Part 2: Pacing Rhody in the Brooks T7 Racer

Yo, Brooks. You totally nailed the T7 Racer.

Brooks T7 Racer

That’s my girl cheering me on.

This was apparent two weeks ago at Port Townsend’s Rhody Run, a fantastic destination race for those who like superb race organization and support, a stunning location (historic Fort Worden), and free beer. There’s even a family that offers a champagne stop along the course every year. Who says there can’t be joy in suffering?

Rhody Run 2016 start

Equal to the general cheering and encouragement I heard on the course were comments about the shoes.

“Nice shoes!”

“Go… wow, look at those shoes!”

I wore the T7 Racer for both the 12k Rhody Run and 8k Beat the Bridge. They’re lightweight but offer a little more cushioning than the Mach 17 Spikeless (currently on sale on the Brooks site!) that I wear for shorter distances (generally 10k and down). The T7s have been really popular and are a bit difficult to find these days as the new T7 model should be released this month. But I was able to find mine on Zappos, and they still have a good selection of sizes here. It’s a unisex shoe, ladies, so don’t go looking for the women’s version.

This shoe is so good that I saw a 1:37 improvement over my 2014 Rhody Run time. OK, maybe Brooks can’t take credit for all of that. Maybe there’s something to this whole pacing thing.

Apparently the phrase “pace yourself” isn’t just a meaningless platitude. I tend to run with the eternal optimism that if the first mile feels good, maybe the rest of the race will fall into a place with a big PR. Theoretically it makes sense. But in running, it doesn’t always work out that way.

The last time I ran this race I ran the first mile in 5:52. The rest of the race was a hot mess and ended with an average of 6:17/mile pace. This year, I was determined to prevent that misery from happening again.

Rhody race organizers shifted the race a week later to move it away from Seattle’s Beat the Bridge 8k, which has been on the same Sunday for the past few years. This enabled them to attract a standout field, which included Joe Gray (6-time USA Mountain Runner of the Year) and Drew Polley (Olympic Trials marathon competitor) on the men’s side, and Jamie Cheever (Olympic Trials-bound) and Emma Polley (Olympic Trials marathon competitor) on the women’s side. I had run the first mile of Beat the Bridge with Jamie and Emma the week before, and knew that would not be the path to a happy race this time around.

Orange was well represented too. Go Club Northwest!

Orange was well represented too. Go Club Northwest!

So, I held back and ran the first mile around 6:02, finishing the 12k in 44:36, averaging 5:59/mile pace. It was over a minute and half faster than the last time I raced there, and so much more comfortable. You really can’t argue with this strategy of racing.

The effort was good enough for 5th place, out of the prize money but the fun of the race more than made up for that. This really is a great race, and an easy ferry ride from the Seattle area. Mark your calendars for next May, and don’t forget to pace it.

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