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Race Result

Racer: Dan Frost
Race: Ashburn Farm 10K
Date: Thursday, November 25, 2004
Location: Ashburn, VA
Race Type: Run - 10 km
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 0:42:34
Overall Place: 33 / 511
Age Group Place: 8
Comment: Pleasantly deja vu all over again

Race Report:

11th Annual Ashburn Farm 10-K
Ashburn VA - Thanksgiving Day - Overcast and warm after passing downpours / middle 50sF

The Ashburn Farm 10k on Thanksgiving Day was the first athletic event I did last year after Ironman Florida. The fact that I decided to sign up early for this race again should speak something about how much I like it.

Between the 10k and an attached 5k and 2mile run, the Ashburn Farm events host nearly 1000 people and their entourages. The event (now in its 11th year) is hosted at the Crossroads United Methodist Church, and the Church does a decent job. My only gripe is that the church building itself, which holds all the registration, food, and lavatory facilities, is not built to handle 1000 people. Stand by for a long wait for the lavatory and a bit of a walk from where you park your car. Otherwise, itís a smooth operation.

The certified 10k course, billed as ďrelatively flatĒ, isnít flat at all. Everyone will feel the hill (100í of vertical climb) on the first mile. Yet, the slope is mostly shallow and the wide streets make for an otherwise fast track.

As for myself, I had recently started an off-season attempt to re-engineer my running style. The week prior to the 10k was the first week in earnest that I was practicing the new style. The new style shifted some of the running work to muscles that I hadnít used much, so I showed up to Ashburn with sore legs wondering if I could even finish a 10k on my feet. I had no illusions of trying to get a PR or even hoping to go the full distance without having to resort to the style of running that carried me for 36 years.

Rob Weitzel was there and looked very ready to go.

Rob was gone in a flash once the race began (he'd go on to finish 21st overall), while I wanted to start very conservatively. I eventually picked my way through the crowd by the base of the first uphill. I was pretty winded by the time I reached the top, due to the hill, the higher-tempo cadence that Iím trying to develop, and the significantly decreased running volume since Kona. I came through the first mile around 7:20, although the split caller read out something about 30 seconds off.

After a mostly downhill second mile, I was getting back into a familiar groove. Now, my watch says 13:30. What? Where did a 6:10 mile come from? I didnít feel like I was going anything that fast, but the mile marker was about in the right place. The split caller read out something like 15 minutes.

From this point onward, the field was very spread out. I do not recall any more than five changes in position (pass or being passed) the rest of the race. In this race, the first hill is a big separator, and gaps between groups slowly build over the distance. That doesnít mean, though, that youíve got to stop working after the first couple of miles.

My watch shows 20:30 at the third mile marker. Iíll buy that. Split caller is a minute off the watch here. The only water station is here and Iím having trouble getting water down against the fast respiration rate.

Mile 4. Heading back to the finish and uphill. For the first time, the split caller is within 30 seconds of my watch, which shows 27:40. Iíve been running alongside one other runner for the past mile, with no other runner within 30 yards front or back. I start eaking forward heading up hill.

Over the hump and downhill to mile 5. Watch is 34 and some change. Iíve lost all confidence in the split calling by now. Passed by a solo flyer heading back uphill, but the gaps between groups both ahead and behind are growing.

Heading home. I'm now at least 30 seconds behind everyone in front of me (I can't see them anymore), but I do hear some distant footsteps behind me. Around a 41-flat at six miles. NiceÖI pretty much hold my new, but work in progress, running form the whole way to an even split 10k. Crossing in at 42:34, I practically match my official 42:28 of last year. Well behind the runners in front of me, but I finally turn around at the finish to see a gaggle of seven hard chargers nearly running me down.

Last yearís race turned out to be a good omen for the ensuing winter base and spring/summer/autumn triathlon seasons. Hopefully, this was a good case of dťjŗ vu all over again.