Thursday, November 28, 2013

Two Week Wrap Up *2 Races

The last two weeks reminds me of college days and racing weekly. I had a nice build up to the race last weekend and then recovered well and raced this morning in Duluth.

I have been feeling a nice groove and really managing my miles and recovery the way I like. It's that type of feeling you as a runner never want to go away. Each day passes and I have no troubles getting out of bed and pounding out the miles. I credit some of that to my training partner David Hypo as he and I manage to get together a few times a week to keep each other sane. It really helps. The last two weeks really have no major workouts as I managed to squeeze one in before my first race last weekend and then the current week I have saved it for this mornings 5K. Tomorrow will be a nice trail recovery run in the fresh snow of Hartley Park. Here is my mini race report of the last two races.

Last weekend a group of 10, including my 8 year old boy, loaded up and drove to Des Moines IA. We were to take part in the 35th Living History Farms cross country race. If you haven't made the trip, it's a must do. 7500 runners with a mass-start headed for one continuous 7 mile loop through fields, gravel wagon roads, single-track, river crossings and a finish that looks like a movie set from the old west 1940's.  The folks down in Urbandale really know how to put on a race. I've participated twice now and I have to believe I ran in the warmest and coldest years. Back in 2001 it was near 70 F and we sat around in shorts after the races eating the many donuts they have to offer. This year it was 7F (with a -4F windchill) and the coldest they have on record. Maybe?  As the gun sounded I was just focusing on staying upright and not get trampled. After a couple hundred meters it was all clear and I settled into my pace and enjoyed the energy of the mass. We rolled out into the corn fields rather quickly and had plenty of time to spread out before any single track. The first couple river crossings were not a big deal but the third was thigh deep and COLD! I found myself with plenty of energy and I kept passing people the entire race. I figure I was in the top 50-60 at the mile marker and then managed to finish 26th overall and 1st Master runner by a click of the watch. Yep, I passed a master runner with 400 meters to go and held him off. I actually felt like I was racing out there. What a year to remember for those race organizers! Let's hope for a bit more heat next year.

My second race of the week came this morning as I participated in the 8th Gobble Gallop 5K down superior street in Duluth, MN. I was on the fence all day yesterday as I was fighting a head cold and really didn't want to push a hard effort and make the cold worse. The day consisted of pushing fluids, airborne, OJ, and plenty of vitamins. I hit the sack early last night and hoped for the best. When I woke up this morning I felt very good and was immediately ready to race. I took a hot shower, took in some tea, airborne and made my way down to the race start. The racing conditions had the potential to be terrible but having the road crew scrape the road and having the sun come out the footing was actually pretty decent. (just before the race I changed in my truck and the outside temp was 20F)
This race tends to go out very quickly, much like Fitgers 5K, as the street is a nice gradual downhill and people really tend to get excited and crank for the first 1.5 miles. I had every intention to hold myself back and try to run even splits. That's very hard to do when the pack is leaving you in the dust but if you are true to yourself and keep in touch with your limitations it is a must if you want to have a decent end result. At the turn I made a conscience effort to pass a group of runners and keep rolling until I couldn't hear footsteps any longer. For the most part it worked and I managed to clip two more runners in the last half mile to close out the race for 7th place overall and 1st Master.
Each race I take something away, good or bad, and learn from it. Today, I was happy I ran a nice even pace and pushed when I wanted to push and the end time was pretty decent as well. For the shape I'm in I really can't be disappointed. Last week I told my training partner, "If the conditions are good I will run 16:25." I ran 16:22 and the conditions were not the best. I'm in tune with my body and I have two more weeks before loading up a plane and heading for USATF Club Cross Country Championships in Bend, OR. I have high expectations and I am willing to take on the personal challenge of those expectations. After all, that is what allows me to get up each morning as the alarm sounds. Good night and see you on the early morning trails...

Here are the last two weeks miles:

November 11-17
last good week before race week
did two workouts plus long run
one day of LONG hills one of cross country style repeats in Rock Hill
Long country, hilly run

Total: 71 miles

November 18-24
*race week
Easy running with one day on the track doing my leg pick-ups at 12 X 100 meters at the end of a 6 miler. This workout is purely for leg turn over and speed.
Race on Saturday. Living History Farms
Sunday off/ day of rest.

Total: 44 miles

November 25-December 1
*thus far 34 miles
5K race 16:22

Years Total: 2388 miles

Friday, November 15, 2013

Porkies Marathon and the Rest of October

The last blog entry I had written was just about a week from my Porcupine Mountain Marathon. My little injury I had in September had settled enough and I managed to race without too many problems. The rest of October was getting my legs back, even though it was a trail marathon it took a week or two to get back into the swing of things.

As for the race, it was about as tough as I imagined and the weather was worse than I was hoping for. In my build up to the race I had plenty of longer trail runs to make me confident in racing the marathon distance. What I didn't have confidence in was my fueling and pacing as I have not done one of these races before (since 2004, and that was a bomb of a race) and I just didn't feel like the pace was going to carry so fast. I had done a couple training runs on the trails during the summer months and I felt like breaking 4 hours was going to be a challenge.

The night before the race (and most of the preceding week) it rained hard. It was raining at 0300 the morning of the race and it stopped an hour or so before the gun went off. With all the moisture on the trails, out of "safety" concerns the race course for the marathon was altered to having us loop the half-marathon course twice. I wasn't too upset with the decision but we did unfortunately miss some of the most beautiful trails of the park with this adjustment. Once the race got underway I made my way towards the front runners and let a few take us up the first climb. The pace was a bit more brisk than I would have gone out and I was thinking that the front runners were "rookies" to the area and the hills would come back to haunt them later so I let two go in hopes to catch them on the second lap. (that never happened as they were legit trail runners) The one thing I was most happy with my race was how I managed to keep hydrated and fueled. I felt awesome the entire race and actually pushed the downhill miles at the end much faster than the first lap and made up some ground on second place. I ended up 3rd place and 1st Master runner in 3:28:20. Much faster than I would have thought I could run on those trails and a true testament how much faster the course could be if dry. I really enjoyed myself but in the same time I will probably not do this race again, especially if it remains to be on the same weekend as Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. I love the trails, but love to race the roads and I missed not being at TCM.

The rest of October was getting my quads back as they took a hit on those downhills, then focusing on Club Cross Country Championships in Bend, OR December 14th.

Here is how the month of October went:

Sept.30-Oct 6th
*race week 46 miles
ran 20 + miles then the marathon on Saturday
3:28:20, 3rd overall, 1st Master

October 7-13
recovery week
did 5K with Lucas and Kari *he had huge PR
18+ miles

October 14-20
working on foot *old Sept injury still
28 miles

October 21-27
starting to get the groove back
ran all 7 days
60 miles

legs are better but left lateral ankle is still bothersome
ran CC race in cities. MN Masters CC Champs
2nd place, just under 22 min. for 6K
56 miles

November 4-10th
Feeling ok to push a bit
doing hills and LT work each week
Woodland Hill X 4 at LT with fast downhills
4 miles LT at 5:40 pace Sat
68 miles

*I am feeling better and picking up momentum. I feel like I can push some workouts a bit but still feel like I need to be careful not to over do it. I want to be healthy and strong at the starting line in Bend on December 14th. There are 4 weeks left to train and I hope to make the best of them.

YEARS TOTAL: 2273 miles