Thursday, May 19, 2011

Meet Your Moment

Check out this awesome video from Team CLIF Bar.  It's really cool!  So what are you waiting for? Go meet your moment... 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Illinois Half Marathon 1:46:34

The Illinois Half was my first real race of the 2011 season.  It was also the first time I have run a half for time, rather than survival/to finish. 

My training this winter was a little unconventional.  My focus was on “getting fast.”  I spent a good amount of my time, something like 50+%, running at either 5k pace or T pace.  My MPW dropped from something like 40 to something closer to 20 most of the winter.  About 6 weeks out from the race I added some distance and race pace specificity to my run.  My goal was pretty clear, I wanted to close the gap between my Daniels predictor for HMP and my actual HMP.  Up until this race, I was running long stuff about 1:30/mi slower than my Daniels predictor and I wanted to dramatically decrease that spread. 

My theme for this race was execution.   Too often when I’m running I think about things like “oh, maybe if I just ran more like this, or did more of that.”  This time, because of my unconventional training, I went out of my way to focus on running my best race and keeping everything else out of my head.  The training choices were made, and my goal was just to use whatever fitness I had built as well as I could and put together a good race. 

My taper was pretty non-existant.  This was a B race for me, and I didn’t want to slow down my on-going bike/swim build.  I did rearrange things a bit.  My week looked like this:

Monday:  Easy Run / Swim 2700Y
Tuesday:  Run 30M HMP / Bike 40k w 2x20@100%
Wednesday:  Swim 1600Y / Run 4M, w 2M @HMP
Thursday: Swim 2700Y
Friday: Run 3M Easy w 1M@HMP

My run volume was tapered to about 50% for the week, and I dropped most of the intensity from Wednesday. 

My goal was to run an average of 8:00/mi for a finish time of 1:45:05.  My Daniels predictor was 7:48/mi for a goal of 1:42:17.  My PR for the distance was set during the Indianapolis Full at 2:04:03 as my half split.   I don’t run outside of triathlon very often, so I didn’t have a great predictor of what I could do, but the marathon split would have to do. 

Race Morning

Lana and I got up at 4AM and left for the race at 4:45, we had to drive about an hour and the gun was at 7:30. 

My pre-race breakfast was 2 peanut butter and honey sandwiches on that 35-calorie bread.  I wasn’t too concerned about banking calories, I mostly just wanted to keep my stomach full.  I ate normally (at no deficit) for 2 days leading up to the race, so I knew I was pretty much on a full tank.  I ate them in the car on the way with a 24 oz bottle of tea and my morning beta-alanine. 

Parking was good, but bathroom accessibility was not.  There are never enough bathrooms for these things. 

At 7:00 am, right before we checked our gear, I drank a 16 oz. cocktail of Gu brew, BCAAs, and First Endurance Pre-Race.

The Race

The wind was about 20 Mph, from the SSE, which was less than ideal.  I knew there were going to be some challenges with wind.  My strategy for dealing with it was to a.) draft a lot and b.) pace based on heart rate instead of GPS speed when I was running into the wind. 

My plan was to run my first two miles at 8:15 and 8:06.  Then I would fall into 8:00 until the 10-mile mark.  After that I’d run a 5k and see what I had.  Based on experience and some calculations on my calorie needs, my plan was to take a Honey Stinger Gold gel at mile 4 and 8 and drink water every time I could without slowing down considerably. 

My actual splits were:

1      8:12
2      8:03  -Just a bit too hot, kept it easy but there was a tail wind.
3      8:00
4      8:06 – Not sure what I did wrong here
5      8:02
6      8:07 – This was South into the wind
7      8:09 – For these miles I ran by HR at < LTHR and drafted
8      8:03
9      8:02
10  8:00 – From here on I ran pretty much on RPE/HR.
11  8:00
12  7:59
13  7:40
13.1  7:06

Post Race
After the race I waited just a few minutes for Lana to finish.  She PR’ed by 5 minutes as well.  After that we got a slice of pizza at the post race food place, and took a shower at the U of I ARC before making our way back to our friends hanging out in the bleachers at the U of I stadium. 

The day after I was 10 pounds heavier.  I went for an easy easy recovery ride on the bike, but I kept it short because I could tell I was hurt.  Based on that response from my body, I’d say I ran pretty much at my current fitness, and couldn’t have asked for much more.


Overall I ran 1:46:34 against my predicted time of 1:42:17.  It also appeared that the course was about .1 miles long, based on about every GPS watch out there. 

I closed the gap on my Daniels goal pace considerably, from 1:30/mi to about 0:12/mi.  I’ll take it.  I trained hard this winter, and I’ve come a long way.  I also executed a very good race with that hard-earned fitness.  I couldn’t really have done much more / better this time and I’m very happy with the results.

Thank you's all around, especially to Lana for her love and support, to my friends for their solid advice on all things multisport, Endurance Nation for their awesome and brutal Out Season coaching, K-Swiss and Saucony for making the best running gear available, and Honey Stinger for the best gel out there!