Sunday, September 25, 2011

Capital Pursuit 10 Mile

This was a very flat and fast course.  The 5K and the 10 miler started at the same time.  I lined up very close to the  front since it was not chip timed.  I was a little worried I was going to get run over by the 5K people, but wasn't too bad.  First mile was 6:33.  My goal was 6:30 pace.  I was passing people the entire race.  One woman passed me later even though I was picking up pace.  If I would have known the course was this easy, I could have gotten a PR with a better strategy since I was only 16 seconds short and this was a certified course.  The pace seemed too easy and every time I would notice the pace picking up I would slow down until the last 2 miles I just let myself go.  I had way too much left at the end.  I thought I might have a chance to place in my age group since last year the first place was 1:06.  I placed 25th of 517 overall and 7th of 48th  in my age group since all the fast 40 - 44 year old men must have showed up this year.  Since I wasn't winning an award, I decided to leave and go run some more on the trails.


Overall time:  1:04:06

M1 - 6:34
M2 - 6:30
M3 - 6:29
M4 - 6:17
M5 - 6:28
M6 - 6:22
M7 - 6:20
M8 - 6:16
M9 - 6:08
M10 - 6:09
M10.11 - 5:17

Monday, September 12, 2011

2011 Roots n Blues n BBQ Half Marathon

This year I decided to run the Roots n Blues half marathon since it was under new organization and also the price had decreased to more reasonable fee.  After the issues I had with it in 2009, I said I would never run it again.  The only challenge is this year it fell 5 days after Heart of America marathon on Monday.  There was also a 10K, but I really didn't think I would feel like trying to run a faster than a half pace.  The 10K did award prize money which attracts some really fast runners to the 10K.  My legs felt pretty good by Friday.  For some reason, I slept pretty poorly Friday night.  I wasn't nearly as nervous about the HOA marathon on Monday.  I felt kind of stressed wondering if I could keep a half pace.  I kept having dreams I woke up late and had only 10 minutes to get to the start line.  Instead, I actually work up a bit early.  Also, the right side of my neck and right shoulder had been stiff and sore on Friday.  I took a shower when I got up and helped to loosen up a bit.  Temperature was in the upper 60s, but humid and overcast.  I decided to wear a shirt since it felt a little chilly. 

I didn't have time to warm up before but instead used the bathroom one last time and watched the 10K started at 7:30.  The starting corral was quite crowded, but race is chip-timed so not a problem.  There were 643 runners in the half and 618 in the 10K so the half was just as crowded.  It didn't seem like many people wanted to be in the front of the corral so wasn't crowded at all in that area.  I started next to Angie and Sam.  I doubted my sanity for being up in the front just a bit. Angie planned to run a 6:15 pace, but said she might start at a 6:30 which was my planned pace.  There was a course change at the beginning due to some stages being in the middle of the street the course was supposed to use.  We had a bike to lead the way so no problem figuring out where to go.

I was worried, I was starting a little fast, but hit first mile at 6:29 and could see Angie pulling away (no surprise there!).  There were 2 other runners that had pulled ahead trying to stay with her.  I took water at the first water stop close to mile 3 on the Grindstone Trail which is a nice flat section of the course.  Talked to the same guy I ran up the hill with at HOA for a few minutes until I went ahead.  I was starting to warm up so decided I would need to ditch the shirt somewhere and pick it up later.  I took a few seconds and left behind the soccer goalie near some soccer fields about mile 4.   I was maintaining my pace at 6:25 - 6:35 until mile 5 with the big hill up to the Stoney Creek Inn which slowed my pace.

I tried to keep an even effort up the hill and a couple guys passed me.  I had a 7:00 mile for that hill so thought that was reasonable since it is a tough hill.  I passed 1 of them back after I got to the top of the hill.  The course for the next 2.5 miles was either pretty flat or downhill.  There is a nice downhill on Forum which I did not fly down like I normally do at the end of training runs down to the trail.  I kept the pace under control to allow my heart to recover for the next uphill which would be coming soon.  Hugh was out running the course during the race and I caught up to him on Forum near the top of the hill.  He said I was in 4th place although shortly after a guy passed me. 

Once we turned onto Stadium we had about a half mile to go downhill to the MKT trail.  There was a water stop here and a sharp turn before going into the tunnel.  This was the last of 3 water stops and I didn't get much in my cup, but since it was a half marathon and not extremely hot I was okay.  As soon as I came out from the tunnel, I was struggling a bit for mile 11 which was on the trail.  I was gaining on a guy ahead of me though that seemed to be slowing down more than I.

Tom M. gave me words of encouragement after I came off the trail with about 2 miles to go.  There was a bit of up hill but not bad.  For the last mile, I was feeling better and picked up the pace and easily passed the guy ahead of me.  Also, had some downhill in the last mile which helped the speed.  Running down the sidewalk on part of it was a challenge though since there was stuff in the way and people.  I finished mile 13 pretty strong at 6:40.  The course was just a bit short since several of us got only 13 miles.  I placed 4th overall of 643 and 1st of 48 in the 40 - 49 age group.  Felt lucky to place first in a 10 year age group, but placing 4th overall definitely helped.  The overall winner was Angie (same age as me, but female) and the 2 runners between us were 25 and 23.

We could have used a few more water stations which the race director said they will have next year.  I think the course could use tweaking as well so that it doesn't interfere with the setup of the festival and we could avoid last minute course changes that likely made the distance a bit short.  It did work well that the 10K runners started early since I passed very few of them walking on the trail.  I know there were some issues at the end of the 10K for the leaders, but that was not my race so I won't comment.  The race was definitely a huge improvement from when I ran it last in 2009.  It was the first year for this race director so I am sure next year will be even better.

Overall a fun race, a few bands along the course, spectators, and an adequately marked course (although some accurate mile markers would have been good).  Due to the last minute change, the mile markers painted on the road were not accurate.

m1 - 6:29
m2 - 6:25
m3 - 6:25
m4 - 6:34
m5 - 6:35
m6 - 7:00
m7 - 6:28
m8 - 6:27
m9 - 6:53
m10 - 6:41
m11 - 7:03
m12 - 7:04
m13 - 6:30

Overall: 1:26:49 - 6:40 pace

Video Clips from the Roots & Blues Half Marathon

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

2011 Heart of America Marathon

If you could care less about this blog and want race results click the link below:
Race Results

Set 1
Set 2

Columbia marathon a small part of runner's fund raising goals
Marathoner keeps climbing hills after diagnosis
Heart of America Marathon director celebrates 41st year in charge of race

Monday was the 52nd annual Heart of America Marathon. My number 8th consecutive HOA and marathon 25 plus18 ultra marathons. This year it was about 11 degrees cooler than last year at 57F (at home, but felt cooler) at the start and 60-something humidity.  There was a pretty good north wind but didn't feel until the last few miles.  A few less people than last year, but still over 200 runners.  Since we live just over 2 miles from the start line, we didn't leave home until about 5:40 am, and were able to park in the Hearnes parking lot next to the start line.  The convenience of this marathon really makes me appreciate it that much more and also great to see lots of familiar faces running or there to watch the start.  I also liked the fact I didn't have to stand around much more than a few minutes and we were off.  I was shivering just a little before the start.

Took off at 6 am and it was difficult to see my pace since it was still dark and I had turned down the light on my GPS so couldn't use it.  I was able to check my pace under street lights and it was reasonable.  However, I didn't feel like the pace was exactly easy.  Normally, I am having to reign myself in for the first few miles but that was not the case.  I had been tired most of the week even though I had cut mileage back quite a bit.  I thought there is no way I am going to keep this pace.  Then I thought this is a bad attitude so soon in the race  and maybe I will just take a few miles to warm up.  It seemed to get light pretty quickly since it was a clear day.  I didn't have anyone around me that I knew for a few miles and passed the people that went out really fast.  About mile 4, I saw Tom M. and looked like Ryan H. running with him.  Eventually, I caught up to them by mile 5 and ran with them for a couple miles which felt good until the long gradual hill where I slowed down a bit, but still the normal pace I like to run this hill.

I had 4 gels and planned to take one about every 5 miles until mile 15 and one at mile 20 if I needed one. Also, used the water stations, but was having a tough time drinking for some reason today so had to stop at a few of them to get the fluid down.   I had to pee about mile 9 and no one was around so managed to get that done without slowing too much.  My pace from miles 9 - 12 was off about 20 - 30 seconds.  I pretty much knew at this point no way I would be going under 3 hours this year so hoped I could keep pace to run 3:10 or less.

I got to Easley hill at mile 13 and figured since I wasn't feeling energetic, it might be a good time to try walking it this year.  I had one guy pass me on the hill and another walked it with me.  I think my half split was about 1:32 or 1:33 so thought maybe 3:10 was possible if I didn't slow down too much.  I ended up running with the guy I met on the hill for about 3 miles and he helped my pace, but eventually he slowed down and said he would see me at the finish.  My pace when I was running with him was only off about 10 seconds so thought maybe things might be improving for me. 

But that was not to be the case.  I slowed down 30 - 50 seconds for the next 3 miles and he still didn't catch up to me.  I was told before Pierpont, I was in 13th place.  I passed a couple guys after turning at Pierpont, one that said he ran with me at the Sedalia half a couple years ago.  Before, I passed them one of them fell down, but got back up and seemed to be fine.  Even down the hill after I passed them my pace was not that great for going downhill.  A group of several guys passed me before the next uphill including Matt D., but up the hill he ran slower and I was able to stay with him.  I even thought I could go faster up the hill, but decided to conserve energy for the last 6 miles.  We actually held a conversation going up this hill.  Matt commented a girl wearing Vibrams had passed us at some point, but we didn't speed up.  Once we got to Providence (about 6 miles to go) I picked up the pace.

The pace the rest of the way was not a death march but still 7:45 - 8:20.  I felt okay, but just didn't feel like a quicker pace.  Maybe the excessive long runs at slower pace have finally taken their toll on me since I have been focusing more on ultras than running 3 hour marathons. I even had thoughts that I would rather be running an ultra for hours at a relaxed pace than even pushing the slightest during this marathon.

After I realized I wasn't going to reach 3:10, I thought 3:15 would be nice since that is still a BQ for me (although realized later it is 3:20 for 2012 and then 3:15 in 2012 due to the new qualifying times).  This was just a goal to get me to the finish since I really don't plan to run Boston again any time soon.  I get to Broadway and don't think I can get 3:15 so decide not to worry about it and just finish steady.  So finished in 3:15:21, 14th overall of 209, 2nd of 24 in the 40 - 44 age group.  Felt lucky to place in age group with my time this year, but Tom M. aged up so that helped me get 2nd instead of 3rd.

I had planned to go out and run more after the marathon so after about 25 minutes and still not wanting to eat anything, I took off for a slow 4.5 mile run and picked up the car to go back to the start.  The car was actually not more than a mile from the finish, but I took the trail since I wanted a longer run.  I had hope to do a little more but left knee was feeling a little tight.  Hugh had finished in 3:52 while I was gone and was happy with his time.

I wore the Hoka, Mafate Trail shoes for this road marathon, but don't think I wear them for a road marathon again.  My feet were in really good shape when I finished.  There was no rubbing or toe nail problems and feet did not feel sore.  These shoes are quite cushy and I prefer much less of a shoe on the road.  The Hokas are a great shoe for when the legs are already sore.  I do think they are better on flat surfaces so I am going to try for a long flat run next.  They didn't seem to make my calves really sore for the marathon so the calves must have adapted to them.  I do like the fact they seem to work other leg muscles that my Mizunos do not.

My splits from Previous HOAs are here
I like to compare each year, but this year the miles are always off a little on GPS so not exact.
Andy on course (photo by Shane Epping)
Almost to the finish (photo by Oscar Chavez)
Andy at finish (photo by Shane Epping)
Hugh near finish.