Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lake Perry Rocks HM RR

What: Lake Perry Rocks Trail HM
When: October 22, 2011
Where: Lake Perry, Meriden, Kansas
Temp: 45F start 58F finish
Finish Time: 2:19:04

I wasn't sure if I was going to run this race or not. However, after running the Fall Fell 7 mile trail run on October 16, I decided to register for the Lake Perry Rocks HM. I was planning on doing a 10 mile trail run this weekend anyway, what difference would an extra 5K make.

Race Week:
Since I knew this race would take more out of me than the KC HM did last weekend, I figured to cut back on my mileage a little. I ran a total of 15 miles during the week leading up to the race this morning. My legs were rested, but I had been having some periodic pain along the top of my left foot. It never lasted long and seemed more like nerve "pain." The foot pain seemed to fade on Thursday and Friday.

Race Morning:
The race started at 8:00 and was about an hour and fifteen minutes drive away. I always like getting to races about an hour early which meant I would have to leave between 5:30-5:45. In order to do so, I woke up before 3:00 so I could get my coffee and let nature take its course.

At about 5:00 I eat my usual pre-race breakfast, a bowl of honey-nut cheerios. Got dressed quickly and rushed out the door. I made good time and got to the race location at about 6:45. Since it was still around 38F, I decided to stay in My Jeep for a while.

I finally decided to brave the cool weather so I could get use to it before the race started. I walked around, talked with some friends, and got my bib and goodies which consisted of a coffee mug with logo and a long-sleeve tech tee. I then snapped a quick picture of the sunrise.

At 7:55 everyone goes over to line up. Since this was going to be my longest trail race (and run in about a year) I lined up near the back.

We started on a dirt/gravel road and of course as we were lined up, we had to clear the road to make way for a truck that was barreling on down. After the truck passed, the race was on!

We ran down the dirt/gravel road for maybe a 0.15 mile before cutting into the trails. The remainder of the race, except for the last 0.15 mile or so, would take place on some gorgeous trails. The trails were covered in leaves which did a great job of hiding the rocks. It kept the race interesting.

During the first 2 miles I took it fairly easy to warm up. I fell in line with a group of people running the 50K. It kept me from going out too fast. After about 2.5 miles, I decided to pick up the pace and see what I could do.

I ran progressively faster from Mile 3 to Mile 7. Mile 8 was a bit slower, but still managed a sub-10 mile. After Mile 8, the hills started getting a bit steeper and my legs were getting more tired. I would walk the uphills and run the rest. Mile 11 was my slowest mile (13:15), but I picked it back up for the last 2 miles with my last mile being a sub-10 pace.

My goal going into the race was a sub-2:30 time so when I crossed the finish line with a 2:19 I was very pleased! What was even better, I made it the whole way with no injuries. The last time I tried a HM on these trails, I had to cut back to the 10K due to ITB issues. This race felt like redemption.

Throughout the race I took a bunch of pictures. So if you made it this far, I might as well provide some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Mile 1:

Mile 2:

Mile 3:

Mile 4:

Mile 5:

Mile 7:

Mile 8:

Mile 9:

Mile 10:

Mile 11:

Mile 12:

Mile 13:

I hope you enjoyed the pics.

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Smithville Dam Run 10K RR

What: Smithville Dam Run 10K
When: September 25, 2011
Where: Smithville Lake, Smithville, MO
Why: Why not :)
How: 1 foot in front of the other
Motto: "Don't cry like a bitch when you feel the pain" taken from a Sick Puppies song.
Finish Time: 45:05
AG: 1/??? at least 4 :)
OA: 5/??

Now that the summary is done, on to race weekend.

The weekend prior to the race:
Last weekend I ran a crappy 4 mile race by not having a strategy and going out too fast the first couple of miles.I was hoping to finish sub 29:xx, but finished with a pace of 7:20. I vowed to race smarter during my races this weekend.

Race Weekend:
I ran the KC 15K on Saturday and forced myself to take it easy. Granted, I still ran faster than wanted, but was able to talk in complete sentences the whole time. I ended up pacing a gal from mile 4 until the finish and was able to get her to reach her goal of 1:20ish. I finished the 15K in 1:20:01 for an avg. pace of 8:36/mile.  My legs felt fresh after the race and I was feeling good!

Race Morning:
My legs were feeling a bit tired this morning. I was worried that I had ran a bit too hard during the 15K on Saturday, but I decided I was still going to try and beat my time from last year and defend my AG win.

My strategy for this race was to try to average a 7:30 pace during the first 3 miles and then pick it up from there. I also wanted to keep an AG rival in sight so I had a chance to overtake him in the later part of the race.

With about 20 minutes to go I start the walk up the hill to the starting line.

Thankfully, the last part of the race finished running down the hill. :)

I get to the top of the hill and wind seems to calm down a bit. It's a crisp, sunny 50F morning. Perfect conditions for a race.

Since the only timing mat was at the finish, I decided to line up close to the front. I saw my AG rival and he became my first "rabbit". There was no big start, just some guy comes jogging up to the front, crouches down on the side, counts down and blasts an air horn.

Mile 1:
I vowed not to go out too fast the first mile and decided that I wanted to keep it between 7:00 and 7:30. When my rabbit started to pick up the pace it was tough to let him go, but I wanted to run my race.  The mile started downhill so it was tempting to go with him and by the end of the mile he was probably about 300 yards ahead of me. I stuck with my strategy and finished the first mile in 7:15.

Mile 2:
This mile starts downhill, but finishes uphill with probably no net elevation change. I wanted to try and maintain my pace, but my tired legs had other plans. I did manage to keep the rabbit in sight and only slowed a little finishing this mile in 7:20.

Mile 3:
This mile is basically all uphill. At this point I see a few women and made it my next goal to pass them. My AG rival was extending his lead and my pace was slowing during this mile so I felt I needed to put an intermediate goal in place to help keep me in line. The ladies were about 100 yards ahead and keeping pace. I had to push myself a little to close the gap.  One of the women separated from the pack and started pulling away. She quickly became my new rabbit. I finished the mile in 7:33.

Mile 4:
This mile is also basically all uphill. I was closing the gap on my new rabbit and when we made a turn I heard the volunteer tell her she was the first female. I let her pull me along until the next aid station. My mouth was a bit dry so I decided to take water and walk so I get drink it all. Thankfully the short stretch after the aid station was a gentle incline and it was easy to restart running. I closed the gap and passed the rabbit during this section. My AG rival was a ways up, but still within sight so I re-focused my attention on him. Since this mile included the steepest hill and the aid station it's no wonder it was my slowest mile. I finished it in 8:00.

The first female just before I passed by. This was also the only pic I took during the race. The little dot going up the hill is my AG rival.

Mile 5:
This mile has some rolling hills, but is net downhill overall. I figured it was time to make my move and start gaining ground on the rival. I start thinking of my race motto taken from a Sick Puppies song, "don't cry like a bitch when you feel the pain," and started pushing my pace. It wasn't until I saw my avg. pace dropping that I thought I might just have a chance to set a new PR.  I keep slowly gaining ground and decide to make my pass during the next mile. Mile 5 passed in 7:14.

Mile 6:
By this point my breathing is getting rough, but my legs still feel good. Seeing my rival getting closer and my avg. pace drop keeps me motivated to keep running, even though my lungs are telling me to walk.  I finally pass the rabbit about halfway through the mile and am worried I might be making the move too soon. To help keep me increasing my pace, I set my sights on passing the next two guys ahead. Honestly, I think that fear of being passed by my rival was the biggest motivator for my increased pace during this mile. I ended up passing one of the two guys during this mile and finished it in 6:34.

Last Stretch:
This was completely downhill but I couldn't increase my pace much at all. I could hear the guy I just passed gaining a bit of ground so I focused on the finish line and tried to increase my pace. Although it didn't feel like I was getting faster, I was actually gaining ground on the next guy. I passed him and tried to catch the next guy who was about 50 feet ahead. I did make up some distance, but didn't have enough left to catch him. I crossed the line in 45:05 and am extremely happy!

With my legs feeling tired at the start, I really did not expect to set a new PR this race. Not only that, but I finished with a faster avg. pace than I had during the 4 mile race last weekend. Could I have done better without running the 15K yesterday, of course! Would I do anything differently, NO!  It was a great weekend of races and I had a blast! I couldn't have asked for anything more.

If you managed to read to the end, I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Head For The Cure RR

What: Head For The Cure 5K
August 28th, 2011
Overland Park, KS
Finish Time
: 21:03
I have not had a good summer of running. I dealt with ITB issues from May throughout July. I’ve only started to feel like I’ve been getting my speed/endurance back since mid-August.
Race Week:
My runs this week have not instilled confidence that I would be able to hit my goal pace of sub-7:00/mile. My allergies had been bugging me and my breathing has seemed out of whack all week during my runs. Just like I did the previous 2 years, I ran the Mud & Muck Run 5K on Saturday morning. Since I knew I was going to attempt a PR during HFTC on Sunday, I ran the Mud & Muck Run easy and just had fun with it.  Even while taking it easy, my breathing made it seem like I was putting in a higher effort than I really was. I never could get a groove and even decided to stop and walk during 2 short stretches. Needless to say, it did not boost my confidence for my PR attempt at HFTC.
The Night Before:
Although it wasn’t conducive to a PR attempt, I was offered a ticket to the Heart/Def Leppard concert for only $25 and couldn’t pass it up.  The concert was amazing and a lot of fun! I only managed to get about 4 hours of sleep.
Race Morning:
I was exhausted when I awakened after getting only 4 hours of sleep. I started the coffee, took a shower, and tried to wake up the best I could.  I ate my usual race morning breakfast, a bowl of honeynut cheerios, got ready, and headed to the race. It wasn’t until I arrived at the race that I realized I left my camera back at my apartment. I placed it in a fuel belt I received at the Mud & Muck Run, but forgot to take it with me.  Since I had about 40 minutes until race time, I decided to do a slow and easy mile warm-up, during which I couldn’t stop yawning.  I remembered that I had a sample packet of jet black GU back at my Jeep so I downed it about 20 minutes before the race and hoped for the best.
The Race:
My plan was to go out at about a 6:59 pace and try to hang on. This race was going to be my test to see how far away from a sub-21:00 5K I am. I figured I would likely crash & burn, but I would leave everything I had out on the course.  With about 10 minutes to go I head to line up. I feel that I’m lined up too close to the front, but after talking to people around, it’s clear that I need to move up more. I really wish the race had pace signs to help people line up correctly.
I moved up about another 10 feet, still was around people looking to average a 9:00 mile, but the next row had some fast runners so I didn’t think I should move up any further. A young lady did a great job singing the National Anthem and the race started.
I started the Garmin before crossing the mats so I knew my official time would be faster than my Garmin time.  The first mile starts with a nice gradual downhill so after weaving my way through the slower runners, I let gravity help me out and tried to hit a pace of 6:59.  After the first downhill my average pace was at 7:14 so I knew I had to pick it up during the gradual incline.  I was pushing myself and started to see the pace dropping.  I passed the first mile marker in 6:56 according to the clock, but my Garmin shows I finished Mile 1 in 7:02.
Mile 2 was a rough mile. I started breathing heavy and knew the last half of the mile contained a noticeable incline. It was all I could do to prevent myself from slowing down too much. I decided I needed to find a “rabbit” to pull me along so I chose a guy who looked like he could have been in my AG. He seemed to be running strong so I vowed to keep him in sight. It seemed to work, but I still had to fight the urge to walk. Without stopping to walk I passed the Mile 2 marker at a time of 14:10.  According to my Garmin, Mile 2 took me 7:07.
Mile 3 started and I was in a mental battle. I remembered some words of encouragement that a good friend said to me while chatting before I headed out for the race.  She simply said “KICK ASS!” At that moment I decided it was time to do what I could to pick up the pace. My “rabbit” was about 50 feet ahead of me, but I was slowly gaining. About ½ way through Mile 3 I finally passed him. He picked up the pace to stay with me. Since I was feeling rough, I figured he would outkick me if he stayed close. Since I could hear that he seemed to be working as hard as I was, I decided to push the pace during the next incline. He did not try to stay with me. I then saw another guy that could be in my AG and made him the new rabbit. He was a ways ahead of me so I kept my pace during the incline, but as soon as we turned and started on the gentle downhill, I started picking up my pace. With about 1/3 mile to go I started my kick. I am passing runners and gaining on my rabbit. I hear a lady tell him the finish is around the next corner. I think of those two words “KICK ASS” and somehow find another gear. It feels like I am flying. My rabbit hears me coming behind him and kicks. I would not be denied and flew by him with about 100 feet to go until the finish. This was the fastest I ever remember running and it felt GREAT.  Oh I was a hurting unit, but it felt GREAT!  I passed under the clock when it said 21:10 (I think). When I stopped my Garmin, it read 21:10 as well.  It was a new PR by just over 1 minute! I could not believe it!
Since I was out of it, I had to walk around a while before I stopped to have them remove my timing chip. Chip removed, I managed to find the final rabbit after the race and thanked him for pushing me. We congratulated each other on good races.
I stayed for the awards and then went out for another 7 mile run (2 hours later). That was a very slow run. :)
After uploading the Garmin data to my computer, it shows that the last .1 was run at an average pace of 4:04. There is nothing like finishing on a gentle downhill to make it look like you have some speed. No wonder it felt like I was flying. 

I’m betting that if I had proper sleep last night and was well rested, I would have easily finished in under 21:00. I am very surprised that I still had that kind of effort in me based on how the week has gone.
Thanks to everyone who managed to read all of my ramblings.

The Official Race Pics

Floating picture 1.

Floating pic 2

I must have been bored.

I must have been focused on the kick.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Intro to Summer Trail Run RR

What: Intro to Summer Trail Run
Distance: 2.8 miles
When: June 18, 2011
Where: Wyandotte County Lake Park
Finish Time: 23:44

This morning I ran a great event put on by the KC Trail Nerds. Last year, this event was my first ever trail race. I finished it about 5 minutes faster this year than last year.

Overall I am really pleased with my performance. As usual, I started way too far back and had to work to pass people. Since the majority is on singletrack trails, passing space is limited. At one point I decided to run through the woods to the left of the trail for about 100 yards so I could pass a line of people.  The issue wasn't that the runners wouldn't let me pass, just that passing space was limited without forcing someone into a tree or the high weeds.

I ran a negative split and don't think I was passed by anyone during the last half of the race. I believe I was 19th OA out of 64+. Either that or I was the 19th OA male out of 64+. Either way I'm still pleased with my performance.

I think my camera has taken too much of a beating over the last few years due to being dropped so my pictures aren't that great, but I hope you still enjoy them. I didn't take too many pics and most were during the first mile.

Pre-race Photos:

Registration area.

Picture of the trees hiding the trail.

Lining up ready to race.

Mile 1:

Heading into the trail.

I'm moving so fast it's blurry.

A look at the narrow conditions that were along most of the trail.

I'm starting to look for a place to pass.

I made the pas and was finally moving at a good pace.

Wider portion of trail where we have two-way traffic.

Mile 2:

The wide section of trail where I made my move and surged ahead. It wasn't long before we headed back on the singletrack. Since I was running at a 7:45/mile pace, I decided not to take any photos when we hit the singletrack again. After all, I didn't want to face-plant by tripping over a rock, root, or slipping on the mud.

All finishers received a "2.8" sticker. I figured WTH, why not put it on my Jeep and make everyone wonder what the 2.8 means.

After the race I went back out on the trails with a buddy of mine and managed another 7.5 miles. Here are some pics from that excursion.

Running across the dam to hit the trails again.

All in all it made for a great 10+ miles on the trails and a great way to spend a Saturday.

I hope you enjoyed the pics.