Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Inside out sports 10k race report

To be honest when I looked at the course for this race and saw how hilly and challenging it would be I was not looking forward to it. A training race is what I kept telling myself. In fact I didn't even sign up for it until just before the start. With no pressure or thought of a PR I started the race thinking if I could just break 55 I would be happy. Earlier in the week when I talked with my coach she was saying I should go out conservative at around 9, then pick up the pace on the way back, but I was feeling good that day and told her I was going to go for 8:30 and see how fast I could go. Then Saturday came and my legs were dead and I just didn't have that great day before race adrenaline that I usually get. Long story short, I ended up breaking my PR for a 10k by 17 seconds. Now for the long version...

Race morning driving to the race site I was cranking the heavy metal to try to get psyched up. It was hard since I wasn't really feeling it this morning. The last song that played while I was parking was Run To The Hills, one of my favorites, very fitting I thought since this course was all about hills. Jogged to the start, about .5 miles, and was already sweating from the humidity. Registered and then had to jog back to the car to get the chip strap and race belt I had forgotten. Then jogged back to the race to watch the 1/2 marathon start and chat with some friends.
Race started with a long downhill before a 2 mile hill to the turn around and I just wanted to run hard and stay just outside the lactic acid zone. Felt really good on the downhill and just let gravity do it's job. People were passing me, but I knew what was coming so it didn't bother me. About 1/2 mile it turned up and the first water stop was there. Normally I would bother with water so early, but with the humidity and since it was on an uphill I figured why not and took a cup, drank half and dumped the other half on my head. Ended up being a good decision as many people after were complaining about lack of water on the course and this was the only water stop for the 10k, we saw it once at 1/2 mile then again on the back part at 4.5. Started going up the hill to the airport overlook where the turn around would be. I know this hill very well, run it all the time and the best way to take it on is to get a good steady pace going and just keep it up. So I settled into what I thought was about 8:45 - 9:00 and began reeling in some of the people who started too fast. It felt good to catch and pass a bunch of people going up the hill and really kept me focused. The course was not marked, so I had no idea what pace I was running, I just knew it was uncomfortable but not too hard that it would kill me. We got to the turn around in 21:12. I thought the turn around was 2.5 miles so I figured I was right at 8:30, later I would find out it was 2.4 miles and 8:50 pace. I was feeling really good now with a 1.7 mile downhill to come so picked up the pace and kept my uncomfortable feeling going. At about mile 4 I caught a guy I had been chasing all the way down the hill. He had a garmin on so I asked him where we were and he said 4 miles. I looked at my watch and we were at 34:17 or an 8:34 pace. Right about this time a 25 year old girl ran past me and I decided to stick to her pace and hope to bank a little time before the final beast of a hill right at mile 6. We turned onto black creek trail and I got 3 cups of water, two for my head and one to drink. Black creek is mostly flat but has a gradual rise on the out part before we turn around and come part way back to go up to Weston Parkway and the finish. When we got to Weston the first time I was still feeling good and I thought the turn around would be just ahead and then the finish in site, but I was so wrong. We had to go about 1/2 mile more before turning around and each time we went around a corner I would swear that this would be it, but it wasn't. Finally we hit the turn around and I felt like I was on my last leg with 1/2 mile to go. Fortunately the gradual downhill back to Weston revived me enough so that I could make it up that last hill. It wasn't that long, but it was steep, very steep and when you got to the top and thought it was done, there was another short steep hill to get onto the sidewalk. By the time we got to the parking lot, my legs were on fire and I was shuffling something fierce. The girl I was pacing off took off for the finish as I just tried to stay upright on the short (.05 ) downhill finish shoot. My last blog post was titled "It didn't really hurt", but this one really did hurt, the kind of pain you feel when you have nothing left to give and you just want it to stop. I went across the line in 53:17, watch time, and 53:22 gun time. My previous PR was 53:34 set back in March.
I am very happy with this result for several reasons.
1) I had nothing left at the end, so I gave it all I had
2) I managed to pace myself by feel, without course markers
3) I didn't back out of the race when not feeling 100%
With my A race for the spring coming up on June 12, international tri, I have gained some confidence and know my training is on target. The tri has a flat 10k at the end so if it's not too hot, I think a sub 54 is a possibility.
But first I have two really hard weeks to build before a short taper for my two week race block.
Happy Training

link to route map

Monday, May 10, 2010

It didn't really hurt

I've really been focusing on the mental side of training and in particular running for the past year. I learned a new lesson on Saturday. Acknowledgment. It wasn't until mile 9 running up my favorite .54 mile long hill, nicknamed half mile hill aka the spillway, aka I hate this effin hill, more on that later.
The run started off hard, hadn't run since track on tuesday and was still recovering from strep throat which I refused to acknowledge until I almost passed out and/or hurled 20 minutes into a workout on wednesday, so my legs were complaining about the 10+ minute pace. We hit the out, or downhill, part of half mile hill and my ankle started acting up, I walked a bit, stretched it out and kept going. I guess I was complaining about a bunch of things, mostly the humidity, because Frank, the usual chief complainer, said I was complaining a lot today and he would try to not complain as much since I was doing such a good job. I acknowledged he was right and sought to put an end to it. Luckily we were starting the S hill and it would be too hard to complain for a while. Frank was doing 8, so we left him at the water spicket and continued on. I was running with Mark and told him I didn't feel like I had it today so if he wanted to go faster it was ok to leave me behind after the turn around 1 mile ahead. He said he needed to save some for the spillway anyway so he wasn't going to. I just figured he was being nice as he had been running a few steps ahead of me the whole time. At the turn around there is a long gradual uphill back to the water spicket of about a mile and we were trailing a pair of carrots that were running just a bit slower than us, so our gradual reeling in of them kept us at a nice even pace and I started to notice my legs feeling better.
I downed gel number two as we hit the water and the ground leveled out. I had water on me, but Mark stopped to get water and I kept going thinking he would catchup quickly. I slowed to take in the gel and fluids and allow him to catch up and the carrots started gaining on me again. At this point I thought it would be good time to wring out my shirt and after wards felt 2lbs lighter and much better. I thought it was real odd that at mile 7 I would feel better than mile 2, but I wasn't going to let that bother me. We noticeably picked up the pace as every time I would even up with Mark we would speed ahead. At one point I said "hey, just because I catch up to you doesn't mean you can speed up". He said he just liked to surge when he felt like it, then slow down to let me catch up. I should have noticed at this point, but I didn't, that he was having a bit harder time as he was using more hand gestures communicate and less talking, where I was talking more. When we hit the back or downhill part of the S hill, I let off the brakes and just ran ahead comfortably allowing gravity to do the work. I thought he was right behind me so I tried to stay out ahead and do some pace work since he had been leading the past 8 miles. When we got to the spillway, he stopped and said I would have to go on ahead because he was out of gas. I asked if he needed water or anything and he said he just needed to walk a bit so I started up half mile hill.
I got about half way, my form was off I was running crooked and labored, breathing was all over the place, I just wanted to get to the top so the pain would stop. That's when it hit me, I asked myself, "Does this really hurt?" I mean pain, sure it was hard, but was there any pain or was my brain just trying to fool me into taking it easy? I kept running, I thought about it and no, there was no pain. This realization did something to me, I straightened up, my form was back to normal, my breathing evened out and I sped up. I acknowledged that it was hard, made some adjustments, and it got easier. It was all perception, because I thought it was so hard and painful my form got hosed, once I acknowledged it and fixed my form and breathing I could once again run efficiently without the perception of pain. I finished off the hill and ran the rest of the .4 miles back to the start and ended with a 1 minute negative split for the out and back route.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Glen Eagles Challenge Long version: part 2

I think I'm getting old, forgot all about finishing this off. Well better late than never.

So where did i leave off. oh yeah, finishing the epic canoe from hell and spraying sunblock on my cut up legs. The plan for the second half was go out on the bikes as far as possible and pick up all we can on the way back. Got across the street and found #18 right off. Then we got a bit lost, the map and the trails were not lining up correctly but eventually we made our way to where #17 should be. But after a quick search Tim re checked the coordinates and realized we had two #17's on the map and we were at the one that did not exist. Oh well, can't have a race with at least one major screw up so at least we only wasted about 15 minutes on it. Got back on the trail and made it to where #19 was. There was a 4 person team there searching for it, so we joined in and eventually they found it, but all is fair in AR so we got it as well. We then headed off in search of the #21. We leapfrogged the 4 person team and now they were following us, and we were heading into the mud pits. We were going along well when we hear the group behind sound like they thought they were at the right place, so we stopped, but I thought it was further ahead so I tried to yell at Tim to get back on his bike but he was busy following someone and couldn't hear me so I just biked along parallel to him yelling every now and then until he heard me and went back and got his bike. Next I saw something out of the corner of my eye and thought that might be it, but it was something else and then Tim saw something orange and bolted after that so I went ahead and saw the other group had found it along with the old couple we had met at the beginning so I went back and got tim and we picked it up. We now had all the ones we were going to get on this side and it was time to haul ass back. This was where the fun part was. We encountered several mud holes on the way back where it was impossible to tell how deep it was until you got into it. I learned my lesson on the first one and walked around them after that, but Tim kept trying to go through. There was one hole in particular that was about 3 feet deep. He went right through the middle and the mud went up to the seat. Got back across the street, picked up a couple more of the easy ones and then headed to the single track. After we found the first one Tim made the astute decision that we should head back and get the three other running targets that are worth a lot more points. So we went as far as we could on the bikes found the first one then had to run to the next two. Tim was good enough to locate the barb wire so I got to avoid that. After about 20 minutes of jogging we found the other two and headed back to the bikes. Luckily they were still where we left them and we still had 15 minutes left. There were two easy bike targets left that I thought we could get to, so off we went. Picked up those and made it back to the finish with 3 or 4 minutes to spare.

whew, that was long, if you thought is was long reading this, you should have tried writing it.