Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lovejoy Country Run 5K

It's been a pretty good training year so far, though just last week I was feeling pretty tired. I have done no real speedwork, so yesterday's race gave me a pretty good idea of how far I've come since I started running again and better yet, it gives me an even better idea of how far I have to go.

I was discussing a little bit of strategy (if you can call it that at my current fitness level) with Greg, and he suggested that I hold back a little the first mile and then try to run negative splits the 2nd and 3rd miles. I guess that plan completely slipped my mind because when the gun went off, I strode right up to the front with the leaders. The first quarter to half mile may have been a bit too fast, causing me to slow down the next half, putting me at 5:54 a mile in. Normally I think this pace would be fine, but it probably should have been a bit more even.

At the halfway point, I was actually in 4th place but by the end of the 2nd mile (6:12 mile, 12:06 total at the check point), a few people passed me, and I felt like I was fading rather quickly.

I faded a bit more before trying to gather myself for a mini kick at the end and crossed the line in 19:01. I had envisioned running low 18s or better, so I was a bit disappointed, but it honestly is a good start and with the training I have planned for the summer, I really believe I can get much faster. Conversely though, I won my 25-29 age group and brought home a medal! :) That's pretty good encouragement I think.

If you want to see real pain, watch my finish here. It shows the winner, who beat me by about 1:40ish, but Jess did some pretty good camera work, and you can see the times as the runners cross. (I got 8th overall).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gas left in the tank?

Friday provided me with a hint of hope that I could actually get things going and run fast again one day. We held the 1st annual Swine Flu relays at Lovejoy High School since the regional meet was pushed back. The kids were scheduled to run fast on Friday before all this flu hysteria let loose, so we let them. They got all suited out in their uniforms, and we had a nice little round of time trials.

On Thursday, Greg asked me if I could run a 56 second 400 to rabbit the 800 guys through the first lap. Hesitantly, I said I could. I was admittedly nervous, though that is somewhat embarrassing to say. I had to borrow some spikes and while I was warming up and doing strides, I had the feeling it would not go well. The gun shot off for the 800, and we took off. Through the first 100, I felt pretty smooth, so I settled in to a nice relaxed pace. One of the guys had gone out really fast and actually was in front of me, so I had to step on the gas in order to fulfill my end of the rabbitting bargain (I realize "rabbitting" is word likely only used in running). We flew through the 200 right at 27 seconds, and I was still not feeling too bad. The lack of speedwork (for about 8 years) starting setting in at about 270ish and as we came through the 300 at 42, I knew I was running close to empty. I kept trucking but started telling the guys to start passing me up. As soon as they passed me at about 370 or so, I stepped off the track, just in time to hear their time as they came through the 400, 56 seconds. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I could still get up and go a bit. It worked out, too, since our district champion 800 runner ran a PR of 1:57, which was the goal, and our district runner-up ran a new PR of 1:59.9. It was a good run for the 800 runners.

Our 300 hurdler girls still had to run, and I also wanted to help them out as well. Though it would have been ridiculous for me to run hurdles, I thought I could at least run with them in the next lane and give them pointers as they were going. This occurred about 10 minutes after my 56 second 400 attempt, so I was pretty gassed. Our district champion hurdler ran a PR of 46.6 with me running right alongside her, which was fantastic, though I once again found myself wondering how I ever did some of the interval workouts that I did in my previous life.

By this time, my calves were barking like hound dogs, but we still had our 1600 girls left to run, and Greg asked me if I could help pace it as well. I knew the middle 2 laps of the 1600 were the hardest, so I volunteered for that. Our district champion 1600 runner ran right at her PR of 5:33, and I was able to pace her through the middle 800 in 2:50, a struggle, especially after the previous attempts to catch a glimpse of the glory days.

While my mileage has receeded the past few weeks as fatigue has set in, I still was encouraged by my mini workout on Friday. We have the Lovejoy Country Run 5K this coming Saturday, and I'm hoping to run under 18:00. This would be very close to a PR, though I would say I never ran to my real potential when running cross country in high school.

I've enjoyed getting back into the swing of running and have some goals in mind for the next calendar year. They include running the "Too Hot To Handle" 15K in July in 6:10 - 6:15 pace, running at the OSU Jamboree 8K in October (brutal course) in under 28:00 (possibly a stretch), and the ultimate goal is to run sub 6:00 pace for the White Rock 1/2 marathon in December. If all of these things go according to plan, then I am planning on running a few 1500 meter races next track season, including running unattached at the Texas Relays.

Since I quit running in college, this is the most serious I've gotten about it again. I love long runs and just being decently fit. Encouragement will be welcome as I take on these lofty goals, all the while being a father and a husband. Luckily, I have an awesome family and have nothing but support from my wonderful wife and though she does not understand the concept of support, I know Cecelia is rooting for me, too.

Have a great week!