Sunday, March 25, 2012

I Rocked Rock CF

Date: 03/25/12
Route:  Rock CF Half Marathon
Distance: 13.1 miles
Pace: 11:48/mile
Total Time: 2:34:29
Temp: 54 and cloudy

I was a little worried going into this race, as I have had a very bad week or so with running. I tried to do a long run last week of 12 miles, and ended up doing about 3 and deciding to sit down and rest. Mostly that was due to recovering from Pinkeye (funtimes, that), and trying to run before I was really ready

The weather dawned cool and cloudy, perfect for a half. I had crashed at my Aunt's house, which was only about 15 minutes away from the start, which helped me be able to sleep a little later. I arrived about 6am, so I was able to check in with plenty of time. I am one of those annoying people who get to races with an hour or more to space because I cannot stand being rushed on race morning. 

After getting all decked out with the Garmin, Gu's etc, and hitting to porta potties, I went over to the start line. I was looknig for a friend of mine from way back in HS, Brad Thomas, who I saw was going to be there on Facebook. Brad has an amazing and inspirational story. We ran together back in HS, and he was one of those fast people. Last year Brad had a tow truck roll on top of him, breaking several bones and ribs and doing severe damage to his hip. The doctors told him that he might never walk again, and certainly would not be doing distance running. So the fact that I might be able to run with him for his first post accident (16 screws and 3 plates in the hip later) half was something I was looking forward to.

We were able to meet up just before the start and then we were off. I had set some modest goals for the run given my sickness over the past few weeks. Brad was just hoping to finish, and maybe crack a 13 min/mile pace. We agreed to run together for the first couple of mile and then reevaluate.We came out pretty well, pacing the first three at 11:28, 11:31 and 11:33, that is pretty consistent. Brad was worried about going to fast, and I had basically made the decision to stick it out with him. We dialed it back a tad, but still maintained a sub 12 pace.

The scenery on this race is amazing. Grosse Ile is a generally upper income community located on an island in the Detroit River. So we did a lot of running by VERY large houses, and almost the entire course was right on the water.  Great view for almost the entire race. The weather stayed cool and cloudy, and we kept ticking off the miles. The water stations were very well laid out, probably about every two miles, so that was nice. They even had a station giving out GU packets! You can never go wrong with some GU.

As we got closer to ten miles, I could feel my legs starting to revolt, and Brad was in the same situation. We slowed down a little, but still kept up a good pace. Mile ten was our slowest mile, at 13:11, and that was mostly because Brad had to do a wardrobe change to shed his long sleeve tee. We finished fairly strong, with Brad 2 seconds behind me. Our pace was 11:48/mile, which I was happy with, and Brad was ecstatic with. Here is the post race pic:

Overall, the race was extremely well run, and has definite PR potential. A couple of bloggers I follow PR'd at this race including Megan over at Watch MeGo Run and Rose at Hacker Half Marathon who PR's be an amazing 11 minutes! Did I maybe run a little slower to stay with Brad? Possibly, but also possibly not. I was worried about even being able to run this, and maybe his company helped push me to the finish line. 

So a couple of questions:

1. What is you morning of race routine?
2. How long do you take off after a half?
3. Who saw Hunger Games over the weekend? 

Here is my cool Garmin widget so everyone can spy on my entire race:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Irish Eyes are Smiling

Date: 03/11/2012
Route:  Corktown 5K
Distance: 3.1 miles
Pace: 9:14/mile
Total Time: 28:44
Temp: 62 and sunny

The first race of 2012 is in the books! The sun was shining, the temp was in the low 60's and me and about 8000 of my closest friends decided to amble up Michigan Avenue in Detroit. I had an internal goal of at least tying my best time from last year, 28:46 at the Jamesers 5k in October. I thought there might be an outside chance I could hit my year goal in the first 5k of the season, which is to run one in under a 9 minute per mile pace.

I started off strong, rocking to "Don't Let Me be Misunderstood" by Santa Esmerelda. This song was such a great motivator, I would listen to only it for the full 5k. With the warm weather (I actually had to wear sunscreen!), my legs were quickly warmed up and the first mile flew by in 8:48.This was right about where I wanted to be, maybe even a little slower. The problem was that with so many people starting, it was very hard to get in a set rhythm early. As the pack thinned a little bit I was able to catch my stride.

The first half of mile 2 went by very quickly. Once you cross into Downtown, it seems it is only a minute and you are turning around at Campus Martius. The trip back was not so kind. I felt strong all the way through the end of mile 2, but by mid mile 3 I was fading. The great part about this race is that you are running along a parade route, so there are literally thousands of people cheering you on. This was a great motivator, and one thing that seperates this race from many. No lonely finishes here.

As I came into the slight turn toward the finish shoot, I was able to kick it in pretty well, and I am glad I did, becasue I beat my PR by two seconds. The atmosphere at this race is top notch. While running I saw at least 3 runners stop to shotgun beers given to them by the crowd. While I do not in any way condone drinking while running, it does give you an idea of the atmosphere of the race. It feels like a giant party where a run broke out.

Another crazy note, someone who I ran HS cross country with was also in the race and finished 12 seconds ahead of me, out of 8K runners. I tried to find him before the race, but it was pretty much impossible. Hopefully we can do some runs together in the future.

No rest for the weary though, my first half of the season is in two weeks! I am excited to run the Rock CF Half on Grosse Isle for the first time, it has gooten rave reviews from some of my runner friends. That means that this weekend is the dreaded long run of 12+ miles. Hopefully this weather holds out.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Down and Dirty

Last night I ran a mile in 8:35. For most serious runners, this is slow, but for me it is pretty amazing. As a bonus it was outside, in the amazing 65 degree weather. So kudos on that.

Recently I received a race mailer, which I am sure all you runners out there are used to being bombarded with. This one was for the "Down and Dirty" Merrell Mud Run 10K. I have been wanting to try out one of these obstacle course races for a while, but they are always too far away. The Tough Mudder for Detroit, for expample, is acually between Toledo and Cleveland, not exacly a quick car ride away. This one however, is being held at Kensington Metro Park in Milford, so it is not far away.

Here is a pic from their website, looks fun right:

Here is the course info:

What do you think? Should I give it a go?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hot and Cold

Date: 02/26/2012
Route: Hines Park 9 Miler
Distance: 9 Miles
Pace: 10:22/mile
Temp: 36 Degrees
Wind Chill of 24 degrees

One month to go. The official half marathon countdown has begun! With the Rock CF Half Marathon exactly 1 month away, training has gotten hot and heavy as of late. 9 miles was planned today, and 9 miles were completed with no problems, even a little faster then I thought I would. Next weekend will probably be the same and then I have the Corktown Races 5K, always my first race of the year and always a blast. My semi-official goal is to match my best 5k time from last year at my first 5k this year. Then it is the long run and the race.

This is by far the most aggressive running schedule I have ever had. I have never run more then 1 half in a year, and this year I have three scheduled. Usually I have a nice long slow ramp up to the Detroit Half in October; instead this year my second race is a half. Needless to say I am excited and a little anxious.

My real problem running lately has been temperature. It seems to be too warm for my snazzy NbX Windblocker, but too cold to run in my standard pullover. This results in a true paradox. If I run with the NbX jacket, I start off fine, but get too warm in about 2 miles, however if I run in the pullover I never quite get warm enough. I will be excited when the temp starts hanging out in the low to mid 40’s because that is perfect pullover weather. My luck we will jump right to the 60’s, which I guess is not something to realy complain about. Here is a nice snazzy pic from this 9 mile run: