Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First Snow! and Last 'Track' Workout

Today marks the first snow of the season. Having watched the weather slowly deterate yesterday into ideal snow making conditions, I was pleseantly surprised to awake to a winter wonderland outside my window. I woke up at my normal six am and got dressed to brave the frosty conditions, however, once I opened the door and was almost thrown backwards by a windgust I started to have second thoughts about my early morning track workout. The winter wonderland that looked so peaceful from under the covers turned out to be a freezing rain/snow mix with about three inches already on the ground. To top it off, there were forty mph wind gusts! I stepped outside with a 'what the hell, its not like the weather is going to get any better today' attitude and almost slipped on a patch of black ice. That was that. Not willing to throw away an entire season of training with Clearwater so close, I turned around and went back to bed.

Fear not though, following Chemistry, I bundled up (insert picture of the kid in A Christmas Story), and went out for my 'track' workout. Once I got to the track, the frosty conditions had different plans. Seeing that the track was completely frozen over, I opted to head out to StateFarm to the grass track and clock my 1.5mi repeats there. As soon as I started the repeats however the headwind picked up and so did the snow! Before I knew it I was running in close to white out conditions. Freaking Lame!!! Doesn't anyone know that it is not even Halloween. Regardless, I still managed to split two sub-8min 1.5 repeats in my soggy trainers. So I believe this qualifies me to say HTFU : ) Clearwater here I come!

In other news, this week marks one of the biggest test weeks I have had to date. So far I am three for three on my tests. Having made my first 100 on a college exam ever, I crushed my Statistics Mid-Term and I promply followed that up with two solid performances on a Biochemistry Test and a Phyics Test. By the way both those tests were back to back with about five minutes between each. I think I am more proud of those repeats than my 1.5mi splits today. Med Schol here I come!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Goodlife Toronto Half-Marathon Race Report

After school on Wednesday I logged out my normal 'long' ride of the week knowing there would be no biking for a few days in TO, packed my race gear and picked Kristen up from class. We then drove down to Charlotte and spent the night after watching a very invigorating final political debate (when will the pain stop?). The next morning we woke up, Kristen got her run in while I got my final bike ride in before hoping on the plane and flying the short 1.5hr flight to Toronto. For the next few days, I got the privilege of meeting every member of Kristen's extended family while logging numerous running miles around the CN Tower and Lake Ontario. I have to say I had an absolute blast walking around TO which blew me away by how modern and clean the entire city was!

Well, before I could say 'Eh' it was 5am Sunday morning and I was eating my normal pre-race oats and Tim Hortons (Canadian) coffee. Kristen, Kim (Mrs. Campbell) and I then walked the fifteen minute walk to hte Hilton to board the bus to take us the thirty minutes north to hte race start. After a short delay due a shooting (seriously), the bus arrived at the race start with about 45minutes to spare. By this time the air had warmed up to a balmy 3 degree C (~cold) and I was ready to warm up! I warmed up for about 25-30 minutes with some light drills and pickups to get my heart rate up, then took to the start line before hte rest of hte 5000 competitors that were runnign the half marathon arrived. There was a lot of jockeying around for position on the start line but I staked out my spot right smack dab in the middle on the front line! At three minutes past 8am, the gun went off and we embarked out into the frozen landscape. Instantly, a pack of five guys formed, containing the two Kenyan runners. I was sitting in fifth position through the first k point. I could feel that we were running slow (1k was only 3:43, when I wanted to be running ~3:30) so I went to the front and pushed the pace a little. The moment I went up to the lead, the pack surrounded around me almost daring me to go off the front. With TV cameras in my face, I decided I was out of my league and cowered back behind the front runners, letting them dictate the pace. Since the marathon was to start an hour after us and run the same course there were two sets of km markers out. I got confused as to which was ours and made the call to just run with the leaders. The course was supposed to be flat but leading into the 5k point we went down a short hill and then up a 600m hill. I missed the 5k marker and continued on in about 5th or 6th position. At this moment, I reconized that the two Kenyan runners were exchanging leads. Each time they exchanged leads, the pack would slightly accelerate. This was not clear to me at the time but we were steadly increasing our pace. By the time we hit the 8k point, we were flying along at sub 5:20mi pace! I PRed for the 8k, passing hte marker at ~27:13. Feeling good I went with it. We then seemingly picked up the pace and hit the 10k at ~33:52. I was still in about 6th position as we started up a slight hill and made a left hand turn before descending a long down hill. It was here that the two front runners simply lengthened their strides and gaped the field in about 5seconds putting about 50m on everyone. This splintered the pack up. I tried to make a move with another guy to bridge up to them but as I started to accelerate my quads and hamstrings tightened up. Recognizing that we had barely hit hte halfway point I slowed my pace and gathered myself, hoping to relax my legs. The remainder of the race I could not get my legs to settle adn simply ran at a steady ~5:40-50ish pace to the finish line. I finished 13th overall out of almost 5000 competitors with over 43 countries represented after cramping down severely at 14k point. I had an overall time of 1:16:03 and was either the top or second place American finisher. Not too shabby considering my heart rate never spiked into z4 during the second portion of the race (of course my legs felt like they were barely moving).

In better news, Kristen had an eight minute PR finishing in the top 250 overall with a time 1:37 and change! Awesome!

Lessons learned:

1. Do not piss Kenyans by running off the front
2. Electrolytes are a bitch
3. Screw running down hill
4. Run your own race! Dictate your own pace and do not back down (I know this goes against my 1st point, so I will rephrase: dictate your pace unless you are running against Kenyans and then simply let them run ahead of you then run your own race)
5. Wear socks (maybe two or three pairs) when it is 3 degree C outside!
6. Do not drink too much straight water the day before the race

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fall Break, Leaves and Toronto

Its finally here, Fall Break! After weeks and weeks of busting my butt to get to class, get to workouts, get to lab, and get to bed I finally have a few days off. With the leaves changing and the pool closing, Kristen and her family are kindly putting up with me for the elongated weekend and flying me up to Toronto to run the Toronto Half Marathon. So its off to 'Oh Canada' to see exactly were my running legs stand before Clearwater. With a flat and moderately downhill course, I am hoping to improve on my time from March and potentially run under 1:14 but who knows what the day will bring. All said I am stoked to get out of Boone Town and away from the Freak Show of old people and craft fairs that has now infested all of my cycling routes. Only a few more weeks till the show and I am looking forward to toeing the line. It has been a long hard season full of its ups and downs but I can emphatically say I am fit, lean and ready to rumble against some of the worlds best come Nov. 8th.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Ironman Hawaii

In honor of the upcoming Ironman World Championships and my procrastination for studying biochemistry, I will post some of my favorite ST musings about Ironman's Greatest Champion, Dave Scott.

1. Dave Scott doesn't swim the first 2.4 mile leg of the race....He runs on the ocean floor.

2. Dave Scott doesn't inflate his tires.

Dave Scott's resting heart rate is 1.

After he races, Dave Scott swims home...to Colorado.

Dave Scott once ran a 4 minute mile... in 3 minutes.

If Dave Scott played golf he'd carry a one iron.

Dave Scott shaves his legs......with a chainsaw.

That being said this years podium for Hawaii will be...drum roll...

Men's Podium
1. Craig Alexander
2. Macca
3. Norman Stadler

and Chrisse Wellington will win the overall...