Wednesday, April 25, 2018

training update 4-25-18 and 5k preview

   Its been awhile so lets talk training. Not enough is how I'm thinking about it. Yes, I have had some success with the racing so far this year but it could be better. I've got some good speed going for me and I've pretty much nailed all the speed workouts I've planned but where I feel I am lacking is the mileage. I have not been over 30 miles for a week since early last December ! The only way I'm going to improve anymore and perform as I want and expect to do is to start putting in more miles !
I had 29 miles last week, the best so far this year and my plan is to slowly begin to bump it up until I get back into the mid 40's to low 50's on occasion and then see how that feels and go from there.

 The yoga continues to go very well with at least 10 classes per week of bikram and yin combined and I love that I can feel improvements in my practice along with the health benefits of having more stability and flexibility. The cross training has kind of dropped off although I still do some core and body weight stuff as time and energy allows. Moving forward I may have to cut back a little on the yoga to focus more on the running but hopefully I can make some slight adjustments in other parts of my life to keep the balance going.

 A few of you may remember I signed up for the Glass City Marathon  which was held this past weekend. Obviously I was not there. At the time I entered I had big hopes of building from the December race but instead I slacked off and it soon became clear that I was not going to get anywhere near prepared for a Boston  qualifying attempt and that was my only reason for entering to begin with. So I decided to focus instead on getting into the best 10k racing shape possible for the Cotton Row Run on Memorial Day. More on that soon.

 So in the meantime after a disappointing 10k in Goldsboro and a couple of weeks just not feeling very zippy, I think I'm ready for a few more strong weeks of training ahead. For some fun and a good speed workout I have entered a 5k in Morehead City this Saturday. Should be fun and I get to visit my friend Stephanie and baby Bowie. I would really like to run under 22 minutes for a 5k again, something I haven't done in about 4 years now. I'm doubtful it will happen this weekend but I think I can manage it before the summer is over. But after this weekend its nothing but training for the next 4 weeks.
 That's all for now. Lots more to talk about but it can wait for another post on another day. Stay tuned to see what happens.

 And since blog post are more appealing with a picture, here is one with nothing to do with this post.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Greater Goldsboro Road Race

  Right now all of my training and racing is focused on being the best prepared that I can be for the Cotton Row Run 10k on Memorial Day so I was looking for  another 10k in April to use as a test as well as some specific distance prep. There are numerous racing options every weekend in the area this time of year but this one in my former hometown seemed like the best to suit my needs.

 The race has been around since 1979 and I was a participant that year as well as several other times over the years. The course has changed a few times but the current course happens to be the one that I won the overall title in a different race back in 1987! In the past this was a well attended event but over the years things have change and there is so much more competition from other races. Most that did come chose the 5k option and there were only 40 finishers in the 10k. It's a bit sad because they put on a quality event with a certified course, chip timing and more giveaways from local sponsors than most much larger events. And the post race food was awesome !

 The one thing that I wasn't too happy about was the late 9am start. It was a warm morning in the 60's and the sun was high already and due to the east -west orientation of the double loop course we had no shade and direct sunshine for 90% of the run.  But we take what is given and go for it. After all, everyone had to compete in the same conditions.

 And speaking of competition, this is how the race went. I didn't know anyone near my age but did notice a couple of fit looking grey hairs in the small field as we lined up. My goal was to run as close to 7:30 pace as possible and see what happens. Based on my 4 mile race a few weeks ago I was fairly confident but that morning was 30 degrees cooler ! I didn't feel too spiffy in the warm up and had been a bit flat feeling the last couple of runs but you never can tell until the race starts.

 As we begin I noticed one  tall slim guy that seemed fit and older than me slowly pulling away. I tried to hang on to his heels and after about half mile in  I eased by and hoped that was the last I would see of him. I felt pretty good and hit mile one in 7:23, nearly perfect. But then here he comes up on my shoulder and passes me. We stayed within 2 steps of each other over the next mile which was a disappointing 7:45. We were into a bit of a headwind then but it didn't seem too bad. I just kept pushing and hoping I could pick it up.

 Mile 3 was the same with the two of us in near lock step. He pulled away slightly on a downhill but I pulled nearly even going back up. Mile 3 was another 7:45. Oh well , no fast time today, just focus on the racing. We headed out on the 2nd of the two loops still neck and neck. As we approached the 3rd hill I stayed closer on the down and then felt a weakness and decided to make a move going up. This is where I got a little chuckle. As we were starting up he could hear me coming and decided to offer me some advice. He said, pump your arms going up, it will help you run faster. I almost laughed out loud but just thought to myself, Dude, I have raced about 500 times over 41 years. I think I know what I'm doing here.

  I made the pass and just kept thinking. Break him. I hope I broke him ! After a few minutes his breathing seemed to be fading ! But mile 4 was a bit slower still in 7:51. 2.2 mile to go, just hang on and keep pushing. But then at mile 4.5 here he comes by me with a "nice pace" complement ! I tried to hang on to his heels once again but I was hurting and soon after he began to pull slowly away. By mile 5 he was half a block ahead and I was dying with a slow 8:12. I so much wanted to just back off. No fast time and I wasn't going to win this race but as quickly as those thoughts came I swept them away and dug deep. For a few moments I slowly closed a bit of the gap and was hanging on to the hope he was hurting as bad as me and may crumble but when we hit that final hill it was over as he powered off into the distance. I struggled and hit the turn at mile 6 with a joggy jog paced 8:26 and he was a block ahead. I tried to look as good as possible in the homestretch to make myself look worthy of  the Raleigh Yoga Company Singlet I was wearing.  Finished in 48:59.

  I walked over to congratulate the guy.  He was very friendly and we enjoyed several minutes of conversation before he finally asked me what age group I was in. When I said I was 62 then he replied, oh well you probably easily won your age group. He said he was 55 ! Wow, I was still thinking he was older than me ! Here I was racing my guts out against a guy 7 years younger. Cool !

 And yes I did easily win. Only one other over 60 and he was  20 minutes back !
 Enjoyed waiting around for the awards with my cousin Jennifer who took the picture for me. none from the actual running. It wasn't until later and looking at the official results that I realized my time was exactly what I ran in my first race back in March of 1978 ! That was The Natural Run 10k in Winston-Salem.

 If you can and like 5 and 10k's come give this one a shot. I really enjoyed walking around the downtown area and trying to remember the many stores and theatres I went in as a child and shopping with my mother and brother and Aunt and cousins and grandparents.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

St Paddys 4 Miler

   Finally getting around to getting a short report for this short race. I really didn't have this one on the schedule but back in February I won a free entry for it at the NCRC Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. I had a free spot  on the calendar and it sort of fit in to my plans to build up for the 10k Finale to the Running Journal  Grand Series on Memorial Day. I would use it as a combination fun run, workout and test of my fitness while hoping to bring home another age group win.

 This was the 10th year for the event which is normally a 5 miler but construction along the route caused a shortened version of the course this year. It is located in the Glenwood area and runs mainly through the residential old Raleigh neighborhoods. And it is hilly ! Very Hilly !

 I was lucky to arrive early and grabbed a parking spot  1/2 a block from the starting line. It was a cold morning but looked like it was going to be perfect for racing. I picked up my race number and then sat in the car until I was ready to do my warmup. I ran around on the city sidewalks very carefully and slowly for my warm up mile and was feeling ok. Then as usual I did a series of short strides to gear the body up for race pace.

 This is a good size race with over 1,300 runners and I waited a bit late to line up and didn't get as close as I would have liked. Although its chip timing I didn't want to get behind a lot of slower runners and lose time weaving through the crowd.. I looked around but didn't recognize any age group competition and then we were off.

 I did have to do a little maneuvering around but not too bad and after a block we started up the first hill.  My friend Rigo caught up to me and I thought he was going to hang around but after a minute he moved on ahead while I just focused on going as fast as possible without getting too far into oxygen debt. My goal pace for the race was 7:30 but I really wasn't sure that would be happening on this course so when I hit mile 1 in 7:28 I was feeling a bit more confident.

 And then there was mile 2. The toughest on the course. Other than a short downhill it climbed. And climbed. I was not thrilled and I had a few choice words as I begin to wonder if I would ever reach the 2nd mile. Finally it appeared just before the summit of the highest point of the race. I had slowed to a 7:54 and like that my cushion was gone. But I recovered quickly and mile 3 had some really sweet downhill so I gradually began to push the effort a bit feeling great.

 I still hadn't noticed anyone that looked my age anywhere around me. As we ran around Cameron Park I could see a lot of runners that were ahead and then as I went down the other side I could see a lot more behind me and still no one that seemed to be old ! If anyone got a jump on me at the start they were well out of sight ! I was able to make up a little time and hit mile 3 in 7:26. One more hill and then the last 1/2 mile would be downhill. Just maybe I could hit that 7:30 average pace after all !
 I pushed up the hill as much as possible and then at the top I just put the hammer down and the zip was there ! A 6:53 mile 4 and boom,  29:37 beating my goal by 23 seconds !

  I made my way over to the car to get my phone and check the online results which weren't working so I began walking over to the  post race activities. Grabbed some water and eaded over to the results tent and there it was. Boom ! 1st age group out of 18. So, I was able to achieve all my goals for the day. Beat my average pace goal, had some fun , won my age group and got in a great workout.