Monday, December 19, 2011

Ted Corbitt 15k Recap

This past Saturday with the Ted Corbitt 15k run in Central Park. The race was to honor former NYRR president Ted Corbitt. And 15k, for those who are metric-system challenged, is 9.3 miles.

A big reason I signed up for this distance race was because it was 2 weeks from the Vegas Half, meaning I was going to be well prepared for it.  I did find its challenges though, mainly how I was going to maintain in those 2 weeks. I really wanted to do another training run of 9 miles before this race, but I didnt like the timing of it. After the half, I took the next 4 days off to rest and recover. On that Friday, I did a 5 mile tempo run. Didnt want to do 9 miles that day, after having a 4 day lay off. The following monday, I did hills, totaling 5.5 miles. And Wed. was another 5 mile tempo. So going into the race, knowing how quickly I can lose my fitness, I was a little concerned that I'd have trouble covering the 15k distance.

Saturday morning arrives, I wake up before the sun even comes up, check the weather and its in the mid 30s. So I went with thermal long sleeve compression shirt, long sleeve tech-T, and a running vest on top. And it was the standard running tights with shorts over it on the bottom. Arrive at the park around 7:25am, giving me ample time to check my bag and empty my bladder.  Its 7:40 once I've done that, and head to the corrals, which was actually a bit of a walk from bag check and the port-o-potties. I get to my corral, and realize, I NEED TO PEE AGAIN......there wasn't enough time for me to go back to the port-o-potties and back to the start line, so I decided to forget it. Race starts....and all I can think about is that I need to empty my bladder. So here was the debate, since the course took me back right to where the port-o-potties are, do I take the hit on time and go? Or do I hold it for 9.3 miles? I went for the former, and lost a grand total of a minute!

Ok, now that I can concentrate on something other than my bladder, I'm on my way. It was a touch crowded in the beginning, but since my last race was Vegas, this couldnt even be considered crowded. Fall into a nice pace and all was well. Crowd started to thin about just enough after mile 2, and it looked like i was doing about a 10- 10:10 min mile (other than mile 1, which came out to 11:16 after potty break). With the sunny, cool, crisp morning on my side, I was doing well, took a Gu at around 4.8 miles and going strong and with little aches/pain as I approached mile 5. Pace was pretty consistent, even having to "conquer" Cat hill, twice! My splits seemed pretty consistent, with each passing mile. I see the mile 9 marker, and know we're in the final .3! I tried not to kick it too early, knowing how long that .2 is on a 10k. But I couldnt help myself, and kicked it in a little early. Fortunate for me, I was able to sustain it until the end, crossing the finish in 1:35:57 (for a 10:19 pace). I instantly thought back of losing that minute!! But whats done is done, and I was very happy with that time for this distance. Extrapolate that out to 13.1 miles, and I would have done VERY well....compared to my Vegas time, at least. One thing in my favor though, was course knowledge. There is just something about having a race in Central Park, and knowing every bend and every change in elevation, so you know just exactly when to give a little and when to pull back. All in all, a great way to end my 2011 races.

I'll be back in the next week or so to wrap up 2011 and preview what's in store for 2012!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Recap!

It's amazing how time flies. Not only has Dec 4th come and gone, its almost been a week since the Half!

We arrived in Vegas Thursday night (12/1) and of course had to make my customary stop at In-n-Out (this counts as carb-loading, right?). Friday was Expo day, as we stood in a tremendous line (a theme of the weekend...) to get in. Though once they actually opened the expo, we moved fairly quickly inside. Picked up our bibs, t-shirts and swag bag, and it was time to open up our wallets! Haha....I went in knowing I wanted the buy "The Stick", a self massager tool, those that arent aware. I have been using a rolling pin this whole time. As useful as that was, it was limited. Also on my wish list was another pair of sunglasses and I did make that purchase as well. So now I'll have separate specs for running and biking. Yay!

A pretty uneventful next couple days, and Sunday is upon us. Being my first evening race, it was going to be a little tricky getting nutrition down, even though I do almost all of my runs in the evening. I didnt have my usually long-run lunch available to me! So buffet brunch at 10am and a snack around 3pm is how I approached it, with a 5:30pm start time, and it seemed to work fine, hunger-wise.

So we met up at 4pm to meet up and shuttle it down to the start line....
Pre-race smiles!

This is where the "fun" began. Due to the congestion getting to the start, as a result of road closures, the shuttles provided by our hotel, Wynn/Encore, were delayed coming to pick us up. In fact, we were waiting until 4:40ish until we even boarded a bus. Now on the shuttle and on our way, and we were not going anywhere quick. It was bumper to bumper traffic, and we must have been moving 1 foot per minute. We could have gone out and walked to the start quicker, but of course that would have added an additional 2.5 miles to our legs/feet. Then to do 13.1 on top of that? No thanks.

We arrive to the start area shortly before 6pm- the race started at 5:30! Lucky for me, my corral hadnt left yet. Of course a pre-race potty break was in order. We couldnt locate the port-o-johns, so we decided to use the ones in the Panda Express nearby. There were TOTALLY cool about it. Line wasn't very long either. So, finally, with bladder emptied, we were able to join the march to the start line, with more "fun" to be had...

After handing off the bag I was originally going to check-in to my wife, I finally crossed the start. This is where my fears were realized. Knowing this race was going to be 44,000 people strong, I feared it would be somewhat crowded. And by somewhat crowded, I mean like JP Morgan Corporate Challenge crowded. And guess what? IT WAS. For about 12 out of the 13.1 miles!! The lack of crowd control and signage was a huge problem for this race. Crowds everywhere- before, during, and after the race. I'll just leave it at that and continue the actual recap of the run....

So I spend much of the first mile dodging walkers and slower runners, but my legs feel good. Having not run in 3 plus days, and doing a bit of walking the previous 2 days, did a decent job priming my legs for the run. I finished the first mile in 10:20, which was actually right where I wanted to be. Second mile did not prove to be the same, as I came in in 10:50. It just seemed to get more crowded from there, and the next few miles were 11+ minute miles.  It actually fluctuated, as the Strip would go from 3 lanes, to 5 lanes, back down to 3 in certain areas. We break off the Strip a little after the 4 mile marker, and head toward downtown. Though at the time it didnt seem TOO bad, looking back, it was a VERY sketchy part of town. I downed my first pack of Gu at this point. Still feeling very good, legs strong, not breathing hard yet. As we make our way through downtown and Freemont Street, and approach the Strip again, is where I first start to struggle. Got to mile 9, near the Stratosphere, and I told myself to at least get to mile 10, then I'd pull back a little. The constant weaving and dodging was starting to catch up to me. Finally got to 10, and there was an aid station, so I slowed down to grab a cup of water. Downed what I could and resumed my pace. I got to about 11.5 miles, and was pretty much gassed. From there until about a half mile remaining, I went into somewhat of a run-walk. 1 minute on, 1 minute off.  Half mile to go, and I told myself I had to run to the end, except there was a problem- my quad (right above the right knee) started to REALLY tighten up on me, like, about to cramp tight. I tried to push through, but couldnt. Stopped real quick to stretch it out, and continued on. That final tenth of a mile was so nerve wracking because I feared my quad would just seize up. Lucky for me, it didnt, and I crossed the finish with a time of 2:33:47. Nearly 14 minutes later than my goal of 2:20! I was pretty disappointed with the time, but I also know there was not much I could do about it, given the crowds. Regardless, I had my second Half Marathon under my belt, and another medal to add to my collection:
And it glows in the dark!

So what's next from here? I have the Rock 'n' Roll USA Half Marathon in DC in my sights. Its on March 17th, so I'll have another 3 months exactly to fine tune my fitness. Until next time!