Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Great Cow Harbor 10k

Today was the Great Cow Harbor 10k Run! Warm, slightly humid day, but I was able to greatly improve my time from my last 10k from 1:20:37; 13 min-mile pace- to 1:09:19; 11:10 min-mile pace.  And that could have been somewhat better, had it not been so crowded at the start. Was at a walking pace probably for the first quarter mile. Overall, it was a good run, pretty scenic, and homey. The route took you through residential streets, and people were on the front doors and front yards cheering you on. Its very encouraging seeing people do that. I'm satisfied with my finish, but will continue to strive for a better pace.

So everything is going as planned so far. Took a week off after the Half, and did 2 runs this week leading up to the Cow Harbor. First run, did about 3 miles, with 4 half-mile repeats at tempo pace (roughly 9 min-mile for me).  Good overall training run, and will hopefully try to keep that pace for now (tho not sure how often I'll go out, since, if all goes well, P90X will start soon).  Next run was for 3.5 miles in Central Park. Was simply trying to hit negative splits on that run, starting out at about an 11 min-mile pace. Was able to do that, and achieved a 10:26 min-mile overall for the entire run. Felt pretty good about that.

Ok, so, still aiming for Oct. 11 to start round 3. In the meantime, I'm hoping to Yoga it up a little, bike, and relax. Until next time...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chicago Half Marathon Recap and Lessons Learned

Chicago Half Marathon 

I did it! I actually did it! Part of me is still trying to settle with the fact that I completed a half-marathon. Crazy. As expected, my official finish time was 2:38:15, which equates to just about a 12 min-mile.  The day started with getting up at 4:45am, getting ready, and boarding the shuttle to the race at 5:30am. It waited until almost 6am before it left, and with the traffic due to the street closures for the race, we didnt arrive until 6:45am, 15 min before the race. Due to their port-a-potty shortage and my need to use the facilities before I run, the gun actually went off as I was still standing in line for the bathroom. In fact, I didnt join the slow march to the start line until 7:10ish, crossing the start line a little more than 15 minutes after.

It was a beautiful day, 60 degrees, low humidity. We really couldnt have asked for better conditions. I started out really well, taking the first 2 miles easy to warm up. After that, I picked it up a little bit, and was really trying to achieve negative splits, at least for the next couple miles. Made it to mile 5 without a water break.  Was good until about mile 7, and thats where I started to struggle. Got through mile 8 and 9, slowly, then went into a stretch where I was alternating walking and running in 1 or 2 min intervals. Got to the mile 12 marker, and told myself to finish strong. Started running, but could barely make it another quarter mile, before having to walk again. Got to the 'half-mile to go' marker, and sucked it up, and ran to the end. What an experience. All the months of training, all for this one moment. The thrill of crossing that finish line and saying, "I did it".

Lessons Learned
As I look back at my training and all, theres a few things that I really do regret or wish I did, to which I'm certain would have allowed me to have a better finishing time.
  1.  Lack of training structure- Since I had signed up for the race so far in advance, somewhere in the back of my head, I kept telling myself that I had plenty of time to train.  This caused me to never get into any kind of flow or structure in my training runs. I would just head out for a run, and say to myself, "oh, I think I'll run this amount today".  
  2.  Focusing all my effort in mileage-  I concerned myself too much with just increasing mileage.  Little did I cross-train, nor increase the intensity of my runs. This is what caused me to go from a 10:30 pace in April, to a mid 11 pace later on, even though I had been steadily running about 15 miles per week up to that point. 
  3. Lack of intensity- This kind of goes with the previous point, but not being diligent with tempo, interval and hill training really, really hurt me. I did it once in a while, but nowhere near as regularly as I should have.
What's to come
So, there you have it.  I've completed my first Half-marathon. It was a great experience, and was going to decide, based on this experience, if I'm going to do it again. Verdict? HECK to the YES! fact, I've placed my name into the lottery for the NYC Half in March! Here's to hoping I get selected! And now that I've purchased a bike, I'm giving the DC Triathlon (sprint distance) in June some heavy consideration.

So here's the plan for the coming weeks: taking the rest of the week off to recover, do 2 training runs before the Cow Harbor 10k on the 25th, take another 2 week break (light training/biking, if I do anything at all), then shooting for Oct 11 for the start of: Round 3, P90X. Yeah, baby. 'Til next time....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

One Last Hurrah

Well, we are 2 days away from the big race.  Everything is set, and even the weather is looking promising.  The only thing left is to get through all 13.1 miles.  Major development since last update? I bought a bike! A bicycle that is, so- may the triathlon training commence.

I did complete the planned 10 miles (10.5 to be exact...) mentioned in the previous update, in just around 2 hours.  Again, that realistically puts me at 2:30 to complete the half.  It was a pretty good run, with stops at the 5 mile mark, 7.5, and roughly the 9 mile marks.  And as previously concluded, its not my conditioning that will hold me back, especially if the forecast is correct (as of now, lower 60s, low humidity at race time).  It is my lower extremeties and how they will hold up.  At the end of the 10 miles, my ankles and feet were in some serious pain, to think, theres another 3 to go!! Fun.

Tonight will be either a quick once or twice around the southern loop, and that will be all she wrote.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Recap: Maine Edition and the Home Stretch

Wow, we're down to single digit days until the half. Cue the anxiety!

Its been 2 weeks since the last update, and I've done only three *gasp!* runs! BUT! (there is a but), I did rack up about 60 miles worth of bike riding! So it's not as bad as it seems.

So I was in Bar Harbor, ME from 8/21-8/28, and only got one run in, on the first full day there. A moderately hilly 5 miles, which entered Acadia National Park. The hills were challenging, and once I got into the more level portion of my route, I was able to challenge myself by doing extended intervals. The temperature was in the lower 60s, but since it was gloomy and on the verge of rain, meant 100% humidity. Overall, it was an "okay" run.

For the next 3 days, as mentioned earlier, we did a lot of biking, to the tune of over 50 miles. The first day was the biggest challenge. Riding up Cadillac Mountain. From the house, it was just over 6 miles, and a 1500 ft. climb to the top, with the bulk of the climb coming in the final 3 miles, taking just under 2 hours. A far cry from the estimated "30 minutes" which the guy at the bike shop advised. Honestly, it was an amazing accomplishment, and had it not been for the running, I think I would have passed out.

Fresh off the 1500 ft climb, I did about 15 miles the next day, with moderate hills. A very scenic ride through Acadia National Park, down to Jordan Pond. Nothing too challenging, at least when compared to the previous day's feat.

The third and final bike day was a doozy, totalling 30+ miles on a rainy cold day. Thing was, it only ended up being 30+ miles due to a couple wrong turns! On some pretty hilly terrain to boot. Rode from Bar Harbor down to Sand Beach, then Thunder Hole, which was about 9 miles. Then the return trip would have taken us back through Jordan Pond, repeating the previous day's return. One swift wrong turn, then another, tacked on a bunch of needless HILLY miles. But hey, in the end, it was a GREAT workout.

Took the next 4 days off to recover (though I should mention that I did kayak one of those days), and did a 5 mile run, in 90+ degree weather. Though hot, humidity was down. First half of the run went great, then deteriorated quickly as the heat caught up with me. Last night's run, though a touch cooler (89 degrees?), the humidity was up, so was cut short after one lap around the southern

So its been an interesting past 2 weeks, and should be even more interesting next 10 days. The plan is to hit 10 miles tomorrow, and will cap the training there. Two shorter runs for the upcoming week before the race, and then it's showtime. Man oh man, here we go. Hope to have an update before then.