Saturday, September 4, 2010

Purple Monkey 10k - My first road race win!

I was not planning on any racing until the 10 miler race in mid October - but lately I've been nailing some great workouts and was feeling antsy to run a race and see how things are going - so I looked around for a labor day weekend race - preferrably 10k - and happened to find the Purple Monkey 5k/10k in Alvin, TX - seemed to be a small race although the winning times last few years were pretty competitive (34-35 min). The course is 2 loop 5k each with start and finishlne at the same place. I was excited by a weather forecast that showed a fairly good drop in humidity Saturday morning - so I set my course to go for it.

Since most of my working out has been either on a treadmill or in the heat - I didn't have any good benchmarks on my fitness level but Friday I had the great fortune to be albe to run in the rain negating the heat/humidity effect - so I went out to a track and tested out different speeds vs heartrate and concluded my cool 1 hour race pace was around 5:50-6:00 - figuring race conditions would be slowed by the heat - I figured that was about the pace I could hold for the forcasted conditions (Forcast said 76* with 67* Dew Point).

After the warm-up jog before the race I should have realized the humidity was not so low like I thought it was going to be from the forecast - but somehow I convinced myself it was low humidity even though I felt pretty muggy based just on the 1.5 mile warm-up jog.
Per results - there were 126 10k finishers and 272 5k finishers so about 400 participants.

I line up at the front and plan to keep the pace around 6 mpm the first loop the see where I can go from there. I haven't run but one race in the last 1.5 years so I must say I'm a little rusty. What I re-learned a bit today was how the race "feels" as the miles go by...

Mile 1 - feels too slow but the pace was right on target so I hold back going faster. Initially about a dozen people race off ahead but towards the end of the first mile - all but 2 have faded back behind me - I didn't change pace - stayed pretty steady and came through the first mile at 5:58.

The 2 in front were clearly a couple high school kids and they were running together - before mile 2 one of them dropped back and I eased by him, the other slowed a little and I moved up to him - one guy eased up from behind and asked me if I was running the 10k or the 5k - I told him 10 and he was running 10 too. We both eased by the other HS kid then I decided to just stick on his sholder for a while. Mile two was also pretty steady around 5:55.

Knowing this other guy was in my race and we were 1,2 - I just stuck on his shoulder or just behind him the whole next mile - decided to run the race tactical for a while as long as it wasn't too far off my pace target - then around 3 he started to fade - as I moved even with him I could tell by his breathing he was struggling more than me - at this point I'm still keeping a steady pace at just under 6 mpm. I move on past him maintaining my pace and start creating a gap on him. We finish up to the 5k finishline where there is a turnaround point for the 10k runners to repeat the course again. As I turn around I see the HS kid finish up his race and win the 5k and see the small gap to the #2 guy in my race - Mile 3 6:02, first half 18:35.

I'm feeling good at this point - felt like I had held back the first half and I should be able to negative split this race - that feeling doesn't last too long. I make it alone to the 4 mile point and feel that tweener part of the race - that part where the finish is pretty far away and the fatigue of the first part of the race is approaching about the limit of where training typically goes. Seems the worst part of every race is somewhere between 2/3rds and 3/4 done - after that the finish line is close enough to be thinking about the final push then rest - before that and still feeling somewhat fresh - then there is the tweener part of the race. I manage to get through mile 4 without much slowing (6:00) - a couple peaks back to see how much gap I'm creating with 2nd. Before getting to mile 5 I start lapping people still on the 1st lap so glancing back to see 2nd didn't work anymore so I was always sure he was gaining back ground on me. Right after the mile 5 marker (6:06) I'm hitting a tough patch - I step off the gas and slow all the way down to near 7 mpm pace - certain the 2nd place guy is coming to get me - this rough patch lasts about 1/4 mile.

With about a mile to go in the race - I reached for something more - I thought it would be neat to win a race - especially on my daughter's birthday - that just seemed like a neat thing to do - I managed to speed back up and actually averaged sub6 mpm for the last mile and including closer to 5 mpm for the last 1/4 mile or so to the finish - 2nd half was 18:43 - and I won!

I was so tired - I could barely walk after crossing the finishline - I found a grassy spot and laid down for a couple minutes to catch my breath. I never saw 2nd come in mixed in with all the 5k'ers. I had a tough time taking in food for a while - kept feeling the urge to throw up - but I didn't and eventually things returned back to normal again.

Final time 37:18 - 6:00.2 mpm pace. Temps ended up warmer than I expected at about 77* and 73* dew point - very humid.

2nd place guy turned out to be over a minute behind me - an amazing runner in his 50s.

My first win in a road race - and unofficially I won both the 5k and 10k races as I was first to the 5k point too. Results

Fun race and about where I figured I was considering the temps. I'm hoping to keep about that pace or faster as temperatures drop and fitness improves in each of the tune-up races planned before my goal marathon race in December. The line-up is 10 miler October 10th, 1/2 marathon at the end of October, 25k in early November - then the goal race - California International Marathon in Sacramento on 12/5 - I'd like to see 3 out of 4 PR's in those races - not likely at the marathon but the other three seem doable if conditions are right (I don't even have a 25k PR so that one is easy).

Splits: 5:58/168 5:55/175 6:02/176 6:00/179 6:06/179 6:21/179 +0.2 at 5:09/179 pace to sprint it in. or 18:35/18:43 5k's. I'm not sure the HR data was any good - very strange that the HR stayed so steady 179 for the whole second half - didn't even go down when I slowed to 7 mpm pace or go up when I sprinted it in at 5 mpm pace - just stayed steady clicking up or down a point or two around 179 the whole way - very strange.



Sam said...

Nice job on a first road win. And very cool that you did it on your daughter's b-day. :) That's the good stuff right there.

kayry said...

Thanks Sam! It was nice to get a win in for sure. Nice to see your out running again after your off time. btw - I'm using Sean Wade's on-line training - he's got some pretty tough workouts:).

Anonymous said...

it is brilliant that you managed to rebuild yourself fully and that you are back 100%. It is such a great news, very encouriging and inspirational, like always...
I am sure all of us are very proud of you!
Good luck, see you at Bayou Relay!!!

Anonymous said...

Is that age or something else?

Two years ago you ran a Marathon at 6:05 min pace, now you are running 10k @ 6min pace and almost throw up?

kayry said...

No - not age - I'd chalk it up to other things:

1) Hot/Humid day - and I'm not too acclimated to the heat as I've been avoiding it running mostly on treadmills for the summer so it slows me perhaps a bit more than others.
2) Getting back into shape after over a year of basically no running (injured) - only back about 95% so far - but not too bad on ~6 months of running when it took me 2 years last time to get to peak fitness.