26 June 2010


I woke up at 5AM, just as scheduled. It was already bright daylight outside. Today's race was meant as a speed workout. I figured I wouldn't PR due to the heat and humidity, but it would be worth pushing myself just the same. I have not been wanting to do speed workouts on the track or the hill, so this would have to do. I realized soon after the start that it was going to be tough. While I kept my heart rate under control, it seemed I just couldn't push as hard as usual. My heart rate crept up, but I was never able to max it out. The start of the race was exciting in and by itself. The RD uses an age and gender adjusted start to level the playing field and to give everyone a chance to actually cross the finish line first. As a result, we would start in waves based on the 2006 World Masters Association (WMA) age and gender grade tables. As a result, the first group started at 7AM, while I had to wait a full 29 minutes to start. Basically, my age/gender group was second to last to start. That meant I had to roll up the entire field just to get into the top 20 and that seemed like an insurmoutable task given the temps and time difference. Anyway, it certainly made for a very interesting race. After looping a soccer field immediately after the start and heading down an access road for about 2 miles, we entered a nice flat winding trail that would take us back towards the finish line for the remaining 2.8 miles of the race. I spent the first half of the race passing and trying to pass other runners and managed to get passed only twice during the race. The start in waves really changed the way I usually run a race. I normally try to go out hard and then hold on for dear life and try to avoid to get passed myself. In this race, it is all about trying to reel people in. Since almost everyone started before me, that left the 95% of the runners in front of me. That meant you had to continue to pass people if you wanted a shot at one of the awards reserved for the top 15 male and female finishers in this race. At the end of the day, I finished 18th overall. Not too bad for a field of about 200 runners, but also not what I was shooting for. My average pace has slowed over the last couple oif months and I am sure that is related to my ultra running and my lack of speed trainign over the last month as well. This heat is just not accommodating to speed training and I am just glad to be able to maintain mileage ast this point. This will be my first summer in the south, where I will attempt not to cut back on my mileage, since I am right in the middle of training for my first 100 miler in November. However, having seen my mileage pace slip in the last two shorter distance races has really bothered me. I will have to get some hill and speed training back into my schedule. Maybe I do need to join the gym again to get in some speed training in an air conditioned room on a treadmill. Yes, I know, I sound like a wimp. I promise, I'm not. I just prefer to log long runs in this heat instead of attacking a hill or track. Enough whining, tomorrow will be fun. Richard informed me of the course for tomorrow's run and it will be a very interesting half marathon distance trail run.

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