Monday, December 12, 2011

Sugar Land 30k

Summary: YESS!!!! I am Local Elite for Houston Marathon. 3rd year I've earned this award and 3rd time will be the charm - as I missed the first 2 injured.

Drove out race morning for a 6:30 start time. Tried a normal marathon routine for morning and race fueling which included a 400 cal drink at 3:30am, another 400 cal drink at 4:30am - some coffee at about 6 and some gatorade at 6:25. In the future I'm going to bail on this last bit of Gatorade - stomach cramps every time I do it - maybe now I've finally learned to give it up. At the startline I find out who the competition is - two fast local masters - one of the unbeatable, the other would be neck-n-neck - but both already have their local elite slot so nothing is gained by beating only one of them. Only one other local was on my watch list as able to run a qualifying 6:19 pace for the race and he didn't show up so I could see from the start I wasn't going to get drawn into a competitive race - I could run a good MP workout as planned and get the local elite slot. I was worried about this muscle pull that messed up last weekends workouts - it always seemed to start getting sore around 10-12 miles and I didn't really know how it would be to push through that as I was reluctant to push it on the workouts.

I ran with a buddy the first mile - he was a contender for the win but wanted to start "slow" 6ish pace then run MP miles to the end - I planned to run 6 mpm for the first mile then see based on my heartrate if the heat boost run from Friday was working - in the past a 15 sec/mile improvement from Tuesday's 6:15 benchmark run was a pretty normal improvement - but after the 1 mile marker when the HR came up on the Garmin - it was clear I needed to slow it down - so I dropped the pace to get the HR back where I was targetting - the pace felt easy - but then mile 2 of a marathon is supposed to feel easy so I went with the strategy.

Here's the splits:
6:10 Avg 1-6: 5:59(150) 6:14(160) 6:14(158) 6:09(160) 6:09(159) 6:17(159)
6:12 Avg 7-12: 6:08(159) 6:15(158) 6:17(158) 6:15(159) 6:07(159) 6:12(159)
6:11 Avg 13-18: 6:11(159) 6:26(159) 6:13(159) 6:07(159) 6:05(161) 6:07(160)
5:49(164) for the last 0.75 miles (per Garmin).

6:13 average for official race distance (18.6).

After the first 12 I recall feeling how great I felt with only a little over 6 miles to go - from this I concluded I was probably below MP effort on this first part - I think for the marathon I'm going to be going for 160 HR. I thought about picking up the pace for the last 6 but then the muscle pull I was fearing started to bother so then I was just hoping I'd make it to the finish. I kinda just monitored for a mile or so then I altered my stride to land on my heal and roll to the toe for a while (you can see the efficiency drop in mile 14 split) and that seemed to do the trick - I was able to switch back to normal and all seemed OK - nice to know I can work through this particular pain and get to the otherside OK.

12 overall, 3rd Master, 2nd AG .... and beat the qualifying time for a Houston Elite spot by a couple minutes with no other Masters in front of me that didn't already have their slots ---- I'm in!!! I've never done any race as an elite before - and I know Houston treats the elites right - I'm looking forward to it!!

Overall lessons - forget heat-treating run - it doesn't work for me anymore with my current NSAIDs treatments, I think 160 HR is about the right target - since this race averaged just under this I'm thinking my MP pace is about 6:10 - I'd like to notch that down a little before Houston - 5 weeks to go - but getting to 6:00 seems pretty far fetched at this point - but sub2:40 maybe still within reach - barely with perfect execution - we'll see.