Monday, February 23, 2009

Second Race in Second Week

Well, I ran another one. I had a choice of running Saturday in the 20K/30K of the Strider's Distance Series...the last in the three race series, or run in Sunday's Anheuser-Busch Colonial Half Marathon…a half that I ran last year and remembered having fun doing it, even if it doesn’t hand out Bling. But why race two weeks in a row when I’m suppose to be recuperating? My plan for this week called for a 10 mile long run and I figured running 20K or 13.1 miles would fit kind-a-sorta. What’s three more miles? I decided on the Half.

I should have picked the 20K because Saturday was absolutely gorgeous…sunny skies and cool temps, where as Sunday turned out to be a dismal cold drizzly day. But, I drove up there…got lost a few times…registered and waited around for the 1:00 pm start. I was surprised to see Steve there ready to run…he had just ran the 30K yesterday and was here today to do the half! He is an amazing runner! The start line is about half a mile from the finish, so I ran my warm up jog to the start line and waited around under the overhang of some large trees to keep out of the drizzling rain.

Finally the race starts and we are off on the rolling hills course…rolling hills that I didn’t notice very much last year but this year was very apparent. I noticed that going uphill was okay but going downhill put a lot of stress on my recovering leg. My goal for the race was to treat it as a training run for the upcoming Shamrock Marathon in mid-March. I wanted to see if I could maintain a 7:30 pace which would bring me in around 1:40. The first three miles wasn’t bad and I was almost spot on with a 22:09…the first mile was faster than I wanted, but then the wheels starting falling off with the downhills really taking a toll on my leg and was affecting my stride. So I decided to pull it back a bit especially on the downhills. By the turnaround at mile 6 I had slowed quite a bit and it wasn’t fun anymore. I was just counting down the miles…I would be slow but I was determined to run the whole way…no stopping or walking even the downhills. We finally arrive at the front of Kaplan Hall…the finish is around the back, up a ramp and inside…and I kick it in a bit around the turns, up the ramp and across the finish in 1:51:37. Not the time I envisioned but it was done and I had run all of it. But it did give me a realization that I still had a long way to go before I was even ready for a marathon, so I deferred my Shamrock marathon registration to next year. No marathons this spring but by the fall I expect to be ready. In the mean time I will work on my long runs, endurance and speed with a few races sprinkled here and there to check my progress.

Race Results:
There were 62 finishers in the Male 50-54 age group and 735 total finishers
Overall finish place was 318 of 735
Age group finish place was 30 of 62
Time: 1:51:37 for an overall pace of 8:29 per mile

Happy running every one!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Valentine's Day Running!

Well, I did it...the first race since a little over six months ago! I ran the Virginia is for Lovers 14K, which was run on Valentine's Day. I had been trying to find a first race to run in since the beginning of the year, but each race up to this point was either too soon or too long. In January, I was still building up my running minutes, progressing from my walk/run program to finally being able to run at least 30 minutes continuously by mid month and to finally being able to run a whole hour by the end of the month. So 14K on the 14th sounded very doable. This was an inaugural 14K and there was Bling…a shirt and a medal! So yes…I did this one for the Bling! I kept reminding myself that if I was to do this, I couldn’t go out there expecting to run it the fastest that I can but to try to start off slowly and then get to and maintain a nice easy pace. So, the goals was a nice, slow 9-10 minute first mile, gradually build up to 8 minute miles and maintain till the end…hopefully finishing around 1:10.

The race is run in Virginia Beach around and about the Virginia Beach Amphitheater and Sportsplex, a flat looping course with.

The morning was cold but hardly any wind and after picking up my bib and timing chip I met up with a couple of my gym ladies and we waited in the warm tent until they called the runners to the start line. We mingled into the middle of the runners and waited for the starting gun. The race was delayed about 15 minutes because of traffic and runners arriving late but finally we were off. We had to walk towards the starting line which took us about a full minute before everyone started jogging as they crossed the start line. It was really crowded the first mile with hardly any room to get a good tempo going because of being jostled and all the stop and goes as well as trying to weave around groups of slower runners. The first mile was around the amphitheater and when I looked at my watch realized it hadn’t started when I pushed the button at the start so no splits. By this time I lost contact with my gym ladies and was still weaving around slower groups of runners. At the beginnings of a different loop in the course I was happy to see fellow blogger Steve heading back from the loop…he’s an amazing runner who has always been fast but has been getting faster and has been regularly finishing up in the top three of the Open class…and he looked strong with smooth strides. After this loop we hit a gravel parking area loop which I was leery of because of the loose surface and I for sure didn’t want to misstep and twist something so I tried to be careful where I stepped. We came to the first of two water stops…mile 3…and I took a cup just because although I really didn’t need it. We finally got back on hardtop and I concentrated on a nice easy pace again hoping it was around the 8 minutes miles that I had planned but I seemed to miss most of the mile markers so couldn’t really gage what my pace was. We looped around one of the main roads towards a mid point of the race named Cupid’s Corner, which was where those that were running the two person relay changed runners. Half way point and everything felt good…it felt sooo good to be out there running a race. I picked it up a little bit and started concentrating on picking off runners and in no time we were at the six mile water stop in front of the Sportsplex. One final loop around Damneck Rd and we’re headed for the finish. Around the eight mile mark there was a group of high-schoolers lined up, cheering us on. I high fived every one of them and about a minute later made the final turn to the finish. With visions of what happened in my last race in August there was no sprint to the finish…just a nice pace to enjoy the cheering of all the people near the finish line. And the clock read 1:09:55, chiptime: 1:08:50. Got my Bling and a banana and went back out to find and run with my gym ladies.

Race Results:
There were 46 finishers in the Male 50-54 age group and 1308 total finishers
Overall finish place was 268 of 1308
Age group finish place was 12 of 46
Time: 1:08:50 for an overall pace of 7:56 per mile

It felt good...Really Good!

Happy running you all!