Thursday, September 26, 2013

Get Ready to Rock! Pace Report

Another belated report, but better late than never.

On Saturday the 14th, I woke up early, and got ready to rock. Ready to rock twenty miles around the beautiful city of White Bear Lake. It was a busy morning, and though Laura was also running the twenty mile race, she was driving separately. I was pacing the 2:40 group of the Get Ready to Rock! 20 mile, and afterward had to get home, get cleaned up, and take my MTLE test for my K-12 Reading License.

It was an extremely pleasant morning for running. We've had unseasonably warm weather for fall, so a temperature in the low 50s felt a little chilly. After meeting the pace director, getting my bib number and pacing singlet, I waited in my car to stay warm.

Laura came a little later for a quick photo before we got the race rolling. She's planning on running the Twin Cities Marathon, and was going to use the 20 mile to see if she was ready. Laura's been very busy. As of September 1st, she and two colleagues became the co-owners of Children's Country Day School, so she's been keeping herself more than occupied with that. As if that weren't enough, she's working on a master's degree in early childhood administration. Short story long, her training for Twin Cities Marathon hasn't gone exactly according to plan.

I, however, was using the 20 mile as an easy long run as part of my training for the Rock 'n Roll St. Louis Marathon, and to make the dreams come true of some would-be 20 mile finishers.

Get Ready to Rock! was an interesting race. After one of the early miles registered on our Garmins as 0.9 miles, the markers were pretty accurate from the point on. But, because of that 10th of a mile inaccuracy, the other pacer and I were ahead of schedule for most of the race. After running several miles in the 8:10s (our pace was supposed to be 8 flat), we ran in the last few miles just under 8 minute pace, just in case the course gave the tenth-of-a-mile back at the end, as is often the case.

In the middle miles somewhere, one of my coworkers jumped on the course and ran with us for a few miles. It was cool having another person running an easy pace to swap running stories with. I don't know how the pacees feel about their pacers yammering the whole time, but it makes it go by quicker for me.

Coming into the last half mile, Sam, the pace director, was spectating. "Nice job guys, but slow down," he said. "You're going to come in fast." And we did. My official time was 2:39:19. Not exactly spot-on. Not a big deal though--most people are running the 20 mile as a gear-up for a fall marathon, so they're not super-concerned with the pace, other than that it's consistent, which we were (other than our slow down for a couple miles).

It was a nice day for a run. The course was shaded, went around Bald Eagle Lake a couple times, and the weather was clear, cool, and just a little breezy. Sam let us drop our pace signs after a mile, then pick them up again at mile 19, which was awesome. The race was very "no frills," but enjoyable nonetheless. Laura also had a good time, and feels ready to complete the Twin Cities Marathon in a couple weeks.

Oh, and I even passed my MTLE test afterwards.

Happy Running!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Victory Labor Day: Race Report

 This race report is a little belated, but better late than never.

The weather was perfect for a race. Cool, overcast, not too humid, and a nice breeze. Laura and I headed to the race to run the 10k, while my parents, visiting from Nebraska, planned to join us later for the 5k.

Laura and I before the race

The 10k was first, and after a warm up, we made our way to the starting line. This race isn't chip-timed, so I headed to the front. The Labor Day Victory 10k is a fast course and attracts fast runners, so I knew I wouldn't be competing for an award. I did, however, hope to set a PR and wanted to tuck in with a group running near my pace. Instead, I found myself in no-man's land after the first half mile or so. I left a group that was moving too slow, but couldn't catch a group in front of me. There wasn't a major wind or anything, but it's always easier to run in a pack.

After a couple of miles, I did manage to catch three runners in front of me--a guy in his 50s and two women. I was hoping to stay with them as long as possible since they were going about the pace I wanted to be running. The race is an out-and-back, and sometime after the turn I thought I could pick up the pace a little bit. I moved ahead of the little group and hoped to catch a couple more runners in front of me. Unfortunately, I couldn't hold the faster pace, and the group of three caught up to me. When they picked up the pace a little, I couldn't respond.

While trying to catch up to the three runners who'd left me behind, I ran by Laura, who was going the other direction. She was also doing the doubleheader, and was looking strong. She ended up setting a 10k PR in the process of running 13 miles for the day.

After I tried to catch up to the faster group, it became obvious that I wasn't going to reel them in. The girls ended up being the top two females, and the guy went on to set a Minnesota age group record.  I, however, did end up setting a PR, though it was not as good of an age graded time as my mile, 5k, 10 mile, or 1/2 marathon PR. I'll take it though--especially after a winter and spring of inconsistent training and two weeks after a tough Ragnar.

All of us before the 5k
After a little recovery time, drinking some Gatorade, and seeing my parents, it was time for the 5k. The 5k can be summed up with one word: ouch. I ran an 18:14--a slower pace than my 10k. Not too impressive, and other than my legs being very sore, I don't remember too much about the race itself. The combined result of my races, however, were good enough to put me at 7th overall in the doubleheader category.

After I finished the 5k, I jogged back and had the pleasure of seeing my parents running, then finishing the race with my dad. It's been pretty awesome getting to encourage and help my mom run her first two 5k races, and helping get my dad back into running. It was pretty special when the announcer called both our names as we neared the finish line.

Dad and I finishing the race.

Laura and my mom both ran well, and they were there to meet us at the finish. We had a great weekend visiting with my parents, and finishing up the Labor Day Holiday with a race was pretty great.

Tomorrow morning I get to pace the Get Ready to Rock 20 Mile in White Bear Lake. Can't wait!

Happy Running!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

PR Time?

Tomorrow I'm going to take a shot at my 10k PR. Laura and I are running the MDRA Victory Labor Day 10k in Minneapolis--I race I ran for the first time in 2009 in preparation for my first marathon. At the very least I should run a course PR, as I ran around 40 minutes there in 2009. Honestly, if I don't set a new 10k PR I'm going to be pretty disappointed--my current 10k PR is 36:44, set at the Big Woods Trail Run in 2011. Since then I've set PRs at the 7 mile, 10 mile, and half marathon with faster overall paces.

I do have some things going against me. It's only been two weeks since difficult race at Ragnar, so I really haven't got to put in an race-paced workouts since then, other than running mile repeats at the Como Relays this past Wednesday. I also had a little setback on Thursday and Friday, coming down with a stomach bug and spending a good portion of Thursday night and Friday with a terrible stomach ache and a fever (after loosing my Thursday lunch).

I'm feeling decent though now, and am hoping that I can get past those two obstacles to at least set a 10k PR on a fast course on a day when the weather sounds like it's going to be close to ideal. I'm also signed up to run the 5k--the double header--where they take your combined times from both races. I'm not expecting anything too impressive from my 5k time other than hoping to survive it.

It should also be a fun race because I have some of my favorite people running with me. Laura is also signed up to do the double header, and my parents, who are visiting from Nebraska, are also running the 5k.

So, even if I fail to set a PR, it should be a fun time running with my family.

Happy Running!