Once again this year the Center Grove community got together to “Rock the Block” at Center Grove High School.
Last year, Ryan and I ran the 10k of this event. We ran that distance last year because it replaced our long run for the week. Despite the shorter mileage than originally planned, we would exert the same amount of energy if not more by racing the 10k than doing a 10-mile run.
Before I go any further – again as I will probably say every year – major kudos to Erin Smith and other members of the community for organizing “Rock the Block.” There used to be a similar race called “Race Chase” several years ago put together by the Maple Grove Elementary PTO, but was discontinued. Not only is having a race like this needed on the southside of Indianapolis, it’s another great way for the community of Center Grove to come together.
As you have already read things are a little different with our training plan for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon this year. Following the 10-percent rule along with Dr. Tentler’s mileage limit on Ryan has caused some interesting scheduling of our runs. Last week, for example, we ran Sunday and Monday and took the next two days off. Then we ran Thursday with our long run on Friday followed by Rock the Block on Saturday. Sorry Dr. Tentler, but we ended up with 28 miles last week (three over the 20-25 cap).
Anyway, having run 10 miles on Friday, we ran the 5k of “Rock the Block” this year to end the week and begin our taper for the 500 Mini. All week I explained to Ryan that we weren’t “racing” Saturday’s “Rock the Block.” We were going to use it to work on getting off to an easy start and settling in on what we plan to be our race pace for the 500 Mini until the last half mile when it would be “Kick time. It’s go time!”
It was a little colder than we anticipated for the race Saturday. Although we had wore long-sleeve shirts along with shorts we probably could have used our headbands and gloves as we did for the 10-mile finale of the Indy Milers Series earlier in the month.
When we got into the old Maple Grove Elementary School gym, we ran into my high school friend Bill Todd and his family. As we talked with them members of the Center Grove boys cross-country team, who for the most part have adopted Ryan as a virtual team member, came up to us. They asked Ryan how he was feeling and how his toe was doing since the surgery. Riley Turk also arrived and talked with us as he prepared to run the 10K on Saturday. We also saw Coach Howard Harrell and he gave us advice on how to start out the race especially with the first part of the 5k course going downhill on Morgantown Road then back up the hill after making the turn around at Stones Crossing Road.
As I have tried in my previous posts about our races lately, I am not going to bore you with all the play-by-play. Mainly just some highlights and observations.
We started about the midway part of the crowd for the 5k race. The Center Grove boys team was at the front. As we descended down Morgantown Road past the old high school gym, the boys team was packed together along with Keith Gemeinhart. They had already made the turn around at Stones Crossing Road and headed back south. As they passed us, it was like watching the pack of elites in the Boston Marathon earlier in the week.
Since we didn’t get to see them the rest of the race, I wondered if Gemeinhart had tried to make a move because several of the CG runners were adamant during pre-race-warm ups that if any “outsiders” tried to push the pace, they were going reel them back into the pack because essentially they planned to protect their home course. By the looks of the results, if Gemeinhart (who did win his age group and finished eighth overall) did make a move, the CG boys reeled him back into the pack and passed him as they took nine of the top 10 spots.
As for us, I tried to fight the urge to stay over 8:00 a mile because I want our half-marathon pace for the 500 Mini to be around 8:15.
As my friend, Catharine, pointed out earlier in the week when I told her my strategy – “You both are too competitive to take it easy.”
Once again she was right.
Right before the 10K and 5K courses come together for the final mile and quarter, there’s a water stop. We were between 7:45-7:30 pace at this point as I grabbed a cup from a gentleman in an Indianapolis Colts sweatshirt and hat.
“How are you feeling?” I asked Ryan.
“Fine,” he replied.
“You just want to go and race it out from here?” I asked. “If we do, we’ll have negative splits.”
“I guess so,” Ryan responded with his typical shrug of the shoulders like regardless of what he said we were going to do it as I wanted anyway.
We got to Water’s Edge Way and close to the last half mile when the driver of a black Corvette must not have read ALL the signs that had been posted about the road closures from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. Saturday for the race. He reversed his car as he saw the other runners along with us run right at him. He got into the opposite lane and drove slowly along with us until he got to Lakeview Drive and could head back out to Morgantown Road.
I had told Ryan to put the kick in at about the time we had seen the Corvette. I did become a little apprehensive though because I wasn’t sure what the driver was going to do. He looked shocked to see all of us running on the road that morning. Ryan and myself both purposely slowed our pace down until we knew exactly where that car was going.
The pace and elevation, map of the “Rock the Block” 5k course and our splits.
Fortunately, we were able to pick the speed back up once we got to Hornaday Drive and and finished with a time of 23:33. We had negative splits of 8:02, 7:44, 7:13 and :32.6. It’s not how we want to run the first 5k of the upcoming 500 Mini, but it would be great way to finish it.
I messaged Erin on Monday and thanked her again for bringing this event back to the Center Grove area. Like last year, I want to give “Rock the Block” a full review, but just can’t because I again had to get to work. I told Smith that some day I will either just call in sick or finally have a job that doesn’t require me to work on a Saturday.
Despite the cold weather, it does appear from the pictures I viewed that “Rock the Block” was again a huge success for Smith, her committee and the volunteers. There were several food vendors and other businesses along “Main Street” promoting and marketing their services.
It’s just another reason why I have always been glad to call Center Grove – “home.”