Friday, May 28, 2010

Marathon Training Begins.

So this is Week 1 of my 18 week marathon training plan for Berlin, which I am right now signed up to run with Lisa and her mom.

The last time Lisa and I ran together was in Norway. Gosh, we look pretty gross in this picture. But anyway, that was a half-marathon. This will be her first marathon. Her mom and I are bad influences.

Anyway, Week 1 started after having the plague the week before. I ran a 5k on Sunday, in which I clocked a not-so-good 29:48. I signed up for a series of 5ks in the spring with the idea that I would use them to track my improvement. This was not an improvement over the last one in April. I guess I can blame being sick the week before, but on the other hand, I was well rested.

I already skimped out on one of my runs for the week. I ran three times, but I didn't do the 5 miler I was supposed to. But I also biked 4 times this week, including a really hilly ride in the neighborhoods in Ballard and down to the water. My legs were shot after 20 miles. I hope to God my triathlon isn't as hilly. I doubt it is as steep as we were winding through some pretty minor roads through residential areas. But who knows? I actually got off and walked on one hill, mostly because I was afraid I was going to tip over from going so slow.

My race is in a month!
And Seattle to Portland is in 6 weeks or so!

PS I have dropped the ball on relay recruitment. Right now I have a check from Lauren. The price goes up on June 15th, so I'd like to get at least 9 of us total on board before then! So if you want to run with us, let us know! We are doing the Spokane to Sandpoint relay on August 13-14. It will be good times!

PPS Al is moving to Seattle! Down at sea level, those Wyoming lungs will kick some ass I think. Al, you better sign up for a race or two real soon to take advantage!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Race Report: Al Finishes Second... Again!

This time the race was the Cody Yellowstone Opener, and I finished over a minute behind the winner. The course was similar to the other 10k races I've run here in Cody, but instead of starting and finishing at the Rec Center, up on top of the ridge that runs through the middle of town, it started near the Chamber of Commerce, down at the bottom. Also, we took Meadow Lane Ave. to the reservoir instead of the dirt trail. Both changes made the course hillier, and would have made it longer, so we turned around short of the cattle guard and ran the cut-off version of the reservoir loop. Overall the course was something like this, except with the turn-around a bit sooner (I don't know exactly where it would be on a map). For additional intrigue, this race carried a $300 prize for the male and female 10k winners. I wasn't really in great shape, but I figure I'm always a threat to win a race in a small town like Cody.

I actually led up to the turn-around, so for almost the first two miles. The eventual winner then turned on the jets and built a prohibitive lead almost immediately. He had clearly measured his pace for the first couple miles to observe the field. Another runner passed me as well, and built about a 30-meter lead. But at 14th St. he took a wrong turn; along Meadow Lane Ave. we had joined up temporarily with the 5k runners, who took a left at 14th, and he followed them all the way to the finish, cutting the whole reservoir loop (about 1.5 miles). I had studied the course and knew to take a right. The hill up to the reservoir took a lot out of me, and I didn't recover to my normal pace as quickly as I would have liked, but once I did I kept my turnover up and ran strong on the reservoir path. I think I would have had a reasonable chance to catch the second-place guy on the path had he taken the correct turn, but I'll never know.

Since the big climb was at the beginning of the race, and the climb up to the reservoir was steep and short, I think the critical parts of this race were recovery after climbs and downhill running. My recovery after the initial climb was fine but my pace between the turn-around and the climb to the reservoir didn't feel very fast. On the other hand, I really took advantage of the short downhill sections early in the race to pick up my turnover and extend my lead. I used to be awful at that, and it's become a real strength in my racing. As I mentioned above, after a slow recovery from the reservoir climb I felt like I got my pace and turnover up to a good level (I have no data to back this up). Coming down from the reservoir I did fine with my form and settled back into a nice pace before the final descent. That was a little dicier; my stomach started to hurt on that stretch, and as it's a pretty steep decline I wasn't really able to open it up. I lost a little momentum toward the bottom of the hill checking for traffic before crossing to the left side of the street, but there was enough residual hill to get my speed back up. If there had been anyone on my tail I might have tried to kick harder, but as it was I settled for a moderate pick-up at the end.

So I came in second, for the hundredth time, and with a time of 37:02, which was a pleasant surprise. Since my cats hid my watch I've been training blind and my mental energy has been diverted by my job search... I was afraid I'd lay an egg like I did at the Soroptimist's run in October. But I managed to put all the stress away and run about as well as I should have, given my training.