Archive for the 'Race Reports' Category
Sigh. I might as well say right off the bat that I didn’t reach my goal of averaging 10 minute miles in the Kirkland Half Marathon yesterday. The night before the race I talked on the phone with my friend, Christine, who lives in Kirkland. She told me she would expect the course to be hilly. I wasn’t worried about the hills (since I’ve done so many different kinds of courses), but what I didn’t think about was that I’ve never tried to maintain my pace while gaining elevation. I’ve been doing most of my training at the track.
Although the Kirkland course starts and ends at the same point (thus, ostensibly providing for a net zero gain in elevation), the ups were long and winding while the downs were short and steep.
Bill met me at mile one to start pacing me and remarked that I was breathing heavily after keeping my 10 minute pace on the first long uphill mile. On the second mile, I managed to keep my pace to 10:30, even though much of it wound up through (beautiful) neighborhoods. On the third mile, I made up time with the only long-ish descent and finished that mile around 9:30. Then we just went up, up, up with short fast downhill interludes that hardly gave me time to catch my breath.
To my credit, although I couldn’t maintain my 10 minute goal pace, I did push hard up the hills and came in around or just under 12 minutes for most of my remaining miles. I crashed at mile 10—tired and spent from breathing so heavily for almost two hours—and, although I tried to push periodically after that, I just couldn’t get my pace back up, even on the flat part of the course that ran near the water.
My conclusion at the end of the race at first was that maybe my family genes have just taken me as far as they can in this running thing, but after I recovered and had a cup of coffee, I decided that I simply haven’t taught my body how to get up hills efficiently. I don’t have the breath to maintain a 10 minute pace on a hilly course (yet).
Thanks to everyone who has been encouraging me! I’m not new to running, as you know, but I am new to speed work and pace work (and I haven’t even started with the hill work yet, obviously), so I’ve really valued everyone’s cheering and advice through this experiment. I don’t feel downhearted because I AM viewing this year as an experiment in stretching myself in a new way. If you can approach something with the eye of a scientist—studying what works and what doesn’t, looking for answers to roadblocks that pop up—you don’t have to be perfectionistic and mean to yourself when things don’t turn out exactly right.
I’m disappointed, of course, that I didn’t reach my goal yesterday, but not daunted in my resolve.
Hope your races went well and that you all had a lovely Mother’s Day.
I just want to post a quick note to let you know that Bill and I are totally okay here in Boston. We were very near the explosions. Bill had finished the race and was in the recovery area (maybe 300 yards from the bombs). I was with the father of our friend Lindsay heading toward the family meeting area. The explosions were confusing because they sounded like they could have been celebratory blasts of some kind–although it was difficult to imagine why they would have been happening at that point in time. It was only after we got a little closer that we realized the area was in chaos.
We tried to quickly get out of the downtown area, but the green lines on the subway (the ones we needed) were shut down, so we just took whichever line was available and found ourselves in the Italian district where we sat and had a drink and watched the news. Later, we made our way to our friends’ hotel in the north end of Boston and stayed there until things calmed down and our friend could drive us back to our car which was outside of the city.
Right now, we’re at our hotel and everyone we know is accounted for and doing well. Our hearts go out to Boston, to those who’ve been injured, and to the families of those lost. Thank you to all who have contacted me on twitter and facebook or by text or email. I so value you as part of my community and appreciate your love and concern.
Well, I ran the best I could yesterday. But the 2013 Honeywagon Half Marathon will not go down as my personal half marathon record. Sigh.
Bill and I drove up to Everson yesterday, grateful for a break in the rain. I was excited to try out my new Luna Moving Comfort Bra (because I’ve been in search of a sports bra that would prevent chafing and thought I’d found the magic trick with this one). Just before we left the house, my Garmin 110 stopped working, so I borrowed Bill’s 205, which is set to give the average pace rather than the one-mile “lap” pace. I was bummed about the loss of my own Garmin because I’ve grown to depend on the minute to minute feedback about my pace to help me hold my speed, but there wasn’t much I could do about it.
The first 7 miles, I stayed on target with a 10 minute mile average, but gradually, between the 7 and 10 mile markers, I slowed to a 10:25 average (which would have been fine if I’d been able to keep it there). Then in the last three miles, I was tired, tight, and much slowed by the headwind. For the second week in a row, I found myself feeling like I was running in place for at least a full mile as the wind beat against the mass of my body like it was an ocean wave against a piece of driftwood. I have to admit to fighting with some discouragement as I watched my average pace dip and dip.
Bill met me at mile 12.5ish and said, “Wanna try to push it for this last bit?”
“I am pushing it,” I said, knowing that I must be puttering along at five miles an hour. But seriously, I couldn’t go any faster. The wind had blown all my energy away.
Finishing time: 2:22 (according to the Garmin). I felt frustrated for sure, but I want to remind myself (and everyone else who misses their mark–in running or in life) that shooting for a target time is just a grand experiment. There’s nothing at stake here that will make or break life; it’s all for fun to see what can be done when we’re trained up well, nourished appropriately, and adequately rested. In my case, I can see that I held my goal pace a mile beyond the distance I’d trained at that pace. In other words, I haven’t extended my mile repeats beyond six miles. So that’ll be my next step. Also, while I can’t blame everything on the wind, I would love to run a race without it sometime soon. It’s tedious.
So, I’m back to the track and trail to train until I can beat 2:15 in a half marathon. There’s always another chance (I think I say that a lot).
And just in case you were wondering, the girls did fine in the new bra, although there was a tiny bit of chafing from the straps on my shoulders. Nothing’s perfect I guess.
Hope your races this weekend were great!
This morning Bill and I were out the door by 8am and registered for the Smelt run by 8:55. We warmed up, stood in line for the toilets, pinned on our race numbers, and then huddled with all of the other Smelt runners at the starting line. As you know, I’ve been training to beat an hour in a 10K (don’t quote me on this, but I think my PR up until this weekend was 1:04).
As the race started, I pushed the timer on my my Garmin. After much debate about whether or not to wear my watch, I decided I wanted to know what my pace was as I progressed through the race, so I wore it. I’ve heard that some people run better without their watches/GPS contraptions, and I can well imagine that being true for me, but I’ve developed a reliance on knowing my speed and distance at all times, so… like I said, I wore it.
Mile 1 was good. I ran it in 9:08 and felt fine. Mile two was 9:18. I slowed down a bit for miles 3 and 4, but I was still in the ballpark of my goal pace. But the wind was really brutal and mile 5 was super slow. I didn’t feel tired, necessarily, but I did feel like I was running at the bottom of a swimming pool. Even a good mile 6 couldn’t make up for the time I lost in mile 5 and when I crossed the line, the clock read 1:00:21.
Twenty-two seconds slower than I’d hoped, but this 10K was still my personal best and it was still darn close to my target time.
In running as in life, imperfect will sometimes have to be good enough. And in running as in life, there’s usually another chance to try to reach our marks. Bill is looking for my next 10 K, but I don’t have time to think about it right now because next week I have a half marathon to run and I’m trying to beat 2:15 in that race.
Thanks to everyone who cheered for me virtually and out on the course. Would love to hear how your races went this weekend. Cheers!
First day back running AND blogging. Hope no one has been waiting on pins and needles for the Tri-Cities marathon relay report. Here it is.
I took the first leg of the race and for six miles I maintained about a 10:20 average–a few seconds slower than the 10:17 I needed in order to meet Bill at the halfway exchange by my 2 hours and 15 minutes goal. Bill waited for me at mile 6.8 to take pictures and to check in with my progress. Apparently, even with his glasses on he mistook this woman for me and took several great shots of her until she got close enough for him to see that she was someone else’s wife.
He claims her running style is exactly like mine. If you know who she is, let her know we have pictures for her.
After the seven mile mark, I slowed down. Most of my remaining miles were run at my usual average, and I met Bill to pass on the timing chip in 2:23. Contrary to his pre-race jesting (that he was going to walk it in if I didn’t reach him in 2:15), he ran hard and completed his half in 1:49, only four minutes slower than his goal. We ran this marathon, jointly, in 4:11:56. That’s my fastest 42K!
In retrospect, I think I started too fast. My first mile was under 10 minutes and I just couldn’t keep it up. I’ve got a lot to learn about being a strategic runner. Most often my only goal has been to have fun. This wasn’t so fun for me, but I’m still committed to gaining some skill and strategy in my running, banking on the idea that once I do, I’ll actually have MORE fun than ever before.