Tag Archives: race report

Philadelphia Marathon 2011

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3:06:06, I have mixed emotions from this one. I “technically” qualified for the 2012 Boston Marathon, it just happens to already be sold out which I knew ahead of time. So that means I would have to meet the new 2013 qualifying times which for me meant 3:05:00 which as you can see I just missed.

This is an hour faster than the last Marathon I did in 2008 but I had some bigger goals and thought Boston Qualifying was going to be a no brainer. In the training leading up to the race we had targeted at 2:57:30 or 6:46 pace and all my workouts had been built around that.

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The build up for the race was a quick month and half crash course after the Poconos 70.3 in October and the inability to fit in the ideal number long runs was the one of the things that contributed to my demise the last seven miles.

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But I think the first thing was my inability to trust the plan and that I wasn’t going to blow up. The idea was to run my 6:46 pace and let the HR build as the race went on but not to exceed 181. I went through the first two miles and was bumping up against my HR limiter so I backed off the pace and my HR settled down, but from looking at the graph I was probably too conservative in what I did and my HR went way down, I probably could have been 5-6 seconds per mile faster and been fine. I made it through the first half in exactly 1:30:00 so I was only 1:15 behind “A” goal even with backing off the pace a bit and was feeling fine.

The next 9 miles are when I think I let things get in the way and doubted my ability to hold up the pace. My HR went way down, 6-7 bpm compared to earlier in the race and my pace slowed which means I was easing off the effort. Usually if the pace was going down and my HR was going up or staying constant (which happened later) that is a sign of getting tired, or if the HR is going down and you feel low on energy it means you need more calories but I was on top of my plan so I don’t think that was issue.

 

The last five miles were very frustrating as the wheels seemed to fall off and paces dropped to 7:18, 7:30, 7:38, 7:45, and 7:26. A slowdown is almost certainly going to happen at the end of a Marathon it was just extremely frustrating to see the pace drop off 30 seconds per mile and doing the math in my head to see the Boston Qualifying slip away and not be able to run any harder.

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I thought the race was very well run. I was able to stay downtown and walk to the start line which I found to be very organized and I had plenty of space to warm-up. There was tons of crowd support out on the course and all the aid stations had plenty of supplies. For a race that has the half and full shares the course up to mile 13 the second half of the run can get lonely sometimes but I didn’t find that to be the case here. There were still plenty of crowds and the out and back of for the second half helped some too.

One thing that I always find interesting is to look at my GPS data and see how far I actually ran during the race. A marathon is 26.2 miles but you almost never run that exact distance do to crowds, moving over to get water at aid station, etc…there is an interesting right up of it here: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2009/03/racing-line-understanding-how-courses.html

So I was very happy to see that I ran 26.33 miles which for a race this long is about as good as it gets.

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Eagleman 2011

This was my third, and what will be my last time at Eagleman. This was my most disappointing race and first Did Not Finish (DNF) of any race I’ve done. I think I’ve decided that I don’t race well in the extreme heat/humid so why keep doing it when I have plenty of other races in cooler weather to choose from?

Swim (40:00)

The swim was a non-event. It was a non wetsuit swim so I wasn’t expecting a low 30s swim but thought I might have been a few minutes faster, but all in all not to bad. I was 3 minutes faster then last years also non wetsuit swim, but it’s hard to compare times since it’s a river swim with varying current and chop. But I moved up a few places overall and in the AG compared to last year so the swim is getting better.

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The start had some contact and pushing but settled down quickly and I took a good line around to the first turn buoy. The water was very calm this year without much chop and I didn’t have any trouble sighting. After the first turn I started catching up to stranglers from the earlier waves and had to do some weaving but it wasn’t to bad.

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One thing about this year was the water was very shallow. In fact if you really wanted to you could have walked in the last leg of course. I choose to swim in most of the way and only start walking about 20 yards from the finish.

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T1 

Was quick without having to worry about getting a wetsuit off and I was on my way.

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Bike (2:29)

The bike was what I expected. I had three section according to my race plan. The first section was 10 mile to get the HR back down after the swim and settle into a good rhythm. This section went well and I was right on plan and average 22 mph.

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The next and longest section was a bump up in HR for the next 30 miles. I was trucking along for this section still feeling great and average 23.4 mph for the this section.

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The last part was another bump in HR for the last 16 miles. This section didn’t go as well as I couldn’t sustain the higher HR but was only a couple of BPMs below where I should be so I wasn’t to concerned. The speed dropped a bit down to 22.2 mph but that was more a result of riding into a headwind during a long stretch and being on some bumpier roads.

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What I’m more interested in is the drop of 30 watts average power during this section. I have noticed a lot of drift in the power #s during my longer training rides and I think something might be wrong with my powertap or could be an actual drop-off in power, but I find it hard to believe I averaged over 22mph on only 206 watts.

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T2

In and out quickly with no issues

Run

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This is where it all fell apart. On the bike I followed my nutrition plan just like I have been doing on my long rides and I’ve never had issues in the past. But I was a little worried how the run was going to turn out because around mile 50 I got a little cramp in my foot while biking but it managed to work itself out.

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The run started with heavy legs as expected but I started moving along at just under an 8 minute pace which was where I wanted to be at this point. I got through the first two miles fine and was starting to feel better until getting near the mile 2 aid station when my legs started to feel really tight in my hamstrings and both sides of my knees (IT band?).

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I slowed down to pick up some water and my legs locked up and cramped really badly on me. Remembering my med tent adventure from last year this had me really worried. I grabbed a banana and some Gatorade and kept walking for 2-3 minutes and my legs finally loosened up so I could start “running” again but now my stomach was mess. I made it two more miles before my stomach was on the verge of revolting and starting to cramp. My legs didn’t feel too bad and my HR wasn’t out of control but my stomach just wouldn’t let me run. I was reduced to running until my stomach wouldn’t let me and then walking until I could start running again. I did this until about 8 when my stomach just wouldn’t let me run anymore. I walked for the next 2 miles but I started to feel some cramps in my calves coming on so I made the decision to drop out of the race and end my day.

Post Race

Obviously I’m very disappointed in my race. I’ve done a number of 4 hour rides with race intensity for the last hour this spring and hopped off the bike to run sub 7 min per paces without feeling wiped out so I know I was in great shape for this race. It’s just tough that my body decided to quit on me today. This was especially disappointing because my run has been the most improved and consistent part of my races so far this year; I got off the bike in 15th place in my age group and really thought I was capable of running my way into the top 10. 

But after my med tent trip last year and disappointing race this year I think I have finally learned my lesson that I don’t race well in the heat and humidity and will not be back at Eagleman next year. I’m leaning towards doing Mooseman or maybe another race. I’m also going to stay away from heat and go to the other weather extreme and do what is sure to be a cold race at Ironman Poconos this October.

Kinetic Sprint 2011

Overall 1:20:32, 12th Overall, 2nd AG

I did this race last year and was able to take 6 minutes off that time which for a race this short is a huge improvement. Given the disappointment with the Rumpus race last month I am very happy and I think this race is a better indication of where my fitness is at and the improvements I’ve made.

PreRace

The lead up to the race went fine and traveling there was uneventful. I did have to deal with my bad case of poison ivy and infection, so I was coming off some antibiotics this week.

I got to the race site with plenty of time to spare and was able to take my time getting set up and get in the water for a good 10 minute warmup before the start of the race.

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Also, I used my brother’s wetsuit for this race which fits me much better then mine and I think made a big difference with the swim.

Swim (12:31, 5th AG, 47 Overall)

This swim was a triangular course with a beach start where everyone runs into the water at the horn.

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After the initial start everyone settled in and there wasn’t much contact at all. This time I did a much better job with my sighting and making sure my stroke didn’t sloppy. The swim was uneventful and 12 min later I was out of the water and ready to start the bike.

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T1 (1:51, 4 AG, 29 Overall)

Transition was a short run along the beach,

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and then a longer run along a path and up a little hill to all the bikes.

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Bike (46:20, 2nd AG, 14th Overall)

The bike course was 2 miles to get out of the park of and then a roughly 10 mile loop with some rolling hills down and around lake anna.

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Coming out of transition is a short hill which could make it difficult to get up to speed if you are in the wrong gear or tried to slip your feet into a shoes without enough speed. So I got up to speed and waited a while before slipping my feet into the shoes.

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It seems like I can never have a race without any technical issues. This time my Garmin decided to give me a message of “multiple HR monitors detected” and never started reading mine even when I was nowhere near anyone. Luckily my coach does my race plans as a combination of HR, watts, and effort level so I mainly focused on watts today.

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The first 5 miles of the ride was to get settled in at a moderately hard effort level and I was able to get 21 mph on 256 watts. The last 12 miles was at a hard effort level and I was trucking along at 23.8 mph on 270 watts.

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The bike felt like it went by in a flash. Being towards the front of the race the ride was a mix of passing people, riding by myself for a few miles, and then passing some more people.

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I’m also very happy about the weather holding off. The forecast was originally calling for rain and thunderstorms all day but thankfully it held off all morning and didn’t start until the afternoon.

T2 (0:46, 2nd AG, 11th Overall)

Another very quick T2. I went with the flying dismount coming into the transition area,

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And because the run was only 5k I decided to go sockless and save some time there. The only little fumble was I missed my shoe trying to put one foot in and had to reach down and adjust it, but overall it was very quick.

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Run (19:05, 3rd AG, 13th Overall)

The run was a loop with the first mile being uphill, an out and back section, and then downhill to the finish.

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Just like last race I am very happy with how my running is going. The hard work, and dropping the extra lbs has made a big difference. My race plan was basically broken into four parts, up the hill, to the turnaround, back, and then the downhill to the finish.

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The first part was to put in a solid effort going up the hill in the first mile and I was able to put in a 6:38 pace.

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Next was to ease off a bit and take advantage of the downhill to the turn around. I didn’t see anyone out of the course in the first mile but in this section I saw the leaders coming back from the turnaround and counted about 8 people in front of me but everyone was at least a minute up so I was unlikely to be catching anyone. I was able to run a 5:59 pace for this section.

The third part was to put in another hard effort going back uphill from the turnaround and I put in a 6:09 effort here, but I did get passed in this section. At the turnaround I saw two people about 15 seconds back. I knew that one of them was in my age group because I passed him in the last mile of the bike course and made it out of transition before him. I got passed just after the turnaround by the guy that wasn’t in my age group and he was running to fast to try and stay with.

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The last section was to go downhill to the finish as fast as comfortably possible. I just focused on keeping the guy that passed me in sight and making sure no one snuck up and caught me from behind and I managed a 5:44 pace here and just missed going sub 19 in a triathlon 5k.

Post Race

I managed to snag an age group podium and get an award. SetUp events usually does good awards but this was probably the best I’ve gotten so far.

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It was a bottle of lake Anna winery wine, a Setup Events water bottle, and an insulated bag which I think is intended for picnics.

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This was the last race before Eagleman so now it’s time to put in a solid month of training and getting ready for a solid race.

2011 Rumpuss in Bumpass Olympic Distance Triathlon Race Report

Overall 2:23:59 (11th AG, 60th Overall)

I’m bummed out about this race, the weather was bad so that had something to do with the results but I know I am capable of a much faster time than yesterday’s race. This was the third year I’ve done this race, and was 3 minutes slower then last year. The 2010 and 2009 reports are: here and here.

Heading into this race I didn’t exactly have an ideal taper. I was in Atlanta all week for work, flew home Friday afternoon and then woke up at 4:30 to drive to the race site.

The weather forecast all week did not look promising with some strong thunderstorms and heavy rains forecasts for race day. Fortunately the thunder held off until later in the afternoon but starting around 7 it rained most of the day in varying intensities. 

Swim 29:56 (17th AG, 106 Overall)

The race directors were keeping an eye on the forecast to decide if they would need to delay the start for lighting but with 15 minutes to go they gave the go ahead for an on time start, so I got in the water to do a 10 minute warmup.

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The water wasn’t horrible with a temp of 68 degrees but I decided to use a thick swim cap warmer underneath the regular cap they give out to keep some heat in and seemed to workout fine.

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My starting wave wasn’t very big so I lined up on the front line on the inside which looking back was probably a mistake. I wound up swimming the first leg of the triangular course mostly by myself with no feet to draft off of and added some extra distance getting to the first buoy.  

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During the second leg of the triangle the water started to get a bit choppy and I had trouble finding the next turn buoy and probably added some extra distance and again had no feet to draft off of, which turned out to be the theme of the swim.

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Coming back to shore on the third leg was fine, and I think I took a good line in but was still swimming on my own most the way.

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I got the dock and was very disappointed to see 29 minutes for my swim time. I knew I didn’t have a great swim but was really expecting to see 25-26 at worst. 29 minutes  for 1500 meters is a 1:50 per 100 yard pace and when I’m in the pool doing a long set or warmup I usually swim around a 1:40 per 100 yard pace. And in theory a wetsuit should give you a 10 sec per 100 yard time savings not a disadvantage, so I really don’t know what my problem was but it’s something I need to get fixed.    

T1 1:57 (13th AG, 76 Overall)

Because of the cold and rain I decided to wear a jacket but other than that it was a normal transition.

Run to bike while taking wetsuit top off:

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take off rest of wetsuit:

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put on coat:

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put on helmet:

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run out of transition area putting feet into bike shoes after getting up to speed:

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Bike 1:10:11 (17th AG, 111 Overall)

The bike course was two loops of a rolling/flat area around the lake.

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The race plan was ride first loop at a certain HR and then bump it up into the next zone for the second loop.

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The first lap was fine and after settling the HR down in the first 1/2 mile I stayed right in zone for the lap but was surprised to see an average speed of only 21 mph. The roads were wet and it was a bit windy but I had on my race wheels and aero helmet so I would have expected to see a faster split. 

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The second lap I was never able to consistently stay in the next zone and  as a result only averaged 21.3 mph for the loop.

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I didn’t find the weather to be much of a problem, there weren’t a lot of puddles and the road didn’t get too slick (I only saw one person go down). The part that was a bit unnerving was the crosswinds on the some of the bridges. I had a disk wheel on the back and deep section rim on the front so I got pushed around by the wind. But knowing that it was coming made it possible to account for. 

One thing that didn’t work as well as I thought it would was my rain coat. The only one I have is a couple years old and at least a size to big. This leads to a lot of flapping in the wind which is bad and wastes energy, so I thought I was being clever and pulled some of the seams in and duck taped it together.

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But I didn’t really get the shoulders right and the sleeves were still way to big so I was riding with what was effectively a sail.

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T2 1:06 (4th AG, 13th Overall)

T2 was quick: just the normal flying dismount, rack the bike, slip on the shoes, and put on the race belt while starting the run. The rain had really done a number on the transition area, turning it into a mud pit. This is what my shoes looked like after the race:

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Run 40:52 (5th AG, 37th Overall)

This was far and away the best part of the day. The run course was two loops and I got out in the first 1/4 mile and knew I had a good run in me. 

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The run plan was to run the first two miles a certain HR, bump it up for the next 3, and then increase it again for the last mile.

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I got going and averaged a 6:29 pace for the first 2 mile section feeling great, like I hadn’t even biked or swam.

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The next three mile section I slowed a bit to a 6:34 pace but that included an off road section on some slick mud. It was really tough to navigate and keep up the speed in my racing flats that basically have no traction.

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Then I picked it up for the last mile and brought it in with a 6:34 pace including the off road section again. I was getting tired and never really hit the high HR levels the plan called for in the last section but I was still pushing it.

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After crossing the finish line I was initially very disappointed with my results but after thinking about it more I’m still not happy but I can at least rationalize the bike results. This winter / early spring was spent really focusing on my run and I have made big time progress, this was a 5 min triathlon 10k pr, but it has been at the expense of some biking. It wasn’t until after the Atlanta Half marathon that things switched from bike maintenance mode to really adding some serious intervals and long rides. This was first race of the year and is not really a priority for me, so if the run can stay where it is and the bike gets back to or past where it was at the end of last season I’ll be happy.

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The swim, I have no excuse or rational for. I just needs to get better if I want to reach some of goals I have.     

2011 Georgia Half Marathon Race Report

1:29:15 115th overall

This was the 4th time I have done this race (2009 report here), with last year’s National Half Marathon being the only time I have missed the Georgia Half. This result was good for a 6 minute PR overall and a 10 minute PR for this course.

I stayed downtown near the start which made race morning a breeze. I took care of all my morning stuff at the hotel and walked the 1/2 mile to the start with 30 minutes till the start. I got in a warmup around the Georgia Dome to get the legs and heart pumping again.

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With my predicted time I was in the sub-seeded “B” corral towards the front so I didn’t have any trouble getting to the right spot with a couple minutes to spare. That’s a big deal because a race with more then 10,000 people can become very hectic when it gets close to start time.

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As for the race itself I had a plan from my coach which was based on heart rates instead of pace because the hills on this course make trying to maintain a consistent pace counterproductive.

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The start was a bit frustrating and more crowded then I would have expected, I got boxed in behind slower runners a few times and then was stuck behind a big group following the 1:30 pacer. But I guess it’s just another lesson learned to make sure I’m closer to the front.

The first 2.5 miles were suppose to be at a lower HR to ease into the race  and take advantage of the initial downhill section but I had lots of trouble with my HR monitor and was getting some bad readings. I spent some time messing around with the strap but backed off the pace a bit just make sure I didn’t go out too fast and sabotage the rest of the race. This is the section where I probably lost at least 30 seconds in my overall time because my perceived level of effort for this section was not very high.

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After the first 2.5 I bumped the HR up and got into a good rhythm by keeping the HR in check and not going to hard up the hills and then bombing down the hills. I got into a good flow and the miles just ticked away.  One interesting note is I finally figured out how to drink from the water cups at aid stations while still running which is something I’ve never been able to figure out until now.

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Atlanta was a lot hillier then I remembered it being. The hill out of Piedmont park was very tough and then running through tech was very hilly as well. There are hills in Maryland that I run so I wasn’t unprepared, but the difference is Maryland is more rolling hills on a gradual incline and things in Atlanta are usually shorter and steeper.

After the hill on Tech Parkway at about mile 11 I bumped the HR up again. This is where they played a mean trick with the race clocks (was probably a just a mistake and not intentional). I was only using HR on my watch as that was all my plan cared about so I wasn’t seeing my total time. When I came to the clock at mile 12 I saw 1:17:xx which mean if I ran a 7 minute mile I could break 1:25:00. The problem was I should have recalled that the mile 11 marker was 1:13:xx and I didn’t just run a 4 minute mile, but I will blame that lapse on being tired from the race and not wanting to do mental math. That meant the mile 12 was several minutes behind so I was very shocked and disappointed to see 1:29 on the clock as I entered the finish chute.

This is the table my coach made for me about how well I was able to execute my race plan and it looks really good. The only exception being .5-1 where I got caught up in the crowd and spent a lot of energy trying to pass people and find open road.

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With the half marathon done it’s time to recover for a couple days and then start the build up for the triathlon season. Eagleman is three months away and the first race of the year is less then one month away!

George Washington Birthday 10km race

Net time: 40:00.04, so close to hitting that sub 40 goal. It’s better then my last 10k and still a PR but taking that time in context it is much better then it looks because today was not a good day for running fast….

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The plan for this race was to run a 6:20 pace until the turnaround capping my HR at 193 and then run 190-193 the rest of the way back regardless of pace.

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I got in a warmup and it was very obvious to see the first half of the out and back course was going to be slow since it was right into the wind. Because of this trying to run with a group and having other bodies to block the wind would be a big deal.

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The race started and I was able to stay in a pack and get through the first mile right at 6:20 without going over my HR limit but a quarter mile later I started to bump up against my limit so I backed and fell off the back of that group.

I hoped another group would catch up to me but it never happened. I got one or two people coming past me I could draft but I ran mostly by myself until the turnaround,  and it’s easy to how that impacted my race, with 6:54 and 7:02 as my mile 2 and 3 splits.

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Coming back was obviously faster with the wind at my back  and I was actually able to run a wind aided 5k PR if you used just the second the half of this race.

The last .2 miles went over a bridge and then a short straightaway to the finish. After coming over the bridge I saw the finishing clock and thought I still had a chance for sub 40 but…

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I got hit by a nice swirling gust of 50mph wind that brought me to a stop and almost knocked me over, and yes that is sand, dirt, etc getting blown around by all the wind

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So I missed sub 40 but 4 1/100ths of a second.

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2010 Candy Cane City 5km

This was my first 5k in 10 months so I was curious to see how much faster I have gotten over the last year, and comparing it to the same race last year. It was in the high 30s/low 40s so it was chilly but I got a warmup and got to the start line with 5 minutes until race time.

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The course is a mostly out and back course in rock creek park with a slight downhill for the first half.

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The start is very narrow along a jogging trail so to make sure I didn’t get boxed in I started towards the front and got to my desired heart rate very quickly.

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The first mile was a little bit downhill and combined with the fast start I went through the first mile in 5:55 which was a bit fast but my HR was where I wanted it to be and I was feeling good.

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The race plan was to run at a certain HR until the turnaround at mile 1.4 and then bump up the effort. I made it to the turn around with a 6:04 pace, and then up the effort until mile 3. I averaged a 6:12 pace from mile 1.4 to 3 which is a drop in pace but some of it was uphill so I’m fine with that.  

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Then the last 1/10th of a mile  was a hard effort to the finish line where I averaged a 5:45.

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I finished in 19:02 on my watch  which is just under a 6:10  pace and a PR of 1:17. That doesn’t sound like a much, but for a race this short it’s about a 25 sec per mile improvement. I’m hoping I was able to sneak in under 19 minutes on the official time.

5km races aren’t to bad because you are settling into pace for the first mile and it’s only the last mile- mile and half that are difficult but it’s over so quick you mentally know you don’t have put up with the discomfort for long and just keep going.

But it is a hard effort and I think these two pictures right after the finish do a good job of capturing that feeling.

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