Thursday, May 1, 2008

The 2008 ACLI Capital Challenge

The Mission assigned to me by the Chairman's representative in 2006: Assemble a team of five for the ACLI Capital Challenge 3-Mile Race, in which teams from the Senate, Congress, Executive Branch, Judiciary and the Media race each other. Each team in our Executive Division had to be captained by a Commissioner, be comprised of agency staffers and contain a female. There were similar team requirements for all the Branches.

The Challenge: Find a Captain. The oldest Commissioner stepped forward. He trained hard and won third in his category of Captains over 59. I already knew a fast woman runner in my agency, A, and our rock star, G, agreed to run.

In 2006, we finished 7/28 in the Executive Division, 15/113 overall. Our individual finishes in the field of 642 were 43, 122, 162, 165 and 424. Our times were G 19:14 (6:25), M 21:22 (7:07), A 22:04 (7:21), me 22:09 (7:23), Commissioner 26:59 (9:00). (Right: The Commissioner accepts his age group medal in 2006.)

We were ebullient over our good showing. For me it was a PR by six seconds of 22:09 (7:23) at the 3-mile distance. But my PR in the longer 5K distance, 21:58 (7:05) set in 2001, was still lower and I really wanted to break 22 minutes in a 3-Miler race, which are few and far between.

In the 2007 race, I had to replace M and his 21:22. The Commissioner was injured but gamely ran anyway because no other Commissioner could or would run (no Captain, no team, no race).

G improved by a full minute in the first slot, and A stepped up into the number two slot and more than replaced M's time. We lost time in the three through five slots, however. I wilted in the heat and felt like I let the team down when I ran 21 seconds slower than the prior year, losing almost half a minute in the third spot. Newcomer C did an excellent job, running sub-8 minute miles, although we lost over a minute in the fourth slot. The Commissioner couldn't overcome his injury, which prevented him from training, and we lost a few minutes in the fifth slot. (Left: The 2007 team, A, G, the Commissioner, me and C.)

In 2007, we finished 14/33 in the Executive Division, 36/124 overall. Our individual finishes in the field of 670 were 29, 145, 217, 280 and 615. Our times were G 18:14 (6:05), A 21:09 (7:03), me 22:30 (7:30), C 23:34 (7:51), Commissioner 32:35 (10:52).

The team slipped by 6:14 last year. C'est la guerre.

In this year's race, I had to find a woman to replace A and her 21:09. The Commissioner was still injured but gamely ran anyway when another Commissioner who stepped forward to run became injured (no Captain, no team, no race).

G improved by seven seconds in the first slot, M came back in the number two slot and we improved there by over a minute and a half, while I took over a minute off the third slot's time. We lost time in the four and five slots, however. Newcomer K did an excellent job, running sub-9 minute miles, although we lost over two minutes in the fourth slot. The Commissioner couldn't overcome his injury, which prevented him from training, and we lost a few seconds in the fifth slot.

In 2008, we finished 12/29 in the Executive Division, 35/108 overall. Our individual finishes in the field of 606 were 21, 58, 145, 354 and 557. Our times were G 18:07 (6:02), M 19:25 (6:28), me 21:25 (7:08), K 25:40 (8:33), Commissioner 32:40 (10:53).

The team improved by 45 seconds this year. We all felt triumphant. Team races, where everyone pulls hard for everyone else, are a blast. This race in Anacostia Park, SE, is a scenic, flat out-and-back along the Anacostia River. It runs under three bridges.

Personally, my splits for the 3 miles were 6:49, 7:19 and 7:15, for a PR by 44 seconds of 21:25 (7:08). I went out fast and held on, even finding a tiny bit of reserve at the end. I nailed the distance. It was just one of those races.

8 comments:

cindy said...

Congrats, and way to nail that distance! Sounds like fun!!

Just12Finish said...

Great stuff, fast guy!

ShirleyPerly said...

Awesome! Sounds like your ankle is much better. Good luck at the Pig this weekend!!

rundangerously said...

congrats on the pr - and fine day to be out racing!

DawnB said...

Sounded too official :) but you guys had fun anyway :) congratulations on you PR and congratulations with the team as well.

Rainmaker said...

Very nice on the PR and the splits! Well done!

Tomas said...

44 seconds... that's a huge improvement on such a short distance! Congrats!!

Jade Lady said...

You are so fast - I can't believe these times!