Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sabates Eye Care Trolley Run - Race Report

What: Sabates Eye Care Trolley Run
Distance: 4 miles
Where: Kansas City, MO
When: April 17, 2011
Goals: Main - Sub-30; Stretch - Sub-28
Finish Time: 27:35
AG: 60/524
OA: 377/8418
SEXPL: 339/3511

Race Week:

To say that my week leading up to the race was hectic is a huge understatement. I travelled to TX for work and put in 70 hours walking the railroad wearing my steel-toe boots. Needless to say, it was an exhausting week. I didn't get in anywhere near the running miles I was hoping for, but I did at least find some time to run.

I flew back to KC on Thursday and was supposed to arrive around 8:30; due to a plane swap in Dallas, I didn't make it back to KC until about midnight and didn't get home until 12:30ish. I managed to get about 4 hours of sleep before heading into the office on Friday. As you can imagine, I was exhausted. To top the week off, all day Friday and Saturday I had to deal with a migraine. I guess you could say that I didn't really have the best week leading up to the race.

I wake up about 2.5 hours before I have to leave to catch a shuttle to the starting area. I am still feeling tired, but at least the migraine has diminished to a dull throbbing at the base of my skull. I'm starting to think I might be able to have a decent race.

I check out the temp and see that it's about 45F so I decide to go with a pair of shorts and a sleeveless shirt.  It turned out to be the perfect choice.

I walked over to the shuttles at about 6:30 and made it to the starting area at around 7:00. At about 7:30 I head over to go line up in my corral. When you registered for the race, you were able to choose a wave based on your estimated finishing time. Since my 4 mile PR was sub-30 minutes, I was able to register for the red (first) wave. It felt weird being that close to the starting line in a race with a reported 11,000+ registrants.

Looking back from where I was lined up.

The Race:

After the National Anthem was sung it was time for the wheel chair participant to start. At that time I turned on my Garmin to see the "low battery" message. I was hoping it would at least last the first mile.

At about 7:45, the Red Wave started. I decided right then that I was going to go out and try for my stretch goal. I quickly realized that I started too far back when a 1/4 mile into it my pace was about 7:30. I start weaving in and out of people trying to find a clearing and eventually get the first mile done in 7:01.

Shortly after the race start

At about the 1/4 mile point

Roughly at the 1/2 mile point.

My Garmin is still going and since I was close to the needed pace, I decided to push a little more for Mile 2. Somehow I managed to get into a groove and finished mile 2 at a 6:44 pace.

about a 1/4 mile into Mile 2

About 3/4 through Mile 2.

I'm starting to feel the pace now and have my doubts that I can hold it until the finish. I decided to stay with the pace and see what happens. At about the 2.7 mile point, my Garmin dies. According to the data, I maintained a 6:44 pace up until this point. My mouth was getting very dry so I decided to grab some water at the upcoming aid station. I grabbed the water and walked about 5 steps to make sure I would be able to drink some of it. I get to the 3 mile marker and I'm starting to really struggle.

End of Mile 3/ start of Mile 4

Doubt starts to creep into my mind and I start thinking I can't hold the pace. The proverbial devil on the shoulder appears and convinces me to walk. After about 5 seconds I start to come to my senses, give that darn devil the finger and start running again. My breathing is really starting to struggle, I figure dealing with bad allergies all week didn't help matters any.

Instead of giving in to walking again, I pick up the pace. I resort back to my previous race strategy and pick out a "rabbit" to keep pace. With about a 1/3 mile to go, my rabbit notices that I'm there and picks up the pace. The race to the finish was ON! He was about 10' ahead of me so I dug deep and gave it all I had. The finish line comes into view and I see the first number is still a 27, this gives me even more motivation to hold my kick pace. The rabbit starts to slow and with about 50' to go I pass him. I run through the finish line as the clock reads about 27:40 and am completely exhausted. I walk slowly until I reach the last volunteer cutting off the chips. Thankfully I didn't have to put my foot on a small bucket, otherwise I probably would have fallen over.

Post Race:
After I caught my breath, I tried to find my rabbit to thank him, but he was already gone. I walked through the food area and grabbed a 1/2 banana, sm. chocolate milk, and some McDonalds Apple Dippers.

I decided to wait around for the award ceremony to see how fast the winners were and to see if I won the car (I didn't).

Walking to the food area

About midway through the crowd.

Looking back at the sea of people.

The top 3 women are on the right side. The lady in red was first female with a time of 20:16.

The top male finishers. All of the top 10 finished with a sub 5:00 pace. The guy in the blue jacket was the winner and finished with a 17:xx. I think they said he was just shy of a 4:30 pace.

I thank all of you who read to the finish and hope you enjoyed the RR and pics.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rock the Parkway Half Marathon Race Report

What: Rock the Parkway HM
When: April 2, 2011
Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 39F start / 50F finish
Finish Time: 1:45:49 (Garmin)
Avg. Pace: 8:01/mile
Avg. HR: 171
Max HR: 182
Splits: keep reading


My training this winter has been hampered due to tweaking my knee during icy trail runs and multiple ITB issues preventing me from putting in proper long runs.  It wasn't until the last 2 weeks that I started seeing my pace increasing while my HR was staying the same. In short, my pre-winter endurance is starting to return.

Race day:
My morning routine goes off without a hitch and I end up getting to the race about an hour early. Since it was a bit cool at 6:30 in the morning, I sat in the Jeep for about 30 minutes and listened to my pre-race CD. I also started to think of a race plan. I wasn't sure how I was going to approach this race. I kept teetering between racing it or treating it as a training run.  I decided that I would treat it as a race, but not try for a PR. I really didn't think I was in PR shape.

At about 7:00, I headed to the restrooms at the HS stadium and then went to line up.  I decided that I would line up between the 1:50 and 1:55 pace groups.

At the start, facing forward.

At the start, facing behind me.

So looking at the pictures, I guess I lined up a lot closer to the 1:50 pace group. :)

Since I knew the temp would warm up to 50F byt the time I'd finish, I wore a sleeveless shirt and my race ready shorts. I like running with my own water so I wore my Salomon Advanced Skin S-Lab 1.5L hydration pack. It has plenty of pockets for me to carry my camera and honey stingers energy chews.  My hydration strategy was to drink a little every mile and take an S!CAP electrolyte capsule every 30 minutes.

As you can see from the elevation profile, this is a PR friendly course.

I quickly changed my strategy and decided that I would keep the 1:50 pace group close until the 10K point and then do a systems check and increase the pace if all was good.

Splits from Garmin connect.

I'm sure some of you are wondering "when is he going to get to the actual race details?" To be honest, I'm wondering that same thing. Well, now is as good of time as any. We are all lined up, the National Anthem was sung, and the countdown started..3....2....1..Runners are off!

The first mile was nice and slow allowing me to get warmed up. I was thankful for the pace group at this time since I likely would have started out too fast. It was an uneventful mile and I was running at my typical long run pace.

About 2 minutes after the start of the race.

We picked up the pace for Mile 2 and I was starting to have doubts if I could keep up this pace for another 11-12 miles. I told the doubter inside me to STFU and tried to relax. It worked. At about the 1.9 mile point we came to the first aid station.  When the pace group stopped to get water, I kept going. This is where I consider the race actually starting for me.

Near the start of Mile 2

Near the end of Mile 2.

Mile 3 had a few decent short downhill sections so my pace picked up a bit. I managed to keep the pace up the inclines. I decided at this point that I was going for the PR. This meant that I had to finish faster than 1:48:49. My new plan was to keep my current pace until Mile 7 and then start picking it up. As long as the 1:50 pace group stayed behind me, I felt I had a decent chance. If they ever passed me, I would pick up the pace and try to keep with them until Mile 7 and then re-evaluate the plan.

About a 1/4 Mile into mile 3.

I could tell my pace slowed a bit during Mile 4, but I decided to go with it. After all, I still had over 9 miles to go. IIRC, it was during this mile when I saw some decent signs. I think one said "13.1 is just a 5K with a 10 mile warm up."  Another good one I saw said "DON'T POOP out." 

Roughly a 1/3 through Mile 4.

Since I really don't remember too much from the middle miles, I'm just going to let the pictures do the talking for me.

Near the beginning of Mile 5.

1/2 way through Mile 5.

About 1/3 through Mile 6. I was trying to capture the rolling hills in the distance.

maybe 1/2 through Mile 6.

About 3/4 through Mile 6

The end of Mile 6.

1/3 through Mile 7

I interrupt this post for a short narrative.

When I hit the mile marker for Mile 7, I decided to stick with my plan and start picking up the pace. IIRC, my average pace so far was about 8:20/mile. I started to actually believe that a PR was possible as long as I at least maintained this new faster pace.

Now resuming to your previously scheduled program.

1/2 through Mile 8

Roughly 1/2 through Mile 9

Roughly 1/2 through Mile 10

When I hit the mile marker for Mile 10, I had about an average pace of 8:15/mile. I started thinking that I might be able to reach a sub 1:45 finish time. It was time to start using the upcoming downhills to my advantage. I just had to pick up my pace.

Roughly 2/3 through Mile 11.

I became all business after the last picture. I started passing quite a few people those last 3 miles, but only 1 person passed me. By Mile 12, I didn't know if I could maintain the pace. I couldn't keep my breathing in check and I couldn't have said a word to anyone. My average pace was dropping steadily. At this point, I knew that it wasn't dropping fast enough for me to go sub-1:45. I didn't think I could maintain my current pace. I was exhausted.  I tried to just will myself to pick up the pace. I evidently did, just have no idea how it happened.  I was so thankful when I reached the marker for Mile 13. I could see the finish line up ahead. I tried to kick it in, but it was pathetic. I had no energy left.

When I crossed the finish line, I felt that if I stopped I would either puke or pass out. So what happens, the people in front of me walk so slow it seems like a standstill. Once I got passed the roadblock I felt a bit better. It was a good thing that all the volunteers removing the timing chips were busy because I doubt I could have stood still long enough for them to clip the ties and remove the chip.

I am ecstatic that I set an unexpected PR by 3 minutes. I thought I would struggle to finish near 1:50. This race went almost perfectly. Looking back, the only thing I would have changed would be starting with the 1:45 pace group instead of the 1:50. I know I am currently capable of getting a sub-1:45. Since my endurance is just now coming back, I'm going to have to pick a new HM goal to reach.

If you managed to read the whole thing, thanks! I hope you enjoyed the pictures.