Thursday, April 26, 2012

Earth Day 1/2 Marathon Pace report

As I awoke last Saturday to a cool, overcast morning, I knew it would be a day of making more dreams come true as I led the 1:35 pace group toward their goal in the Earth Day 1/2 Marathon. Temperatures were low, so I opted to go with the awesomest-looking outfit that would be comfortable--my red pacer singlet, courtesy of Zorbaz, and some black Twin Cities Marathon arm warmers.

After struggling with the single-cup coffee maker and having to show my numbskulled-ness to the guy at the front desk who explained to me how it worked, I ate a banana and drank some coffee before meeting another pacer to run to the start of the race. We got a nice warmup jog from the hotel and headed into the fieldhouse where the prerace festivities were taking place.

There was some lady leading people in a "warmup" of Zumba--some sort of crazy, dance-like thing that I didn't know was good for warming up for a half marathon. We then got a pep talk from the MN Pacers leader about how we'd better hit our pace or be no more than 30 seconds faster or we'd be in big trouble.

We lined up at the start, chatted with some runners, and were off. It was a pretty big race, but fortunately runners had lined themselves up well and I was able to settle into 7:15 pace pretty easily without having to dodge people.

My pace group was very nice--one guy in particular expressed appreciation multiple times during and after the race. The course was fine--not overly scenic but some nice stretches along the Mississippi and no killer hills. It drizzled a bit but nothing miserable.

At mile 7 I accidentally hit stop instead of lap on my watch. Luckily I caught it pretty quickly. I asked another runner what she had for time on her watch and I adjusted accordingly.

At about mile 10 I saw Laura--she was doing her long run and ran by to say "hi." I invited her to join our pace group for awhile, but she politely declined.

I kept a nice, even pace throughout the race and came through mile 12 a few seconds ahead of schedule. Then, at mile 13, I repeated a mistake I'd made before--trusting the mile 13 marker. According to my Garmin I was at 1:33:something. At that pace I would be at least 30 seconds fast, so I let up a little bit. Turns out the last 0.1 was more like 0.17. My final time ended up being 1:35:01. Close.

Saturday I pace the Brainerd Run For the Lakes Marathon--the 3:25 group. I hope to hit 3:24:59.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Earth Day 5k Race Report

Last night I raced in the Earth Day 5k. I was pacing the 1/2 marathon the next day, so racing a 5k the night before seemed like a good idea. Laura got to come along on this trip. She also did the 5k, easily wrapping up the title for cutest runner.

before the race

I was excited for this race--I've been putting in real mileage for over a month and did some solid interval workouts. My last 5k was in February, and I set a PR at 17:01. It was really cold that day, so I was expecting to break 17 minutes last night.

After a warmup I got to the start line where I got to chat with the eventually winner and fellow pacer, Gerad. I didn't think I could hang with him so I planned to hang back and hope that I could keep him within sight until the finish.

The race started and Gerad and another runner took off ahead of me.The race started up a pretty steep hill, putting the hurt on before the race really got started. After about half-a-mile I was running by myself--in no-man's land too far behind the leaders and too far ahead of everyone else.

I tried to run by feel and only checked my watch at mile markers. I went through the first mile around 5:20, but when I went through the second I was at 11:38. I thought there was no way I slowed down that much, and when I checked the distance on my Garmin it said something like 2.15. I was hoping the marker was just off and the race wasn't really going to be that long, but it was.

finish line

The race did have a ton of turns, but I was running all by myself so I'm pretty sure I cut the tangents. After the race Gerad had 3.27 on his Garmin and I had 3.26, so I'm going to go ahead and assume the course was long. Gerad also said he thought they had us running on the wrong side of the cones a couple of places. Either way, I wasn't happy with my time of 17:38, but oh well. I felt like I had too much gas in the tank at the end and that I should have been more aggressive with my pacing, especially between miles one and two. Gerad won it and the second place runner wasn't registered, so I got second by default. While Gerad, Dan (another pacer), and I were standing around at the finish, some guy came about five feet from us and threw up about a gallon of something really gross. I've got an iron stomach but after watching that dude spew all over the field turf I wasn't too hungry for dinner (until about five minutes later).

award ceremony

I do enjoy 5ks. They hurt, but they're over fast. I'm looking forward to do another one and hoping to break 17:00. I'll probably try to sneak in a little more speed work for the next one. I'd like to shoot for a fast time at the Eagan 5k Your Way, but I'll have to see how it goes since I'll be pacing Laura at the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon the week before.

Stay tuned to a pace report for the half marathon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Belated Race Report: MDRA 7 Mile

It's been over a week since I ran this race, but for some reason I've had a hard time getting inspired to write a race report. Perhaps it's because I did this same race last year and while I was happy with my results (I ran much better than I did in last year's race) I didn't have a breakthrough or unexpected performance.

Still, I did have a few things to say about the race, so in keeping with tradition of writing a race report for all my races, here it goes:

Laura was off visiting a friend in Louisiana on the Saturday morning of the race, so I was on my own driving to Hopkins and signing up for the race. It's actually a pretty neat little race--low key and free for MDRA members, but there's usually some good competition as well. This year was no exception.

While I was waiting in line for the bathroom, another runner asked me, "Did you see Katie McGregor?" I had not, but I thought it was pretty cool that she was running there. She'd also brought along a couple of her training partners. I didn't see them until they'd lined up at the start--it was pretty cool to be running in a race with such talented athletes.

The race got underway and one guy went out really fast--I could tell right away that if he was going to keep anywhere near that pace there would be no way I could keep up with him. They guy in second was also moving pretty well, though it looked like I might be able to catch up to him eventually.

About two miles in the guy in second turned around and slowed down. I was a little worried--I was afraid we'd made a wrong turn as I could no longer see the guy in first place. It turned out the second place guy just wanted someone to run with, so he stopped and waited for me.

He was in high school and asked me what school I went to. After I told him I was a little bit old for high school, he proceeded to tell me all about his training and race times. He's much faster than I ever was in high school and I wasn't able to keep up chatting with him at the pace we were going, so he did most of the talking. He was just running it as a workout since he had a meet on Monday.

At about four miles Katie McGregor and a couple other runners caught up to the high schooler and I. It actually worked out perfectly because McGregor passed me and that gave the kid someone to talk to who could actually talk. I was able to stay with one of Katie's training partners for the next mile and then tried to pick up the pace at the end.

I was pretty happy with my finish--I was able to run the last mile in 5:30 and finish in 41:16 (5:54 / mile)--fourth place behind the super-fast dude, the high school guy, and Katie McGregor. Last year my goal was to finish in the top five and I missed it by finishing sixth, so I was pretty happy my placement and time this year. I also ran a lot smarter and didn't go out too fast like I did last year.

I also got to run a few cool down miles with Katie McGregor and Michelle Frey--two awesome runners who have both run in the Olympic Trials. It was cool chatting with them and listening to some elite runners and getting some encouragement. How many sports can a regular person compete in and then spend some time with some top-tier athletes?