Friday, November 30, 2012

An interesting 18-miler

Last night I went to bed planning on waking up at about 5 am to get ready for a 6 am run.  On tap for the day was to be an 18-miler, with a average pace of 7:37/mile (per my training plan).  Well, as is usual with a 2 month old baby, I woke up at some point in the night.  And when I did, I had a very weird pain in my right knee.  Nothing major, but it was something I took note of.  Well, 5 am came up quickly, and I decided to hit that snooze button and made plans to *maybe* go for a shorter run once my daughter was off to school.

When she came and woke me up at 7 am, however, I didn't have that knee pain any more.  Huh?  Well, we got her all ready for school and my wife informed me that she was going to do some shopping all morning, so I could still do my long run if I wanted.  Well, I suppose I should...

I headed out the door and everything felt pretty well.  On these longer runs, I usually start out a little slower than my goal pace and speed up over the coarse of 3 miles, then on the fourth mile run slightly faster than race pace before I settle into my groove.  Then, to make up for the slow running at the front end, I usually try and push the pace for the last few miles.  Well, I ended up doing my first mile in 7:30, and didn't really feel like I was pushing, so I just held that pace.  Now I should mention that I did great for the first couple weeks of marathon training, then took about a week off.  So this was the first long run I've done, at this pace, in a while.

I felt wonderful up until mile 12.  By then I could tell that my legs were getting tired.  I also didn't really prepare for this run very well, so it very well could have been my lack on morning nutrition.  Either way, I was starting to hurt.  I was able to hold onto my goal pace until I hit mile 14.  I had run every mile in 7:30 or faster, and mile 14 I ran in 7:37.  My goal pace, right on the nose.  And it was tough.  As soon as I saw that, I broke mentally.  I decided to walk for 90 seconds.  I took in a ton of fluids, and when that 90 seconds was up, I felt a little better.

But my pace was much slower.  Miles 15 and 16 were both in the 8:30 range.  When I hit the end of mile 16, I had made peace with the fact that I was able to do 14 miles at or below my pace, and then had 2 crappy miles, but probably still averaged to be near my goal pace.  I had now decided that I was going to jog in the last 2 miles, nice and easy.  That was until I almost got hit by a car!

I was running across a driveway when a guy in a big truck came rolling up as he was looking down in his lap (probably texting).  Now, I've been running for a few years now, so I've learned to always look for cars coming out of the drive way (think about when you drive, you always roll all the way up to the corner, not usually stopping prior to where the sidewalk would be), so I had spotted this guy.  He saw me with about 10 feet left and slammed on his brakes, causing them to squeal.  I may have let him know what I was thinking at that particular time.  The positive of this whole thing was that it gave me a boost of energy!  I looked down at my watch and realized that I could possibly have enough time to finish exactly at my goal pace!

And then I got to the very next intersection.  I've had issues at this particular intersection before, with people coming up from behind and trying to turn right, with me in front of them.  So, again, I have learned to look for this exact scenario.  And of course, it happened.  I turned to look for cars about 10 feet before I entered the crosswalk and saw a silver SUV coming in the outer right-hand turn lane.  I enter the crosswalk cautiously, and turned to look directly at her.  She began turning and heading straight for me, so I threw my hands in the air to catch her attention.  She then slammed on her brakes, but was not concerned enough to get off of her cell phone.  It must have been a very important call!  And again, another boost of energy!

When I finished mile 17, I looked down at my watch to realize that I had right around 7 minutes to finish this last mile, and I would come in with a 7:37 average.  So I gave it all I had.  And as soon as mile 18 beeped on my watch, I stopped the time, began to walk, and checked out the average.  7:37/mile!  Woo hoo!

All of this is great, except for the fact that I am not going to be running again for another week at the earliest.  Oh well.  As long as I can continue to hit the target paces during the long runs, I will keep my hopes up for the late February marathon, when I am hoping to qualify for Boston!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

2012 SOMA Triathlon recap

Well, this recap is a bit overdue...almost a month actually.  Like I wrote in my previous post (also a while ago), my life has become pretty busy as of late.  Anyway, no excuses.  Here's the recap!

I was a bit nervous for this race.  Well, maybe nervous isn't the right word.  Let's just say that my training had taken a back seat to some other important things (like the birth of my son!), so I felt as if I was going into this race very under prepared.  The nice part of the whole thing was that I really had no expectations because I knew that life had happened, and there wasn't a lot I could do about it.  I was just hoping to go out and have fun and do the best I could.

The race started at 6:30 am for the pros, and then my wave was supposed to start at 6:35.  I had a very relaxed pre-race routine, not really having expectations and all.  By the time I jumped in the water, I was feeling pretty ready to go, and was actually getting excited to see how the day would unfold.

The Rock Star and me before the swim...looking nervous due to my lack of training

The swim started and I just went ahead and started near the back.  I really had done virtually no swimming (like maybe one swim workout per week) for the last couple months, so I was doing my best to not get in the way of the other people who had really put in the time.  I seemed to get in a pretty comfortable groove quite quickly, and just kept to myself and motored my way through the one loop swim course.  My final swim time was 40:33 for the 1.2 mile swim, which is pretty bad, even for me.  I've never been a fast swimmer, but I'm usually a bit faster than this.  However, I achieved my goal of getting through the swim without drowning, and actually felt really good when I exited the water.

I exited the water and made my way to my bike.  I quickly changed and hopped on my bike to get the rest of this show on the road!  I had decided that since I hadn't really trained, and had no real goals, I was going to push pretty hard on the bike and just see what happened.  The beauty was that if I blew up, it was no big deal because I didn't have any goals!

cruisin' on the bike
This bike course is not the greatest.  There's about a TON of turns, and a number of U-turns, making it pretty hard to get into a rhythm.  There's virtually no straight aways, which means not a lot of holding that aero position for long periods of time.  Oh well.  I kept on pushing, avoided having any flats (last time I did this race I had 2!), and ended up with a pretty decent bike split.  My time for the 56 mile bike course was 2:43:31, for an average of 20.55 mile per hour.  I actually felt great when I got off the bike, and was ready to get on to the run, which is usually my stronger of the events.  I hopped off my bike and ran over to switch my battle garb from biking to running.

I got off my bike and hustled on over to re-rack it, and quickly changed my shoes.  This was probably one of the fastest transition times I've had.  The time on my Garmin said 2:05, but I know it was actually a little quicker than that because I hit the "lap" button before I got off my bike, and forgot to hit it right when I left the transition area.  Oh well.  Off to the run!

By this point, I could tell that I was going to be pretty close to setting a new PR, which is totally not what I expected for the day.  However, I knew that my run would have to pretty better than I was expecting.  On the plus side, I was still feeling pretty good!  I started the run and made a conscious decision to stop and walk for about 15 seconds at the first aid station.  My game-plan was to run at a solid effort to each aid station and then walk for anywhere between 10-30 seconds at each aid station, giving me time to get in my nutrition and give my legs a bit of a breather.  This was a 2-lap run, and I actually felt great until about mile 10.  It was at this point that I could feel my lack of training, and really had to work to try and hold a pace.

Thumbs up for feeling great so far!

The beginning of the second lap, and still feeling great

Throwing out some love to my support crew!
By the time I finished up the second lap, I was definitely spent.  I was way under-trained for this race, but I was still able to put up a decent enough effort to set a new PR!  My fun ended up being 1:45:22 for the 13.1 miles, which was 8:02/mile.

I finished with a time of 5:13:55.  This was good enough for 14th in my AG, 77th in the male category, and 93rd out of 666 total finishers!  I was very happy with my effort, and couldn't have asked for a better day under the given circumstances.

After the race, however, I felt like crap.  This is when I paid for the effort I put out, without being trained well enough.  I was pretty nauseous, and couldn't really eat or drink anything.  I occasionally get migraines, and I actually got one during the second lap of the run.  Luckily, it didn't effect my run much, but the aftermath really intensified the nauseous feeling that I was having.  But I'm proud to say that I still have a streak of no throwing up after a race!  I'm sure that streak will end some day though...

Now it's time to get ready for by Boston Qualifying attempt!  More details to come...