Sunday, October 24, 2010

Houston Half - a race to forget - 1:22:12

72 degrees, 93% humidity. Ughh. I knew I wasn't going to run a particularly fast time in these conditions, but I didn't think it was going to be quite so bad. I planned to go out in 5:55 - 6:00 pace and I thought I could hold that pace. I started out at what I thought was a fairly easy pace and thought all the people going out really hard were going to crash and burn. 3 miles into the race I was right at 18:00 and I knew I was going to struggle to hold 6:00 pace. My legs felt real sluggish and I guess the 10 mile race two weeks ago, the Hillie Billie relay, and all my training caught up with me. I caught a few guys by mile 7, but I was running 6:10 plus miles and pretty much quit racing hard at that point. I didn't want to get injured and I wasn't going to have a stellar time or place. If Suzanne and Olivia hadn't been coming down to the finish, I probably would have just stopped at Memorial Park and jogged home. I had passed Tom King and John Hill, but they both passed me back and I just didn't really have the motivation to try to push it and stay with them. Andrew Sharenson caught me shortly after the turnaround too and had a pretty good race in these conditions. The last 5 miles I was just running it like the end of a Kenyan Way long run except usually on those runs I finish with my fastest miles instead of my slowest. I finished in just over 1:22. It was an ugly day, but I got a decent training run out of it and didn't injure myself. I was able to do a pretty good job grabbing fluids at the aid stations which I always seem to struggle with and need some practice for the marathon in January. I'm not sure what my next race will be, but I'll try to run a race or two in November and December before the marathon in January.

Hillie Billie Relay - 1st overall - 10/16

I went up to the hill country to run in the inaugural Hillie Billie relay which was put on by the same people as the Texas Independence Relay. The Hillie Billie is a 70 mile relay and I joined Jace Heuring, Dan Gollins, Gabe Gomez and Katherine Marshall. They stagger the start times to try to get all the teams to finish around the same time and we started 30 minutes behind the next team and they told us they expected us to take the overall lead 3/4 of the way through the race.

My first leg was a 2.4 mile leg and I decided to wear racing flats. It was still fairly early and not too hot yet and I cruised my first leg at 5:35 pace. My second leg was a 4.9 mile leg and I didn't really get a warmup in because I was in the port-a-potty and Dan cruised his leg faster than I thought and I had to scramble and get out there for the exchange. My first mile was a little slower, but once I got warmed up I started cruising and caught a 4 people on that leg and averaged 5:47 pace. At the end of that leg my calves were pretty tight and I decided I should probably just stick with training shoes for the rest of the runs. The rest of the team was running great and picked off a ton of runners.

The third leg was pretty brutal. I had a 4 mile leg and I started about 2:00 pm with not a cloud in the sky and the temperature was in the low 80's. The first 3 miles had a decent amount of uphill in them and I was averaging about 6:12 pace the first 3 miles, but I did catch several more runners and the last mile was mostly downhill and I ended up averaging 6:02 pace for the 4 miles. My legs were really tired and I spend quite a while foam rolling and using my stick on my calves. Fortunately my hamstrings and quads felt great and weren't giving me any issues.

I really wasn't looking forward to my last leg. We were already well in the lead and it was hot and very sunny out and I was tired and my legs weren't feeling too well. After moaning and complaining for a while I finally got out there and just cruised the last leg at 6:27 pace. I started the leg at 4:00 pm and it was the next to last leg in the race. My first 2 miles were mostly uphill and were at about 6:45 pace, but then I got a couple of downhill miles to finish and was a little under 6:15 pace for the last 2-1/2 miles. We won the race overall by about an hour and it was a lot of fun running with everyone on the team. I think our finishing time was about 7:24 for the 70 miles.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

10 for Texas - 1st overall, PR

I PR'd for 10 miles in 56:58 and won the race by a little over 2 minutes. This was my first race I'd run since the Boston marathon and I wasn't really sure what shape I was in. I knew the weather was good and I'd had a couple good workouts this week and I thought I had a good shot at running under 58 minutes. 2 yrs ago I ran 57:48 at this race and I was hoping to beat that time.

The race almost got off to a bad start as I had to make a mad scramble to get to the start in time. I got up to the Woodlands a few minutes later than I intended so by the time I hit the port-a-john and got a 15 minute warmup in, I had less than 15 minutes to the start. I was at my car putting my singlet on and changing into my flats and I had planned on wearing my orthotics in my flats so I hadn't brought insoles for my racing flats. When I put the orthotics in, they were too big for the racing flats I had and were bunching up in the toe box and there was no way I could wear them. I thought I had worn them in April in these flats, but maybe I was mistaken. I just laced on my racing flats and tried to tighten them up and hoped I wouldn't get too many blisters. I had a pretty hard run over to the start and made it there right as they were starting the national anthem. As soon as it ended I hopped over the barrier into the corral and looked around to see who was racing. I didn't see anyone there that I knew was definitely faster than me. I saw John Spiller and he made a comment that he half expected to see me come running up and join the pack 1/4 mile into the race like I have a tendency to do on the Saturday long runs. He really wasn't all that far off.

The gun went off and we took off and I was basically in the lead from the very start. I felt relaxed and cruised the first mile in 5:47. At one mile there were 2 guys who were right with me. We cruised the next couple of miles as we started going a little uphill and after mile 3 I decided to start pushing it a little harder and started putting a gap between myself and them. We had a pace car and half of the Woodlands cycling club (or so it seemed) escorting us. There was one guy with an orange vest on that stayed with me the entire time and I guess he was assigned to staying with the race leader and then at various miles some of the other bikers would peel off. They must have been assigned certain miles to cover in case somebody needed medical attention so they rode out with the pace car until they got to their mile. When I got to mile 4, one of the bikers told me that I had a 10 second gap on the two guys behind me and at mile five I was over 25 seconds ahead. I was feeling good and pretty much knew I had the race won as long as I didn't get hurt or just completely blow up at the end of the race. After mile 1, the markers were way off and I just had to rely on my Garmin. Mile 2 was about 40 seconds after where it should have been and I'm not sure if any of the other mile markers were really in the right place. My Garmin showed that I was at 29:03 at mile 5 and after that it is mostly downhill to flat the rest of the race.

Between 5 and 6 I started picking up the pace and trying to hammer it and I ran a 5:32 for the 6th mile. I was cruising the rest of the way and was low 5:30's and high 5:20's the rest of the way in. When I got to mile 8 it seemed like the mile marker was about in the right place and that I really had 2 miles to go and I was at about 45:50 so if I ran 5:35's for the last 2 miles I would break 57 minutes. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to hold the pace for the last 2 miles, but I was going to try. Mile 9 was still mostly downhill so I was able to cruise and run it in just under 5:30. The last mile starts with a hill up a bridge over Lake Woodlands. I felt pretty good going up the bridge, but when I got to the top I knew that I still had ~3/4 of a mile to go and my legs were starting to feel a little tired. I just pushed it hard and once I got back into the market street area I knew I was almost done and started kicking it in. When I came around the last curve I could see the clock and it was at about 56:50 so I sprinted in and finished at 56:58.

My splits according to my Garmin were 5:47, 5:52, 5:56, 5:48, 5:42, 5:32, 5:31, 5:33, 5:29, 5:29. My Garmin splits were about 20 seconds short of the finish, but with the various turns and curves and lots of trees I'm not surprised it was a little off. I'm not sure what part of the race was off the most but it was ~2 seconds/mile. I was thrilled with the win and a 50 second PR and excited about running some more races this fall.

Last weeks training

Sunday - 6 miles around park in evening. Not real exciting run. I was pretty bored and was planning on doing 7-8, but just wasn't feeling any motivation and cut it a mile short and headed home.

Monday - 12 x 2 minutes hard with 1 minute recovery jog. I was pretty tired after waking up a couple of times to get Olivia back to sleep so I skipped the morning hill workout and ran at lunch. The weather was spectacular and I had a great workout. After a 2-1/4 mile warmup I did 12 x 2 minutes hard with 1 minute recovery on part of the 10 for Texas race course. I didn't have a Garmin, but I felt like I was really cruising. The first 6 were somewhat uphill and the last 6 were downhill - similar to how the race will be.

Tuesday - day off

Wednesday - 5 mile tempo run, 8.25 miles total. I planned to do a 4 mile tempo at ~5:50 pace to simulate part of my race pace without pushing it too hard. The temperature was about 76 out, but the humidity was down. I felt so good on the 4th mile and I was going to have a 2 mile cooldown that I decided to extend my tempo run an extra mile and only run a 1 mile cooldown and get back a little quicker. My splits for the tempo were 5:58, 5:54, 5:48, 5:47, 5:43.

Thursday - 7 miles easy - 50:30. Ran a nice easy recovery day with a coworker at lunch.

Friday - 4 miles easy - no watch. Ran an easy 4 at the park and then went to MSHC for treatment with Dr. Leist. my hamstrings and calves have really been feeling good and haven't been bothering me when I run so we are just working on improving some of my flexibility in my hamstrings and calves.

The weather has really been great this week with lows in the 50's and lower humidity and no rain. I wish it was like this all the time.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What a difference the weather makes

This past week we finally had a cold front move through Houston and the weather has been so much more enjoyable and has definitely been better for running. It finally dropped below 65 degrees for the first time in over 4 months. Yesterday I ran 16 miles at a 6:50 average and I felt great. After the first mile I averaged 6:45 for the next 15. Andrew, Jena and Sam were there and we broke away from the pack after about a mile and started cruising. We ran down to Hermann Park and the zoo and a couple laps around Rice University and headed back to the base. We were doing low 6:40's around rice and sub-6:40 pace the last 4 miles. It felt really good to have a good long run. I didn't even feel like we were pushing the pace that hard, but I could definitely feel it in my hips from cruising that many miles at a fast clip. I guess that's a good thing since all my therapy seems to be doing good. I didn't ever feel anything in my hamstring or achilles on the run.

Earlier in the week I had done a hill workout on Monday and we ran five 1000m repeats on the cloverleafs with a couple of good uphills in each one. I was able to negative split each one and ran them in 3:29, 3:28, 3:28, 3:26, 3:24.

Wednesday I ran a progressive run in the evening after work. It was cooler than it had been and the humidity was down, but the temperature was still in the low 80's in the evening. I ran 7:25, 6:55, 6:38, 6:19, 5:58, 5:42, 5:35. I was hoping to hit 5:30 on the last mile, but I was pleased with the workout. Progressive runs by myself are pretty tough, it was a little warm out, and I was pretty tired heading into the workout. Olivia's been cutting into my sleep a little bit.

Today I ran an easy 6 miles at the park in just over 42 minutes. I'm planning on running one of the 10 mile races next weekend and I'll probably run the 10 for Texas up in the Woodlands. I haven't run any races since the Boston Marathon and I really don't know what kind of shape I'm in. I think I can run it in 58 minutes if the weather cooperates. It will be a good test of where my fitness is at. Olivia has been doing well and I'll try to post a few more pictures this week.