Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Updating My Status

I know it has been a while since I last posted.  There really hasn't been much going on beside training and training and even more training.  

Even though it has been my "offseason"  I have continued to run.  The March marathon still appears to be a go.  I am excited.  The course is mostly flat so I am confident I will be able to get through it.  Over the next couple of weeks I will have to start training with either a handheld or a belt.  We will see.  I know that nutrition makes or breaks distance runners and I am not going to allow that to keep me from finishing.  

I am also working on my schedule for next year.  Right now I am planning on at least one triathlon, one run, and one long bike ride per month from March until about October.  I would love to do an Olympic Triathlon by May and then a half by October.  

I also have officially hired a coach.  So far it has been great.  I have been making considerable progress.  Fortunately my initial coach taught me really well so now we are just refining technique and increasing confidence.  I have to learn how to relax.  Not very easy for me.  

Will try to keep you better updated on my progress.

Monday, November 7, 2011

City of Oaks Race Recap

As you know from my last post, this race was a "make-up" race.  I ran this race last year and felt horrible the entire race.  My dismal performance last year really drove me crazy.  Even now when I think about it, I wince at the butt kicking I received. I felt completely out of shape and thought I was going to die towards the end.  I had no energy and no drive for the last 3+ miles.  I was passed by people running carrying on a casual conversation.  I wanted to just stop and walk.  My finish time was 1:43:24 average pace 7:54.  And that was with max effort.

Well to start the weekend, I ran in a small 5k race in the area.  I think there was about 120 runners in the 5k.  It was really nice.  As I said  in my post on Thursday, I was going to take this race really easy.  Just a training run.  No real expectations.

Once the race started, I found myself right outside the lead group.  It felt like we were all sprinting.  The first mile was at just over 6:00.  And this was not a flat course.  I had to reigned myself in.  I knew that I was not going to keep this pace.  Even if I could, I didn't really want to.  So I slowed down to a much more sane pace.  I maintained my position in the about the top 10 and just cruised the remainder of the race.

I eventually finished 5 overall.  My time was 21:28.  I finished 2 in my age group.  I was really pleased with everything.  I really didn't expend too much energy.  I was more chilled (cold) than spent.  It was a chilly morning.  The entire Second Wind crew did an outstanding job.

After the race, I went home and just relaxed and tried to prepare myself for the Half.  I knew that it would not be anywhere near as casual as the 5k.  This year this was my most important race of the year. So this year I trained much better.  I knew that I had to be ready for the hills.  I had to be prepared for everything.  The course was a little different but the heart of the race was the same.  Still running through downtown, which meant rolling hills the entire way.  There were very few flat areas on the run.

As I was mentally preparing for the race, I decided that I would find the 1:35 pacer and hang with them for the race. Then I would not think about pace, just see the target, hit the target.  No thinking.  Well the best laid plans.  There wasn't a 1:35 pacer.  There wasn't even a 1:40 pacer.  So I was faced with having to just keep my pace myself.  Well there are worst things that could have happened.

The start of this race had about 4000 people plus starting on a "narrow" street.  Plus within the first quarter mile we had a roundabout to go through.  It was like the Tour De France, half going on one side and the other half on the other.  Even with that I was being bounced in and out.  Finally at about a half mile it started to thin out.  I was able to find a clear path and concentrate on running instead of worrying about getting trampled.

My run then fell into a rhythm.  Now it was just a matter of keeping pace.  There were a couple of times where I felt myself slowing down and I was able to pick it back up.  I crossed the 10k mark at about 44:24.  Which was a little slower than I wanted but it was still good.  Once I reached the 10 mile mark I still had plenty in the tank.  I was able to pick up the pace.  I was not winded or struggling.  So I finished really strong.

I said going into this race that I didn't expect a PR and wasn't going to shoot for that.  But as it turned out I was able to set a PR.  My finish time was 1:32:28.  This also was a 10 minute reduction from last year. I am really satisfied with my training and "tactical" race.

With that settled I am moving on to a marathon and more swim training.  Next goal is Marathon in March, Open water triathlon (White Late) in May.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Terrific Thursday

This has been a very bad week for me.  I have been very down.  Emotionally and physically.  To much to go into here but just let me say, I do not want to relive this week.

I am making today a terrific Thursday because I am getting closer to my marquee race of the year, City of Oaks Half Marathon.  This is my A race.  I know that this is crazy because normally you go into an A race wanting to set a PR or wanting to win you AG.  Well for me I just want to beat my time from last year.  

Last year I did this race shortly after returning from Death Valley as well.  But as you know last year I was banged up.  I didn't really understand how badly my hip was hurt until about mile 8. This year, I have no excuse.  I am going into this race completely prepared.  Last year I didn't train for the City of Oaks and only trained for Death Valley.  This year I have done it opposite.  I didn't train specifically for Death Valley, but I have been training for this half.  

But you know I cannot do anything the easy way, so I also scheduled a 5k on Saturday.  This I am doing with the Second Wind and Wake Crossroads Baptist Church.  My goal for this 5k is just use it as a training run.  No time expectations.  No real energy expended.  At least that is what I am telling myself.