Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Schooley Mill CX

What a gorgeous morning Sunday was! I got to the race and got out of the car and decided that the full bag of warm clothes I had brought, just in case, would be unworn. Short sleeve jersey and light gloves it would be.

I had actually gotten there in time for a practice lap, so I did that, then went back to the car. I decided I thought my front tire might have a slow leak so I changed the tube, ate something, and got to the start in time to take my place in the front row.

Things were looking pretty good.

Until the whistle blew.

I felt like everyone blew by me up the pavement at the start, and maybe they did. It was a little discouraging, but the race was young yet. I passed a few people out on the course, but something just felt a little off. I wasn't cornering all that confidently, but the longer I spent out there, the better I felt. I could tell a top 5 finish was not going to be in the cards on that day, but I was trying to find another girl or two to pick off before the end.

Until halfway through the 3rd lap (there would be 4). I went over a root or a rock or something on the start of a long gentle downhill, bounced off it, and ...


Looked this way over my shoulder and that way and the woman behind me passed and said, "You've got a flat."

I thought so.

Not my Actual Bike

We were well into the middle of the lap and to get a time you have to finish, so off I was for a mile or so walk/ jog down and up the hill, over the barriers, through the s-turns along the side of the hill, over the muddy bit, and back up the pavement past the judges.

I stopped along the way to chat for 5 or more minutes with a coach of one of the Juniors team, who gave me tire pressure advice, adjusted my helmet strap so I wouldn't get a concussion, and explained that when you are a coach it can be hard to turn it off. I'm married to one, so I know. Then I ran most of the rest of the way out of there and finished my race and watched all the riders go by on their last lap.

I was pretty "eh - oh well" while I was out there but once I got back to the car, I was feeling kind of bummed. I think I also wished I had brought the family with me since it was such a nice day and there was a sweet playground and we all had a good time at that race last Fall.

Anyway, I looked at the results today and somehow I wasn't last. There were two people in the race who finished after me, so that was a little surprising, but I was sure I was last by a mile, so I'll take it.

Better luck next time...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Race for the Parks 10k

Well, I was nervous, but it ended up being a great morning.

Getting up was no problem, because of the time change, and I got downtown with plenty of time to park in a close spot and sit warm in the car for about 25 minutes looking at the news and relaxing as all the parking spots around me filled up. Easy walk to the start by the Vietnam Memorial, the Lincoln, the Korean War Memorial, and some of the most striking parkland in the region and a relaxed warm up with some pickups and it was almost time to start.

It was in the upper 40s and sunny and I was planning on wearing shorts and a t-shirt, so I waited until the last 8 minutes before the start to drop my bag and got over to the corrals.

There was a front group of young guys in singlets and bare arms so I looked for where the women started and slipped in about there, maybe a few rows back. The race started on time and we were off.

I was immediately kicking myself for not being more bold, as the women directly in front of me started off running in a way that somehow seemed to make her not even more forward, tiny springy steps, and I had to dodge her and a few more before I came out into an open space.

I felt good. I knew there was a tailwind behind me, that would become a headwind in 3 short miles, but I was feeling pretty good. My plan was to start conservative for 2 miles, maybe 7:20s, and then speed it up for the next two and try to lay it out for the last two, with the hopes that I would end up with a time that would give me a good baseline for workouts at the track over the winter.

When I looked at my watch and saw 6:55 pace about halfway through that first mile, I questioned this strategy. In the end, I finished that mile at 6:58 but decided I needed to dial it back a little but try to keep a pace that would be more aggressive than my original plan.

Although I was afraid for the first 5 miles or so that I could possibly be on the path to a terrible failure in pacing, that didn't happen. I possibly made one tactical error after we went around the tip of Hains Point and into the wind for the first time, since a woman I was running near took the opportunity to tuck in behind me and I had no one I could catch to do the same. However, after the turnaround and our return around the tip of Hains Point into the headwind home, I did search out other runners to block the wind. It doesn't help like it does on a bike; that is, I didn't feel like I could ease up and go the same speed, but I am certain it made at least some difference.

Other than that it was a pretty uneventful race. I had a touch of a side cramp in the 5th mile, but nothing like I had this summer at the NJ triathlon and I don't think it affected me. I was surprising myself at the ability to hold my pace though.

I thought my data was interesting from the race, with my average heartrate for each mile gradually going up while the mile times (except for the first one) staying in the same range.

1: 6:58/ 156
2: 7:09/ 161
3: 7:12/ 163
4: 7:09/ 164
5: 7:13/ 167
6: 7:14/ 168
last .2: 6:56 pace/ 170

Dave says that the fact that I could pull out 6:56 pace for the last .2 means that I had more in the tank and could have shaved more time off. Maybe he is right, but it was work getting that pace in the end and I was suffering. I am not sure how much longer I could have held it, or if I should have just been going a little faster throughout, but I guess that is what I am trying to learn.

I ended up with a 44:38, 4th in my age group, and waited around for awards since this time would have had me on the "podium" (there wasn't one) at last years race. But it was a fast day out there so I guess I will have to wait to earn my chance at a trip to the podium in a road race. In all the age groups younger than mine, everyone on the podium went sub-40. That's a long way off.

I have my baseline to shoot for 43:30 and have learned that I have been sandbagging at the track, since I have been doing my mile repeats at about 7:12. I guess I can probably go faster than that. No real running races planned until the 10k in February, so it's time to settle in for some work.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Update: Rudy's

I just want to say that I have been reunited with my sunglasses - they came back to me just over a week after I sent them, with lovely new clear lenses that are crisper then my regular glasses (though I won't give in to the temptation to wear them all the time instead of my regular ones, because I might look a little silly). This was all in plenty of time for tomorrow's end of daylight savings time and the resulting dark bike commute home. Boo.

And, hopefully, for use when night mountain bike rides return to my life.

They also replaced all the used and abused rubber bits on my frames so the glasses that came back to me were almost like new.

Thanks, Rudy Project!