Sunday, February 20, 2011

The "Old Fashioned 10 Miler". The only thing "old fashioned" was the pain.

Of course I must remind you that I'm running the Boston Marathon this year on a charity number so I need to raise money in order to participate. If you are so inclined/motivated please click the donate button at the top right of my blog to donate to my cause and thank you in advance. Now onto the bloggy.

I have been struggling with not starting too fast and working hard to keep a steady pace while racing. If anything my posts, tweets, and Facebook status have showed you is I'm the "go as hard as you can" guy. Problem is you can get away with that for a 5k but once you stretch out to 10ks and beyond the idea of this mythical notion of "pace" becomes more and more important. The first 10k of my season, appropriately enough on New Years' Day (what better way to start the year I thought) I went out to turn the 1st mile in around 6 minutes and spent the race of the race trying to "settle" down. That effort led me to slowing down and being caught by very people I blew past at the start.

So being the good student, I decided to pick a long race a week in advance no less, as opposed to a couple days before which is my norm, and seeing if I could start "slow" and run a steady paced event. The race of the day was the "Old Fashioned 10 Miler" held in Foxborough MA. Luckily for me, one of my coworkers was running the race too and was hoping to run an 8-8:15min pace. How better to start well and then run negatives throughout I thought than to start with her? So, a light mile run to the start. Ya, I had no idea it was that far from the registration area but it was a great reason to get warmed up and tune the HR. We pushed our way along still iced over 3 foot snow banks to finally make our way to the front of the pack for the start. There we a lot of people racing today. A lot? Over 500 ran the event.

So while chatting about a run strategy with my coworker, the gun went off and the race was on. The course billed itself as "2 flat miles, 6 rolling miles and 2 flat miles". It may have been billed that way but couldn't be further from the truth. We were running uphill before even hitting the first mile marker. A quick glance down showed my HR at about 145 and we ran the first mile in 7:51. That's the slowest 1st mile I've run in a race in a long, very long time but I felt great! Pushing toward mile 2 my coworker said she was going too fast and was gonna lay of the gas. Goodbyes exchanged, we parted ways. I settled into a comfortable pace and the next thing I realize I hit mile 3 in 20 minutes. Guess I was feeling feel pretty good. Now it was all about keeping this comfortable pace and staying warm. Oh ya, did I forget to mention it was wicked cold?! We're talking 17degrees kiddies and with an equally wicked wind, the temp dipped down to the low teens. Brr, just brr.

This was a race of firsts all around. This race also had me wearing the most clothing I've ever worn for a race too. Nike head sock, Nike running gloves, under armor cold gear shirt, long sleeve t shirt, my new Polar running singlet and, and, and my new polar running jacket. Yes, it was cold kiddies. At one point I thought of taking off my jacket, rolling it up and running with it in my hand but then I'd hit a strip of shadowed road or a good gust would hit me and I thought better.

So while alternating opening and closing my jacket in rider to regulate heat I noticed a funny thing....I was actually ticking off miles at a steady 7:30 pace. Miles 4, 5, 6 ticked away and then toward the end of mile 7 was "the hill". Everest it was not but it was a climb nonetheless. So much so, you could almost hear my fellow runners' collective "pop" when they hit it. So if they hill is slowing them down then it's time to pump my arms and pass them. Which, I did like a champ however once I hit the top of the hill my hurt felt like it was gonna explode. A quick glance down to my Polar FT7 heart rate monitor showed my heart rate hit a dizzyingly high 236bpm. Less dizzy than black spot seeing which made me realize I need to adjust HR zones based on a massive max HR.

I have never been so happy to see a mile marker, even it it was only mile 8, even having 2 more to go.Mile 8 was tough however. I tried very hard to maintain my pace while getting my heart to settle down. Then there was mile 9. There is a certain happiness that comes from knowing you're closing in on the finish and it's only 7 to 7:30 minutes away. I wasn't familiar with the course so I gingerly started to get faster for fear theee was some dumb hill around the corner or I might gas out. After a few minutes I heard heard a local runner say there was about half a mile left so I tried to pick it up. I finished strong, crossing the line in 1:16:00 and flashed my new Polar togs with pride. I finished 138th overall out of 512, 118th male and 30th in my age group. Oh ya, this race seemed to be a training race for everybody in the Boston Athletic Association or ANYBODY who's racing Boston
So, first 10 miler in the bag (my first so it was a PR) with a decent result. Now I wonder if I can find another before the Army 10 Miler in October :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

There was nothing super about the Super Sunday 10k

I'm running the Boston Marathon this year on a charity number so I need to raise money in order to participate. If you are so inclined/motivated please click the donate button at the top right of my blog to donate to my cause and thank you in advance

I've been talking about doing a "race in every state" thing for a while but haven't really done anything about it. So, since it’s a new year it’s a perfect thing to add to the to do list. That every state in 2011 but at least get a good start. On a recent trip to NM to visit friends, there happened to be a 10k that fell on Superbowl Sunday. And 3 birds get killed with one stone: I get a race in another state, log some training miles and burn off some calories before eating the crap food associated with watching the Super Bowl. Add in that the weather here in MA was a bone chilling 10 degrees with 3 or 4 feet of snow on the ground and NM was a balmy 45 degrees and it’s a super bonus!

As always, I have to layout everything the night before. I know it's probably anal but if the Army taught me anything it's that unless it's laid out where you can see it, you're gonna forget something and I wouldn’t be able to sleep of this little setup wasn’t done (OCD much?). Because it's winter and it was "cold" in Albuquerque, the race started at 1100. The weather was supposed to be in the mid 40's (practically Spring for those of us in NE) but come race day the temp dipped to 20 with a whipping wind that made it feel like it was in the teens. I of course didn’t pack any real cold weather gear. I mean why would I the weather said nothing of this "chill" that moved in. But...I figured I'd warm up after the 1st mile and when the sun came out. I did however find a new use for the Everstride's anti-chafe stick during this experience. My face and lips were getting dried out just waiting for the race to start. I used it like it was a big tube of Chap Stick and it worked great! Soft face and supple lips...but I digress.

The course was pretty straight forward, after a winding start it was 2 laps of the course. Within the 1st mile, the wind died down, the sun popped out and it got warm. 40+ degree warm but warm nonetheless. As is my habit, I went out too fast. I know that I should run negatives but I just have not been able to get a handle on it. I had hoped to run steady 7min miles. Instead, I hit mile 1 at 6:46, mile 2 at 7:08 and then "settled in" at 7:29 and 7:23 for miles 3 and 4 respectively. Mile 5, as is my usual, trailed off to 7:49 and I spent the last mile plus trying to catch up hitting mile 6 at 7:35. All said and done, 15th overall with a time of 45:34 and placed 4th in my age group. Honestly I was a little bummed about that because the 1st and 2nd in my age group took 1st and 2nd overall. But hey, every race director does it their way and I wasn't very happy with my time anyway. Another race in the books, another lesson learned but at least I got in a race in another state and the scenery was beautiful.