ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
Like I did last year, I signed up for the Narrow Gauge 10 Mile at nearly the last minute, when it was clear we'd be spending Memorial Day weekend in town. I figured that I'd be able to improve a lot on my time of 1:21:44, since last year we had been on vacation a lot and I was biking more than I was running, in preparation for our epic Purgatory-to-Moab ride. This year I've been gradually increasing my mileage since my long string of illness in February, averaging over 36mpw, as compared to last year's 23mpw over the same period. I've also been riding, though not nearly as much.

Spoiler alert: I ran 1:22 flat, 16 seconds slower this year. (I still would have come in first in my age group, if there had been age groups. Also I'm pleased to see in the results that my "age percentage" of 71.0, which I assume is some form of age/sex grading, puts me in 10th place by age percentage!)

Why did this happen? Am I in worse shape now than I was then? Was all that riding actually more beneficial than running more miles?

Short answer: possibly poor execution, definitely lack of taper. Long answer under the cut. )

So I think that what happened is that I just had too much residual fatigue to sustain a hard 10M race, and ran out of energy. Which is an object lesson for me with Steamworks coming up, especially since...I'm doing another White Rim trip the week of the race, unless the weather is too hot (which it might be, Moab in June). I knew it wasn't going to be a goal race anyway, and some old friends invited us on the trip, and even though we just did it last month we would like to spend time with them, and hey, White Rim's pretty awesome. Hopefully if I do a very short run on Friday when we're back home, just to remind myself how to run, I will be okay for the race on Saturday. Because even if it's not a goal race, I would like to finish strong!

Anyway, it wasn't really a failure. I enjoyed myself, I had a good workout, and when I finished, I had beer AND ice cream - for breakfast!
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
We're not often in town over Memorial Day Weekend, but this year, we'd just finished a string of out-of-town vacations (New York city, Tobago, White Rim) and a friend invited us to his birthday party on Saturday night. So since we'd be around, I signed up somewhat last-minute for the Narrow Gauge 10 Mile Run. This race is actually the oldest continuously-run race in Colorado history, dating from 1978. One guy at the race has run it every year! I've run it twice before, in 2006 and 2009. The course has changed since then, but one thing's always the same: it runs from town up mesa to Fort Lewis College, a climb of about 500 feet in a few steep pitches, around the mesa rim, and then back down to town to the finish line.

This means that even if I had been in good shape (which I am not!) I was not going to challenge my 10-mile PR of 1:13, set two years ago at the CARA Lakefront Marathon in Chicago. (Hee, looking at those statistics it had less elevation change by an order of magnitude!) In 2009 I ran 1:24:20 at this race, and three weeks later ran 1:44:19 at the Steamworks Half Marathon, a PR at the time; that's 33 seconds slower than my recent Canyonlands Half time, and the current course puts the big hill at the beginning of the race rather than at the end (which I think makes it easier), so I figured I ought to be able to beat my 2009 time. Maybe 1:22 or so, which not-really-coincidentally is the time that the fastest 50-59 woman ran last year (I looked it up).

On the other hand, I haven't really been running a lot. I'd been managing a mere 29mpw before Canyonlands, but all those vacations in April and May got in the way of running, and my average dropped to 22mpw. Then again, in the past three weeks I've ridden my bike ~160 miles, which ought to count for something, right?

Here is a map and elevation widget for the race. (I don't know why it's in metric!)

Here is my map-corrected GPS elevation chart, with pace and HR superimposed:
elevation chart

The start/finish was conveniently located at a park 1.3 gentle downhill miles from my house, so I jogged there as my warm-up. Saw my friend Allan at the start and lined up next to him. We took off across the grass of the park, through the balloon arch, and then out to the road where things started going uphill fast. I kept my heart rate in half-marathon-pace territory and just tried to keep my pace comfortable-but-steady, knowing that if I blew up on the uphill I would be too tired to push the downhill.

Mile 1: 8:58 pace, 73% average HRR since it ramped up slowly, but ended the mile with 82% (156 bpm), right in the correct zone for HMP HRR of 80-84%.
Mile 2: 9:23 pace, my slowest split, and 82% HRR. At the end of the second mile, I'd climbed almost 400 feet.
Mile 3: Up on the rim things flattened out a bit. 7:44, 82% HRR. I was running pretty close to two guys who were yakking up a storm, and I hated them for being able to talk at this pace. I consoled myself by the thought that I was probably about their moms' age.
Mile 4: About halfway through this mile the last big climb started, another 100 feet to the high point of the race. 8:30 pace (which was essentially the average of my 7:45 at the beginning, 9:15 at the end), 82% HRR. The gabby guys finally pulled away from me, the bums.
Mile 5: Allan yelled out to me as he nearly caught me at the aid station at the mile marker, but the course turned downhill for a delicious half-mile here before leveling out in preparation for the big plunge, and I turned on my motor and pulled away. 7:44 pace, 80% HRR.
Mile 6: WHEE DOWNHILL! 7:10 pace, 77% HRR, and 185 feet down!
Mile 7: Still gently downhill, with a few steeper bits. Just before turning the main road to wind through the neighborhood, some friends drove by and hollered encouragement out of their car window at me. Gave me a lift! 7:45, 75% (possibly spurious HR here)
Mile 8: On the Animas River (paved) trail now, a familiar running route. Dodging the usual traffic of kids on tricycles and dog-walkers, passing a few runners. Mostly flat with a few dips and hills. 8:01 pace, 82% HRR.
Mile 9: I can see the yappy guys ahead, too far to catch up to. I do manage to pass a few other racers, though I'm definitely fatiguing. 8:09 pace, 81% HRR.
Mile 10: Up to here my Garmin has been a bit ahead of the mile markers, but it's all added on at the end. I get 1.03 miles for this one at 8:15, which works out to about 8 minute flat pace, and an average of 83% HRR, though it maxed out at 90% at the end. At the very end, the course goes over maybe 20 yards of packed river-rock surface, like cobblestones, which almost makes me fall over; a little pavement through a parking lot; then 50 yards of grass. Oog. But the clock read 1:21:44 - I made my goal!

Allan came through maybe 30 seconds later, and we congratulated each other on a race well run. Then we got water in our finisher's pint glasses, and cans of beer from the cooler, and collapsed on the grass.

They haven't posted full results yet, but I got a look at the scoring computer before I left. My time of 1:21:44 put me in 15th place among women, and if they'd done age groups (which they don't) I would have won the 50-59. I think I was the third woman over 40 to finish. Not sure how many runners there were, something like 200, so this is not particularly a spectacular finish...but all things considered, I'm perfectly happy with it!

ETA: Yep, I came in 1st F50-59 (out of 17) by about 4 minutes, and 3rd F over 40 (out of 47). 15th woman out of 95, 36/170 overall. And here is a picture!

bridge1
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
A few months ago I received a notice of a conference to be held at the Argonne National Laboratories, near Chicago. The first thing I thought was, "Hmm, this might be useful and interesting." The second thing I thought was, "Hmm, I wonder if there's a race I could run there?"

IMG_20140418_150307

Indeed there was: the First Merit Bank Lakefront 10 Miler, a race put on by CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association). My online friend [blogspot.com profile] justrunjim belongs to CARA, and had run the race before and said it was a good one. I decided that it would be a fine way to update my very old (2009) 10-mile PR with a nearly-sea-level race, and made arrangements to stay after the conference with Jim (who'd be running it with me) and his wife (who'd be running a 5K instead).

I had a good time at the conference, getting in three nice runs around the Argonne campus and the lovely crushed-limestone path which encircles it, but my stomach did not handle the conference-catering food well, and I was also not feeling any faster at Chicago's elevation than I am at home. In addition, I had not managed to run as much as I had wanted in the five weeks since running the Canyonlands Half Marathon, averaging only 40mpw rather than the 55-60 I had hoped for. Still, it was a perfect day for me, cold, sunny, and a little breezy, and I thought a target of about 7:20 pace (the slow end of my original goal, also Jim's goal) would be reasonable.

Jim and I lined up fairly close to the front; our friend Scott, a Chicagoan who has several children living in Durango and who I'd met running there, was coming back from injury and placed himself a ways behind us. After too much speechifying and the National Anthem, we were off!

The course begins with a loop to the north on a closed section of road, then hits the bike path and goes south to loop around a small-boat harbor before heading back north again. Along the way it stays on the path except for one short section routed over a grassy knoll, which I think is just the race organizers' way of trying to get a little more elevation change in there than Chicago normally provides. The path was open to other users - walkers, runners, cyclists - and it astonished me to see just how many people were out there. I think I saw as many runners just out for their Saturday morning run as I did actually in the race, and there were nearly 1400 racers!

There was a timing clock at each mile mark, a very nice feature. The first mile seemed awfully long, though, both by comparison to my Garmin (which had beeped some time back) and in absolute terms, and I suspect it was not quite where it should have been. However, it was easy enough to check my own time at each clock, and my total Garmin distance of 10.08 was reasonable for typical Garmin error/tangent issues.

I lost Jim pretty quickly, then caught him again at the grassy knoll around mile 2.7 - then lost him again as my stomach started to complain and my pace slowed. As I approached mile marker 4 I was thinking I might have to duck into a porta-potty, but I held it together and eventually the sensation passed and I felt good enough to accelerate again. I spotted Jim again around mile 7 - he was wearing a black shirt with a distinctive greeny-yellow neon hourglass shape on the back - but although I closed the distance bit by bit, I never could quite catch him. I crossed the line exactly 20 seconds behind him, in 1:12:59 - a 7:18 average pace (7:14 by Garmin) and good enough for 2nd in my age group.

(Also, a woman fell almost directly in front of me about a mile in. The guy who was directly in front of me stopped to help her up, and I zigged around them - but this is the second time in three races someone has fallen right in my path!)

Splits (note that I didn't stop my Garmin immediately; and the HR for the first 3 miles is artificial and should be ignored):
Dist	Pace	Elev chg   Avg HR      	Max HR          Elapsed
1.00	7:20	  -11	  157 (83%)	165 (90%)	0:07:19.69   
2.00	7:14	  +7	  166 (91%)	166 (91%)	0:14:33.68   
3.00	7:12	  +1	  166 (91%)	167 (92%)	0:21:45.57   
4.00	7:22	  +3	  152 (79%)	161 (86%)	0:29:07.29   
5.00	7:17	  -20	  152 (79%)	159 (84%)	0:36:24.72   
6.00	7:09	  +12	  162 (87%)	166 (90%)	0:43:33.64   
7.00	7:14	  -7	  165 (90%)	167 (92%)	0:50:47.71   
8.00	7:07	  +1	  165 (90%)	166 (91%)	0:57:55.18   
9.00	7:12	  +14	  165 (90%)	168 (92%)	1:05:07.49   
10.00	7:07	  -2	  166 (90%)	168 (92%)	1:12:14.00   
10.12	6:52	  -1	  168 (92%)	169 (93%)	1:13:05.26  

I put in a few fields I don't normally post, just to point out that 1) HAHA those elevation numbers! They are NEVER that small around here! and 2) you can see where I wasn't feeling so hot, the slowest miles other than the crowded first. Also my heart rate is interesting because it got right up there to what is basically my 10K HR - yet I didn't feel as though I was (aerobically) particularly working hard. My legs, on the other hand, could simply not go any faster. I was entirely limited by my legs, not my lungs.

This makes me wonder about how I can overcome the limitation of not being able to train my legs to the same level as my lungs, running at altitude. I mean, I can't maintain these 7:07-7:14 paces for longer than a mile at a time, at home; yet here I was, reeling them off if not with ease, at least without too much trouble. Maybe I need to run lots of mile repeats (and half-miles), and run downhill repeats, to get my legs used to rapid turnover.

Anyway, it was a good race (other than the gut issues early), and I'm very pleased with my final stats: 1:12:59, 2/61 AG, 24/742 women, 129/1351 OA. Here's a photo Jim took of the awards ceremony; the woman to my left (on the right) ran 1:06:10, which is like a 6:38 pace - I can't imagine!

lakefront awards
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
Okay, I didn't, like, win, or anything. But I came in at 1:24:20, which is a big PR over my time 3 years ago in this race (1:30:33) and beat not only my publicly stated goal of 1:26 but my seekrit goal of 1:25. I also made my goal of "not walking up the big hill." Also of "not feeling like I want to throw up."

It rained all night - I woke up at 5 and it was still pouring, went back to sleep, woke up again at 7 and realized I had to scramble to get to the race which started at 8. Had a cup of coffee and a couple of fig bars - it had quit raining but was still beautifully overcast and cool, yay. Jogged to the start, did a couple of strides, said hi to the people I knew, and it was time to run!

I felt really good - no cramps, no aches. The only issue I had was that I started getting a sort of asthmatic wheeze going around mile 3.5, and looked forward to the aid station - and they didn't have water, just this red sticky Powerade, and I drank a little, and ICK. So I kind of wheezed my way up the big hill and the next water stop they had water, thank GOD, and I drank it and felt a lot better.

The other sort of amusing thing is that the course crosses the tracks for the tourist train to Silverton right around mile 2.5, and it parallels the tracks for a mile or so before that, so I could see the train coming and it looked like we might get to the crossing at the same time! Fortunately it worked out (and I adjusted my stride) that the train just finished the crossing as I got there, with all the tourists waving at us - I ran right behind the caboose! (Two runners got caught and had to stop and wait.)

Also it started raining around mile 8.5 but by then I didn't care, it was fine.

So, let's play the game of "guess the course profile"! Here are my splits: 8:10, 8:15, 8:28, 8:36, 8:42, 9:44, 8:29, 8:06, 8:01, 7:48. I guess you can see the big hill, huh? My pace on the steepest half-mile of the hill averaged 10:32, not bad considering the 7.7% grade! The total elevation gain/loss was around 500 feet.

Anyway, I am totally thrilled with this result. I wanted to average 8:20-8:30 without the big hill (up or down) and I think I got it. That 8:06 is actually for a pretty flat mile, and overall I averaged a little better than 8:30, which gives me a lot of confidence for the much-flatter half marathon in another four weeks.
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
This was the weekend of the Iron Horse bicycle race from Durango to Silverton, which I did not do. (We went out in the morning to watch the mass start, though - about a dozen of our friends were racing.)

Instead I raced the Narrow Gauge 10-mile run, which was a loop around town and up the mesa to the college (steeeeep!), around the campus, and then down again. My time was 1:30:34, just over 9 minute miles which is what I was aiming for. Not a very good time in the scheme of things, though - runners around here are serious! Put me about in the middle of all women's times. I was mostly running 8:50 miles, but the uphill killed me. Whew. Gorgeous day, partly cloudy and breezy, really nice for running.

And here I am just after crossing the finish line. )

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

August 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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