Sunday, February 24, 2008

Armadillo Dash Race Report

The race – a closed loop course in College Station home of Texas A&M (Aggies). This is the 2nd annual running of this race and my first time there. The morning started driving out of my house around 4:15 and getting to the race around 6:30. Picked up my packet and went for a couple mile warm-up jog than hung around the start for the last 15 minutes until the 7:30 starting horn. Field size about 400 runners (mostly college students 1/2 my age).

Mile Split HR Comment
1 5:55 158 Target 5:50-6:00 – felt very easy – ended mile in 6th with front group of 4 and one straggler behind and then me. Started foggy (100% humid) but the sun was nearly done with burning it off.
2 5:46 170 Switched to HR here on out targeting 169 – no checking or watching splits – just HR. After first mile felt so easy I was kinda looking forward to the switch because I had a feeling there would be room to speed up – there was a little room – but not much – I knocked out the straggler but the group of 4 stayed together with me ~100 yards behind. Turned into the sun – sunglasses would have been nice.
3 5:50 170 One of the 4 dropped off the leader group and I ended up knocking him out – 4th place
4 5:49 171 One more of the front 3 dropped off the leader group and I knocked him out – 3rd place.
5 5:47 172 1st broke loose of 2nd and I started catching up to 2nd with 4th sticking close behind me. There was a goofy waterstop on a left turn on the right side of the street – I skipped the watershop and cut the tangent on the left side of the street and ended up passing 2nd going the long way around the turn and getting water. I think 4th got water too because he seemed to slip farther back – 2nd place with the leader still about 100 yards away.
6 5:51 170 1st place is slowly slipping ahead – keeping the miles in the HR zones. Doesn’t feel easy anymore – it’s definitely a push.
7 5:51 169 1st is slipping farther ahead – catching him seems pretty unlikely.
8 6:04 170 I wasn’t expecting any hills – I thought this was a pancake flat course – great – some practice for Boston on racing rolling hills. I ease up on the ups and push hard on the downs. I think this slowing on the uphills ended up giving 3rd place behind me some hope.
9 6:00 170 A few more rolling hills – 3rd place and I exchange positions a couple times – I’d go up hill and slow and he would pass me – than I’d speed down a hill and pass him back – eventually he passed me on a straight away and my HR was alarming high so I backed off a little and let him go. I’m 3rd.
10 6:08 168 Stayed pretty close to 2nd but slowly he was separating from me – rolling hills and the wind starting impacting the pace in places.
11 6:15 168 The wind picked up strong - running straight into it most of the mile. 2nd is looking harder and harder to get.
12 6:26 167 This whole mile was strong wind. I’m settled into a solid 3rd place.
13 5:53 168 Most of this mile the wind was crosswise.
13.1 0:29 170 Here’s my first glimps of my time – as I approach the finish I have no idea what to expect – for a moment I thought I saw 1:14:xx … then I got closer and saw the 1:17 click to 1:18…..ran it in for a finish time 1:18:11.

Race goal was to maintain 169 HR for the race – except a couple windy miles I was able to do this and taking first miles out the average was 169.5 so overall accomplished my goal for effort for the race. I think maybe at 60F I could have added a bpm or two to this goal - at 45F it would have been a more challenging goal.

3rd place got me a cool $50 which happens to equal the entry fee so except for a ½ tank of gas – I broke even on the race. At the awards ceremony they kept trying to give me more money. The called me up for 2nd ($100) but when I got up there I explained I got 3rd and told the who got 2nd – called him up on the stage and fixed the entry in the computer (chip didn’t register or something). So then they gave me 3rd and after I was getting ready to leave and they called me up again for 1st place Master ($50) – but when I got up there I told them I didn’t think I could win both – they agreed and fixed their computer rating and gave the Master prize to someone else – anyway I got a lot of stage time for my 3rd place.

This is a 4.5 minute PR for me. Except for Houston Marathon – this is my fastest equivalent race with a vdot of 59.9. Allowing adjustment figuring the wind/hills/humidity slowed me ~1.5 minutes – this race would be exactly in line with Houston – maybe slightly faster.

Deplete/Load Experiment – I don’t see a measurable improvement between my speed vs HR before the Deplete/Load and race day. So whatever happen at Houston to give a 10-15 second improvement vs pre-taper – I did not repeat today.

Graph below showing results of experiment compared to Houston - (I took out the windy and hilly miles). Armadillo points were right in line with my progressive run pre-deplete/load where Houston was still way faster - still wondering why. I may try the 10 day deplete instead of the 4 day in my next tune-up to see if that can replicate Houston's step change.

Thanks for reading – great race overall – only one Aggie beat me – 2nd place turned out to be a grad student on the schools tri-athlete team. 1st place was a drive up from Houston like me (it turns out I beat 4 minutes in Houston Marathon but he got me today). Next Race -- TBD - probably a 10k either Saturday if I feel recovered or the following Saturday.

4 comments: said...

I saw what transpired when they started announcing the awards and while I think most people would have done the same thing, still ... how you handled that situation showed a tremendous amount of class. Congratulations.

kayry said...

Thanks - I really felt bad for those ladies having to scramble to correct things in the middle of announcing awards and making everyone wait. Bigger races sometimes take weeks to straighten out and double check all the times and they did it in minutes without any response time to any glitches. I really think they did a great job running the race overall.

kanny said...

Awesome job! I wouldn't expect any improvement from any depletion/load for a half since you're working solely off of glycogen.

Another juicy bit I read a while back: check out Jack Daniels's (jtupper) 2nd post on this page:


You'll get a kick out of this: I just recovered from the flu and haven't done any serious running in 2.5 weeks (that's what happens when I play russian roulette with my body - when your body is screaming, "you're overtraining," do not go for a 20 mile run). I got down to 157HR: 6:55 on mile 6 of a 7 mile run (my pace for the first 17 miles in my 3:09 marathon - yup, I set a half PR and hit the wall as described by Jack), so I was moving for me.

First day back (yesterday) on miles 4, 5, and 6 of a 7 mile run(2nd day has a few seconds improvement):

140HR: 9:22, 150HR: 8:37, 160HR: 7:50
(140HR: 9:11, 149HR: 8:34, 159HR: 7:49 for today so it wasn't an anomaly)

I know I'm not 100% recovered, but the numbers are just fascinating. I'm barely breathing at 160HR, but I know my body's working hard to finish up recovery. I can imagine this is why a lot of people don't see improvement. If they get sick once, without HR knowledge, it could perpetuate an overtrained state with the body never really fully recovering. With only 5-6 weeks of training left, I've resigned to just hoping for a PR (3:09). We'll see.

Hah! I'm totally blogging on your blog. Sorry!

kayry said...

kanny - that is interesting stuff how quickly the body de-trains and than how long it takes to re-train again - much easier to not skip a week ever but if you get sick or injured - not choice. I guess by that whole 1 week 1/2 life thing - you should be back to those 6:55's long before Boston - stay healthy and keep running.