Monday, February 25, 2013

Charlotte 10 Miler Race Report

I wanted to do a tuneup race before Boston.  I had looked at a couple of half marathons, most notably the one up at the speedway.  But this one fit into my schedule more.  Plus it had a 4 miler that my wife and some of her friends were doing.  The race was mostly on the McMullen Creek Parkway which I have rodes bikes with the kids several times.

We were going to have a busy morning on Saturday so I picked up our number on Thursday at Trysports over in Blakeney.  I hadn't ever been in there before.  I thought it was supposed to be a triathlon store, but you really just got the impressions it was a workout/fitness equipment place.  Oh and they have bikes off to one side.  No swag just the bib number and a t-shirt.

I like the new bibs with chip in them. Nice t-shirt that is not a "tech" T that seems to be all the rage nowadays.

The race looked to be pretty fun.  The only downside is the unpredictable weather here in February.  Forecast all week was on and off for rain, but consistently said a low of about 41 degrees.  So we were all aglow when we got up Saturday morning and it was 37 degrees and pouring rain!  Oh the irony as then next day would turn out to 65 and sunny.

Rainy, Dreary, Cold
The course was nice going through the Greenway.  There were several spots that were one big mud puddle. There was standing water on a lot of the boardwalks.
I told myself I was going to run a 6:30 pace and just use this race as a tempo training run.  I wanted to practice a couple things for Boston.  I turned off the autolap on my Garmin and took splits manually.  I will need to do this in Boston as usually in the bigger races they are measured with perfect tangents and you can't run them with all the people.  So invariably you hit the mile markers like every 1.01 miles.  My Garmin got so far off at the Charlotte Marathon that it became useless.  I also wanted to carry my camera, but with the rain, I opted out of that.

The first hill didn't seem bad since it was at the beginning of the race.  But that last hill at 8.5 miles really stunk.  I started out at a 6:30, just picking my way through the crowd.  There wasn't a ton of people (333 finishers) but they had us in one lane of the road with oncoming cars in the other lane.  I felt fine and the second mile felt pretty good.  So then I saw the pack of lead women and decided I had to get ahead of them.  I was still feeling pretty good and changed my goal pace to 6:15's,
Around the 5 mile mark I was averaging 6:17's per my Garmin.  As you can see my splits weren't exact as they usually are.  I still felt pretty good.  I ran with a group of 3-4 guys until I felt them start to slow a bit and then pushed ahead.  I was cruising through mile 8 and saw a kid who was a good 1/4 mile ahead.  I wasn't sure if I could catch him, but when I hit that hill at 8.5 miles I really didn't think about it.  Its a 120 foot climb in 1/2 mile.  Its one of those hills that you go up, think you're done, make a left, go up some more, think you're done, make a right and you got more hill to go.

The good news was it was flat or sloping downward the last mile.  When I got to that part, I saw the kid in front of me not going too fast.  The hill took something out of him.  So I cranked it and caught him with 1/2 mile to go.  I told him to come with me and he did.  I dropped him with about 100 yards to go.  I ran the last mile at a 5:38 pace.  So the last 5 Miles (which my Garmin actually had 4.90 miles) I averaged 6:03's.  
I ended up officially a 1:01:00 which put me 7th overall (154 men).  My Garmin had 1:00:54 and 9.87 miles for a 6:10 average pace.  I was 2nd out of 28 in the age group.  I technically "won" the age group as the first place guy was the overall male masters winner that they had a separate award for.  So that was pretty fun.

The race was put on by Start2Finish Event Management.  They did a very good job starting the races on time (which is sometimes a challenge in soggy conditions).  The courses were very well marked and they had people directing traffic at any intersection, though not a lot as the race was mostly run on the greenway.   Aid stations were fine, but with the weather I didn't use any.  The thing I liked the best was that they had a results tent setup.  It had scrolling results screens, but had the 4M and 10M mixed together which was annoying.  It was similar to a Setup Events tent for tri's.  But they had a couple of computer screens setup with a touchscreen that you punch your bib number in and it shows your results and even gives you a printout if you want.  That was sweet! Full Results Here.

I found my wife hanging out with some of her old high school buddies.  They were pretty cold.  They started the 4 miler 15 minutes before the 10 miler, so they had been hanging out for a half hour
The Crew after the Race

Wifey and Me
After a full change of clothes at the car, we headed over to Brigs Restaurant right there in the shopping center for some post race food, coffee, and celebration.

Sausage and Cheese Omelet was awesome!  Don't judge me.

Now we have our sights officially set for the Boston Marathon.  7 weeks to go.  This race was just training.  I biked 23 miles Saturday afternoon, and then ran 18 miles Sunday morning and biked 50 miles Sunday afternoon.  I have 4 more weeks of 50+ miles and then start bringing it back a little.  This is where the fun begins!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Run Miles and Winter Biking

Ok, so it's been a while since I've put anything down on my blog.  I didn't post for a month, and then I served time in the blogosphere penalty box.  But now I'm back!  Truth be told there wasn't much going on.

I've been putting a lot more miles in than I have in the last couple of offseasons.  Marathon training is a great motivator, and Boston Marathon training is probably the best.  Up until this time in 2012, I had only 67 miles, whereas this year I have 267 miles in.  I finally seem to have a hold of the issues with my hips and feet.  I'm also doing runs slower for the most part (7:12 avg at this point last year vs. 7:26 this year).  I'm targeting 7:15 to 7:30 pace on my long runs instead to trying to run them all under 7 min miles.

Winter Biking
I bike outside all year round.  Its one of the advantages to living in South Carolina.  I haven't really found the disadvantages yet (I love the heat), but when I do, I'll be sure and let you know.  With my run focused training right now, I've mostly ran weekend mornings and biked in the afternoon.  My rides have not been bad at all.  This past weekend I did my first "cold" ride.  It was about 34 degrees and I took off about 15 minutes before sunrise.  Last year I had some miserable rides.  Party due to temps (27 degrees anyone?) but also due to lack of preparedness.

This year I'm more prepared.  I got a pair of PRO Ventura Overshoes, that I have worn an few times.  Basically whenever the temp is under 40.  I also got a pair of long cycling tights that I wore the first time this past weekend.  So here is the bulk of my cold weather gear:

So clockwise, upper left we have hand warmers, winter gloves, neoprene head band, the overshoes, and my Shimano tri shoes. I wear my regular shoes with Pearl Izumi toe covers.  I then cut the toe off of a pair of wool socks and stuck those on the end of the shoe over the toe covers.

This is just to provide an extra layer of insulation underneath the overshoes.  I purchased the XXXL size overshoes even though I only wear a size 43 shoe.  I had heard they run small and I knew I wanted to be able to put some extra layers in there.  With the wool sock toes, they Triple X's fit perfectly.

So as you can see, I'm pretty well covered up with the the tights and boot covers on.

I also have some foot warmers, but seeing how it was "only" 34 degrees, I did not bring them along.  I threw the hand warmers in my cycle jersey, but did not end up needing them either.  So up top, I have my head band under my helment and then put my sunglasses over the head band.

I wore a long sleeve shirt with arm warmers underneath a long sleeve jersey.  It all kept my quite toasty.  But we shall see how it feels after another 10 degrees cooler.  Will this winter ever end?