Saturday, April 16, 2011

First Timers

The past week sure has been interesting to say the least. The weather has gone from being nice and warm to having myself pull out the winter apparel once again. The brutal winds have blessed us with some additional "training stimuli" along with some rainy mornings and now the weekend had ~3 inches of snow.

The 22nd Annual Fitgers 5k was this morning and it was reported that in the history of the event no snow had been part of the festivities. Until this year. At first I was kind of mad when I heard the news yesterday but I quickly made an attitude adjustment and decided to have some fun with it and welcome what ever weather conditions nature could dish out. (like I had a choice anyway...)

As the gun sounded it was as close to a winter storm as any. I sure hope to have some pictures to post soon but we had one heck of a snow squall that thankfully diminished very quickly into the early mile or so. It was very good that some traffic made their way through downtown superior street because that was the only path to follow on the way out. Canal park was a bit less traveled and the corners were slick! A bunch of us were talking and we all wondered how much the slippery conditions really slow a runner down. It really doesn't matter because it was a race on effort and as long as you were giving it your all you were going to do as good as anybody.

I was surprised how good my legs and breathing felt going through the conservative opening mile in 5:15. I felt like I could manage to push that kind of effort the entire race and was feeling very good. As we ran past the Sports Garden we were greeted with the usual wind howling down the avenue. Once we were striding down Railroad street I was third in a line of three and we slowed some. I felt too comfortable but yet I didn't want to pass and lead into a wind while others took advantage. I stayed there until the 180 turn by the DECC and soon after made the gap up to the first guy who was trying to make a move out. As I fell in behind him I took a minute or so to catch my breath and then made a move past him to allow him to draft me. We pushed under the viaduct and then I gapped him a bit and decided to keep pushing up and over the final bridge and make my way to the dreaded trip back up Superior street. My legs were beginning to feel heavy but I still felt like I had decent turnover. Once I crested the climb I knew it was time to push all out as I didn't shake the runner behind me and he was making a move of his own. In the end I held him off and I didn't like what I saw. I know the conditions were crap, but I saw the clock tick past 17:00. That was a time I was trying to stay ahead of for many more years. My time would be 17:03, good for 3rd place overall and first over age 40. The last time I ran over 17 for 5K was in high school. I'm still happy with how I ran and how I felt as I think I am finding myself in pretty decent shape for April. I am now just starting to hit some true specific uptempo workouts and for me that is a good sign.

The other great news of the morning was my sister. She decided to join us nuts in this running venture last fall and ran her first race of adulthood in the Duluth Mile. Soon after she signed up for the Fitgers 5k and ran this morning. I had the pleasure of looping back and running the last quarter mile with her and she was just cruising. I also got to witness her endure a wonderful side stitch. You know, the kind that just makes you want to stop and sit down. I could tell that was on her mind but with a little encouragement she pressed on and broke the line in a very respectable 32:58. What's most important is she managed to run the same pace she ran her mile race last fall for the entire 5k! I wish I could do that! That also shows the room for progress and I get to enjoy watching all the PR's to come as she enters each race. Good job Carole!

Here is the early part of the week leading up to the snowy race weekend.

My first uptempo work of the week. A fartlek that went like this. 12 X 20 seconds under 5k pace (4:50-5:00) with 40 seconds rest. I call it the "20/40" workout.
My legs felt super and I was surprised at the pace as I was just feeling very fluid in my strides.
Total: 1:10:56 9.5 miles

Easy recovery style running. Kenwood.
Total: 1:06 8.6 miles

A bit longer repeats this time. 6 x 2 minutes at 5:15 pace with 90 seconds recovery.
Again, I was surprised how easy the intervals went. I felt like I could push a bit more but didn't. I have plenty of time to get speed in and this felt like a very good intro workout. No pains, and that is nice.
Total: 56:32 8.2 miles

I woke up to the alarm and slammed it. I was so tired and fatigued I just couldn't imagine running. Didn't sleep well the last few nights as my head cold is lingering and I am up much of the night coughing. A day off is often better than stumbling through a recovery run just to say you did it.
0 miles

Easy miles up Woodland. No problems except trying to keep the pace down. Nice!
Total: 1:05:40 8.5 miles

Race: Fitgers 5K
17:03 3rd place overall and first Master runner.
brutal weather, but still fun.
Total miles: 6+ miles

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