hello Moab

Oct. 18th, 2013 03:13 pm
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
[personal profile] ilanarama
I'm kind of afraid to write this post, because the last two races I wrote up my goals and plans for turned out much different (and for 'different', read SLOWER) than I'd expected. But I'd never run those races before, and my expectations were a bit different than reality. And I've run The Other Half four times now - my default profile photo is from that race - and I have a pretty good idea of what I'm getting myself into.

So, what am I getting myself into?

The course is basically flat or gently downhill for the first half. Then there are three big hills - a painful 200-foot climb in mile 8, and two shorter but also steep climbs in miles 10 and 12, with downhills in between - and a long screaming downhill to the Longest Finish Chute Ever. (And then there is beer.)

As I said above, I've run it four times:

2009 - 1:41:44, a 2+ minute PR and 3rd AG which became 1st after winners got other awards
(In March 2010 I got my current PR of 1:37:01 at this race's sister marathon, Canyonlands)
2010 - 1:40:25, and amazingly 1st AG
2011 - 1:43:54, which I was okay with because I was still coming back from a stress fracture
2012 - 1:38:37, 2nd AG

The finish times only tell part of the story, though. Because I'm a numbers geek, I copied my split times from all these races into a spreadsheet and spent some time looking at them. And one thing that jumped out at me - well, one thing I knew from how the races went, and that the spreadsheet confirmed - was that I really suck at pacing this course.

Last year, I went out fairly fast; my first 7 miles averaged 7:14 pace, which would have been a 1:35 half had I sustained it. But the hills took it out of me, as did a headwind which popped up right at the top of the mile 8 hill, and my average pace from mile 7 to the end was 7:46. Which is slower than I ran that same stretch in both 2009 and 2010. Not by much, fortunately. But if I'm getting fitter, I should be running faster on the whole course, so this implies I'm pacing badly. And incidentally, my pace on the second half of the course the first year was only 2 seconds slower than my pace on the first half. So I ought to be able to run faster on the second half - if I run the first half properly.

There's a nifty little tool at http://tazrunning.com/ that produces an elevation-adjusted pace band for any race in its database, including The Other Half. I've created a pace plan (go look, it's got a map and elevation chart!) which roughly matches my actual pace pattern in my previous races, but holds a better pace on the late hills...and also, gets me about a half-minute PR.

I'm not actually going to print this out and use it, though; it's just a tool to help me visualize my plan. Which is to hold about 7:18-7:20 through the first 7 miles, try to make that first hill in under 8 minutes (which I've never done; my best mile-8 split, last year, was 8:12), and then try to rocket the downhills and stay strong on the uphills. My A goal is a PR, anything under 1:37 (okay, 1:37:00 would be a 1-second PR, but that would not be nearly as satisfying as a totally new number in the minutes column); my B goal is to beat my time from last year (course PR). Actually, I guess my B goal is 1:37:xx and my C goal is anything under 1:38:37.

Also, I have a goal of winning my new 50-54 age group, though that will of course depend on who else shows up - but I have a feeling the race director, Ranna, is betting on me, because I have been assigned a single-digit bib number (9!) for the first time!

Of course, making a plan is not the same as executing it, as I said above, but I'm feeling good about this one:
  • My average MPW is higher than it's ever been, about 60mpw over the past 8 weeks, with the last 3 weeks at 64+. Last year I had 2 weeks at ~62 and averaged about 52 over the same period before the race.

  • Although my tempo runs have not been as fast as they were last year, my speed workout on Tuesday of 3x1 mile with 3 minute easy between intervals was faster than the same workout from last year, which I also did in the week before the race: 6:55, 6:55, and 6:56, while last year my fastest of the three intervals was 7:03.

  • Speaking of indicator workouts, I also ran a route on Monday that has a lot of long, steep uphill (and long, steep downhill), and my average pace was 8:41, faster than it's ever been on this route (not to mention, faster than most of my 'easy' training runs!). Coincidentally I also ran more-or-less the same route on the Monday before The Other Half last year, at an average 8:52 pace. I felt super-strong on the uphill, and comfortable pushing hard on the downhill.

  • I'm at my lowest weight in some time, doubtless as a direct consequence of running so much. This week my weight has ranged between 112.2 and 114.4 pounds; for whatever reason I didn't weigh myself much last year in the week before the race, but it looks like my weight was in the range of 113.8-115.4. I don't think one pound one way or the other makes much difference - the important thing is that I'm not significantly heavier.

  • The weather is forecast to be awesome - cold and sunny, just the way I like it for racing, and most importantly only a 5mph wind.
So all signs - or at least, most signs - point to a good race! There are only two things I'm really worried about. The first is my GI tract, which has been giving me grief on and off since last winter. Lately it's been acting up again, and I've needed an emergency bathroom stop on an awful lot of my runs. Since the race starts at 8:30, I think I'm just going to skip breakfast, which should help. (I ran most of my runs this summer before breakfast, so I'm fine with running on an empty stomach. There will be Clif Shots at mile 6, and Gatorade at the aid stations every other mile, so I should be okay for calories if needed.) I also might take half an Immodium at the start.

The other thing I'm (a bit irrationally) worried about is...falling! Since falling a couple of times on road runs, I'm a bit nervous about tripping over pavement irregularities, rocks, air, whatever. Hopefully I will manage to keep the rubber side down!

No matter how the race shakes out, I am looking forward to it. I enjoy the solo drive out to Moab, listening to audiobooks and NPR; I enjoy meeting my running friends from other cities, who I only ever see at races, for Mexican food and margaritas the night before; I enjoy the after-race party, with many pints of Moab Brewery beer. I will enjoy these things even more, of course, if I'm also celebrating a PR and an AG win, so cross your fingers for me!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-19 02:33 am (UTC)
ext_794226: (Default)
From: [identity profile] smalltownraces.blogspot.com
Back for a second attempt at a comment! Open ID not working... Or operator malfunction.

You know this course and you have a PR coming- would be super to see you with the AG award too!
Thanks for the link to the pace band site.. Very nice.. Smart splits too.
Wishing you the best! Go get em :)
-Raina @ smalltownraces.blogspot.com

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-19 02:56 am (UTC)
traveller42: (Default)
From: [personal profile] traveller42
I need to run this race.

Good luck!

Also, thanks for the link, that looks like a great site.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-19 04:02 am (UTC)
traveller42: (Default)
From: [personal profile] traveller42
We'll see what the schedule looks like next year.

I will be in Maniac gear and starting in the back with Wave N. A friend of mine is also walking the half.

Feel free to pass my name along.

Taz

Date: 2013-10-19 01:21 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I was talking with a friend who used the Taz Running site to give pacing info for Flying Monkey last year. Just so you know - for this race/future reference - his formula just looks at the change in elevation at each mile split. If you have significant variation within the mile but not much gain or loss at the split, it's going to have you running an even pace. Taz's Flying Monkey proposed Flying Monkey splits were thus much more even than what he (Ben H.) actually ran. I thought I'd pass that along in case you didn't know that!

Heidi M.

Re: Taz

Date: 2013-10-19 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The benefit of experience! GOOD LUCK TOMORROW!!! Kick some serious tail. Remember: don't fall, don't poop....repeat.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-21 03:06 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Well, if I read the results sheet right.... HOLY SMOKES, WOMAN!!!! You ran an amazing race!!!

1st in class, 6th in sex, final time of 1:35:57 (blowing your previous PR out of the water by over a minute, amiright?)...

One thing perhaps you could explain though... what is the difference between the FMASTERS and F50-54 (which is what I thought you were classed at)? Although looking at the 1st place F50-54 time, you would have smoked that age group...

Well done, Ilana!

Eric W.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-21 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Ah, now I understand.

And 1:35:55 looks even better! :-D

I look forward to the race report.

Eric W.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-10-23 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] justrunjim.blogspot.com
Problem one of those times you were more than happy to have your age snnounced to everyone. She's 50 and kicked everyone's butt. Enjoy it and someone is about to pass my time at CIM

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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)
Ilana

April 2017

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

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