Tuesday, January 22, 2013

RACE REPORT: Run Downtown 5K 2013


Sunday, Jan 13: 60 min bike session to get a workout while letting my legs recover from the previous day’s race + easy run. Felt easier than it has in a long time, due to some good bike training over Xmas break.

Monday, Jan 14: 40 min strength session. Inspired by the workouts demoed by Jenna from the Today Show. They were no joke! That’s cool that she became a certified personal trainer on top of being a show host. I’ve thought about doing the same, although getting clients would be the tricky part. I normally do the same set of strength exercises weekly, with small variations only (like triangle pushups vs. divebombers vs. fast pushups vs. normal-paced pushups vs. pushups with dumbbell rows, or dumbbell rows from a plank position vs. from a leaned-over-on-a-bench position). Jenna had a crazy mix of exercises and variations that I hadn’t seen before, though, so I tried them out during this session. It was fun, and I was pleasantly sore for the next couple of days. Good to shake things up, so that your body has to adapt.

Tuesday, Jan 15: Still wanting the inclines. 4.3 mi in 36:14 (8:26 ave), at an average incline of 4 degrees, making it equivalent to doing it at 7:30 pace at 1 degree on the treadmill / 0 degrees on land. I varied it between 3 and 5 degrees, based on what I could handle at the pace.

Wednesday, Jan 16: Still kinda recovering, so started easy on the 5.1 miler, went for 42:51 (8:24 ave). Went 1 degree the whole time for the first time in a long time. Wore clunkier shoes that gave me more support, and in those, I didn’t feel the need to increase the incline. Interesting. Progressed the speed because I loosened up> 8:46, 8:30, 8:29, 8:18, 8:01, 0:45 for 0.1.

Thursday and Friday, tapering for the race!


Cold morning, low 30s. Wore a singlet instead of a sports bra for the first time in a long time… it’s cold enough to do this like once a year. I even wore arm sleeves! Even after doing my usual warmup and dynamic stretching, I kept jogging around a bit to keep warm, although its efficacy was questionable. Once the starting line started gathering, I went in looking forward to the warmth. I had 3 small chocolate-covered expresso beans an hour before the start, but no gel this time… didn’t really need it. I didn’t feel like I was about to start racing though, but ready or not, my body was about to be revved up and pushed!

We went out. My right ear-wrapping earbud wouldn’t stay securely in my ear, and I spent the first 1/3 mi trying to get it in there until I kind of gave up. That probably slowed me down a lot. I never had trouble with it before, and I couldn’t tell why it wasn’t staying… maybe some of my hair was blocking the part that goes around my ear.

This is the area’s largest 5K or something, so there were lots more people than I see at most races. Too many competitors to keep track of, and based on last year’s results, many of them are way out of my league anyway. I would be lucky to be an age grouper.

In last week’s race, I had a big negative split, going 6:46, 6:46, 6:30, so I intentionally put in a couple of spurts in mile 1, knowing that I had it in me, even though the pace felt comfortable where it was. The course has minor hills, so the splits didn’t match effort. I ended up chasing down people the whole time… like passing 100 vs. being passed by 5… impressions can be skewed, but that’s what my impression was. Mid-way, the cold got to my feet, and I couldn’t feel them, so it was like pushing off of two bricks. Probably not as efficient, when you can’t feel the road and time the activations of all the little muscles correctly. My biggest concern was banging my feet hard against the pavement unintentionally, and causing metatarsal stress fractures. I wore compression socks, but even that didn’t provide enough warmth. My exposed thighs were getting a little numb, too, but they did better than my feet. The numbness passed, though, and it only l lasted for maybe ¼ mi.

Since there were so many people, there were continuously more women to chase down. Pass one, and there are a couple more up ahead. Pass them, and still more. Good for motivation… reason not to slack off and keep pushing, all the way through to the end. In the last mile, there are turnies. The course map looked almost like a simple rectangle, but there were turns that I didn’t expect, and I got disoriented a bit. I could tell based on time about how much longer until the finish would arrive, but when I finally saw the finish, it caught me by surprise, big time. Fortunately, it was on a long downhill, so I still had decent notice and started kicking immediately. It was a really big downhill, too, so you had good momentum kicking it in. Passed a bunch more while gasping for air, though one guy who decided to sprint at the end when he saw that I was passing him edged me out. That’s always something kind of fun.

Ended up getting 2nd in my age group. Last week was a 20:40 PR… this time, I did 20:42. Shows that the PR is legit. My take-away last time was that I need to get used to hurting again, since I could’ve pushed harder at the end. On that front, I did better this time. I think I have one more gear, though, and with the right earbud debacle, plus the hills, I think I could’ve improved my time by another 15s, even without additional training. Oooh, 20:2X would be sooo nice. And at that point, 19:XX would feel soooo close. I think to do it, I’d need to go much harder from the start. The neg split approach gives me faster times overall, but if I do want to get to the next level, I’ll have to go all in up front and take the risk of blowing up.

My Corporate shield teammates all ended up doing well.  The tall guy's wife won 1st for Masters Women, and the tall guy won 3rd in his competetive AG.  His time was 18:XX vs. her 21:XX, but the size differential of the awards was funny.

Day after: Felt good enough to run. Did 6.1 in 50:57 (8:18 pace) outside, on the grassy park. It was nice, and I could’ve done a few more miles had it not gotten dark. I did the last lap with a headlamp, but even with it, it felt too risky to do it once the sun had completely gone down. I don’t know how ultrarunners do it!

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