Monday, April 02, 2012

Mastering the Domain - Towpath 5 Mile Race Report

Time to get everyone caught up and write a race report.

So I'm trying to follow my training plan.  I am managing to keep the consistency there week to week.  In fact last week was a recovery week AND I was traveling for work.

So that combination worked out perfectly.  Especially since I wouldn't have access to a bike, spinning or otherwise, and I didn't have access to a pool, the area YMCA's closed in December.

I managed to lift one day and run the other.  Last weeks run was going to be 40 - 50 minutes.  I was so lethargic I called it quits at 36 minutes. 

I ended my 4 day recovery week with a visit to the Witch Doctor for a nice massage.  Tod helped stretch me out and release the fascia all over my body.

Aimee and I had planned on traveling to Athens, OH for a training weekend but the potential for crappy weather kept us home and saved us a lot of money. I was determined to turn the weekend into a couple of solid training days.

Saturday I had a triple threat of training on tap.

First off in the morning I swam for an hour putting in 2500 yards of drills and tempo work.

Second I met some Tough Mudder friends for a little run through the woods, over and under trees, through a drainage pipe, over/under some picnic tables and rope climbing.  That lasted for about 1 hour.

When we were done getting muddy I changed into my cycling gear and rode my bike for almost 2 hours.  The forecasted high of mid 40's was never realized as I spent most of my ride in sub or low 40 temps.  As long as I kept moving I was fine with my leg warmers, toe covers, wind vest and mittens.

But I will say that I was well spent after 4 hours of training.  The rest of Saturday was spent running errands and getting a small power nap around 5PM before eating dinner.

The final part of the evening was preparing for the Towpath 5 Miler Sunday morning.  Aimee had signed up for the half marathon earlier in the week and I decided to join her for race day.  I'm not in half marathon shape right now even for a training day.

Besides, our friend DS was doing the 5 miler and I could also take some pictures of the half marathon.

Knowing how tired I was from a good Saturday of training I mentally prepared myself for a difficult race.  I just wasn't sure how the legs were going to respond to what I was going to make a tempo run.  I was ready to bonk or blow up at any time during the race and be reduced to a shuffle. 

Sunday morning was pretty nice.  The temp was around 40 again but for running that is actually pretty good.

We made our way down to the race starts pretty early.  By race starts I mean Aimee's half marathon was starting from different location than the 5 miler.  We all finished at the same place.

I hated leaving Aimee at the start with the cool temps but Dale and I needed to be at the other start line....both races started at 8AM.  Dale and I were fortunate to get an awesome parking spot right across the street from the start line.

At 7:30 I started my warmup to see how the legs were feeling.  After some striders, high knees and butt kickers I was starting to get warmed up.  I did an easy two miles when I was done with my warmup.

I started to see some friends and caught up with them while we waited for the start.

Overall the course is flat.  We had to run up Harvard Ave. to the entrance of the Ohio Canal Corridor.  It wasn't very steep but I didn't want to blow up early.  I just settled in with the other people around me.  My friend Matt was with me and I figured I could just stay with him and see how it goes.

Once we got onto the running path we started downhill towards the canal area.  Unfortunately we would need to run back up this hill to the finish.  Slowly Matt and a couple other runners started to pull away from me.  I wasn't concerned because I was gradually slipping back.  I was still maintaining contact with them and we had 4 more miles to run.  According to my watch the first mile was 7:20.

During the second mile I kept my pace consistent and my strides short and quick.  As we ran along the winding path I started to slowly pull Matt and the other guy back to me.  I wasn't surging to close the gap, just staying consistent with my pace.

As I passed them I could tell they were trying to stay with me.  The heavy breathing just over my shoulder told me I didn't have any worries.  Aerobically I was fine.  I just wanted my legs to hold out to the finish line. 

After I pulled away we came off a small loop and back to the main towpath trail.  I could see the next runner ahead of me but with two miles left he seemed to be too far ahead.

I wasn't worried about him and just tried to keep an even pace.  I was hitting my splits but ignoring my watch until after the race.

Mile 2 = 6:40
Mile 3 = 6:32
Mile 4 = 6:21

During the last mile I found myself getting closer to the guy ahead of me.  I couldn't believe I was reeling him in.  I was waiting for him to push and keep or increase the gap.  But it never happened.  We passed a spectator who told us it was 500 yards to the finish.

I decided to push to the finish.  I passed my last competitor and kept it up to the finish line.  The final hill seemed short as I swung my arms and crossed the finish line.  Somehow I managed to expend the right amount of energy for the entire race.  I could still stand but I needed about 30 seconds to get my breathing under control.  I congratulated the next three guys across the line, including my friend Matt.

My final mile was 6:28 and a total time of 33:16 (chip time).

I figured I was in the top twenty finishers.  I really wasn't paying attention to those ahead of me.  Before the awards I was told I made top ten.  Little did I know I would wind up being the Male Masters Winner.  This win bumped me out of the age group Matt and I race in putting him first in the 45-49 age group.

Below you see some of my winning friends from left to right: Matt - 45-49 AG winner, Julie - Female Masters Winner, DS - winner 65-69 AG and myself. 

The final results listed me as 6th overall in the 5 miler.  I definitely surprised myself with this race.  I attribute this performance to several things.

Crossfit:  My training at Coca Crossfit has really improved my overall strength.  This base strength carried me up the hills to the finish line.

Mental tenacity:  I knew going into the race it would be more mental than physical.  Running on tired legs meant pushing through and making my body do what it was told.  Also patience.  As several people pulled away from me I didn't panic and go with them.  I waited to see how the race would unfold.  The final push past the last guy with 500 yards to go...that was something I didn't think I could do.  But you never know until you try.  Maybe he could have out kicked me.  But I would have kicked myself for not trying.

After the awards ceremony we watched Aimee and our friends finish the half marathon.  I got some nice pictures.

My Snakebite teammate Jason was 3rd overall in the half with a 1:20...yeah he's pretty speedy.

Daniel was looking good approaching the finish line.

Had to get a picture of our team sponsor Vertical Runner ( I also got a gift certificate for VR with my award)

Aimee approaching the finish line.  She caught the girl in front of her before the finish line.

Adam, Daniel and Cassie were all smiles after the races.  Adam did his first, and possibly last, half marathon in 1:38.  I think he will be back.

With great friends like these how can you not like running, cycling, competing, and having fun.

Game On.


Big Daddy Diesel said...

I almost did the half, their was a schwaggle offer for $22 for the race, I wish I did

Congrats on the race!!

Christi said...

Great job!