing.  The front of the pack this year would be even better then normal, with seven guys finishing in under 17 minutes, and another five finishing in under 18 minutes.

At the one mile mark, I was feeling pretty good.  I was in cruise control and hanging on the shoulder of another runner.  By mile two, we had passed three or four runners who had gone out with the lead pack and bonked.  However, for the majority of mile three, my lungs were screaming and my pace fell off by a few seconds, but I did manage to pull in two more runners in the last quarter mile.  Joseph Manialafasha, a former Denver North HS all-star, and current Oklahoma State University cross country runner, won the race with ease, with a time of 16:11.  3:34 later, I rolled across the line in 15th overall and 2nd in my age group, at 19:45.  The Monster drink didn't seem to affect me negatively, but I'm still weary of using it on longer efforts.  I actually added a little bit to my Recoverite drink after the race in order to avoid the crash that I normally feel on my way home from a race!

I was pretty happy with the result as it was my first sub-20 5K at altitude in more then a few years.  I really believe that my consistency in triathlon training, a nutrition plan, as well as having a coach with a training plan, is paying off!  I think the hard efforts in the pool and on the bike, without the beating of always running, is also keeping me healthy and happy so that I can truly let loose and enjoy short races like the Northside Stride.

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