Sunday, October 16, 2005

Pumpkin Run 10 km

I was very happy with the race this morning in the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run 10K. I decided to start celebrating Halloween early by donning a green fluorescent rock 'n roll wig. I didn't get any pictures of this, but it's wild and definitely stands out. I told people I hoped to distract my competition. I knew it would slow me down somewhat but it's only 10 km (6.21 miles) and I wanted to have fun with it. To compensate, I wore my lightest weight racing shoes which feel about as heavy as wool socks -- I believe each shoe weighs about 4 ounces while still providing good support and cushioning.

So, I was out the door at 7am with friends Cathy and Tamara (who stayed with us the night before) and we drove over together. I met my running friends George Miller, Julie Mell, and Peggy Ruse there. Caroline couldn't make it at the last moment -- sick. I warmed up a bit, chatted a bit, and got plenty of looks and positive comments on the wig. I had worked on building a fence for some friends for about 5 hours on Saturday and it involved a lot of hard work with a pick axe and shovel, so my upper body and back were noticeably sore. My legs felt good though and I had rested the last couple of days otherwise, only running a few miles on Saturday morning.

At 8am, the very short kids race began and then ended about 12 minutes later. Cute! Then the 10K race started at 8:15am. One tall powerful guy took off and was the obvious uncontensted winner within seconds. The rest of us settled in. I was in 6th place or so, out of about 200 I think. (They had a 5K "fun run" start at the same time, so it's a little hard to know how many were in the 10K.) I was impressed that an older guy, in his 50s, passed me around mile 1 and went on to pass a couple of others. I tried to "take it easy", knowing my inclination towards running the beginnings too quickly. At mile 3 I checked my watch -- 18:06. Oh, boy. Kind of fast. Only a week earlier did I run the fastest 3 miles in my life in exactly 18 minutes. But on the other hand, I was almost halfway through the race. I could feel some burning and fatigue so I increased my breathing, inhaling in one step and exhaling on the next step. (Called 1:1 breathing.) Typically, when running steady my breathing cadence is 2:2-- two steps on inhale and two steps on exhale. I think this helped me feed oxygen to my legs and I "kept it all together".

This is a flat course that consists of a run through a residential area towards the coastal trail, then north along the trail to a turn-around point that doubles back on the trail and then takes a shortcut back to the elementary school where the race started. So, while running back on the coastal trail after the turn-around point, the runners get to face each other as they're going in opposite directions. I enjoyed the distraction as dozens of people said things like "nice hair", "cool hair", "I like your hair", and "you're 1st place of the green haired runners". Funny! Before I knew it, there was less than a mile to go. I was slowly getting closer to the guy in front of me, but he knew I was behind him thanks to all of the comments plus I was breathing rather heavily, too! With about a half mile to go, I decided to let my heart rate shoot to the moon and pour on the speed and go for broke. I was in 7th place. My competitor picked up the pace in response but then seemed to lose heart and slowed down suddenly. I kept up the sprint and finished in 37 minutes and 37 seconds, give or take a couple of seconds. My average pace was about 6 minutes 3 seconds a mile which I'm thrilled about not only because of the speed but because of the consistency.

The organizers gave awards for the 1st and 2nd place finishers overall, male and female, plus 1st and 2nd in each age bracket. Being in the male 30 to 39 age bracket and 6th place overall, I didn't win any award, but I did get a t-shirt and 2 small pumpkins and a great feeling. Woot!

Our friend Tamara crossed the finish line without giving them her bib stub. I told her she should so that her time can be recorded and she reluctantly did so. Then during the award ceremonies, she realized that she was first place in her age group! Her time was 46 minutes, I believe. Julie Mell was the 4th place woman and her achilles tendon still hurt from our 19 mile run almost 2 weeks ago. Cathy had a 5 minute bathroom break during the race and still did a couple minutes better than her 6 mile (not 6.21 mile) race in Santa Cruz a shortwhile ago. Funny! Peggy did it slow and easy and was happy to be there. George Miller, having completed a 50 mile (yes, 50 mile) race yesterday in about 11 and half hours was in good spirits and was just volunteering to help the race out.

Claire slept in and Jennifer didn't make it to the race this time. I watched Claire for most of the afternoon and evening. Was a good day.
UPDATE: The results have been posted. There were 202 runners who finished the race and my official time was 37 minutes 35 seconds.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Good Training Runs

I've had so many good training runs lately, I thought I should post a little update on my progress. I set a personal record for mileage in a week last week, running 64.85 miles from Monday through Sunday. I've been ratcheting-up the miles. My weekly totals read:
8/21/05 35.42
8/28/05 39.39
9/4/05 46.28
9/11/05 37.11 (half-marathon race)
9/18/05 53.80
9/25/05 61.40
10/1/05 42.82 (business trip)
10/9/05 64.85
Additionally, I've completed my longest training runs -- 22.46 miles (3:06:05 hrs min sec), 21.78 miles (3:07:31), and 19 miles (3:30:00). The times vary a great deal according to how much I am running with others versus by myself. I did a 14.05 mile run yesterday by myself, trying to "take it easy", but did it in 1:44:20 which I realized afterwards was a pace nearly identical to my first half-marathon race, but over tougher terrain and longer! So that's encouraging that my training pace is quite close to my race pace from a year ago! Finally, today I ran 3.11 miles at a pace of nearly exactly 6 minutes a mile which is the fastest I've ever covered that distance in my life, including cross-country in high school, and I ran that relatively fast 14 miles yesterday! Very encouraging.

Upcoming Goal Paces
Pumpkin Run 10 km, flat cool coastal course: 6 minutes 20 seconds a mile.
Honolulu Marathon: 7 minutes 15 seconds a mile.