Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sugarland 30k 12/9/2007 (HOT STUFF!)

OK - it wasn't the most ideal race conditions with starting temps already over 71F fully loaded with humidity - so this race was about being controlled for the conditions - I wasn't going to get any "knock your socks off" PR - I had some temptation to not run it but I figured - who knows - 1/13th Marathon could be like this - its worth it to get a good effort in this race.

I've been trying to kick the habit of using a heart rate monitor - well this week I fell off the wagon and have used for every run - including this race . It just seemed to make sense with the heat it would help me control the pace since I didn't know how much the heat would impact the pace.

Race was about 1000 people or so - they announced at the beginning. I had a goal of 1:57:16 (~6:17-18 pace) which is the qualifying time in this race to be up for consideration to be a local elite at the Houston Marathon. I really had little hope of actually getting picked for local elite status because in addition to the time I would also have to win my age group (actually beat all the people in my age group that had not already achieved the local elite status on prior races) - and I already knew of one very fast guy that was at the race that I had little or no hope of beating named Steven (come back to that later).

Race gets going - I jack up the heartrate targets about 4 bpm over NYCM figuring in the shorter distance. I had hit that heartrate average at a 6 mpm pace in cooler weather on Tuesday in a Tempo Workout so had weather cooporated I really think I could have knocked one out of the ballpark today - but I digress.

Pace vs heartrate target seems to fall into about 6:20-6:25 range and that just seems the right pace to run to today. At around 4-5 miles someone yells out that I'm in 14th place - that seems pretty respectable for ~1000 people so I'm feeling pretty good about that. Course loops around 3 times so after a few more miles I'm mixed in with slower runners getting lapped and I can no longer see my competition - I did pass one guy that had me by a pretty good clip but did a turnaround pretty slow and did a water stop slow - so a big gap between us closed and I passed him at the end of the water stop. I heard him chatting behind me with someone for a little while but never saw him again - and never passes or got passed by anyone else that was on my lap for the rest of the 3 laps - I think - there was so 10 mpm people I was cruzing by that I suppose one of the leaders could have died and mixed in with them but I assumed not.

Finally broke out of the 3 loops to the final few miles and I could see the next guy ahead of me. (Side note - achilles/calf pain I talked about yesterday - started feeling it a little about mile 6 but it actually went away by 12 or so - not a factor). I had the "slow down" devil on my shoulder but was trying to just maintain pace and after a while I noticed the guy in front of me was getting closer - I don't think I was speeding up but rather he was slowing down. This gave me some motivations so I focussed on his back and reeled him in and passed him by about 17 mile marker. Then there was another guy going pretty slowly that I passed - I think he probably cut off a loop so I don't think he improved my place. Another guy I'm guessing 100m away I started focussing on his back and reeling him in - he seemed older so I figured he just might be in my age group - maybe even Steven - so I just couldn't let him beat me - poured it on - finally caught him with about a 1/4 mile to go and heard someone yell "go Steven" - holly crap - could that be him - I don't know what he looks like - only by name on finishing results - if so he's likely got a lot more left than I do - I'm going to have to build separation ASAP for any hope - so I'm going full speed. As I approach the finish - there is one guy celebrating his finish a little too early - and I considered taking him down with 5 feet to spare - but decided that would be bad form so I let up a little and came in behind him.

Finish - 11th place overall , 4th for my Age Group, Chip Time (unofficial) 1:58:48 (6:23 pace). All the AG guys that beat me I know to be better runners - and a few of the names I beat I think are better runners too. All in all I'm feeling great about the race - A Solid Race. I hope to move into these guy's class that beat me next year .

Ok - so what about this Steven guy - well - it turned out the guy I passed at the end was an amazing 56 year old guy - not the one who ended up winning my age group - so even if I had got the qualifying time - he got the local elite regardless (I think - there was a master that beat him but I didn't recognize his name so I suspect he's an out-of-towner which can't get local elite status) - which he definately deserves.

I had a bit of a fear of hot races before this after a crash and burn 10 miler in October at only a little over 60 but loaded with humidity. I think the HRM helped me stay controlled - no question that I had to run slower, also 3 days of carb/hydrating prior (gained ~5 lbs pre race retaining a lot of water), 3 Electrolite pill - 1 before, 2 during and water/gatorade at every station helped. Even still - had it been 26.2 I think I would have had some major struggles.

Thanks for Reading - if you want all the splits and breakdowns, etc (I hit the lap button a few extra times for 10k and 15k so not all laps are on the mile) - you can go to my log below.

A few personal stats:
10M split beats my PR
30k PR by ~6 minutes (prior was 1 week old ) and ~12 minutes faster than same race last year in perfect 45°F.
First 15k - 59:45
Second 15k - 59:03 (-42 second split).

Thought I'd finish off this thread with my finishing video - it actually didn't work but between Ray and Steve's I am captured (bib 665 - blue tank-top). I'm not sure I really could have caught Ray relooking a this - but I also don't know which of the two mats is actually the finishline.



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