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The Unspoken Rules of Being a Badass: A Runner's Guide

Team Nashville 10 Mile Run

Team Nashville 10 mile Run November 12, 2011 by Charlie Taylor

I ran this race last year for the first time and really enjoyed the rolling hills layout of the course. It is also a no-brainer since it is basically in my back yard. The only bad thing about the timing of this race is that it is only 8 days before the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon and it is not an ideal situation to race a 10 miler during a taper phase. Nevertheless, I could not resist the lure and signed up.

Saturday morning’s weather was ideal, about 37 degrees at 5AM and I made it to Moss Wright Park at my customary time of 90 minutes before the race. If you get there early, you can park right in front of the start/finish line, which makes it great to be able to stash a jacket or a water bottle immediately before going to the start line. I picked my parking spot and made my way to the registration area to pick up my race number and shirt. Team Nashville always provides a nice hoodie instead of another worthless cotton race shirt.

As always, I ran into many friends who were also running the race and spent a bit of time talking with many of them. Super Legend, Dallas Smith, age 71, who owns state age group records in every distance from 5K to marathon had driven 100 miles from Cookeville to claim another State Record. Scott Wietecha, one of our HRC team members, who would win the race; 2 great runners in my age group, Mark Carver and Keith Caruso were there. I always scout out the crowd to see who I will be competing against and I figured that with the stacked field, it would be tough to finish in the top 10.

I have recently changed my pre-race routine. Previously, my theory was that I needed to really warm up and I would go out and run 3-5 miles (easy) before a race and I was really getting tired during the race. Now, I stretch a bit and run an easy mile or so, mostly just knocking the rust off. It’s amazing how we get pre-conceived ideas of how to do things, then find out how stupid we were. Well, for now, I’m not knocking out a bunch of pre-race miles. A great part of my warmup today was with Mrs Margie Stoll, another local running legend. Mrs Margie, at 70 years old, won the National senior games 5K this past spring in a blistering 21 minutes! She also was 3rd Grandmaster in this race!!

As it got closer to 7:30 start time, we moved up to the starting line and right on time, the race started. Immediately, Wietecha jumped out front like we were sitting still. He was 100 feet in front of the rest of the field not long after we made the first turn. The first mile of this race is a clockwise loop around the park. As he neared the part where we would exit the park, it looked like Scott almost went left to exit the park instead of straight on. It’s easy to make a wrong turn in a race. By the time the front pack got around the park and started to exit, the 4 or 5 of us were well ahead of the rest of the field. I looked at my watch as I passed the mile mark and we had run a 6:22. At that moment, I knew I was going to have a good race.

We exited, crossed into the subdivision and headed up a pretty good little hill, around a little curve and up another hill before turning right at a stop sign and then a left after we crossed a bridge. Since I had run this before, I knew that the next mile was flat so I loosened up a bit and stretched out. I was in 8th place at this point and the guys in front of me seemed to be holding their pace very well. Because of the hill, my second mile was a 6:32 for a 2 mile time of 12:54. This flat road weaves along a creek and I made a point to try to run all the tangents along the course. You can pick up some time if you will try to run as straight a line as you can in a race. We came upon Long Hollow Pike, took a right and then a left onto Madison Creek. They had a water stop right at the 3 mile mark and I hit that mile in 6:43. My overall time was 19:47 and I was feeling even better. From that point until just past mile 5 is all uphill, not a great climb, you really don’t even notice it, but it does affect your time. My next 2 miles were 6:50 and 6:58 giving me a 33:35 5 mile split. I was calculating that if I could duplicate this, I would run a tad under 1:07. Right past the 5 mile mark is a real good, but short hill. I could see Caruso and another runner about 200 feet in front of me and they both seemed to slow a bit on the hill, however, as they topped it, they both resumed their pace. Since I have been doing quite a bit of hill work, it really did not hurt me much. I topped the hill and hammered down the other side, my feet slapping the ground like I was trying to stomp out a fire. I hate doing that but I guess that’s how I run down a big hill. Both the other runners were moving on, so I put my focus back on my race instead of focusing on catching either one of them.

Mile 6, because of the hill was a slow 7:08 but the next mile time came down to a 6:38. I still felt great and remembered to cut every tangent that I could. Some of the time I would be running in the middle of the road for 2-3 minutes to keep my line straight. I think I aced the tangent thing. Mile 7 had a couple little rises in it and some gentle downhill too. This course is basically an out and back with a 5 mile loop and as I headed back to where we started the loop, I had a good slight downhill portion with a 6:33 mile 8. We passed Madison Creek school and the water stop was right at the 8 mile mark, From there, it was back up on Long Hollow and then left with almost a mile of flat running ahead. I hit the 9 mile mark with a 6:37 mile and was less than a minute over 1 hour. Right before the bridge, I had a mile to go but it is a challenging mile, especially at the end of the race. As I turned right and crossed the bridge, the road started to rise in front of me. The one runner that I had been keeping my eye on was still catchable, I thought, so I pushed a bit more, Up a pretty good little hill and left and up another, then a real good hill. I worked those as best that I could but the guy that I was chasing would have nothing of me catching him and ran at least as fast as I was. As I made the turn to the left and could see the final downhill, he was crossing over the road and into the park. I kicked the last 1/3 mile pretty hard, into the park and the final straightaway to the finish line. I tried to get to the line before the clock said 1:07:30 but I was 4 seconds late. The guy in front of me had beat me by 50 seconds. Even with the last couple of big hills, I had run a 6:42 10th mile.

I did finish 8th overall and felt great as I crossed the line. I felt great but I could not have gone any faster. Very satisfied with the effort and the result. My HRC Buddy, Randy Smith was a minute behind me and Tom Dolan ran a 1:09. HRC represented very well, especially considering that Scott Wietecha ran a CRAZY 50:09!!!!!! That is a 5:01 average pace. He said really didn’t push it hard at the end but if he had known, would have pushed to break 50 minutes. That is insane. He was finishing when I was at the 7 ½ mile mark. Oh by the way, Scott also set a state record for a 10 miler, not an age group record, an OVERALL STATE RECORD. On a hilly course!! My hat is off to Scott on this one. Of course, he just ran a 1:06 half marathon a couple weeks ago too.

I won the Grandmaster Division, which is starting to happen more and more. That is real cool, to be the fastest old man. Not really though, since Mark Carver finished 3rd overall in 1:01 and Keith Caruso also beat me, but was 3rd in Masters Division. I’ll still take the Grandmaster win. My average pace was 6:42. I see my speed coming on more and more as I work harder, which is what it is supposed to do. When I run a race like this, I am finding that I really don’t even get sore anymore and usually run a good run even the next day. Hopefully, it won’t affect my performance this coming Sunday in the Monkey Marathon. I really don’t think it will.

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One Response to “Team Nashville 10 Mile Run”

  1. Oldman says:

    You’ve really gotten faster in the last year. Hope you’ve saved some of it for the monkey. Great race report.

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