Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I did the Club Challenge 10 Miler this past Sunday in lovely Columbia MD. This race is open to any member of a running club in Maryland or DC. Can't beat the price: Free! About 1000 people enter so it's not overcrowded. It takes only 1 minute from getting out of your car to picking up your bib (hooray for race day morning bib pickup) and another 2 minutes to walk to the start line. If they didn't shut down bib pickup 15 minutes before race time, we would have all shown up 5 minutes before the start!
The only thing I don't like about this race is that there's no gatorade, only water on the course. And since I'm training to run at fat-burning pace for an upcoming ultra, I decided to forgo using gels. A decent breakfast would have to do.
I've done this race several times so I know it has rolling hills and you have to pace yourself. But this year, I figured I'd take it even easier because, the day before, I had "run" 18 miles on sloppy trails. Here in Maryland, the trails were still covered with a mixture of ice, snow, and slush. It was tough and, half the time, it was more like a hike with occasional bits of tiptoeing across ice and streams. And a lot of slipping throughout.
So I wasn't expecting much for the 10M the following morning. But despite getting to sleep late the night before and having to wake up early, I nuked a frozen entree, and felt fine at the start. So I figured I'd run at my usual pace - I would slow down later.
Around mile 8, I could feel my energy lagging and I knew I was going to have to slow down as I heard some guy gaining on me. Even though it was honestly a bit annoying, I figured I would at least compliment him on his pace. He, in turn, told me I was doing fine and that turned into a conversation as we swapped stories of previous races. He was so much fun that I kept up.
By mile 9, I needed to slow down and told him to leave me. But he was in no hurry ("this is just a training run for my upcoming marathon") and so we continued yakking away despite my discomfort. 100 yards from the finish, I told him to go ahead and "break the tape so it would be easier for me to cross the finish." He finally let me go as I backed off, and I finished about 10 seconds after him.
I was stunned to find that I had finished in 1:27, beating my PR for that race by 4 minutes. So what's the moral of the story? Find someone to run with during the last two miles who is better at pacing and won't let you slow down? Or run (hike, really!) the day before under conditions that feel so awful that running on pavement the following day feels easy?
I'm thinking that the former was nice but the latter was key. Compare it to my race report from last year when I ran significantly slower despite several day's rest(!) before the race:
PS: If you do 10M races or just want to try one, join the Spark 10 Mile Team! 10M is a nice intermediate distance that bridges the gap between a 10K and a HM. (Plus we need more people on the team!)
Saturday, December 21, 2013
What a bargain to start the new year: The Red Eye in lovely Prince William Forest in Triangle, Virginia on Jan 1. www.vhtrc.org/news/redeye
Nominally 50K, it also includes options to do 10M or 20M. About 1/3 of runners do each distance.
- Free. (Ok, I already said that but it's worth repeating.)
- No finisher premiums. (No pressure to finish!)
- No prizes for winning. (No pressure to push!)
- But there is one prize: Runner with Best Hangover. (Enjoy your New Years Eve party!)
Best part: Aid stations stocked by runners. Yes, you have to bring food to share - which leads to the best aid stations. Last year, foods ranged from chocolate-covered bacon (Mmm!) to chicken noodle soup (complete with camp stove to keep it hot)!
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Some people may think I consume Splenda to excess but ... I haven't died yet and it's been so helpful reaching goal weight and maintaining my fluid intake.
My only complaint: it's expensive. So last week when I was running low, I went to Amazon and found the biggest container (and best discount): 2000 packets for just $38. That's about 2 cents per packet - cheaper than I could find at Walmart!
Should last me a few years!
Saturday, November 30, 2013
I'm not a fast runner yet I've somehow managed to "win" several goodies in three recent club races - all different clubs, none of which I am a member of.
First, it was the "just for sticking around late enough" pie at a $10 HM:
Then, a week later, I did an 8K at a winery with a few friends and we won the 1st place award for Masters Team (over 40 yo). We were the only such team :-P Nonetheless, we all got bottles of wine! My first 1st-place running award (of any kind ever)! I did say I'm not a fast runner, right?
Finally, determined to get my family out for exercise on Thanksgiving morning, I found another neighboring club offering a free 5K. I received a bottle of wine for the "visiting from another club" award. (They gave out other silly awards including such things as "least dressed" and "best beard".) Club races are awesome - but free? Wow!
Combined registration fees for these three races (HM, 8K, 5K): $40
Did my own club's Turkey Burnoff 10M today. Pretty good turnout of 600 runners for a no-award race (have I been spoiled?) with a starting temp of 28F! But plenty of food and good cheer.
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