Saturday, December 12, 2009

YMCA Frostbite 5k

This was a race that I was really looking forward to. I've gotten in some good training over the last couple of weeks and after going through three miles in 16:40 during a five mile race, I feel like I could break 16:30 with a good effort. The race took place at the Hendersonville YMCA and ran around the neighborhoods through there. I didn't know much about the course but it turned out to be really tough.

I was trying to scope out the competition before the race and wasn't sure if I would have any company. When the gun went off, I went right to the lead. The first mile was mostly downhill and I had about a 10 second lead at that marker. I thought I would have a little bit of a bigger lead over the guy, so I tried to push again and keep the hammer down as long as I could.

The course was constantly up and down with steep inclines and declines and it was really hard to get in a rhythm. I have trouble with these type of courses but I still tried to throw down a good effort. My lead was slowly increasing but it wasn't as big as I thought it would be. After two miles, I tried to push even more and tried to keep a vision of seeing the clock reading a 16:20ish type time as I crossed the line.

When I entered the final straightaway, I wasn't certain what the clock would tell me because of the rolling hills. However, I was certain it would read sub 17. As I got closer, I could see I was well over 17 minutes, which really frustrated me.

I finished in 17:36 with a win. I don't know how in the world I ran so slowly. I went through three miles in the Thanksgiving race much faster than this and during this race, I was running hard. I spent the rest of the day being frustrated because I don't know how I could run a minute slower than my goal. In 5ks, you can be coming off a really bad sickness and still run within 30 seconds of your "healthy time" so a minute is just unacceptable.

However, a few days before this race, I started feeling sick and it got worse after the race. This turned out to be the strangest sickness I've ever had. For the next month, I would be completely fine during the day and like clockwork, my fever would climb over 100 with flu-like symptoms before bedtime. A week after the run, I ran a nine miler with the Hendersonville Running Club and even though we were running just under 8:00 pace, I was dead.

That next month, I cut my running in half and lost about ten pounds. I ended up going to the doctor and my blood work showed that my monocytes were way elevated. He then recommended that I see an internal medicine guy for additional blood work but I never got around to it. After about a month, the sickness went away and within two weeks, I unfortunately gained my 10 pounds back. Wow, that was probably the longest excuse for a bad race ever.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Indian Lake Loop 5-Miler

With a really good race about six weeks ago, I was feeling optimistic about the race. I had some really good recent workouts and was beating Miles in some of them, who is a 16:30ish type guy. I've also started doing my long runs with the Hendersonville Running Club, which I've enjoyed. It's a group of 100+ runners on all ability levels, so there is always someone to run with. People think they have to spend tons of money on a personal trainer or gym membership to become more fit but the Hendersonville Running Club is free and the roads are always open.

The weather was perfect for racing....about 40 degrees without any wind. When the race was about to start, I took my spot behind the starting line and tried to scope out the competition. The only person I saw was Charlie Jordan, who is a really good high school runner at Station Camp High School. I frequently coach my runners against him and he's Miles biggest rival, so I was looking forward to racing against him.

When the gun went off, Charlie shot out into the lead and I followed just behind. After a few hundred meters, I took the lead and noticed there was a guy right beside me. I tried to do some random surges to see how he responded and he hung just off my shoulder. We hit the mile in 5:10, which was way too fast for my ability.

When I know I'm not in great shape or am doubting my ability to beat someone, I like to sometimes throw on my best poker face and do sporadic pick-ups or surges to either appear stronger than I am or to mentally break the person. Unfortunately, I couldn't drop the guy and I noticed it was someone I've sporadically seen at Moss Wright Park and every time I see him, he's flying. We hit three miles at 16:40, which was fast in itself but with a 5:10 first mile, it meant I was fading fast.

I fell behind in the fourth mile and continued to fall back with every minute. I would hope I could stay close enough to make a last rally but I was just flat out running out of gas.

I hit the line in 27:41 to finish 2nd. While I would have like to win because it was a low-key local race and I got beat by an out of town guy, I'm pretty happy with the result because it shows I've consistently gained fitness over the last two months. The course also had a lot of gradual climbs, so it most likely isn't a PR type course. Since cross country season is over, I'll have more time to run some more and continue to increase my fitness. I've been running about 40 miles a week or so but I'd like to progress that to 70 or more a week and add in some tempo runs to help my gas tank. I'm going to do a 5k in a couple of weeks, so hopefully that will be another break-out run for me.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Harvest Moon 10k

It's time again for the Harvest Moon 10k and I feel confident that revenge shall by dealt on Bonita Paul if she shows up. I feel more confident in my fitness and want to somewhat redeem myself from the crappy race a few weeks back. I didn't have any time goals really but thought I would be able to break 37:00.

While this race last year had over 100 people, this year's had just 29 finishers. It was cold and misty, which is actually pretty decent 10k weather. When the race started, I got out relaxed and waited to see if anyone would push the pace. Before a race, it's easy to spot the really fast guys but since I wasn't in very good shape, anyone could surprise me.

No one really took the lead, so I took over and got in a groove. There was a cop on a bike leading me and I felt good from the get-go. Luckily this course was downhill for the first 1.5 miles but the course also included a lot of wooden bridges that were really slick. I slipped at the end of the second wooden bridge, which busted up my knee and after stopping to look at it for a few seconds, I was back on my way.

I was running a pretty steady pace but it was hard to push really hard because of all the slick bridges and being out-front alone. At the turn-around I saw no one was really close, so I just kept a steady effort so I wouldn't puke up the hill this year. The bike cop ended up crashing his bike on one of the bridges but I didn't laugh at him because I didn't want to get arrested.

I saw the steep incline sign and had flashbacks from last year where I completely died running up it but I felt surprisingly good. I crossed the finish line in 36:08 with a pretty steady effort. It was a motivating run because I felt like I could have run 35:00 if I really pushed myself and I also got a little bit of street cred from running on my busted-up, bloody knee.

Hopefully I can continue to train and race well and dip into the 16s pretty soon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Christie Cookie 5k

It's time to race again! After the Harvest Moon 10k last October, I didn't really run again until I started coaching the distance runners at Beech High School in January. I'd run with them a few days a week, which enabled me to get a little bit of basic aerobic fitness in. I took about a month or so off at the end of their season and until after my honeymoon. After the honeymoon, I reached an all-time weight record of 168 pounds which gave me the motivation to get my weight down.

I was running 4-5 days a week from July on and was slowly building some fitness. My "B" goal for this race was 18:00, with my "A" goal being 17:30. Unfortunately, for the past few weeks, I've had a sinus infection and have been clogged up for quite a while. I didn't know too much about the course, so I didn't know what to expect.

I got out a little slow and shortly into the race, settled into third place. Chris Demetra had a huge lead from the gun and I tried to stay somewhat close to Jacob Carrigan. The course had a lot of rolling hills and I didn't get any of my splits but at the two mile mark, Jacob was only a few seconds ahead of me. I had a goal of reeling in him and then outkicking him but as the race went on, I fell further back with every minute. I crossed the line in 18:14, with Jacob at 17:48 and Chris at 16:35.

I was pretty frustrated with the race because I haven't run a 5k this slow since 8th grade and I thought my workouts indicated sub 18 fitness. Oh well.