Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Race Report - JCC Independence Day Triathlon

Fake it till you make it is the theme of this year's tri season. Need to keep up your swim fitness? Do some running. How about improving on the bike? Running might work. I really have NOT done much cross-training, but when the price dropped on this race at the last minute, I couldn't help but to sign up.

Race morning was a little on the warm and humid side, but better than it had been for the last few days. I started the day off with some rookie mistakes, like ALMOST FORGETTING TO GET MY CHIP, but was able to get out of transition with everything ready just before they shut it down. A quick walk down to the pool left me enough time to do 50 yards of warmup...well, call it 48 yards. Someone doing sidestroke kicked me hard just before the wall, so the last couple were more treading water. Anyhow, it was nice to be back on home turf and ready for this short sprint.

We were once again seeded by swim time estimate, and somehow I was number 19. That seemed pretty ambitious, and it was weird to be in the pool before the leaders were even out. But I think it was about right. While the guy ahead of me was off like a shot, I held my own against the swimmers behind me. I swam strong but well under control, and held off any pursuit until the last little angled swim over to the ramp, where I got passed by one guy. I can't claim that it was a "fast" swim for what I'm used to, but it wasn't bad either. I grabbed my stashed shoes for the transition run, which is a little rough to go barefoot.

300 yd Swim (plus long run to transition & T1): 8:05 (5/16 AG)

Last year, I managed to crack a 21 mph average in this race. I didn't have any illusions that I'd be topping that number, but I wanted to at least hold my own and set myself up well for the run. The course is pretty much flat flat flat, with only a few gradual inclines. Once my heart rate settled a bit, I kicked it in the big ring and just got down in aero as much as possible. Yes, this is only a 12 mile course, but it was probably my best effort to date in terms of staying aero. I think I only came up twice during the course. Not bad for me.

During the bike portion of races, I usually watch my cadence more than anything else. It didn't seem to be working, though...it was reading around a 70, which would be crazy slow. As I kept biking, it edged up, and finally I was in the 90s where I should be...and then I was over 100 and still rising. Just when I was ready to shrug it off as the computer flaking out on me, I finally realized that I didn't have it set on cadence at all, but on average pace, and I hadn't reset the computer after walking my bike to transition. It wasn't saying 70 rpm, it was saying 7.0 mph. :) When I switched over the view, voila! I was right at 90 rpm like I should have been.

The bike course ended with a bit of a bang. There's a curb you have to get up on to get onto the last driveway back to transition, and there was a volunteer out there telling you to slow down. I thought, "Sure, slow down before you hit the gravel driveway to be careful". So I did, and POW! I hit the curb hard. There was a wooden ramp, but it had a little too much flex. Fortunately, I stayed upright, but let out a "WHOA" as I made it up and over. Nothing wrong, though, so I pedaled my little feet into T2.

Bike: 35:48 (20.1 mph, 8/16 AG)

Somewhere along the line, I've gotten pretty good at the bike-to-run transition. My fancy new shoelaces that I got for Christmas (and finally got onto my shoes) helped too! The race results confirm it: I won T2. Sadly, they were not handing out awards for such feats.

T2: 0:22 (1/16 AG)

My goal on the run was to improve on last year. While it was a tri run PR for me, I've been working so hard at this sport that it would be a pretty big disappointment to go backwards. My strides were pretty short and choppy coming off the bike, but I just told myself they'd come back. As you come out of the park, there's a quick right turn, then down and back up a quick, steep-ish hill before heading out to the main part of the course. I tried to convince the volunteer to just let me turn left and skip the hill, but he said I was doing too well to allow that. :)

The day was turning a little warm, so I made sure to grab some water at the first stop and dump it over my head. I'd seen the big lead pack (way ahead), and been passed like I was standing still by a couple of guys. I figured it was a long shot to place, so I just concentrated on staying consistent and focused. I never passed a single person on the run - one of the downsides of a time trial start, I guess. As I turned to go back down and up the hill on the way back in, I was happily surprised by Meredith, who had taken time out of her workout to see my finish. I chugged my way back up and into the finish, worn out but feeling like I gave a good effort.

Run: 23:40 (7:37/mile, 5/16 AG)

Not too long after I crossed the line, they put up preliminary results, which had me 4th in my age group. So close! But then, one other guy bested me, so I ended up 5th of 16. Still not too bad. There were about three minutes between me and the podium...quite a bit for a sprint, but maybe if I was actually biking and swimming to go with my improved running...you never know!

Total Time: 1:07:57
5/16 Age Group
24/174 Overall

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Race Report - Wendy's Triathlon

I really debated this one. Just ask my wife. A couple weeks before, I was out. Then I watched Meredith race, and I was in. Then I thought about how little swimming and biking I had done and how busy our weekend would be, and wondered whether the cost of the race was worth it. I was definitely out. But then I thought about how I wanted to enjoy racing short this summer, and how there are only so many chances to do so. I was in.

Good thing, you're thinking. This would be a really boring race report otherwise.

After the aforementioned busy weekend of travel, photo boothing, and about four hours of sleep Saturday night, we were up bright and early to drive to the race site, about half an hour away. My stomach wasn't feeling great, and I was feeling a little dehydrated. Tough to keep up on water when you can't concentrate on it the day before. We were a little later than usual, but still had plenty of time to get set up, forget the aero bottle in the car, think I got the wrong chip, no, it's okay that it's a different number, get lubed up, one last bathroom break, seriously, stall doors would be nice, and down the beach to get ready for the swim!

Now, my swim training this spring has basically been this:

1. Take wetsuit to Meredith's race.
2. Do practice swim with her.

I didn't have high expectations. This race has an 800m swim, straight down the beach, and it's sort of notorious for being short. I lined up in the second row of my wave, a little to the outside. This race is also notorious for having a lot of beginners, and they tend to be toward the beach since you can stand up. In fact, we saw a lot of that during the relay wave, and were wondering "If that's who you chose for the swim..." :)

With the siren, I took off pretty hard. And actually, I was feeling pretty smooth and fast! I passed the guys I had started next to, and I found and kept open water for nearly the whole swim. I actually would have preferred a LITTLE more contact than I had, so I'd have a draft. Maybe I veered too far out, or maybe it was just spread out more than I'm used to. In any event, that fast start turned into "Ohhh...I don't have the swim endurance I'm used to" around the halfway point. My arms were tired, my legs were dragging...at one point I breaststroked a stroke to get my bearings and my foot actually hit the ground! Somehow I kept it together, and when I came out of the water, I was pleasantly surprised with my time.

800m Swim (plus run to transition): 13:17 (1:39/100m, 9/50 AG)

T1 was smooth, got my wetsuit off without a hitch for once! Pretty long run through transition to the mount line.

T1: 1:46

The bike course is pretty easy - just some little roll, a bunch of turns, and one hill at the end. And it went how it usually does: get passed by a bunch of not-so-good-swimmers-but-really-good-bikers in the first couple miles, then start catching the earlier waves and feeling a little better about myself. I tried to stay down in aero as much as I could, though I had to come up a few times to settle my stomach and catch my breath a bit. Overall, I was pretty happy with the averages I was seeing. At some point, I also realized that I didn't know exactly how long the bike course was! At mile ten, I figured I must be over halfway, but that was about it. Finally, I saw the model airplane field that I knew was in the park, and knew I was almost back. And frankly, the big hill was not so big anymore. I chased a couple fast guys up it, passing a bunch of people along the way, and it was back to transition, feeling pretty good.

Bike: 52:42 (19.4 mph, 29/50 AG)

As I coasted down into T2, I mentally went through my checklist. I think this really helped, as I was able to blaze through it in under a minute. Yeah, it's only a few seconds difference, but it was 4th fastest in the age group for what it's worth. :)

T2: 0:53

Finally, it was time for the one sport I actually have been working on hard. And wouldn't you know it, I came out of T2 with a nasty stitch in my left side. "Not again!" was all I could think, as I had flashbacks to the indoor tri this winter. I wanted so badly to walk, but I didn't want to ruin what had so far been a good day. I just shortened my stride and tried to keep my cadence up, in hopes that the stitch would go away.

The course was pretty muddy this year! The first little stretch is on a trail up through the woods, and there was one big puddle where you had the choice of running through it or around it...muddy water or just mud. I tried to go between and got a bit of each. Not that I was thinking too much about passing people, but this was a tough course on which to do so: lots of trail and cross country style grass. By the time I hit the turnaround, I realized this just wasn't going to be my day on the run. Finally, by about mile 2, my stitch started to ease a bit and I was able to run a little more normally. Unfortunately, my legs were just about out of gas at this point, which I'd probably attribute to not enough bike fitness for the pace I rode. I got passed by three guys in my age group in the last half mile, two of them in the parking lot right by the finish. :(

I crossed the finish line thinking it was a really bad run. Turns out it was only bad in comparison to this year's inflated running expectations; it was actually my third best pace in a tri run. I was hoping to go closer to a 7:00 pace, but it was what it was.

Run: 24:03 (7:46/mi, 25/50 AG)

Total Time: 1:32:38
23/50 Age Group
105/500 Overall

Sheesh, fast age group much? Almost a quarter of the people who beat me were in my age group. I really expected to do better; my secret goal was top ten AG, but hey, you can't control the field. My time would have been 13th last year, I believe.

In the end, I'm happy I raced. I definitely have some work cut out for me in two sports, but we'll just see how they fit into the running goals, which are first priority right now. Speaking of which, I've got some track repeats to write down for this afternoon...

Monday, May 09, 2011

Race Report - Cap City Half Marathon

This race is really where it all started back in 2004. I had run some 5Ks and even a 5. Mile. Race. the year before, but this was the first race I'd consider an endurance race. And it was hard, but I finished. Didn't quite break the 2 hour goal I was shooting for, but I did a respectable 2:02:43.

Seven (!) years later, I was back, toeing the line not just to finish, but to culminate four months of training. And not just training the way I've done for running races in the past, but applying everything I've learned over the last two seasons of Ironman. I'd lost 20 pounds in preparation for it, followed my training plan about as nearly to perfection as I could hope for, and mentally prepared myself for a couple hours of suffering for a goal. Thankfully, race day dawned with a forecast for 50s and no rain, which was a far cry from the week before. Meredith and I met up with Colleen and Tom in the first corral, and...

Wait a sec, the first corral? Yep. Through what HAD to be some clerical oversight, little old me was in the first corral. Crazy.

...anyway, we said our "good luck"s and I wandered over to join the 1:45 pace group for the start. That was my plan. Get into the group and stick like glue for as long as possible. My training plan said 1:46 was my goal, but 1:45 sounded like it just might be doable on a good day. With the gun, we were off on a tour of Columbus. I decided to wear my iPod and have some low-level background music for a change, so without further ado, a sampling of what I heard and saw:

Miles 1-4: Wanted Dead or Alive

What a great song to start out on an adventure! As we headed out west from downtown through some industrial areas, I took stock of how I was feeling. A little humid, and actually a little warmer than I thought I'd be. The gloves I thought I'd need were in my pockets by mile 2. My pace group was doing a great job of keeping even through the sometimes uneven start of a big race, and I was happy to just find a little running room and stick there. Sure, I took (and gave) a few elbows and steps on heels, but overall it wasn't too bad. We curved up onto Olentangy River Road, through a few little dips and climbs, and headed up toward campus. My fears of not being able to come out of the gates at an 8:00/mile pace were dissolved as I found myself holding it pretty effortlessly.

Miles 5-6: Pinch Me

Wow. Not really what I expected...usually this would be about where I start thinking about how far it is to go. Instead, everything was going really smoothly. That is, until I hit the water stop around mile 5 coming up Lane Avenue. They looked pretty understaffed, and what was a flow of runners quickly became a logjam as we all tried to get hydrated. I finally did manage to grab a cup, but when I looked up, I was a good 10 seconds back of my pace leaders. Visions of the 2007 Columbus Marathon flashed before my eyes, as this was about where my pace group pulled away from me. Not willing to have it happen again, I thought of the old triathlon analogy of a book of matches. You only have so many to burn during a race, and it's all about when to spend them. I decided this was one of those times, and visualized myself striking one as I sped up to catch the group. It took maybe a quarter mile, but I was back with them, one match lighter.

Miles 7-8: Hang On Sloopy
Err...I mean, Hang On Sloopy

These miles were very entertaining, as we headed down High Street. If you're not familiar with Columbus, High is sort of the backbone of the city, and it's where almost all the shops, bars, and restaurants are on the OSU campus. As we passed building after building, I was reminiscing and noticing which storefronts were new, and which were still there 10 years later. The nice thing about this year's course is that we got to run the "downhill" direction. It's not a hill in the traditional sense, but it's a looooong gradual incline going the other way. After the impromptu speedwork on Lane, it was nice to settle back into a rhythm and ease back to the target pace. This was also where the quarter marathon rejoined the course, so there was a little bit of bobbing and weaving as we ran through some of the slower runners there. And suddenly, I heard a "Hey!" to my left, and who was there but my lovely wife!

Miles 9-12: 4'33"

Hearing a good song come on right as she caught me, I put the iPod on pause to save it for later. The next thing I noticed was that Meredith was running a little faster than me. I had mentally prepared to break from the pace group around mile 10 if I was feeling good. This was a mile early, but I wasn't just feeling good, I was still feeling effortless. It was time to see what I had. So, I joined Meredith's pace around a 7:50, and we began pulling away from the group. This section was pretty lonely, so I was glad for the company, even if there were a few unintentional elbows thrown (her), and very intentional hand signal demonstrations of how to run a tangent (me). She was having an issue with a stitch, and for the first time I was working harder, so there wasn't much conversation. Somehow, it makes it easier just to be running with someone, though, and this was one of the first races in which we've ever gotten to run together. Fun times. Just before mile 12, there was one of the steeper little uphills of the course, and Meredith fell back just a bit. She told me to go ahead, and so I climbed the hill fairly hard. As I reached the top and the 12 mile marker, I took out the rest of my matches and set them ablaze.

Mile 13: Jump

You can hardly blame me for saving that one till the end, right? I broke the remaining mile down into 400s and thought of all the times I've been around the track this spring. I probably passed fifty people in that last mile, as I gave everything I had left. (And hit rewind one time) It was a far cry from the final mile in 2004, when I just wanted to be done. I guess I wanted to be done this time too, but I was doing it on my terms. One short painful climb left, and we were turning down toward the finish line. I ended up running the last mile somewhere around a 7:04 pace! When I saw the clock, I knew it was good news, and I crossed the finish line with a big new PR. I hardly had time to get my medal before Meredith was with me, and we both celebrated our way out of the chute.

Time: 1:43:42 (7:55/mile)
436/2466 male, 552/5952 overall, 95/414 age group

Friday, April 29, 2011

You've Got To Learn To Pace Yourself

Fresh off a great run in Miami, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Hadn't had a bad run in quite some time, PR'ed in DC, and things were looking great for Columbus. And then taper hit me like a truck.

Long run: hit my target paces, but was working HARD to do it. 12 miles felt more like 15.
Sprint workout: had to do it on the treadmill because the rain will never end. Our gym is about 800 degrees, and I could only do 3 of my 5 sprints before my heart rate was out of control.

Yesterday, I got to do my tempo run, which was an easy warmup and cooldown around 3 miles at short tempo pace (7:38 for me). The hard part started out pretty smoothly - I decided on the fly where I'd run, and just kept an eye on my Garmin pace. It started to feel tough as I went uphill, and my pace was falling off on the watch...7:45...8:00. I pushed hard and got my pace back down. Then, I finished my first mile, and the Garmin popped up my average pace: 7:28.


I am officially the worst pacer ever. If there's one thing I think would help me the most right now, that might be it - learning what a given pace feels like so I know when I'm running that speed. Things have just changed so much in the last 6 months pacewise that my internal gauge is waaaay off.

So, the first mile was too fast, and I paid for it in the second mile. That ten second cushion I build was a two second deficit by the time I was done, and the only thing that saved me from a complete collapse on mile 3 was a well-timed stoplight where I had to cross that gave me a breather. As I finished the third mile, I quickly slowed to a walk so I could feel sorry for myself. As I did so, the sky just OPENED UP. All of a sudden, rain was pouring down, and a cold wind was whipping through the field. Even my iPod decided to give a little mood music to the situation.

It was all very melodramatic.

After a minute or two of walking, I decided that I had until I got home to wallow in my self-pity, and then it was time to move on. I got back to a jog to finish up, mostly because the weather was turning from bad to worse. As I turned on to our street, I even saw Meredith driving toward me on a rescue mission! However, I was close enough at that point to finish it out.

I'm hoping this is just the taper blues. I hope I didn't peak too early. I hope I've got what it takes to get this race done the way I want to do it.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Race Report - Miami University Student Foundation Triathlon

I really tried to screw this one up. Long run two days before the race? Check. Show up too late to drive the bike course? Check. Forget to put my new laces in so I don't have to tie my shoes in T2? Check. Forget my plastic bag to cover my gear in case it rains? Check.

So, just to sum up: DAVE IS A TOTAL ROOKIE.

That said...

We rolled into Oxford with about five minutes to spare in registration on Friday night. You see, Oxford is a pretty small town in the middle of nowhere. There's basically one way in. And that way was blocked by a car that had flipped into a ditch, and was swarmed by college students trying to get the occupants out. When the police showed up, one of those cars of college students drove off quickly. Hmm... Anyway, we did manage to get registered and up to our lodge at Hueston Woods state park. Our room included tickets to the all you can eat fish fry (because what better pre-race food than that?!), but we had missed it. Big props to the park, though, because they said we could get a free breakfast the next day instead, and it was a GOOD treat after a race! But I digress.

Race morning was chilly...low 50s and kind of drizzly. Once we got set up in transition, it was indoors with all of us to get ready for a 400m serpentine pool swim. Meredith and I didn't get seeded together, so I was on the line first, and with an only slightly better entry than last time I did this, I was off. Pretty quickly, I caught up to a girl who had started a few positions ahead of me, and I was faced with the choice of drafting or passing. Since she was moving along pretty well, I chose to stick close behind her, and stayed that way for a few lengths. I attempted to pass a couple times, but she wasn't having it, and I decided I wasn't ready to put in the extra effort to force the issue. When we reached the end, I glanced at my watch, and was a little disappointed to see that my swim pace for that 400m (1:55ish/100m) was actually slower than the 600m pace from the Lifetime tri. Maybe it was the long course format, maybe the drafting, maybe the fact that in this one I had to get straight out and go to the bike rather than having 10 minutes to transition. Whatever was the culprit, I was quickly out the door into the rain and cold.

400m Swim (plus run to transition): 8:06

The rain didn't make things easy in transition. I had brought a long sleeve shirt to throw on because of the temperature, and between pool water and rain water, it took a while to get on. That plus gloves and general rustiness equalled a pretty slow T1.

T1: 2:21

As I mentioned, we didn't get to drive the course, so I didn't much know what to expect on the bike course, other than some hills. I counted about four significant hills in the 12.4 mile course, and a pretty steady wind. By a mile or two in, I had settled into a good cadence, and just went with it. The roads felt a little slippery, so a couple descents felt more treacherous than I liked. Overall, I felt like I was passing about the same number of people that I got passed by, which is pretty normal for me. At least the ones who were passing me seemed to be on fancy bikes and wheel sets this time! After rolling through country roads for the majority of the course, we had one last climb up into town again, and then a gradual descent back to transition that I used to relax and catch my breath. I'd say that maybe I could have pushed a little harder on the bike given better weather, but biking certainly hasn't been my focus this winter, so I was pretty satisfied. Funny enough, I was only seconds off of the last tri I did that included a 20K bike, three years ago. (This was a much tougher course, though)

20k Bike: 41:29 (17.9 mph)

T2 was a little better. I did decide to strip my long sleeved shirt off, despite the chilliness. If I hadn't needed to tie my shoes, I might have been closer to a minute, but that's my own fault.

T2: 1:20

And finally we were on to the sport that I've actually been working. I was anxious to see if and how my training had paid off here. Right out of the gate, my legs felt good - not too much hangover from the bike. And almost immediately, I was passing people. I would see someone ahead, and pick them off. It became a little game of spotting all the people who had passed me on the bike. I had decided not to wear a Garmin, so I was just using my watch to gauge my progress. There weren't mile markings, but there was one water stop, which I figured was probably around the mile mark. So far so good on the pace. And when I reached the turnaround of the out and back course, it started with 11:xx. That was a nice surprise, and I wanted to see if I could keep it up. I thought of the track and tempo workouts I've put so much time into lately, and told myself it was just 6 more laps around the track. I'm not sure I've ever had so much focus during the run of a triathlon. By the time I turned down toward the finish line, I'd been passed by two runners, but I had passed thirteen. And as I crossed the finish line, I hit my watch to see my final time of...


Uh, okay. So I had to wait until the next day to see my results, but at least it was a good surprise: I had cut almost a minute off my best 5K to date. Not just in a tri, but any 5K! And not only that, it was my fastest pace for a running race of any distance. Apparently the plan is working.

5K Run: 21:59 (7:04 min/mile)

Total Time: 1:15:18
15/47 Age Group
85/544 Overall

And now it's back to running. Three weeks until my "real" target, the Cap City Half Marathon!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Race Report - National Half Marathon

Our trip to D.C. kind of snuck up on me. I was doing a good job of following my training plan, working away, and then all of a sudden it was here. And I realized that I had a 14 mile training run on my schedule for the weekend. Since we were taking a long weekend, it wasn't really an option to move it a day forward or back. That meant I could either find 14 miles of solo running route in an unfamiliar city, or I could sign up for the half marathon. Spoiler alert - I signed up for the race.

When I finally decided to run it a couple days before we left, I went onto the race site, and online registration had closed. Shoot. However, they said a few spots were still open, first come first serve at the expo. And so, Meredith and I dragged our luggage to the expo, fresh from our train from Baltimore. That was fun to explain and take through the purse check at the entrance, let me tell you. Luckily for me, there were still spots available, and so it was time to gear up for a race the next day. Our hotel room had a full kitchen (!), so we were able to hit Trader Joe's and cook ourselves a good spaghetti dinner.

Race morning, as always, came too early. Staying up late to watch basketball didn't help matters. But we got in our breakfast, bundled up, hopped in a cab for an early morning tour of the lit monuments, and sped over to the start. Unfortunately, though Meredith and I were planning to run a similar pace, we were stuck in different corrals. Back in corral five, it took us six minutes to reach the start line, and we were off! Better that than to be the guy I saw running the other way, asking where the start line was. Since my "A" race isn't until May 7, the intent was to treat this race as a training day with a goal pace of 8:39. I knew my PR pace was only slightly faster than that at 8:35. And so I told myself that if that was in sight toward the end and I felt like I wasn't overtaxing myself, I'd give breaking it a shot.

The beginning of this race winds around the Capitol Hill area, eventually funneling the runners along the north side of the Mall. We got some good views of the Capitol building and the Washington Monument along here. Despite the corral system, there was still a good bit of jockeying for position in the first couple miles, and my splits were a little slow. Not a problem, as I'm used to warming up for the first bit, and making up for it later.

What was a problem is that I wasn't seeing any mile markers. It's a good thing I decided to wear my Garmin for pacing, because the first mile marker I saw (and others reported the same) was at mile 10! I'm not sure I've ever seen a marathon that doesn't have mile markers. The other issue was the water stops. I knew going in that they weren't every mile, but it seemed like they were kind of random, and I never knew which side of the street to expect them on either. I had worn a fuel belt, knowing I'd need the extra water, but a couple times I had just taken a swig from my belt only to find a water stop just ahead.

Once we finished the stretch along the Mall, we turned right and headed up, up, up to the Dupont Circle area. Miles 5, 6, and 7 were mostly uphill. Not gruelingly so, just enough that you could feel the extra effort. When I hit the 10K marker, I was EXACTLY on pace. 8:39/mile. I was feeling pretty good when I finished the climb, so I decided I would push it a bit on the way back down, and see what I could do. The miles started clicking by a little faster; most were in the 8:00-8:15 range. Just. Got. Interesting!

So, I have this one bad habit in racing. In the second to last "thing", whether it's an interval, a set, or a mile, I tend to lose focus. I'm tired, but not "almost done". It was no exception here, as I turned in an 8:30 mile after quite a few faster ones. I looked at my watch, and by its time and distance, I had about 9 minutes not only to PR, but to break 1:50! It would take a big effort in the last mile, and that's what I gave it. All the intervals I've been doing on the track came back to me, and I broke it down into 400s. 1200 left...800 left...400 left...and I started looking for the finish line. It wasn't there. When I finally did see it, I knew I couldn't possibly get there by 1:50. I also knew that I had to keep working hard if I even wanted my PR! It wasn't until I made the last turn and could see the finish line clock that I knew I had it, and I crossed the line (13.27 miles on my watch) with a PR of a little over a minute. For what it's worth, my last mile was sub-8:00 on my Garmin, so there was certainly something left in the tank.

Total: 1:51:08 (8:29/mile)
Overall: 1551/4021

Men: 307/747

I have mixed feelings about this race. I liked the course and getting to see some landmarks, and the crowd support varied from decent to very good. However, the lack of mile markers and insufficient water would make it hard to truly endorse. I'd say it's a good one if you want a race to run for the location, but not so much if you're running for time, especially if you don't have a Garmin.

As for my own effort, I was obviously quite happy. In a sense, though, I already knew I could do this speed based on the training runs I've had over the last few weeks. It was good to know I was able to do it while controlling my pace. The real test will come when I'm not racing "comfortable" for the first half. We'll find out in six weeks...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marching On...

From the lack of "I MADE IT INTO LEADVILLE!!!" post, you might guess that I didn't win the lottery. And you would be correct. (Unless you didn't guess. In which case we have some wonderful parting gifts for you.)

I didn't think I was that set on getting in, but when I got the rejection email, I was more disappointed than I realized. For a couple days I sulked about it, but there had to be a "Plan B". The good news is that I'll get to continue the progress I'm making in my running, and that I'll get to do more races this summer. The "big" early season goal will now be the Capital City Half Marathon on May 7, conveniently close by in downtown Columbus. This was actually the very first half marathon I ran, back in 2004. I ran it in 2:02:43, for a 9:23/mile average. This year, I have some bigger goals. I'd like to see if I can run it in 1:45. According to the plan I'm following, that ought to be right around what I have the fitness for. The course is flat and should be fast, with something like 300 feet of total climbing/descending over the whole 13 miles.

This race has grown quite a bit from that inaugural year. When I ran, there were around 2400 participants, and last year there were over 6000! I learned that they've even gone to a corral system this year based on your estimated finish time. And the cutoff for the first corral? 1:45. I swear I didn't know that before I filled it out! And seriously, who let me in the first corral? Pretty sure that's gotta be an oversight.

What else has been going on?

I'm still considering getting back into the Lifetime Indoor Tri that I did a couple years ago. Though I've not worked as much on swimming and biking over the winter, I think I could put in a respectable time. The local one is on April 3, so I need to make a decision pretty soon!

Broke double digit miles on a run for the first time since Cedar Point on Sunday. I'm pretty sure I have some form of Raynaud's, and despite fairly mild weather, my fingers were blocks of ice by the end. Meredith actually had to drive home because I couldn't use them for a good 10 minutes. If I'm going to train in the winter, I guess I need to come up with a better plan for keeping my hands and feet warm.

I've never EVER done as much speedwork as I am right now. Each week, I look at my "fast day" and wonder how I'm going to do it. And so far, I've surprised myself almost every time. This week is the biggest speed workout for the whole half marathon training plan in terms of distance, with a 6x1200 main set. Yikes!