Wednesday, March 30, 2011

TIR and other assorted races

I realized I only have a few hours left to get my monthly blog update in before the end of March. Lately I've been torturing myself by running races in the heat and humidity of Houston.

Rodeo Run
About a month ago I ran the rodeo run and finished 12th overall in 36:00. It was warm, humid and windy and about the only good thing about the weather was that it was overcast and not sunny. I went in thinking I could run about 5:35 pace and hoped to negative split the race. I ran the first two miles in 11:00 and thought I was going to have a great race and then I hit the first hill. I had been running with about 4 guys, but they pulled away going up the hill and I could never catch them. I stayed about the same distance behind them through about 3 miles and then they started pulling away. When we hit the turnaround around mile 4, we were running straight into a headwind. Fortunately nobody caught me and I stayed ahead of the female winner, but it was a pretty miserable race. I hadn't done really done any speedwork since the marathon and I'd only be running 4 - 5 days a week and just wasn't in that great a shape.

Texas Independence Relay
The week after the Rodeo Run I ran the Texas Independence Relay, a 203 mile relay with an assorted cast of shady characters who were mostly fellow Kenyan Way runners including a couple of lawyers and a Cialis salesman. The race starts in Gonzales Texas which is west of Houston and finishes at the San Jacinto monument in Deer Park. Our team finished 4th overall in 20hrs and 55 minutes which works out to 6:11 pace and we beat the previous course record by over 20 minutes.

I ran 4 legs and a little over 21 miles. My first leg was the toughest leg of the race coming in just under 9 miles and had the most elevation gain. I started the leg at about 3:00 pm and I had a terrible headwind the first 4 miles. Then the hills began. I did manage a 5:40 mile for the final mile after I crested the hills and averaged 6:15 pace for my first leg. My second leg was around 8:00 pm and fortunately it was much shorter and just under 4 miles. It's interesting running along a dark highway when it is pitch black out and hoping there isn't some dead animal or pothole to step on, but I managed 5:48 pace on that leg. My third leg was pretty tough. We had slept in the van for a couple of hours and we woke up and I had the first leg from our van and was still a little groggy and my stomach wasn't feeling so hot after the filet of fish sandwich I'd eaten 2-1/2 hrs before. I think I started running about 2:00 am on this let When I was warming up, I knew that the sandwich was going to come up sometime soon so I ran enough hard strides before I started until I threw up. I figured it was better to lose it before i was on the clock instead of during the run. I started passing people on this leg and I lost count but probably passed between 11 and 14 teams on this 4 mile leg and it came out to a 5:51 pace. My last leg was a 4.4 mile leg in Pasadena and I busted out my superman costume for the team to enjoy. Unfortunately I couldn't find any pictures to post but if Spiller is reading this I'm sure he can picture it with his photographic memory. I didn't want to get shot so I ran as fast as I could and finished up with a 5:41 avg on the last leg. It was a fun race and we had a blast.

Law Week Fun Run
This race wasn't very fun even though it claims to be a fun run. I'm tempted to sue the race director for false advertising. I had played golf out in the sun for a good chunk of the day before the race and didn't stay ver well hydrated and then I woke up the morning of the race and it was warm and humid. I think it was close to 75 degrees and 80% humidity when the race started. I got to the starting line and saw Bill Blancett, Jose Lara and Colin Carroll and thought I would probably finish 4th. My goal was to go for 5:30 pace and I thought I was in better shape than the Rodeo run and I could probably handle that pace for 5 miles. The race started on the edge of downtown and ran out Allen Parkway to Shepherd and came back and finished near the edge of downtown. I hit the first mile right on pace at 5:30 and was in 4th place. Bill and Jose had taken off and Colin was hanging back a little bit. John Yoder and another guy were a couple seconds back. I thought I kept my pace pretty well in mile two, but I only hit about 5:50 for mile two but that was probably the toughest mile of the race. The turnaround was between miles 2 and 3 and John was right on my tail and the other guy was about 5 seconds back. John passed me on the uphill right after the turnaround, but after we crested the hill, I passed him back and pulled a little bit ahead. I thought I was going to drop him there and I knew that if I could stay even with him through 4 miles then I could probably outkick him. As we heading back to downtown, our various fan club members would see us and we'd alternately hear- go John, go Geoff. John seemed to be falling a couple steps back and then somebody told him to go after me and he picked it up again and passed me going up the next hill and I just couldn't reel him in after it. He was within striking distance and I even thought I might have a chance to get him with a mile to go, but I was beat and couldn't make up any ground. He ended up beating me and I finished 5th overall in a painful 28:45 or something close to it.

I'm going to run the 4 the park race on Saturday and hopefully will break my 5:30 pace target if the weather conditions cooperate. My training has been a little more consistent the past couple of weeks, but since I don't really have any major races I'm training for I haven't felt that guilty about skipping a run or two each week so I can have some more time to hang out with Olivia. She's almost 7 months now and is a lot of fun except when she keeps waking up in the middle of the night.

What's happening?!?

Just being cute for the camera

Olivia in the BOB

After the Houston Marathon