Saturday, July 12, 2014

7/10/14 Midsummer 5K Series Race #2: What have I been doing with myself?

So, I'm utterly ashamed of my training lately.  That's the race report in a nutshell.  If you care to read more on the race, go ahead.  If not, that's cool, too.

I have been happy to throw in a 3-race 5K series into the schedule for this summer.  Bryn Mawr Running hosts 3 5K's in Ardmore which are 3-loop races and a fast group of runners.  I did one of the races a few years ago with someone else's bib.  I missed this year's first race while I was away in Maine and I was happy to finally get another race in, only 10 or 11 days since the last one, of which all 10 or 11 days included zero training or even general maintenance/preparation.

This foreshadowing may give up some of the race results but pre-race, I was happy about getting out again for a race, feeling pretty great and pretty much knew I was not going to PR.  I was hopeful to be around 20:30.  No problem.

The one-mile-and-change loop is around South Ardmore Park.  That's 3 times around for you non-engineers.  It's on some quiet Ardmore neighborhood streets that get closed off for the race.  We arrived about 10 minutes prior to the start, jogged a little to warm up and test out a cramp or some muscle tightness Kristen was having an issue with in her foot.  I probably could have used a little more warm up but I felt alright and Kristen was trotting around pain free so we were ready to roll.

Knowing there were going to be a handful of sub 16-minute runners, I stayed clear of the front, about 6 rows deep from the start line.  I knew off the start I'd find a pack to pace with so it should be a pretty easy race.  I thought my first mile felt great, as usual when I'm fresh, and turned in a 6:09.  Not too far from where I thought I'd be.  The field spread quickly and I found an anonymous runner to chase.

All went well for about another half mile and I just hit a wall.  I tried to ignore it and push through because it's only a 5K.  I'm halfway through this so what's only 10 minutes of a little suffering?  Apparently on this Thursday evening, a little too much.  I hit the water station after mile 2, taking a moment to slow down for a few seconds before finishing the last mile.

The obvious break sure helped my heart out.  Holy crap.
I hung out by the finish line, disappointed with myself, and cheered on runners until Kristen came in a 29 minutes which was a great finish time for her, tying her PR.

A 21-minute 5K isn't the worst thing in the world.  Especially when my goal is now sub-19 minutes.  What's bothering me is that I have been getting soft on my training.  I spent the last 6-months putting in some pretty decent training time with some effective workouts but in the last month, seriously slacking making some excuses for recovering after Black Bear tri and healing after my bike crash.  I really should have only lightened my workouts after Black Bear for 2 weeks, and aside from a sore tailbone, my biking injuries were all upper body: nothing that would keep me from running.  The lessons learned were that recovery is not a vacation from training entirely and I should have appreciated all the time I had to train before I started a new job this week.  Once again, I'm going to have to fit in 10-hour work days around the rest of my life... what a drag but I've got to pay these race fees somehow.  I joked during my downtime that I finally had time to train like a pro.  It's a shame I didn't take more advantage of that.

Next race up is the final 5K of the Midsummer series, I needed a bad race to fire me up for the next one!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

9/28/14 Guilford Road Race 5K Report

Not often enough do we go on vacation but this weekend Kristen and I made a little getaway in Vermont.  I've only been to VT in the winter for some skiing trips so this was my first trip in the summer.  I expected it would be beautiful up there and it was.  We anticipated having a nice relaxing weekend and got to spend some time with Kristen's parents.

The weekend wouldn't be complete without a race so I surfed the web a bit and found 2 races: a 5K on Saturday morning in a town called Guilford and a half marathon a little further away on Sunday.  I've got an itch for a longer race but a few factors made this a no contest for just the 5K.  Four days earlier, I crashed while mountain biking so I had mostly soreness in my shoulders after the fall took me over my handlebars and into a brief handstand on the trail before collapsing into myself in a heap of bad mountain biker.  Fortunately, it wasn't too severe and there's only lingering pain in my upper body and it shouldn't hurt my running much.  Also factoring into the decision was some remaining pain from a bruised tailbone, unrelated to but slightly worsened from the crash and I really hadn't run much in the weeks prior.  I took the first 2 weeks in June off/easy after Bear Creek and really hadn't logged much training the latter half of the month.  A 5K would be a perfect distance to enjoy a morning run in rural VT and assess damage and some of my running fitness.

After breakfast, we made our way to the town of Guilford, about 45 minutes away from where we stayed at Mount Snow.  After the GPS tried to take us off pavement and down what I hesitate to call roads, we backtracked and still made it with lots of time to register and explore.
I had to scope out the road the GPS suggested we take
Even the Vermonters said don't trust your GPS
There were only a handful of runners when we arrived and only a handful at the start of the race.  I expected it to be small and was curious of the field's ability.  I felt a possible win if I could run comfortably and I wasn't sure of that after a test run Friday morning.  The prizes for the overall winners were probably the greatest ones I've ever had an opportunity to win: pie.  Strawberry rhubarb pie or an apple pie.  2nd place got a bottle of maple syrup and 3rd an ice cream gift certificate.  I wanted that strawberry rhubarb pie more than any crappy trophy I've ever seen.
The entire race field.  About 25 total ran.
Off we go
The finish chute.  I love simple races!
Sizing up the competition, I suspected that there was one runner that was probably about my speed.  Of course up in the VT sticks there's some dude that looks like he's ready to do a marathon.  I assume it's all for show so I line up ready to lead and win the race.

I've never led a race so with the start, I tried my best to sandbag it a little.  Really, I'd have preferred to chase someone but I couldn't really pull back any more.  I pulled away a little bit and had a 6:08 first mile, surprising the heck out of me since I'd really tried to slow it down.  Right after the first mile marker, another runner I hadn't expected pulled up with me and we paced a little stride-for-stride as we approached some pretty good hills.  I let him go ahead a bit so I had someone to chase and watched him conquer the hills quite easily and I'd hoped to try to regain some speed on the downhill.
I felt the effects of weak training recently as the climb beat me up and around mile 2, the guy I thought might be the best competition sped by and I couldn't catch him.  I need to work on building my runs so they get faster.  The second mile was horrible for me at 8:45 and feeling dehydrated.  I wouldn't even consider the hills especially hard.  The 3rd mile was much better and the 5K was actually only 2.95 miles so I wrapped up the race with a 21:21 finish with 4th place on my heels and, worst of all, no pie.  I suppose that on the bright side, I ran it pain free and my first mile was among my fastest while feeling ultra easy.  I've also forgotten the IT band pain I was experiencing only 2 months ago.  What a relief that turned into nothing!  Not a great race but far from the worst.

Two happy finishers.
This was my first race in my Newtons.  These are pretty great road shoes and I'm looking forward to putting more miles on them.  They're very different from anything else I've worn and I'm very pleased with them.  I'll be back in them on the 10th for another 5K and before then I'll be doing some solo open water swims while at Raystown Lake this weekend.  

Thanks for reading!