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February 26, 2007

Ortega River Run 2007

Saturday was the perfect day for a race abd a race party. Nice and cool at the start. Beautiful sunny sky, no chance for showers. Folks starting arriving at the house a little before 8. We jogged easy over to the start and enjoyed running with some of the kids in the 1 mile fun run. Stood around and talked for 10 minutes and then hopped into the throng of 2000 for the start. I was standing in a sea of red as I was surrounded by the famous El Guapo Running Club. Really nice people.

Every year I tell myself I am going to start closer to the front for the Ortega River Run. This year it didn't seem so bad dodging folks. It also helped prevent me from starting way too fast. Ran the first mile with Erin and we clocked it a little under 7. She told me she had run the race a couple of years ago and averaged 7:15s. She said she would like to do that again. Little did I know she was sandbagging. Heh.

Ortega River Run 2-24-2007, Heart rate - PaceI was very proud of Woodmere. Lots of folks out, lots of Corrigan signs, and my cheering section at the end of Oleander. Gave Emily and Karen a high five on my way to a quick second mile split of 6:45. I was still running with Erin at this point and I made the decision to slow down and maintain a 7:00 pace. She maintained the faster pace and put some time on me. Running up the 17 bridge was a little tough. I had to keep reminding my self to lean forward. I would find my self running upright and would immediately look down at my shoes to force myself to lean into the incline. I cruised down the bridge, passing the 3-mile mark on the way. My third mile was a 7:15. Yikes.

The momentum from the bridge helped me cruise McGirts at a comfortable clip. I was maintaining the pace going up the little inclines and running down them hard. As usual, there was a terrific group of kids yelling on the last incline before the 4-mile mark. Like last year, they really helped me get up that last little climb. Mile 4 was somewhere around 6:50. I felt like I had a bit still in the tank and my hip wasn't hurting too terribly bad. Erin had about 100 meters on me and there was no catching her. She was running a great race. I kept pushing and when I hit the flashing lights at the Grand Avenue curve I knew I had a quarter-mile to go. I increased the leg turnover but kept it under control. I crossed the finish line in 34:49, my last mile was around 6:52. My finishing time was only 10 seconds slower than last year, even with the problems I have had with my hip and reduced mileage on the road.

Everyone met up near the finish line and we started a slow jog back to the house for our reward. Once we were home, there were lots of breakfast goodies and I think everyone had a terrific time. I really appreciate the work Karen put into hosting the party. I jokingly refer to the annual Ortega River Run party as my birthday party since I would rather celebrate a great race with friends than I would my birthday.

Finishing times of party attendees:
James Cardozo -- 30:37
Jay Millson -- 31:34 (PR!)
Josh Allen -- 32:26
Mike McLamb -- 34:15
Erin Moore -- 34:25
Greg Umberger -- 34:31
Leah Pust -- 37:36
Lori McLamb -- 40:08 (I think this is a PR)
Jane Mondadori -- 42:10
Marla Stearman -- 56:49 (running for two, no less)

A special bonus at the party was an appearance by Rodney Brown. Rodney and Kelly didn't run the race, they ran on their own earlier, but he still dropped in to visit. Rodney works for the Department of Justice and he returned from Baghdad this past Thursday. He assisted the Iraqi government in the trial of Saddam Hussein, as well as others. He was in the courtroom when Saddam was convicted. Rodney found himself looking Saddam face to face as Saddam left the courtroom. Wow! Rodney also ran the Baghdad Marathon and had his second best marathon ever, despite coming under small arms fire at mile 5. Amazing! It was great to see him at the party.

Now we have 2 weeks until the grand-daddy road race of them all in Jacksonville, the Gate River Run. Looking forward to a good race in the 15k.