Saturday, February 23, 2008

I raced! Coach Bubba 20K

Since November, I’ve really been focusing on trying to increase my mileage (smartly) in the hopes of continuing all the improvement I saw last year. I’ve run my highest mileage week ever this month, and wasn’t exactly rested for this race. But, it was always in the back of my mind that maybe I wanted to do it. This is a local race that has been going on forever, and one I felt like I should finally do before moving away. The long-sleeved tech-tee and a chance to hang out with my friend Margaret sealed the deal. So, I dragged myself out of bed at the crack of dawn this morning. Thank goodness Doug had to work early, or it would have been harder to get up. I ate some corn flakes, drank a little (not enough) water, got dressed, and headed out in the cold. By Michigan standards it wasn’t cold, but low 40s and foggy is cold in NC! I wore my cw-x tights, a short sleeved tech-tee, and a long sleeved one. Threw a fleece and gloves on top for the pre-race portion, and headed out.

Margaret and I were going to meet at the race at 7:15, but being my usual self I got there at 7, so I got my packet and sat in my car until I saw her pull into the parking lot in her fancy new car. We got her chip, found the rest rooms, and chatted (inside) until it was almost race time. The 4 mile race starts first, so we watched them head off, and then got in line. Margaret was being all serious about this one, so I left her near the front of the pack and wandered off to the back. Someone said some stuff through a megaphone that I couldn’t hear, and we were off!

The course starts off in Downtown Durham, and then goes through the Forest Hills neighborhood, which is one of those places I’ve always thought I could live, if I ever bought a house here. I enjoyed looking at the varied architecture…and completely failed to pace myself. During this section, I was running pretty close with a girl who I’ll call sweat pants girl (SPG). She was wearing sweatpants with a flimsy elastic waist, and had her keys in the pocket so her pants kept slipping down and she’d have to hike them up again. I decided she seemed to be going at about my pace, so I tried to keep her in my sights. Splits from the first 5 miles…

Mile 1: 10:04 (ok, I like this, this is good)
Mile 2: 9:44 (oh no….slow down!)
Mile 3: 9:56 (ok…that’s a little better)
Mile 4: 8:52 (hahaha…that marker is in the wrong place!)
Mile 5: 12:04 (told ya..and I lost SPG)

Then, we hit the American Tobacco Trail and I looked forward to flat running for a while. This year, the race was designated a RRCA championship race, and a lot of local speedsters came out for it. Joan Nesbit Mabe was there with many members of her Carrboro Athletics Club…the first of whom I saw heading back, approaching the 11 mile marker…as I was just approaching the 6 mile marker. He was flying, so I paid attention to the time – it was 3 minutes before I saw the second place guy. Running up to the turn-around was really entertaining, because I got to watch everyone coming back the other way. As I said, many speedsters, and then I saw Margaret looking really strong (and almost done!). I got to the turn-around, headed back, and tried to keep from losing it in the last few miles like I normally do. Around the 15k mark my stomach started growling. Then, I passed the 10 mile mark about 18 minutes sooner than I had ever passed it in any other race and got all excited. Shortly after the 11 mile mark, though, I started fading. At this point I told myself I just had to get to the 12 mile mark, and then run in as hard as I could for the last .4. I managed to keep SPG in my sight the whole race, but never did catch up to her after I lost her around mile 5. Splits from the last 7.4:

Mile 6: 10:17 (a little slower than I wanted, but not bad)
Mile 7: 9:53 (woah there…)
Mile 8: 10:17
Mile 9: 10:44 (oops…)
Mile 10: 10:05 (better…and hungry)
Mile 11: 10:28 (getting tired now)
Mile 12: 11:22 (ugh)
Last .4: 3:51 (9:37 pace)

Total time: 2:07:42
Average pace: 10:18
I didn’t wear my HRM – shocker of the year right there! Just didn’t feel like it.

Margaret and I hung out, chatted and ate for a while after the race.

I have never run a 20k before, so that’s a PR! I also sets me up for a rather large half marathon PR, whenever I decide to run one of them again, as my current PR is 2:33:41 – lets hope that extra .7 wouldn’t take me 26 minutes!

I’m really pleased with my performance today. I didn’t rest like I normally would have for a half marathon. My weekly mileage record was just last week, and I ran 11.6 last Sunday. I could say that I would have done it faster if I rested more, but that may or may not be true. Usually I start to lose it after the 10 mile mark, but managed to hang on basically until 11 this time. I supposed throwing some more 10+ mile runs into my schedule should help with that – I’d like to get to the point where I know I can maintain my pace through the last few miles of a half.

Anyway, it was a good day! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Once again it's been a while since I posted. I don't think I have many readers anyway...

Since my last post I've run 53 miles - more than I ran in the entire month of January. I'm feeling stronger, but last week was mentally tough. Even so, I got out there for every planned run, and actually exceeded my planned mileage total by 3. Those 28 miles also made for a lifetime mileage high. I'm certainly proud of that!

This weekend I'll be running the Coach Bubba 20K in Durham. I decided to do it basically at the last minute, but I'm looking forward to it. If nothing else, it'll be a PR. I've also got tentative or definite races on the schedule for March, April (2), and May. After that I think I'll take a break until after the big move. Not a break from running, though, just from racing.

It still feels very strange to consider what I do "racing" since I am still quite slow.

Thinking about my training for the next few weeks, I think I'll be changing things around some. The inconvenience of the pool schedule means I still haven't made it to the pool to get ready for this tri. We'll also be living within walking/running distance of my office in less than two weeks - which also means walking/running distance from the pool, making that a lot more convenient. I'll probably cut back on the evening runs in the month of March, and replace them with runs to/from the apartment to walk Kona at lunch time. That will clear up time for swimming and biking after work, but still get me time on my feet (even though it isn't the same).

Right this second, at least, that's the plan...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Yoga and 8 miles

Do not mix! Oh, my hamstrings. I really want to keep going to that yoga class on Sundays, so I guess I'm going to move my long runs to Saturdays. That gives me Friday as a rest day (for a couple more weeks), and then Sunday for a nice easy recovery run.

Fingers crossed...

I've also decided to do a triathlon, so I really need to get in some swimming and biking. Right now, those are also going to be primarily weekend activities. Lord help me.

Today's run: 4 easy miles with Kona at a 9:56 pace. As promised I wore my HRM - kept my average HR at 174bpm, which is 73%. We did half trails and half roads - some softness for the legs, but got off the trails before it got dark. A good run, all things considered.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I'll get better about posting.

I know I've been bad - I got out of the habit! However I am happy to report that while I am out of the posting habit, I am not out of the running habit.

Last week:
Monday: planned rest!

Tuesday: 3.6 miles with Kona, 10:00 pace. I'm getting tired of running in the dark and it showed. This was supposed to be 4 miles, but I got sick of the dark and cut off a little loop.

Wednesday: My birthday! 4 miles with Kona again, 39:48 pace. That's more like it! This run was up to Meadowmont, under 54, and back down to the UNC XC course, so about half paved bike path and half trail. I'm trying to get Kona on soft surfaces more and was able to leave work early enough that we could be on trails in the daylight. Then out to dinner for my birthday at The Spotted Dog..mmm, boneless burger :)

Thursday: My interval day. I've been doing a nike + workout (from iTunes) just to mix it up a little. This one is almost 39 minutes long (they call it 40) so my goal is always to finish 4 miles before the workout starts repeating. This time, 4 miles took me 40:14 (10:03 pace). Nice how my interval day was slower than both of my easy days. I went way too fast on the first couple intervals and paid for it later. Also, this was the day I got my new nike + system from Apple (my old one died under warranty). As of 2/4 I still haven't calibrated the new one.

Friday: more scheduled rest!

Saturday: 3 "easy" trail miles with Kona. Ran a known route since my gaget hadn't been calibrated, but took it along anyway. It measured 3.26 miles. Anyway, 28:30 (9:30 pace) for much for an easy run (but it felt easy! - ish)

Sunday: Did another known route: 8 trail miles in 1:19:48. That's a 9:59 pace, ladies and gentlemen :) I'm finally getting faster... The trails were super muddy! It rains here again now, which is great. The creek was actually high, and there were giant puddles on some low-lying parts of the trail. One was covering the entire (wide) trail, no way at all to get around it. I went through at what looked to be the shallowest part and my feet got absolutely soaked. The air might have been warm, but that water was cold! Also did a hour long ashtanga yoga class...ouchie.

Total of 22.6 miles. I made 98% of my planned mileage - that's really great for me. If only I hadn't cut off that 0.4!

This weeks plan is similar:
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 4 easy (I will wear my HRM)
Wednesday: 4 easy
Thursday: 4, intervals
Friday: rest
Saturday: 3 easy
Sunday: 10

Thanks for reading!