Monday, June 9, 2008

More hot hot hot

It only got up to 94 degrees yesterday, but the dew point reading made it feel like way over one hundred. At 8:30 am I was on the lovely Baltimore Inner Harbor walkway, watching some sweat-soaked race leaders in the Survivor Harbor 7 Seven Mile Race go by. The two front-runners were neck and neck; both had their faces contorted with the strain even at mid-race.

I love this scenic race through historic Baltimore, but it is always hot. It runs from the harbor waterfront out to Fort McHenry, around that park along the water, back down to the harbor, past all the ships in the Inner Harbor along the brick-lined Promenade, and out to the Can Company, an abandoned manufacturing center that was converted into a vibrant hub of commercial and residential units.

I just had to do its inaugural running in 2004 because I had never done a 7-mile race before. You know, part of life's checklist, seven-mile race, got it. All of my 10K times except for the first one had been run at a sub-8 minute per mile pace, so I figured I'd easily extend that pace to a 7-miler. Not so fast.

The first year I ran 58:29 (8:21). It was hot. The second year it was even hotter and I was even slower, 58:34 (8:22). The third year the weather finally cooperated a little and I ran 54:17 (7:45). Mission Accomplished.

The race has a 3-Mile Race component, which joins the main race in progress at the Inner Harbor after the race leaders have gone by. I signed up for that this year. (Left: Running along the Inner Harbor in the 2006 race.)

Once again it was so hot that I wilted. I went out fast but didn't arrive at the first mile marker until 7:25. Then my time for the second mile slipped to a 7:45. My third mile time deteriorated to an 8:05 for a 23:15 (7:45) finish, a PW. Notice the steady 20-second per mile downward progression in my pace. My five other 3-milers had all been run in under 23 minutes.

After the race I was wringing wet. I went into a nearby Starbucks for coffee and the frosty air-conditioned interior hit me like a frigid arctic blast. I'm sure they appreciated me leaking water droplets all over their counter as I handed them damp bills from my pocket.

This wonderful race, requiring a 100 mile round-trip drive, has become an expensive luxury in our new times, unfortunately. I think that with gas going from 97c to $4.03 on W's watch, a new dawn has arrived in my racing life. No longer can outlying races be done casually. Good going, Decider and Just-Get-Over-It Tony. (Can you tell that I don't think January 20, 2009 can get here fast enough, otherwise known as BLD, Bush's Last Day?) (Right: Although the guy in blue blew me away at the finish in 2006, he still dragged me along to my seven-mile PR.)

13 comments:

Danielle in Iowa said...

You need to find some other crazy people to carpool with! That softens the gas brunt a little bit at least!

Jade Lady said...

A fierce day weatherwise, huh? I love the action photo! You're really pushing hard! For some reason, every time I get a photo snapped at a race, it looks like I'm walking! But, not you - you're a racing machine!

cindy said...

I can't believe how hot it has been up there. You had a very nice race in such heat...congrats!

CewTwo said...

Great race report, Peter!

What heat! It is a lot cooler in Denver recently...

M*J*C said...

Great race! I used to live outside of Baltimore and loved visiting the Inner Harbor. I'm looking forward to getting back there in 2 weeks, I'll be doing the Baltimore 10 Miler. I'm praying that it isn't anywhere near as hot as this past weekend!!

Rainmaker said...

That older finish line pic is awesome. I think one of the all time best race photos I've seen. Very cool.

Sunshine said...

Good race photos!! Looks like you are running.
Heat (remember Chicago) pretty much does me in. Wishing you cooler.
I wrote about the 5 runner questions.
Wishing you a successful and fun weekend.

jeanne said...

that does seem a long way to drive to run 3 miles! great finish photo though!

DawnB said...

that is some pretty fast runnin for this weather. 4:03 i want to come where your are 4:39 for regular here.

Just12Finish said...

1/20/09 - you and me both.

Bex said...

I love that photo! Way to dig deep and bring it in all the way to the finish line! Hey, look forward to seeing you in a couple of days. E. is bringing a deck of cards so he can school you before you lose all your money in the casinos. :-)

akshaye said...

Great time, given the weather. I agree with you - I did my first half in South Ga and it was about 80 miles round trip. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't do that today.

Makita said...

You can send some of that heat my way! I don't know what is taking summer so long to get here! :)

Great race report! Love the pictures, especially the finish line one! That is what it's all about! :D