Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ten for Texas

Up at 4:15 for the 1 hour drive to The Woodlands. Stopped in a parking lot before I got far just to see if I could even run - a sore bum last couple days was worrying me a little and I woke up feeling it - some kinda deep muscle strain or something. The test run went OK but not great - decided to continue on to the race. At the race before paying my entry I did another test run just to be sure - seems OK - I'll give it a go - pay my entry and get my packet - a cool packet by the way including a sports bag backpack kinda packet useful for the gym, a light weight running hat and a long sleeve tech shirt - already feel like I got most of my money's worth from the race and haven't even run it yet. I kept checking the weather on my blackberry - such a perfect 53°F no wind.

Near the start I keep asking officials how the first few turns will go and I had to ask several before I got a straight answer - "just follow the crowd" I didn't find a good answer.

The Race plan - follow the alarms programmed into the Garmin which were:
First mile 5:50-6:05
2-9 168-172
10 no alarms - just empty the tank
I thought my 1 hour heartrate was around 170-171 from racing a couple years ago and workouts earlier in the week equated 170 to just under 6 mpm - adding the garmin effect (~1% slower) I figured I was just on the edge of 60 minute capable.

# Split HR
1 5:54 163 - Take off at the gun and don't really feel like I'm going fast but turn out to lead the first few turns (glad I found someone that told me what they were). Spend the first 1/2 mile slowing myself down to get into the alarm zone then I stick in there. About 5 ahead of me.
2 5:56 170 - I pass one and one passes me - still 6th. I feel a fleeting twinge in my bum and I'm feeling pretty sure I'm not making it 10 miles - but it goes away so I continue on thinking a good possibility I'm walking the last 1/2.
3 6:06 170 - running alone but drilling a hole in the back of the guy in front of me staring at it 100 yards away or so. Just staying in the zone - trying to keep my mind in the mile which didn't feel too bad at all as it shouldn't so early in the race - trying not to dread what was coming ahead. Had another bum twinge but it went away pretty quick.
4 6:00 170 - move up to pass and move into 5th. As I passed he didn't seem to make any effort to hang on.
5 6:00 171 - Just staying in the zone - I hear mile splits at the milemarkers but they are so far off the actual miles I can see on my watch I'm not really sure how fast I'm running but it seems I've banked very very little on the sub1hour goal. 4th is a good distance but not moving farther - maybe closer - not footsteps from behind...running my own race.
6 5:50 172 - John Walk comes up on a bike (a reporter in the pack of bikers at the lead of the race) and let's me know the guy behind me is a Master - I'm not too worried about him as he seemed to be going backwards but that did give me a little pressure to not let up - from the split it appears I actually pushed a little faster actually. It didn't feel like I needed to stay in the alarm HR zones so I went ahead and pushed the higher limits a bit.
7 5:49 172 - 4th seems to be getting closer and closer - I hook a line into his back and reel him in slowly - by end of the mile I'm easing by him and he's also not making a move to stay with me. 2nd and 3rd are about the same distance ahead as 4th was a mile before but they seem to be closer.
8 5:49 174 - About the same as last mile I hooked the two kids in 2nd and 3rd and reeled them in - took a while but as I came up on them I had a decision - hook onto them and "rest" a bit with them doing some of the work or ease on by them. I didn't much feel like slowing down to latch on so I just kept up my speed and eased on by them. They didn't seem to make a move but I didn't look around so I wasn't sure how far back they were.
9 5:42 175 - feeling like they could be right behind me I kept pushing. I listenned carefully as people cheered for me how long before the cheered for someone behind me and it seemed to be getting longer - but I kept pushing because it felt like I could.
10 5:41 177 - last mile - gotta empty the tank - 1st place is no where to be seen. Seem no one is behind me - but I want to pour it all out so I keep pushing counting off the minutes to the finish that seemed at times to tick away very slowly.
10.07 5:07 179 - see the finish and grab that little extra sprint in.

Total 59:09 5:55 pace

A PR by over a minute. Converts to 80.8% AG. 2nd overall which has no such award but I get 1st Masters anyway (which I could I got going a lot slower but that's OK). I get the heaviest award I've ever received - a full 3 lb granite award with the Texas Star and "First Male Master" on an engravement plate - plus about $100 in swag including free entry for next year. And I got a picture with the race maskot - an Armadillo. Post race party is excellent with full breakfast, band, the works.

Great race - really starting to feel like I've got my old speed nearly back again. I guess the HR is a little different - seems 170ish was a little low for this race - might be a good target for the 1/2 marathon. Hoping to keep the sub6 mpm trend going for the next race - Houston Half Marathon in 2 weeks - if weather is good.



btw - the bum at the end really didn't feel any worse than at the start - sometimes it goes that way - I'll keep the stretching/icing/rolling going to try and clear out the twing over the next week.


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