Monday, December 17, 2012

Santa's Stampede 10k Race Report

This winter, I signed up for the local Winter Distance Series, which is a monthly race comprised of 5/10k in Dec, 5/10 mile in Jan, and 5/10 mile in Feb. I signed up for the longer distance of each race in an effort to keep me honest this winter. Last winter I signed up for the local duathlon series and I discovered that it wasn't nearly scary enough to keep me training. You can run 3 miles on zero training and bike 11 miles on little training. You can't run 10 miles with zero training. This forces me to run this winter, which is probably a good thing considering my heel rehab and IMCDA this June.

Registration and Packet Pick-Up is crazy easy for this race. If you register at Runner's Roost you save the registration fee. You can pick up your packet early at the RR store by my office. Or you can pick your packet up the morning of the race. Easy and stress free!

Will and I were doing this race together. He was doing the 5k (his first!) and I was doing the 10k (oddly enough, my first!). My hope was that we could run the first part together and then I'd go off and run the longer 10k while he turned around to the finish. Unfortunately, the race was not set up that way. The 5k was at 9 AM and the 10k was at 10:30 AM. Ugh. And we had a packed schedule Saturday with brewery anniversary parties and uncle's 60th birthdays, so we had to drive separate and Will took off when he was done with his 5k. Very fuel efficient (eye roll). On the positive side, this meant I got to play cheerleader for him and other people in my tri club. I had a big sherpa fail, though, as while I was set up to take a finish line photo, the camera had other ideas and went to sleep on me. That meant no photo of Will. Boo. Fortunately, the race photographer got shots of him running. *phew*
Very rare and never before documented husband while running
I was FROZEN after standing outside for 40 min during the 5k. I had on extra pants and an extra jacket but I was still frozen. It was ~30 degrees and cloudy, and boy does that cloud cover make a difference. I could barely feel my toes and once Will finished we both went inside to so I could defrost. Then I decided to hit the small expo and hand out my ~40 strawberry banana Sunrype Fruit Strips to people. I’m getting better at randomly approaching people and handing out free stuff. It is still a bit awkward but generally, people are happy for free stuff. By that point Will took off and I went inside again to warm up and get ready for my race.
This was my first running race since May, which was a half marathon that I PR’d and where I probably also broke my heel. I was both excited and a bit nervous for this 10k. For starters, my longest training run was 5.7 miles, had a HR limit of 142, and included 10 minutes of walking (5 min at the start and end). I had not run 6.2 miles straight since breaking my heel and I really didn’t know how this race was going to go. I had a pep talk from my coach and we were both thinking that my I was in much better shape than I thought I was. My race plan was:
  • Eat a normal breakfast since the race wasn’t until 10:30.
  • About 45-60 min, eat a gel (I had ~100 of some First Endurance Liquid Shot about 45 min before the race)
  • Warmup with easy jogging and drills for 20 min before the race. Time it so I’m not standing around getting cold.
  • Mile 1: go easy and hold back
  • Mile 2: go a bit faster, but still not “fast”
  • Mile 3: same as above
  • Mile 4 – 6: Its go time. Go as fast as you can sustain.
Given that I haven’t run the race distance, and most of my training runs were at a ~12:30 pace, I wasn’t sure I had much speed. And I was worried that if I went kinda fast, that I could sustain it. Conservatively, I set a goal pace of 11:00 min/miles and a 1:07 race finish.
Due to some distractions (samples, freezing, visiting with friends) I got my nutrition down at 45 minutes before my race. That was maybe a bit late as I had some side cramps later on in the race. My warmup was also only 15 minutes, due to the distractions. Mainly, I was inside and warm and didn’t want to go outside into the cold. After some debate on my clothing choices, I decided to ditch my jacket but keep my gloves and headed out for my warmup. I normally never, ever warm up. And the idea of doing a warm up nearly 1/3 the total time as my race was silly to me. But those were my coach’s orders and well, she is the professional. So I did the warm up.
The race course goes along the South Platte River trail and is fairly flat. The only “hills” are where the trail crosses streets (bridges or underpasses) and one nasty hill at the finish. The path is concrete but there is some crushed gravel on the side, which I ran on when it was available.
I started towards the back, as I had no idea how my pace would align with the other racers. Holding back during the first mile was hard. I was getting passed and I wanted to GO. I held back as best I could, but in reality, it wasn’t by very much. I kept seeing paces around 11 minutes or faster, and my HR was around 160. A bit too fast. But I felt fine so I went with it.
Miles 2 and 3, I tried to latch onto some people with similar pacing but then that turned into me wanting to race people. I reminded myself to run my own race and to slow down (for now). Still got passed a bit and I had to remind myself that I would soon be passing people in a few miles.
Legs still felt good at the turn around and it was time to GO. My heart rate crept up into the upper 160’s which is higher than I wanted but my legs felt good and my breathing was fine. And I was passing people – finally! Around mile 4.5, I realized that perhaps I was running a bit too fast as I got a side cramp that was a bit stubborn. I tried some deep breathing and I slowed down slightly and that seemed to help. At mile 5 you could hear the finish line announcer and see the trail back into the race venue (and nasty hill) and I just pushed it as much as I could sustain. Run run run, remember to stay loose and have good form, breathe, and have fun. Up the nasty (but short hill) and to the finish. Breathing pretty hard and running fast, but I felt good. I found my friends at the finish and had my usual post-cold weather race asthma attack. Fun times!
post-asthma attack pic with Santa and friends
Did a bit of expo wandering, mainly for warm drinks. The coffee sponsor ran out of coffee (!?!?) and only had hot chocolate. I got a half cup (mostly to warm myself) and I went back ~5 min later and they had run out of that as well. Lame.
My cool down consisted of the walk to my truck. Probably not the best thing, but my legs felt fine the next day (skiing).
Time: 1:04:38 (10:26 pace)
Stats: 65/60 AG, 436/582 OA
Overall, I think I ran this race just right. Hard effort at the end, but no so hard that I hurt anything. And I was really pleased with my pace, as I was MUCH faster than I thought I would be.
Bonus: really good race photos. It doesn’t even look like I’m running….


Friday, December 14, 2012

I get to race tomorrow!

I haven't been able to do a race since May 20th, a loooong (almost) 6 months ago.  Stupid broken heel killed my summer racing plans.  But tomorrow is a day for celebration as I get to return to racing.

I kind of want to put racing in quotation marks because I am s.l.o.w.  And tomorrow's race is a 10k.  My longest training run has been 5.7 miles, which included 5 min of walking at the start and 5 min of walking at the end.  Not exactly "racing a 10k" in the slightest.

Hopefully I will discover that I am in better shape than I think I am.  Hopefully.

Tomorrow's plan (per my coach) is this:
  • 20 minute warmup.  This will be interesting because I NEVER warm up for a race.  Ever.  And the warmup is almost 1/3 of the time I'll be racing.  But that's why I've hired a coach.  We'll do what she says and I may be suprised.
  • Mile 1 - take it easy
  • Mile 2 - go slightly faster
  • Mile 3 - go even more slightly faster
  • Mile 4-6 - RACE.  But keep focus on form and if anything hurts, back off.
My goal time is ~1:07, which is an 11 min/mile pace.  Considering most of my runs have been MAF runs with a ~12:30 pace and HR limit of 142, going 1:30/mile faster will be interesting.  I did a 2 mile test run yesterday at that pace and it was a bit hard, so we'll see if I can sustain it for another 4 miles.

The good part is that I've somehow never done a 10k before, so no matter what, I will PR. :)

Really, this is just a test to see how I do with some speed and a medium distance race.  I have no expectations other than to just enjoy being able to run and to race.  That's it.  Just have fun.  (and not die)

The other fun thing about tomorrow is that it is Will's first 5k.  Woo hoo!  I was hoping that our races would start at the same time, so I could run the first half of his race with him.  But the race is dumb and the 5k goes at 9 AM and the 10k goes at 10:30.  Dumb!  So I will show up at the 5k time and cheer on my club-mates and husband and take some photos.  Then I will do my warmup and my race.  Weird set up but that's what we've got.

Hurray for racing!