Sunday, October 16, 2011

Red Rocks 5K Race Report

I ran this course a few weeks ago so I knew how hard it was going to be, its 2 miles down hill and 1.1 back up with almost no flat spots. My friend and I deiced before the race that no matter what happens in the first 2 miles you are going to crawl the last 1.1, so we might as well take advantage of the downhill.

Mile 1 - 6:16, Avg HR 165, net loss 205’. As we start off the race I was in pain, last night I stood in a trash can full of ice but my Achilles were still sore today. The race started with a hill climb but even with that the first mile still was mostly downhill. I didn’t warm up enough and I about pulled my hamstring running down the first steep hill. I eased back but then it felt like I was braking with every step.

Mile 2 – 12:19 (6:03 mile split) Avg HR 171, net loss 245’. Now that I was properly warmed up I was able to extend my stride without my hamstring feeling like it was going to give. This mile was entirely downhill and very fast. The slamming on the concrete didn’t feel good on my Achilles and my quads were also taking a beating. I was actually looking forward to the end of the downhill.

Mile 3 – 21:49 (9:29 mile split) Avg HR 185, net gain 345’. Yes you read that right a 9:29 mile and wasn’t out of matches, actually I was passing people. Almost immediately after the 2 mile mark the race turns and climbs back to the starting area. I was surprised at how many people ran 6 min pace and were now walking. This mile hurt like hell is was a man killer.

Finish 3.1 miles – 23:13 (14:00 pace for the last 0.1), Avg HR 189 (Max HR 193), net gain 105’. Believe it or not I was still passing people while running 14 min pace. That’s because this entire 0.1 mile section was spent climbing the stairs to the top of the Red Rocks Amphitheater. My quads were on fire by the time I crossed the finish.

Overall I finished 25th out of 2,000 people. The course was absolutely gorgeous and I am sure this is one that I want to run again next year. Hopefully next year I will be able to take it easy the day before.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Englewood Schools 5K race report

Today was my first race of this weekend, I was already signed up for a race on Sunday but I couldn’t pass this one up. It was small race put on by our kid’s schools, probably about 50 people in the race. Since my half marathon last weekend I haven’t run a single mile under 9:00 pace so I wasn’t sure if my speed would be ready to go sub 7:00’s today. I didn’t know till the end but the race was only 2.8 mile not an actual 5K.

1 Mile – 6:15, Avg HR 170. We went out really hard running the first 0.5 just under 3:00. After that blazing fast start there were only 3 of us in the lead group. I was in front setting the pace while the other two followed. I felt really good, I was actually surprised how quickly I had recovered from last week.

2 Miles – 12:34 (6:19 mile), Avg HR 184. After the excitement of the first mile our group’s pace dropped. About half way into this mile one guy made his move and I followed while the other runner was dropped and never returned. This guy put about 50 ft on me and I thought he was going to run away from me too. I figure I at least give it a try and I dug in and caught up to him but I was really in the red zone then and he easily pulled away immediately.

2.8 Miles – 17:21 (5:59 pace), Avg HR 191 (Max HR 198!). Going into the last mile this guy picked up the pace but I still caught him but he pulled away again. We play this cat and mouse game most of this mile. The race finished with 1 lap on the track. MY TRACK! I should have mentioned earlier that this race finish at my old high school where I have run lots of races. I wasn’t going to let this guy beat me on my home turf. As soon as we hit the track I made my move, again I chased him down but this time I didn’t let up and I went around him. He chase me for about 100 m before he broke (we put on a good show for small fundraiser) I didn’t slow down at all and sprinted into the finish in 1st place.

Overall I ran the 2.8 mile course at a 6:16 pace. That would have been an awesome 5K time but I am still really happy to win the race even if it was a small race. 2nd pace finished about 0:10 behind and 3rd place finished about 1:00 back. Also I got to beat my kid’s principle and a bunch on other kid’s parents that I know pretty well. My odd track coach was also there and got to see me win (he is the mayor now). I don’t think I ever won a race before.

Now it’s time to really test my ability to recover and see if I can run hard again in tomorrow’s 5K.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

2011 Denver Rock n Roll Half Marathon

1:30:31 New PR!

The Course:
This race starts and finishes only a few miles away from where I live but home field advantage hasn’t been the case. 2 yrs ago I ran my first marathon on this course, I hit the wall hard at 18 and walk 50% of the last 8 miles to finish in 5:19. I was happy I finished my first marathon but not happy with my time so I marked the calendar for my redemption the next year. Last year I had even a worse marathon on this course and got my first DNF ever, so again I marked my calendar again for redemption the next year. But this time was different I made a vow to myself to lose some weight and get healthy and few days later I joined loseit. This year a marathon didn’t fit into the plan (because of business travel) but I figured a successful half marathon would be just as good. Emotionally I had a lot riding on this race, I owe all my weight loss to my failures on this course.

A few weeks ago I had a failed track workout and I realized that I was just completely burned out, since then I have stopped all my regular speed workouts. I did have a few hard runs, a 10K at 90% effort 2 weekends ago and a 20 mile progression run last weekend but other than that I have just been maintain my mileage the last few weeks. And it worked, going into this race I was feeling so good that I almost switched to the marathon at the Expo, instead I registered for next year’s Denver RnR Marathon.

Read Set Go:
The logistics of the race are a nightmare 15,000 runner in either in the half or the full marathon plus spectators. After checking my bag I only had time for a 0.25 warm up before it was time to line up. Conditions were perfect the rain from the day before had cleared it was a nice 40F on the starting line.
Mile 1 – 7:05 I was in the first wave to start but it was still wall to wall people, I didn’t have a choice on speed here.
Mile 2 – 6:52 Once the traffic cleared up I picked up the pace. This mile was a scenic stretch threw the heart of downtown Denver.
Mile 3 – 7:09 I realized that have run the last mile too fast for my comfort, so I slowed the pace on purpose here.
Mile 4 – 7:09 Near the end of this mile there is a big hill, not really long (2 city blocks) but steep.
Mile 5 – 7:10 I spent the majority of this mile trying to get back into a comfortable pace, I was still in the red zone from that hill and my breathing was out of control.
Mile 6 – 6:48 The race entered City park while the sun was rising over the building in the distance (beautiful) and for the first time I felt like I hit my stride. I was running comfortable and fast.
Mile 7 – 7:00 Stopped for a bit to eat a cliff shot and drink some water.
Mile 8 – 6:52 Slightly downhill for part of this mile
Mile 9 – 7:01 Now leaving City Park and back to the streets of Denver. This part was an out and back section I remember last year being on the other side watching the fast runners go by and thinking next year I want to be up there with those guys.
Mile 10 – 6:53 I know that the next mile has 2 big hills so I take advantage here of the flat. At this point I am 99% confident that I can hold this effort all the way to the finish.
Mile 11 – 7:08 This is the mile I was a bit worried about with its two big hills, I gave both of these hill all I had. I was flying past people going up both of these hills it felt great. I knew that once over the top of the second hill was going to be a nice 2.5 miles downhill to the finish (home course advantage).
Mile 12 – 6:36 Once on the downhill it didn’t take long to recover from the up hill effort. There were some flat spots but I held my downhill pace through them. Like the uphill section I was passing people left and right, my confidence was sky high.
Mile 13 – 6:16 Another mile of mostly downhill running, the start and finish was at the same place so the earlier miles must have had a lot more up than down. I felt so good (runners high) that I just kept picking up the pace. I passed so many people in this last mile.
Last 0.1 – 0:32 (5:20 pace) I sprinted in the last 0.1 which was also downhill. They had barriers along the road holding the huge crowd back. The volume from this finish line crowd was just awesome. The last 2 years this course had made me feel like a loser but not today, I starting a new home course tradition. Overall I was 148th out of 8,900.

A 20+ min PR but not my first:
Here is my Half marathon progression (These are all the Half’s I have ever run)
Jun 2009 – 2:15 (220 lbs) This was my first half ever and I was pretty happy with my time (had 2200’ of downhill, 0’ up)
Sep 2010 – 1:53 (209 lbs) I can’t tell you how happy I was to run under 2hrs, I didn’t even care about the 22 min PR.
Oct 2010 – 2:25 (209 lbs) This was last year’s Denver Marathon, they counted me as a half marathon finisher.
Oct 2011 – 1:30 (180 lbs) coming into this race my goal was 1:35 but I felt really good and finished with a 23 min PR.

At the 5K mark, still crowded and the sun isn’t quite up.

Here I am crossing the finish line, this is first finish line picture where I am not looking at my watch.

Finished! Time for some beer and pizza (yes that’s my post race recovery meal)