Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How did it get to be April?

No really!

This year has been flying by already. I can't believe April is almost over. I have race reports and race plans to report.

Can Do 5k
So at the end of March, I signed up for a random 5k. I decided to make this my baseline 5k, so it was okay if I totally sucked - that just makes running faster easier! It was a pretty nondescript 5k, except that the bastards totally made the race 3.2 miles instead of 3.1. Now I don't trust my Garmin all that much to that accuracy (Forerunner 101 - old school). But the 5k and 10k courses followed each other for the last bit and the 2 mile marker and the 5 mile marker were very close together.

Now, one could argue that maybe the 10k was short, but I came in at 30:19 (9:47 pace) and I passed the 2 mile marker at about 19:19. I could have dropped my pace that much in the last mile but I was sprinting at the end. Stupid organizers and their focus on the special needs families they were raising money for.

(I hope the sarcasm was apparent in that last line.)

Anyway, like I said - baseline race. I decided to do a 5k a month more or less, just to track improvement and because I only did one race last year so I'm not worn out on them.

Seahawks 12k
The weekend before last I signed up for a 12k race that runs along the lake and through the Seahawks training facility and back. I really mostly signed up for it for the incentive to start making my long runs in the 6-8 mile range, instead of the 3-5 mile range I had been poking along in. I didn't bring Garmin, just my heart rate monitor, and made my goal to stay in Zone 2.

The race was moderately hilly and fortunately my knee held up. I am discovering it is mostly the really steep inclines that give me the twinging. Unfortunately, running in Seattle involves many of these sharp inclines if you don't run along the water. So to the water it is! Berlin is flat, so I don't think this will affect me all that much.

Anyway, the first three miles I was sub-10s (while in Zone 2) but then I had to slow down to keep my heart rate down. But then at Mile 6, Crystal Frontier came on and I can't hold back during this song, which is kind of weird since Calexico isn't exactly running music. So I booked it the last mile and a half. The end of the course was evil. You went past the finish and then had to wind around parking lots for almost half a mile. Apparently the number 12 has some significance for the Seahawks, thus why they didn't just make it a 10k.

My burst at the end brought me in at 1:14:45, which was a 10:01 pace. I was quite happy with that and I felt good for most of the race. I'm starting to wonder if I should always be racing with heart rate since when I keep it low, I am generally not miserable.

Earth Run for Water 6k
In my continuation of doing weird distance races, on sunday I did a 6k. The 6k is supposed to indicate the average distance a woman in the developing world walks to fetch water. As a water person, I felt like I should do this race. In another post, I'll describe how I intend to fuck up my marathon training by spending two weeks in Bolivia this summer working on a water project.

Anyway, I wanted to get a long run in on sunday, so I decided not to race this race either and just do a Zone 2 run. I parked my car downtown (about 2.5 miles from the start), ran to the start, then ran the race. It was a gorgeous day, with Rainier being all obnoxious and big and white and a clear view of the Olympics for half the course.

They actually marked the race in kilometers, so I mentally switched to "It would be nice to run sub 10-min miles" to "It would be nice to run sub 6-min kilometers." First k was 5:15, so I dialed it back, especially as it took about 1k for my heart rate to catch up and then shoot over my Zone 2. My heart rate monitor never stopped yelling at me to slow down from that point on. It wasn't way over my Zone 2 (it was in the high 150s and my Zone 2 ends at 156 or so), but I felt like if I ran any slower I would be shuffling. I didn't feel like I was running a hard pace, so I just let it go.

The middle ks clocked in about 6 min/k and then I picked it up for the last one and did another 5:15k, coming in at 34:45 (9:21 min/mile). I'm really starting to think of ditching my Garmin - I run just as fast but I'm way less miserable!

After the race, a nice couple gave me a ride back to my car (in retrospect, probably not my most brilliant move to get in a car with strange people in Seattle - this ain't Iowa!).

I was going to write more, but I think this is long enough. A few notes:

1. My next 5k test is next weekend - I hit 5k at 29:30 on sunday, so it shouldn't be a problem to beat 30:19. Aaaannnndddd.... brilliant me didn't realize that the course this weekend is THE SAME EXACT ONE as the 6k course (although short 1k). So at least I know I am a rockstar there...

2. I might be doing the skate ski leg of Ski to Sea. Good times!

3. I still hate swimming. But I am signed up for a pseudo-Olympic tri in June, so in the water I must go.