Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mountaineer Race Report - Time to Run

Here is the end of my race report. Thanks for hanging around to read it. Between training and life it's been hard to blog.

I’m running, and feeling pretty good. Wait, what is that. Right there on the back of my leg, right below the butt, above the knee, damn that’s what I thought. The hamstrings started to tighten up. The plan called for me to find my legs in the first 10 minutes of the run. I knew where my legs were all right…...cramping the hell out of my hamstrings. I backed off slightly and grabbed for a water bottle to get a drink. The bottle slips out of my hand and falls to the ground. The guy behind me almost runs into me as I slow down to go back for it. I grabbed the bottle and started to walk a little while I took some water. I walked for about 15 seconds then got going again. The hamstrings felt better. They just needed a little extra rest to loosen up and agree to run with me.

Quick reminder of the run course: two loops, first 5 miles flat and fast along the river, next mile is a hard uphill then rolling ups and downs. The last half mile to the finish area is all downhill. Got it? Good, let’s move forward.

I’m feeling good. Coach’s plan called for my HR to be around 146. Right on the money. The aid stations were manned by some experienced people. They had everything ready and waiting. The turn around at mile two was manned by the West Virginia Hash House Harriers, they didn’t have any beer available but plenty of energy.

So far things are going well. I’ve found a running partner in Luke and we are talking as we run. Conversational pace and having a good time. Miles 3 and 4 brought us back to the transition area and then the finish area. Moving away from the finish line we heard the race announcer on the PA. Turns out the first pro was coming to the finish line. Chris Legh won the Half distance in 4:11:09 besting his competition by 10 minutes, and I had another hour to run. At mile 5 we leave the flat portion of the course and head towards town where we find hills immediately. I’ve managed to reach this point of the run course in about 40 minutes. Here are my splits so far: 7:40, 7:37, 7:56, 8:05, 8:27.

Devil’s Hill greats us as we leave the flat trail. I used GMAP to measure the climb. In .14 mile (740 feet) there is approximately 100 foot gain in elevation. That equates to an average grade of 13.5%. Here is how I saw the breakdown in three sections.

Section 1: 16 foot rise over 264 feet equals 6% grade, definitely runnable
Section 2: 37 foot rise over 264 feet equals 14% grade, slowly runnable
Section 3: 53 foot rise over 264 feet equals 20% grade, power walk time

Going up section 3 I immediately begin to power walk. Luke is trying to run the hill and isn’t even moving ahead of me. Next thing I know he slows, drops behind me and I hear him say something about him hamstring……he’s done. I didn’t see Luke again until the finish. From the top of Devil’s Hill to mile 6 the course is fairly rolling up and down. I still managed to hold an 8:40 for that mile. The rest of the course to the finish area is a great downhill grade that allowed me to pull a 7:38 for mile 7. As I approached the finish area I took a left turn back towards the river trail for loop number two. I found another person to run/talk with during the flats. The “plan” called for me to increase my effort and HR for the last miles of the course. Knowing the hills were waiting for me I began to increase my speed on the flats, sounded like a good strategy to me. Looking at my splits I was maintaining speed instead of increasing it, which is fine. For some reason my mile 9 split was 9:27. The only thing I can figure is that I grabbed some Pepsi from the Hash House Harriers aid station and was walking while I drank it. I grabbed Pepsi at each aid station from here on in. I wanted to try it because I’ve never raced on Coke/Pepsi before and knew this was a good time to test.

The rest of the flat was uneventful. I was passing some people who were on their first loop of the run course or running the international race. At Devil’s Hill I power walked the 3rd section again. I looked ahead of me and saw a female walking the hill as well. At the top of the hill I grabbed more Pepsi from the aid station and set my sights on the two people in front of me. As I approached the female I noticed her leg was marked with a P. She was one of the two pro women in the half distance race. I passed her and another guy (in my age group) at the top of a small uphill. I was golden at this point. One more uphill then a nice half mile downhill to the finish. As I hit the final trail section to the finish line I saw Scott Erdman of HFP, gave him five and told him what a great course. I could hear Aimee cheering for me as I approached the finish chute. The announcer called out my name as I crossed the line.

Run: 1:46:44
Pace: 8:09/mile
7:40 / 7:37 / 7:56 / 8:05 / 8:28 / 8:41 / 7:38 / 8:17 / 9:27 / 7:53 / 8:02 / 8:21 / 7:46 / 00:43
7/32 in age group
44/209 overall

Race time: 5:12:27
6/32 in age group
31/209 overall, including pros and teams.

I was happy with the performance that day. I wasn’t completely spent and was mobile. After we had some food, showered, cleaned out my transition area; Aimee and I headed for home. I actually drove the three hours back home myself. The race plan was executed perfectly with some minor adjustments on course. Coach was happy with my adjustments since I was performing so well. This race was a huge confidence booster for IM USA.

Special props go out to my wife Aimee and the Cleveland Tri Club members that were racing. In the words of Jen Collister, Aimee is a great cheerleader. I could hear Aimee each time I passed her; yelling for me, taking pictures and ringing the cowbell. I also loved seeing the club members on the run course and yelling words of encouragement.


Lana said...

What a terrific race! You did awesome. Hope you got some good rest and patted yourself on the back! You are going to ROCK the IM course!

qcmier said...

Awesome race man.

Can't wait to see what you can do at Lake Placid!!!