Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day Half Marathon

Earth Day Run Half Marathon
Kris: This past weekend Mark and I went up to St. Cloud for the Earth Day Run Half Marathon as a two person relay.  Unfortunately our training this past week got a bit off so I was a bit nervous as to what kind of pace I could push through.  It was a very chilly morning so we had to drag out the cold weather gear after being in our shorts the past week or so.  I ran the first half and was hoping to hang on to the 7:38min/mi (1:40 half) group for as long as I could.  I knew it was very unlikely that I'd stick with them for the whole distance but I want to push myself a bit as opposed to running a) without a pacer or b) with the 8:00 min/mi (1:45 half).  I was fairly confident I could do the 8:00 min pace so I had to jump down to 7:38.   Plus, looking at last year's results, Mark and I were confident in the possibility that we could place as a co-ed team if we ran a combined time of under 1:40:00.

I was really nervous at the start since I knew it was going to be a fast pace for me but we took off and, without throwing too many elbows, tried to stay right on the heels of the pacers.  The first two miles didn't feel too bad but right after mile 3 I got that "wall" feeling and I started to slowly trail off the back of the group.  Holding on for 3 miles though felt good and makes me a bit more confident at a potential PR at this weekend's Chamber Challenge 5k. 
My half was fairly flat and I was happy with how I did.  Ended with an avg heart rate of 182 (yeah...i know it's high but it's always been that way :-P)  I definitely think running with music again this year has been helpful for me.  It puts my mind on something other than my severely heavy breathing and pounding heart rate and allows me to push a bit faster (I think).  

Mark: After the race started I had a little time to kill so I dropped off our stuff at the car and then came back to the field house to stretch and stay warm until it was time to head down to the exchange point. After a short walk I warmed up by running down the course a bit which brought me to a GU stop and then a water stop which was idea as we had breakfast much earlier in the morning and I knew I might need a bit more energy. My goal was to run the second half in the 6:46-6:52 pace range which is about a 42:00-42:40 10K.

While I was waiting for Kris I watched the other relay teams come through the exchange and to my pleasant surprise, when Kris got there only two Coed teams were ahead of us, unfortunately they were a couple minutes ahead and it was unlikely that I could catch them but perhaps I could claim 3rd place for us. I kept a close eye on who I was passing and the very few runners that passed me, relay teams had an ankle chip as opposed to one on the shoe and it was bright orange so it was easy to spot. All in all I think there was only 2 other relay runners who passed me, and as the race wore on I desperately tried to keep them in my sights but they just got beyond my reach. One in particular was easy to spot as he was wearing a bright orange hat, as as it turned out that was the one I really needed to stay with.

Kris already mentioned that it was cold out but on my half of the course the wind became a factor and it was quite strong and we turned to head back at the southern most part of the course. The southern part of the course was also rolling hills and combined with the wind slowed me down a bit, plus I was getting tired. 10K is about the limit that most runners can maintain at or above Anaerobic Threshold. For me my predicted max HR is 182 and I averaged 167 for 7+ miles.

Here is a map of my half of the course.

I was also running with music (Daft Punk Alive 2007) I think it is helping me out as well and for most of the race I was in my own zone but near the end as we were approaching the stadium, with about a 1/4 mile left, I had an opportunity to have a little fun. Another relay runner passed me and on the side of the road, what must have been his partner was screaming and yelling at him to pick it up he was almost there, running beside him to encourage him on. I let him go not worrying about them being a coed team and just focused on my finish. As we turned the corner and headed onto the football field (That is second football field finish line in as many weeks, Goldy's the week before) I dropped the hammer and took off. Now I don't know if this is a failing of mine but I have always been able to finish a race, last 100-200 yards at my top speed, perhaps I am not leaving enough on the course but that is what I have always been able to do, I would love any opinions about that. So anyway the guy who passed me was about 10 yards ahead and I easily caught him and then dropped him like a bad habit, I think his team mate pushed him to start his sprint for the finish line too soon as he was fading fast. Good thing I did pass him. ;)

Kris: After the race we hung out and chatted with a number of friends that were there running and/or cheering.  We were both in serious need of a stretch, Mark's calves have been getting tight and my IT and quad seems to be a little unhappy after cool-down.   I haven't noticed any problems DURING running though so I'm staying confident that I'm going to make it through the marathon distance.  I'm still ramping up my mileage very slowly compared to a normal schedule but I'm finally up to distances that makes me feel a bit more like a runner again and obviously the reduced mileage per week hasn't had an effect on my pace.  If anything, Mark and I have been chatting about how we both seem faster this year and don't entirely know why.  Part of me thinks it may be due to the fact that I'm about 10 lbs lighter than I was a year ago.

I was very excited that Tonic Sol-fa was part of the post-race entertainment.  I've been such a huge fan of their music and tried to be close to the stage without looking like a mosh-pit stalker as most people seemed to be standing at least 40 ft back from the stage.

Here is our post-race recap video:

Awards came and went without our name being called.  I was kinda bummed but at the same time excited to find out we came in 4th place out of 66 co-ed relay teams and 10th out of 202 total teams. Mark: (Catching that guy at the finish paid off) Kris: We missed third place by 57 seconds!!  We both enjoyed the race and have agreed that we would like to come back to try for a new team PR and hopefully a podium spot :)

1 comment:

  1. OMG you two are fast. so jealous!

    and mark, i like sprinting at the very end of the race too. as long as you're dead post-sprint and feel like you left it all out there, i think you should be fine. that's what i tell myself at least ...

    oh, and you look funny in your hat. :-p ;)

    (p.s. - just so you know, there's no video during the band part of the video (so the last ... 30 seconds or so?).)


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