Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cherry Blossom 10-miler

I ran in the Cherry Blossom 10-mile race on April 3, 2011. This was my second race of the year and my second race in about a week. I ran the Sun Trust National Half Marathon one week before this race. After getting a PR in that race, I decided that this would not be a PR race. My last 10mile race was the Frederick 10-miler last fall and I ran that in 71min.

The cherry blossom race was held in downtown DC and runs through the cherry blossoms (hence the name) that surround the tidal basin. The race started at the Washington monument, loops through DC, into Virginia and ends back at the Washington monument. Pretty cool. Can't find anything like that in Columbus Ohio.

Anyway, the race was to start at 7:40am, and since I was coming from Frederick, I had to take the subway from Shady Grove into DC. I got up at 4:30am, had my typical bagel, peanut butter and Dt. Mt. Dew and packed my stuff. The weather called for cool temperatures, so I put on a long sleeve tech shirt and my wind pants. I grabbed by coat and headed to the metro.

The ride to metro was uneventful. I had my check bag, and my running belt, so after locking up the car, I headed for the train. As I walked down the tunnel toward the train, I began hearing jingle bells. I looked behind me, but nothing. After I walked through the turnstile, I heard them again, this time I could tell they were in front of me. I headed up the escalator and looked around. It seemed I was the only one on the platform. I looked down the dark tracks and saw no trains in either direction. The sound of jingling startled me again and I quickly turned around to see a portly older man, with a long white beard, rosy cheeks, and a red Santa hat that matched his red running shorts. A timing chip on his left shoe and a jingle bell on his right rounded out his wardrobe. He looked at me and smiled. All I could say was "Hi Santa.". Santa and I talked for only a few minutes, but I did tell him that I'd like a PR for Christmas!

Once the train showed up, I wished Santa luck on his race, and boarded the train for DC. The ride was uneventful and after a transfer, I got off at the Smithsonian stop. Coming up the escalator I could feel the excitement in the air. Stepping onto the mall with the sun rising is an amazing experience. After taking a quick look around, I headed toward the large crowd of people at the Washington monument. Boy was it ever large. The cap for the cherry blossom run is 15,000 people, and they were all ascending on the Washington monument at the same time. Many, many people.

After finding bag check, I decided to head for the port-a-potties. To my surprise, there were no lines. I stood behind a crowd of people and waited, and waited, and waited. Turns out this bank of johns were locked.... Damn. Just as I was about to walk away, a guy with a key passes me and starts to unlock the johns.... Could be my lucky day, first Santa now this! But the guy seemed frustrated. Turns out the key that he had probably only worked on 1/3 of the johns there. Well, I was in line anyway, so I might as well wait. After about 2 minutes, he comes back with a huge hammer and starts smashing the locks on the remaining johns... Everyone cheered.

After finishing, I decided I should head to the start line. I was in the yellow corral. I saw many colors but no yellow. Turns out yellow was right next to the start line. I was yellow B.... Elite was yellow A. I prayed I did not get mowed down when the horn blew. I worked my way into the yellow corral and warmed up a bit. The start was to be progressive; each corral would start about 1-2min after the corral in front of it. As the clock approached 7:40am, I could see the start line both in front of me and on the big screen by the grandstand (the race was live streamed to the web). My goal for this race was to go out strong, but if my legs felt tired, I would not kill myself. The horn went off at 7:40am and we were off.

Did I mention 15,000 people?? The 10-miler in Frederick had about 300 people.. 15,000 is way more than 300. Tons of people, tons of feet. But I started fast.

Mile 1 took me down Independence Ave slightly around the tidal basin. I remember feeling good, and knew I was moving fast. At the 1-mile marker, I had a 6:50m/m. Not too shabby.

Mile 2 took us over the Memorial Bridge and back again. It was here I saw the lead runner on the other side of the bridge. Running over the bridge was cool. I have never been over that bridge before. The weather was just beautiful, but I was over dressed. I had a 6:49m/m in mile 2.

Mile 3 and 4 took us down Rock Creek parkway past the JFK performing arts building, which was a turn around. There was also a water stop along this way also. I gotta say the water stops were really well manned at the race, much better than the national marathon last week. Another u-turn down Ohio drive finished out mile 4. I was feeling really good now after clocking 6:47m/m and 6:35m/m for these two miles. Maybe I will PR??

Miles 5-6 were back down Independence and to the opposite side of the tidal basin. I thought this stretch was really neat because the crowds just lined the streets and were screaming, and cheering for the runners. It was a real booster. I finished these two at 6:52m/m and 6:47 m/m.

Miles 7-9 went through east Potomac Park, which is a kind of peninsula. These were hard miles, but beautiful. No crowds, but tons of blooming cherry trees. It was quite a sight, but after about a mile, I was done with them. Mile 7.5 we hit Haines point, which is the tip of the peninsula. Time to turn around and head back to the Washington monument. Into the wind...damn. By this point, I knew I could make a PR, so I figured if I slowed down a bit it would be ok. But the competitor in me told me to keep pushing so that's what I did. I finished these miles in 6:54, 6:54, 6:55. I was getting tired.

The last mile swooped around the edge of the tidal basin and back to the monument. Oh yeah, they also added a 0.25mile hill in there to make it interesting. It was the only hill the entire race and they stick it at the end.... Damn them. I could see the monument get closer and closer. As I turned the final corner, I could see the finish line up ahead. The clock looked like it said 1:08... No way... I pushed....the clock read 1:08:45. I need to beat 1:09!!! Why? Who the hell knows why that's just what I screamed to myself. As I got closer, I could tell it was going to be close........ I crossed at 1:09:02. (6:50 m/m) So close.

After slowing down, I clicked off my Garmin, which still said 1:08. And then it hit me.. It probably took me about 15 sec to cross the start line. I probably did beat 1:09!! I grabbed some water, a muffin, my finisher's metal, and sat down to stretch. I was feeling pretty good. My left hamstring was a bit sore, but I figured it would be since it was kinda bothering me throughout the race. I hung around to watch others finished before heading to the subway. I walked back to the Smithsonian stop, I couldn't help wonder how Santa did. I hope he did well. I need to remember to thank him for the PR when I see him in December!

Official time: 1:08:46
533/15970 overall
33/646 in age group
First race ever with every mile less than 7m/m
Also my front and back half were only 15 sec different in total time

Friday, April 15, 2011

National Half Marathon Race Report

This past weekend, I ran in the Sun Trust National Half Marathon. This race is totally contained with the Washington DC city limits, and is touted as flat, fast race. I signed up for this race in the fall, with hopes at making a PR. My training strategy was simple, I wanted to get my mileage to about 40 miles per week, and then I would add some speed work for the last month of training. My fastest HM was at Parks half marathon in 2009, where I finished in just over 1:37. I ran a HM in 2003 while I was living in Columbus OH, and kinda remember being in the high 1:35, but cannot find the finishers list to verify.

The race was to start at RFK stadium, loop through DC and finish at the stadium. There was also a full marathon which followed the half and finished with a second loop. Originally, metro was to open at 5am, and my plan was to be at the Shady Grove Metro station at 5am, so I could get down to RFK before 6:15am. The gun was to go off at 7am sharp. Well, about two the weeks off, the organizers and Metro decided to delay the opening of Metro until 6am. I would never make it from Shady Grove to RFK in time. I had to drive. I took the family to the Expo the day before and we travelled via Metro, so race morning was my first attempt at driving to RFK. Big mistake.

My alarm went off at 4:30am, and I got my breakfast ready: Bagel, banana and a Diet Mt Dew (breakfast of champions). I gathered my cold weather stuff (temp at 4:30 was 30F) and pulled out of my garage at 5:00am. I brought with me Google Map directions, but after about 15min, I realized I forgot the GPS. I had no trouble getting toward DC, I got off 270 and onto 495, I then got off 495 and onto the Baltimore parkway. No problem. But then all of a sudden I was on 50. It was not on my directions, and I started to freak out a bit. It was 5:45. I pulled over to the shoulder and thought, "What would I do if I was in the amazing race?" So I took the next exit and stopped at the first gas station. I ran in and asked the guy behind the counter how to get to RFK. He rattled off some directions and I just stared at him blankly. Just as I was asking him to show me on the map, a guy standing beside me said, "I'm going that way you can follow." It was a taxi driver taking a couple of girls to the race. So I ran back out to the car and followed the taxi toward the stadium. After a few turns, and bobbing and weaving, we made it near RFK stadium. But so did 15,000 other people. I got stuck in a line of cars that was not moving. I pulled up next to a guy in a black truck and asked him to roll down the window. I asked him if he was looking for parking. He said he was a medic and trying to get into the race area. I asked him where the parking was, and he pointed behind me. He told me to turn right here, turn right again, and again, and that would head me toward the parking. I thanked him and asked if I could cut in front of him, which he let me do. After making the multitude of right turns, I found my way to lots 6 and 7. But again long lines. I waited and waited, trying not to get anxious or nervous (yeah, right). After making my way to the back of lot 6, I was set and ready to go. I gathered my hat, gloves, phone, gu and started walking to the start line via the Armory.

When I got to the Armory, it was jammed packed. People stretching, talking, laughing and getting ready. I took a quick picture, and decided I should hit the bathroom, just in case. The line to the indoor bathrooms we long, but I decided to wait. It was about 6:35am. At 6:40, I still had not moved. So, I thought I would try and hit the port a potties. They had tons of them, but the lines were extremely long, and it was pushing 6:45. I decided I did not have to go that bad, and started to try and find my corral. I was in corral 2. I found 5-10, but where was 2. Well it was near the start line. No pressure there. When I finally found it, it was about 6:50. I jogged in place a little and took a few more pictures, when all of a sudden the national anthem started. By the time it was over, it was 6:55am, and the announcements were beginning. Guess what, now I had to pee. I thought about having to pee when I ran, and thought it might not be too bad, let's see how it goes. Before I knew it, the gun went off and the race began.

My plan was to see how the first couple of miles went, before deciding if I would try and PR. The first mile felt downhill and fast, but as I saw the electronic clock, which read 7:40, I knew I was going kinda slow.

The second mile headed straight for the capital. It was pretty neat to see the Capitol in the distance, I picked up my pace a bit and finished mile two at about 7:10

Mile 3 and 4 ran down along the mall, and by the white house. The view was pretty good. I kept a pretty steady 7:00 m/m. At about mile 4, my friend Rob passed me. We chatted for a while, but he is pretty quick, and soon he was pulling away from me.

Mile 5-8 headed north through DC, and consisted of several pretty tough hills. I was told is course was flat, but did notice some hills. Actually, what I really remember were the spectators yelling, "good job up that hill". It was funny, because I remember thinking I was feeling tired, but did not realize the grade was increasing until the spectators said that. I was at 7:18 at 5, 7:10 at 6, and 7:40 at 7. I slowed a lot at 7 since this is when I took my gu. I needed water, but the water stops were not well manned, and I actually had to stop and wait for water.... Kinda sucked.

Miles 8 and 9 were at about 7:00 again, and we pretty uneventful. There were several times when the crowd had huge boom boxes, and were singing and dancing. It was a big pick me up. Mile 10 (first official mile marker i saw since i saw the 1mile clock.... Did they forget the mile markers??) turned back south and started heading back toward the capital. I could see it in the distance, and it seemed really far away. I started picking up the pace, and hit 6:37 in mile 11. One we neared the capitol, we turned left and started heading back toward the finish.

Mile 12 and 13 went quickly, and I was able to keep the 7:00ish pace. My legs were starting to get tired and I started to think that it was a good idea I did not do the marathon. I looked at my Garmin as I passed 13.1, and knew I was a bit off. They told the half marathon people to stay to the right, and the full marathoners to the left. I knew we were getting close. As soon as we turned toward RFK, I kicked it up another notch, and watched the finish move toward me. I also saw the finish clock, just past 1:35. I crossed the finish line at 1:35:47 on the official clock. My Garmin read 13.30 and 1:35. I went and got my thermal cover, my metal, and my picture taken. I also picked up a banana and a soft pretzel and a bottle of water. The pretzel was really dry, but I was feeling pretty good. It was really crowded at the finish line, so I decided to go backhand stretch at the armory. I called Thea and told her how I did. After stretching a bit, I gathered my stuff and headed home. And guess what, I got lost trying to get home. Oh well, it was a good experience, and I think I PRed.

Officially I finished in 1:35:26. My fasted half in Maryland was Parks in 2009, where I finished in 1:37:46. I think I ran a faster one in Columbus, it was 1:35something, but I'm going to say this is my PR. Yeah for me!

25/375 in my age group

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cherry Blossom 10-mile race

A video of the finish.... see if you can find me. My race report will be coming soon!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Unrace Race Report

Today was supposed to be my first half marathon of the 2011 season, the High Cloud Snapple Half Marathon. This race is held on the C&O towpath. I ran the inaugural race last year, and was hoping to make this a yearly event for me. As you might recall from my race report on last year's Snapple half marathon, the race was cold, and after the first half of the race it began snowing. By the end I had icicles hanging off my eye lashes and there was about 2 inches of snow on the towpath. I slowed down in the back half because of the snow and the fear of bad footing. Anyway, on Wednesday this past week, we had about 6-8 inches of snow fall. The schools were closed and power was lost at my office so I had off work. Many people were stranded in the streets as the snow was coming down so fast, the plows could not keep up. With all this snow, I was concerned about them postponing the race until the towpath cleared up. Well, they did not. In fact, the night before the race, I got an e-mail stating that the race was on, and runners should run the race at their own risk. The subject of the e-mail I received was High Cloud Half Marathon – VERY CHALLENGING COURSE. Yikes. The body of the e-mail stated there were 6 inches of snow on the towpath, and with the warmer temperatures, there was much ice and slush and the occasional down tree limb. The temperature at the start of the race was to be in the upper 20, so all that slush should freeze, and runners need to be careful of slipping or twisting ankles. The e-mail ended with some talk of personal safety, and that runners need to use their best judgment about whether to run or not.

I was torn. I wanted to do the race, but I definitely did not want to hurt myself. This was never to be a goal race for me. I was using it as a measure of my fitness. My goal race is at the end of March, and I definitely did not want to hurt myself in the frozen slush. So I decided not to run the race. If I had trail shoes, I may have considered it. If it was a goal race, I may have considered it. But it was not worth the risk of injury, since the Sun Trust race is only 8 weeks away. As soon as I made the decision not run, I felt like a wimp.

So instead of running the race, I ran a 13.5 mile training run. I went at my typical training pace, and had a really good run. I was cold, but did not have many problems. I now have 8 weeks until the Sun Trust Half Marathon at the end of March. After that I have the Cherry Blossom 10-miler the next weekend. I need to keep myself healthy and uninjured. I made the right decision to not run that race.

For the next eight weeks, I'm going to add some speed work into my training. I plan to do some track work one day a week and a good tempo run one day a week. I hope to continue to put in 40 miles a week through the 8-week period (I've been around 40miles/week for the last 8 weeks). I'll be posting more through this training to let you know how it goes!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Inaugural Frederick 10-miler Race Report

This past weekend I ran in the Inaugural Frederick 10-miler. This race was organized by the local YMCA and proceeds from the race went to Y Campaign for Kids. The funds raised help kids who may not otherwise have a chance to participate in Y programs, camps and childcare. I had signed up for this race a while ago, and planned just to use this race as a long run, since I was not training for anything in particular. The race was planned to start at 6:30am in front of the YMCA. I had picked up my race packet the day before, so I had planned to get there at about 5:45am, so that I could warm up and make sure I knew where the start line was. I set my clock for 4:45am, so that I could eat my breakfast (bagel with peanut butter), and get dressed. Waking up at that time was not too bad since that was the “fall back” day and we gained an hour of sleep. After eating, I looked at the local weather and it was clear, but only 35F, so added my long sleeve shirt, long pants and hat to my wardrobe. I headed out the door at 5:30ish

After getting to the Y, I pinned my Bib number to my shirt and headed inside the Y. It was very crowded, and people were laughing and talking. I used the washroom, and talked to a few fellow runners about the upcoming race. Around 6:00am, the race director mad an announcement that there would be last minute instructions and the national anthem at 6:25, with the race starting right at 6:30am. I quickly left, and took a quick 0.5mile warmup run. By the time I finished and made it to the start line, the national anthem was being sung.

At 6:30am, the race director used the “ready, go” method of starting the race, and we were off. There were about 300 people that began running down Market street toward downtown Frederick. After about 0.25miles, I was sure glad that I wore my cold weather clothes!!

Mile 1 – I began the race a bit easy… since I did not have a real goal, I wanted to see how my legs felt. The first mile took us to downtown Frederick. Right before the 1-mile mark, the course turned onto 2nd ave. However, the cone to make the turn got turned over, and about 20 or so runners missed the turn. The guy in front of me was yelling “right turn, right turn!!” I turned right, others did not – pace 7:22m/m

Mile 2 – During this mile, there were only two people in front of me. I have never been near the lead in a race, and it felt good. Maybe those fast runners would never turn around and I could come in 1st or 2nd. This thought made me push myself a bit harder. Took water at the water stop.. stopped to drink it Pace 7:21m/m

Mile 3 – Still in the lead. In this mile we started to move away from downtown by taking a long stretch of road (Rosemont) toward Fort Detrick. This stretch was a bit long and boring, but I did see my neighbor, Bob, who commented that I was on a good pace. I also noticed that a gal running near me was very popular on the course…. Several people kept yelling her name… Kimberly. Pace 7:18m/m

Mile 4 – This mile was mostly around the perimeter of Fort Detrick where Rosemont becomes yellow springs. It was still kinda boring. However, the worst thing happened this mile…. Someone passed me, and he was running real fast. I finally figured out it was one of the fast runners, who made up the ground lost by the wrong turn. The only problem was that it was not just one runners, it was two, then three, then four… damn, there goes my lead. Pace 7:18m/m.

Mile 5 – This miles zigzagged through a neighborhood just north of Fort Detrick. It was a pleasant break from the long stretch of road we were just on. About half way through the neighborhood Kimberly passed me.. After about another 0.25mile, a car slowly passed me, then approached Kimberly. The driver rolled down the window and said, “There is a strange man following you Kimberly” Damn did this gal know everyone. Took water at the water stop, stopped to drink. Pace: 7:14m/m

Mile 6 – After the half way point, I was feeling pretty good, so I decided to pass Kimberly. She seemed to be moving a bit slower, so I had no problem passing her. This mile took us past Frederick Community College and down Opossum Pike. Another long stretch. Pace: 7:06m/m

Mile 7 – This mile continued down Opossum Pike, but took a detour through a small subdivision. An in and out route, allowed me to see the lead runners exiting the subdivision as I entered… I was about 10 people back now. I was feeling good, so I picked up the pace. Took water at the water stop, stopped to drink. Also took my GU during this mile. Pace 6:58m/m

Mile 8 – This mile was back to Opossum Pike and it took us over MD15. This was the biggest hill in the race. I wanted to keep pace, so I shortened my stride and made my way up the hill. After passing the hill, Opossum becomes Motter, and we switched from the right side to the left side of the road. Pace: 7:02m/m

Mile 9 – The 9th mile travelled down Motter back toward the Y. As we reached Stanley Park, we took a left onto 10th and headed toward the Y. Right before the 9 mile mark, we took a sharp left, which was right next to the finish line, and headed toward our last mile. Did not stop at the water stop at mile 9. Pace 6:50m/m

Mile 10 – The worst part of the race was passing the finish line at mile 9. That really sucked. I knew I was doing well, so I really started to push. The last mile looped back to Market after about 0.5 miles. Once I got on Market, I could see the Y in the distance. I pushed. I could hear footsteps behind me. I pushed harder. The footsteps got closer. I could not push harder. A runner passed me about 100 feet from 10th, where we had to make a quick right. Pace 6:37m/m

Last 0.1 mile – I told the guy that passed me “Good Kick” and he said “You too” as we finished the last 0.1 mile. Pace: 5:35m/m

I crossed the finish line at 1:11:21, which is a 7:05m/m average pace. I gave the volunteers my bib number, picked up my finisher medal, and walked forward. The guy that passes me shook my hand and thanked me for pushing him so hard. I also thanked him, even though I wished I could have outkicked him. I then made my way into the shelter house (where my daughter had pre-school by the way) and got some bagels, water, and pretzels. On a side note, I had to drink the water from the drinking fountain since they only had milk, chocolate milk, soda and juice boxes to drink. I talked with the early finishers and found they want an additional 0.5miles before figuring out they needed to turn around.

Overall, I was really happy with my race. I had PRed for the 10-mile distance by just over a minute, and I finished 14th out of 300. However, I was 5th in my age group, with the guy who passed me at the last minute taking 4th. I also had a great negative split!!

I will do the race again next year… they course was good, the weather was perfect, and the volunteers were great!

Finish – 1:11:21 – PR!!
First 5 miles: 36:30
Last 5 miles: 34:51
14th/300 overall finishers
5th/47 – 45-49 age group

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hagerstown Duathalon Race Report

On Saturday October 16, 2010, I ran and biked in the Hagerstown duathalon. I decided to do this duathalon because of the cross training I was doing to help me through the injury I had after the Frederick Marathon. I figured, if I had to bike, I should sign up for a biking race to keep me motivated. This particular race was very similar to the triathlon Thea did earlier in the year, in that the biking route was almost the same. In fact I chose this race after Thea’s, but chose a duathalon, because I’m really bad in the water. Anyway, the race was set for a 2-mile run, a 10-mile bike and a 5K run.

My knee/IT band had been doing better and I was putting on about 25-30 miles per week while still biking 2-3 times per week. I was not worried about the run, but the bike kinda worried me, since I’m not a very fast biker. In the weeks leading up to this race, I felt pretty good, but was still dealing with some slight leg issues.

On that morning, I decided I should get there early to stage my bike. During training, I had done some bricks (run-bike-run back-to-back) but did not worry about staging or transition time. I was not out to win this race, so that stuff did not concern me, So, the race was to begin at 9:30am, with the transition open at 6:30am. (There was a kids duathalon and 5K also going on that day). Registration and packet pick-up was from 6:30-8:30am. I arrived about 7:15am and got my packet. There were not many people there. In fact, by about 7:45am, I was staged, body marked, and had my timing chip secured to my ankle. So now I had to wait, and wait. It was cold (45F), the wind was really blowing (18MPH with gusts up to 30mph). I sat in the car. First lesson learned: No reason to stage bike so early.

By 9:00am, the people were starting to gather. The kids race was about over, and people were getting ready for the duathalon. I got my gloves on, and headed toward the start. At 9:15am they had a pre-race meeting where they told us the details of the course route and how the 5K runners and the duathalon runners would follow the same course until 1.5 miles, then the duathalon runners would heard toward transitions. Our second 5K followed the same route as the 5K race. They also told us where to mount and dismount the bike, how was could not draft, and we must watch for traffic, since the roads were not closed. I saw Thea and the kids at about 9:25am, and after a quick kiss and hug, they started the race at 9:30am.

Mile 1 – The race started on the park path, I started out quickly. Wind was whipping, but did not bother me too much. I felt I was running pretty fast, but was having no problem so I went with it. Kept a 6:44m/m pace

Mile 2 – The course turned around at 1.55 miles. At this point, the 5K runners kept going and the duathletes started heading for the transition. I entered transition at 13:13 keeping a 6:30m/m pace. The pace is according to my Garmin. I turned off my Garmin once I was in transition, and it read 12:33:60… not sure why there was a difference. Official results put me at 6:58m/m, my Garmin put me at 6:39m/m

Transition 1: Official time in transition was 46 seconds. It seemed like about 5 minutes. I grabbed my helmet and tried to get it on my head…. I could not fasten the strap, I kept trying but it would not fasten. I knew I could not bike without the chin strap fastened…. I started to worry and freak out a bit, until I realized…. I was trying to put it on backwards. After a quick turn it went right on… I was off on the bike.

Mile 1-3 – Leaving the transition, the ride felt easy. The first three miles went well. My pace was 16.5, 17 and 20mi/hr for miles 1-3. No problem, I had this race.

Mile 4-5 – Shit… Mile 1-3 were with the wind at my back. I was now riding into the 18mph wind… Did I also mention there were gusts up to 30 mph. If I’m travelling at 15mph, and the wind is in my face at 18mph, does that mean I’m going backwards at 3mph?? It sure felt like it. Mile 4 was also uphill. I felt like crying. Also, people were all passing me, and they did not seem bothered by the wind or hills… damn bikers. Pace: 14.6mph for 4 and 16.5mph for 5.

Mile 6-9 – Hills and wind… that’s all I remember… that and people passing me. I began cursing my dad for giving my skinny Rudland legs. I passed a guy with a flat tire around mile 7. He was the only person I passed during the bike. Felt bad for him, that really sucks, but at least I passed someone!!. Pace: 15.6mph for 6, 14.4mph for 7, 15.5mph for 8 and 14.4 for 9…. I see a trend.

Mile 10 – Actually started to feel better…. I knew it was almost over, so pushed a bit harder. Wind was still strong, and it seemed to get stronger, but the end was in sight. When I turned back into the park, I was feeling better: Pace 16mph.
I entered transition after 37min (37:32 by my Garmin) on the bike and averaged 16.2 mph.

Transition 2 – This one felt smoother. I racked my bike, took a couple good sips of water, dropped my helmet, pick up my hat and I was off. Transition time: 45 sec. Guess Transition 1 was not as bad as I thought.

Mile 1 – First mile felt slow… my toes kinda felt numb, and my legs heavy. I knew the route, so I just pushed through. No real sights to see, it was in the park: Pace: 7:36m/m (Garmin)

Mile 2 – By mile 2 I was feeling better… legs felt good, so I pushed harder. Took a drink at the water station at the turn around. Last 0.5 of this was into the wind again. Pace: 7:11m/m

Mile 3 – Now I was passing people… the same people that passed my on the bike. They looked tired, but I felt pretty good. I picked up the pace again. At 2.8 miles I passed a teenager…. Damn kid was ahead of me the whole time… Pace: 7:00m/m

Last 0.1 miles I pushed hard. Race ends uphill, then flattens off at finish line. I crossed the finish mat with a 6:30m/m pace.

Official results say I finished the last leg in 21:52 giving me an average pace of 6:59m/m. My Garmin said I did it in 22:32 for an average pace of 7:17m/m. I like the official results better.

All in all it was a good race. I felt pretty good the whole time, and my leg held out. Lets hope I’m done being injured!

Official results:
Time: 1:13:25
43/117 Overall
39/77 men
5/9 in men 45-49
I placed 23rd in the first run, 73rd in the bike and 18th in the third run overall
I placed 1st in the first run, 5th in the bike and 1st in the third run in my age group

I’m definitely not a biker!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Catoctin Aqueduct 10K

On Saturday, September 25, 2010, I ran in the Catoctin Aqueduct 10K. I was held on the towpath of the C&O canal at the Point-of-Rocks, Maryland MARC station. This was the first race I have run since my injury, so I was a bit nervous. Things have been going real well in the recovery. I’m keeping up with the stretching and strengthening, and have had very little pain. In fact the only time I’ve felt pain in my left knee was during an 11 mile run in Ohio a week before this race. I ran down the Olentangy bike trail and after about 10 miles, my knee started to hurt. I immediately stopped and walked back to the hotel. Now, I have yet to run another 10mile run (maybe this weekend), but the rest of the run and this race were mostly pain free.

So this being my first race back, I was a bit nervous. When I awoke at 5:30am that morning, my legs were stiff and sore. I had taken the day off before, but other than that I’m not sure why my legs ached. Registration was 6:30am-7:30am with the race starting promptly at 8am. Packet pickup was only pre-race. I arrived at the MARC station at about 7:00am, not knowing how crowded it would be. It wasn’t. The race was being held at the same time as they were setting up for the point-of-rock art fair. So there were many people around setting up tables and getting things ready. I walked over to the registration booth, but they were still setting up. So much for 6:30am registration. Once they were ready, I picked up my race number (35) and was told I could pick up my t-shirt after the race. Kinda unusual, but I was ok with that. After that I just kinda stood around. Talk to a few people that had run the Frederick Marathon, who also complained about the hot humid conditions. At 7:30am, I hit the port-a-potty, and then headed to the start line. People milled around near the start, which was directly under the I15 bridge on the towpath. I took a quick warm-up run and stretched a little. At about 7:45am, people starting looking around and talking. It seemed they forgot to tell us we need to write our names on our bib number, since he race was not chipped timed. After I filled mine out, I saw that Thea and the kids had arrived to see me off. Jake had an early soccer game, and they could not stay for the finish, but got to see the start. After saying hi, getting hugs, and taking pictures, my watch told me it was 8am.

The steeplechasers timed the race, so after a few words, waves to the family, I was off about 8:03am. Since I was still a bit apprehensive about my knee, I started out slowly.

Mile 1- I found a person to pace off and the first mile went quickly at a pace of 7:48m/m. The towpath is a great place to run. The ground is not concrete hard, and the scenery is beautiful.

Mile2 – After the first mile, my legs were feeling good, so I thought I’d pick it up a bit to a pace of 7:29m/m. It was a rather cool day, probably in the upper 60s low 70s but it was kind of humid. At this point it did not bother me.

Mile 3 – Holding steady at 7:30m/m. The one and only water stop was on this mile. We ran past a cool lock, and a lock keepers house. The water stop was manned by only about 3 people, which was ok, since the race was pretty small. I learned my lesson during the Frederick Marathon, so I took a cup of water. I stopped, took a gulp, and moved on. After about 2.6miles, the lead runner past going the other way.

Turn around – The run was an out and back, so at 3.18 miles we hit the Catoctin Aqueduct. We crossed the bridge, and turned around. The view from the bridge was pretty cool. Not many people had passed me going the other way, so I knew I was near the front of the pack

Mile 4 – Pretty uneventful, kept a 7:29m/m pace

Mile 5 – The towpath is pretty, but it gets boring also. Always running straight, not many people around during this mile, so I thought I’d pick it up a bit. My knee was feeling ok. I tried to hold a 7m/m, but could not and had to slow down. Pace – 7:23m/m

Mile 6 – I could see two runners up a head. I wanted to catch them. So I turned it up a bit. One guy and one girl. I held a 7:24m/m pace, but tried to go faster. As my wind caught up to me, I slowed. By the end of mile 6 they only had about 100 yard lead.

Last 0.33 miles – I pushed the pace to 6:59m/m and chased those people. I could see the I15 bridge getting closer and closer. By the end, the gal was about 10sec ahead of me, and the guy only a few. But I could not catch them. I crossed the finish line and turned off my Garmin at 47:21, with an average pace of 7:29m/m.

All-in-all not bad. My leg held out, and my time was ok. Pre-injury I was much faster, but felt like this was a good effort. I felt winded a bunch of times, but slowed down until I caught my breath.

After the race, I got a bottle of water, and went back and ran two more miles, slowly.

I finished the race in 9th place, and 3rd in my age group

Whats up next – Haggerston Duathalon