Saturday, October 29, 2011

Race Recap Trifecta

Okay, so I've admitted that I've been on a blogging and training slump.  However in my mind, I still feel guilty about both, so in an act of utter self-congratulatory preening redemption, I'm going to hit you with my last 3 race recaps cliff notes style!

Warrior Dash
Setting:  9/17/11, Manchester, TN.  A beautiful day if not a bit warm.  This was the site for Bonnaroo.
Summary:  This was a 5K obstacle course with about 11 obstacles which included demolished cars, scaling walls, fire and a mud pit!  It was as if Bonnaroo and Cross-fit had an unholy union and spawned a race.  Most notable were the number of grossly obese and out-of-shape people who attended.  Give a man a fuzzy viking hat (looks more like a water buffalo hat from the Flinstones) and he'll try anything.  At one scaling wall, I had hooked my arm under a screaming woman and helped her over the wall.  She was very thankful as I dropped off the wall and ran onto finish the race.
Conclusion:  23rd out of 612 men, age 40-45.  525th out of 6209 overall.  32:48.00 finish time.  9:23/mi pace.  This was a fun race and would have been even more fun had I run it with some of my friends.  Next year, I may race it in the morning and come back wth my friends in the afternoon and run it again!

The Middle Half
Setting:  10/15/11, Murfreesboro, TN.  A perfect day for a race.  Started off cool and stayed cool even after the sun came up.  The course was relatively flat and fast with a ton of volunteers and crowd support.
Summary:  This was the annual half-marathon in Murfreesboro.  This was the race that I had circled on my calendar all year.  Typically I run pretty fast in the 'Boro, so I was hoping that I could break my half-marathon record there.  Despite a light summer training schedule, I went out pretty fast and was able to maintain my pace.  My watch was showing me an average pace of 7:21-ish/mi, but at mile 9 and 10 I started to notice that my measured distance was off significantly from the course markers and my watch distance.  I figured that my watch was off by about .4 of a mile.  Doing even more math in my head, I figured that I would not get my goal time of a sub 1:39:00.  When I hit the finish line, the clock read 1:40:00.  I later learned that the police officers directing race traffic accidently sent the early runners the wrong way, and we ran an extra .4 mile, which explained the deviation between the mile markers and my watch.  All times were declared unofficial as the race directors could not determine who ran farther and who did not (the officers realized their mistake later and directed the remaining racers correctly along the course).
Conclusion:  23rd out of 153 men, age 40-44.  94th out of 1776 overall.  Clock time of 1:40:00 for 13.509 miles, 7:24/mi pace.  Re-calculated time for 13.1 miles, 1:36:56, 7:24/mi pace.  A new PR either way.  If not for the hiccup with the distance, this was a near perfect race in regards to the conditions, course, support, and crowd.  I really enjoyed it.  Except for the distance screw-up.  That really cheesed me off.

The Lincoln Family Y Half-Marathon
Setting:  10/22/11, Phoenix, AZ.  Phoenix in October starts off very cool in the morning and heats up quickly when the sun rises.  By the middle of the race, the temps were between 80 and 90 but there was a breeze that helped alleviate the heat.  The course ran through the South Mountain Regional Park and was lots of rolling hills.  The scenary was beautiful, but it also had a stark, desolate edge to it.  Not nearly enough crowd presence (practically none) for my tastes.
Summary:  I had flown out to Scottsdale for a work conference and learned that this race would take place on the last day of my conference.  Seizing the opportunity, I signed up for it earlier in the year and planned to use it as training run.  This had not taken into account my experience at the Middle Half.  Now with something to prove, I decided to turn this race into a full blown race, but realizing my limitations, I was hoping instead for a strong finish around a 7:30-ish/mi pace.  However the combination of jet lag, a half week of gluttonous eating and drinking, and only 4 hours sleep, and I was lucky to make it off the starting line.  My pace starting out was well below my goal pace and the rolling hills were quickly becoming a challenge.  Like the landscape, the crowd support was bare, which was a big negative for me.  I feed off crowd energy to help me push through some of the harder miles, so when there is no crowd for me to play up to to cheer me on, I start to drag.  And drag, I did.  By mile 7, I was spent and knew that I would be lucky to finish under 2 hours.  By mile 10, I was pretty baked by exhaustion, the heat, muscle cramps, and a slight lingering hangover, and I thought I would be lucky to finish at all.  Pride kept me moving and I did finish the race, albeit much the worse for wear.  I gathered what was left of my sunken pride and my pounding headache and headed back to my hotel to pack up and catch my flight back home.  On a side note, the starter for the race was Wyatt Earp's great-great grand nephew or some such.  He carried on the family name of "Wyatt Earp" and even dressed the part, mustache and all.  He started the race off with ridiculously loud shotgun.  That was pretty cool.
Conclusion:  17th out of 49 men, ages 40-49.  66th out of 327 overall.  1:47:38, 8:13/mi pace.  Not my best time in the world, but not my worst either.  Had I used this race as a pure training long run, I would have been more than happy.  However since the Middle Half, I'm still feeling "unofficial."  I run races to prove myself, and the "official" stamp, as superficial as it may be, validates my hard work and displays for the world to see (at least the parts that decide to check) that I have accomplished something.  So when I string together 2 less than ideal races, I tend to get a little pissy.  Still I'm glad that I got to do the race.  It was fun-ish but hard. 

Next week, I'm going back to my regular training schedule just in time for the Lungevity 5K next Saturday.  Let's hope I'm ready, because I don't know how much longer I can stand listening to my pissy, whiny ass!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Reality Check

The problem with blogging is that at some point you will hit a creative wall and fail in your bloggity updates.  The problem with being a runner is that a some point you will hit a wall in your training and you will fail to keep up your training.  I don't actually like to think of it as a failure but more of the body and mind working together to force you to rest and recover.  After running two half-marathons on consecutive Saturdays, I can confess that I have hit that recovery wall.  This week I have not had the will to muster the strength to go run much at all.  This would be all and good if I didn't prop up the time off from running with a mango key lime pie from Publix nearly every night this week.  A runner is intimately aware of what his or her body can handle.  We know the sound of every creak and pop our joints make as we struggle out of bed.  We search out the familiar tightness in our calves as we stretch before a hard run.  We suffer every cramp and spasm to know when we start to break down.  We know our limits so that we can routinely test them and push past them on occasion.  My reality is that despite my best efforts, I'm getting older and it's getting harder to push my body to its limits. And this week I hit mine.  Hard.  I'm resting and trying not to feel guilty about it.  But in reality I know that I needed the rest.  So off to rest I go!

Flag Counter

free counters