Sunday, March 27, 2011

Frisco High Line Half Marathon Report

My training plan called for a half marathon on this particular weekend and the closest thing that I could find was the Frisco High Line Run for Scouting half marathon in Springfield Missouri. A nice little 4 and one half hour drive from home...road trip!

While checking the weather for Springfield it looked like it would be between 34 and 46 degrees with some rain in the late morning or early afternoon, a little cooler than I would like it to be, but very doable. Saturday morning, this is what I woke up to. A beautiful 36 degrees and a steady rain!

When I arrived at the race start I was able to meet up with fellow Daily Mile friends David M. and Jon W.  David just finished the Rocky Racoon 100 and Jon was there as not only part of the support crew but helped pace David for 20 miles in the event, very cool! They are a couple of great guys and some serious running machines!

Luckily before the race start we were able to hang out inside of a warm building while we hoped that the rain would stop. At one point shortly before the start, somebody announced that they would delay the race while a storm cell passed by. At this time there was a some thunder and lightening. About one minute later, the same guy came out and announced that we were going to start soon and needed to head to the start line, so much for waiting out the storm. At the start line, there was a small group of us up front and most everyone else was huddled under a tent about 100 feet behind the start line. (hello - you are running 13.1 miles, you WILL get wet!) 

We were started off with a train whistle in honor of the Frisco High Line Trail, the rails to trails path where we were running. 

OK - too much fluff detail going on in the post so here is the breakdown.

My goal for this race was to run even 7 minute splits or even a hair under. Like a rookie, I cruised through the first mile at 6:35, much faster than I intended. I wasn't too upset though because it felt good and I was able to slow down and relax a little while keeping a solid pace. My second mile was spot on 7:00, perfect! I felt like I was locked in at a good steady effort at this point. After mile 2 I didn't hear my watch sound off the splits and I didn't see any mile markers again until mile 6. I went through miles 3 - 6 in 6:57, 6:47 and 7:03 - things were looking good and I was just about half way through the race. Because this is an out and back course I was able to count that there were 8 or 9 people ahead of me and when I hit the turn around I noticed that there was not really anyone close enough behind me that would present a challenge. 
All through the race we could see and hear the lightening and thunder as it continued to rain. The wind and rain were at our back on the way out, so when we turned around it was right in our faces. I think it hailed a little too because at various times it had a nice sting to it as it hit my face. 

Whether it was knowing that I was really not going to gain or lose a position or that fact that we were now running into the wind my pace slowed on the back half. I ran miles 7 and 8 in 7:07 and 7:18 respectively, then by mile nine my feet were cold, soaking wet, and felt like bricks. I slogged through mile 9 in 7:23, then I think my mind drifted off in mile 10 because I dilly-dallied through it with a 7:33 pace so I had to kick it back into gear and ended up finishing with 7:14, 7:28, 7:24 and final push of 50 seconds at the end. 
Race stats copied from Training Peaks log.

I was cold, soaking wet, and my face was frozen, but I finished with a nice PR,10th overall and 3rd in my age group! In retrospect, not bad for such crappy conditions, i'll take it! I even scored an extra medal for my age group award!

Looking back at my Garmin stats, my heart rate didn't make it into zone 4 which tells me that I could have run this a little faster. I know that if I would have had a someone closer to me either in front or behind it would have helped push me to a faster finish. 

I am in no way unhappy with this race, but I am also not completely satisfied with the result. The great thing is that I know I can run it faster next time, especially if I have some competition to push me.

Finally, a quick but important plug for my motivators.

First of all, Jeff and Diane at PRS FIT have helped to keep me motivated and educated along this journey. They have helped my train smarter and harder while staying pretty much injury free the entire time. I have been working hard this year in preparation for the Fargo Marathon. My goal is to qualify for Boston there. With a lot of hard work and a little luck I will do just that. Qualifying or not, it's pretty much guaranteed that I will have a PR there. If you are serious about putting in the time and effort to improve your running, I would encourage runners at any level to contact them for assistance. 

Second, and no less important, the great Daily Mile friends who continue to inspire and and bring positive thoughts to every workout. I feel lucky knowing that it has reached the point where I can participate in almost any race across the U.S. and even internationally, and find a friendly Daily Miler. I even moved from a city of well over 100,000 people to one of 3,000 people in an entirely different state and was able to connect with local Daily Miler Sara D.  in my new town. Pretty awesome stuff in my book!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Running Exposed!

It was a beautiful 75 degrees for today's run, actually a little warmer than I would have liked, but I am not complaining, spring is officially here! As runners we can finally begin to shed the many layers of sub zero clothing that we have had to endure through the long winter. Finally getting to run in shorts and a tank top or a short sleeve top is a great boost to the spirit! This is also a great time to start protecting yourself again too.

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. Because of the long periods of time that we spend out in the sun, we are definitely more at risk of skin cancer than most other people. We spend a lot of time thinking about what we eat and how we train, working hard to be stronger and healthier. Taking the time to protect our eyes and our skin should be a natural part of our regimen.

Protect yourself!
Please take the time to cover yourself well with a good sunscreen and protect your eyes while you are at it with a good pair of sunglasses. I challenge you to make it your mission this year to wear sunscreen for every run this season. A little protection now, may save you later.

Happy Running!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Random Update for March.

I haven't had much time to post lately, it's been tough just getting my workouts done because of the J-O-B. It's a good thing that I love what I do because I spend a lot of time doing it.

Anyway,  I wanted to drop by and update the status of my training. Things seem to be going very well, I have really been nailing my workouts. I feel like my running has recently advanced to the next level. My speed and strength have increased and I really like the results. My 1:30 tempo runs have been consistently well under an 8 minute pace on challenging terrain but the bonus is that I feel there is also still room for improvement.

It is difficult to judge how my Boston Qualifying attempt will go in Fargo. I have been running on some major hills the last 5 months that continue to challenge me on every run. They are definitely getting easier, but they are still a real bugger towards the end of my long runs.

As I write this there are about 10 weeks until Fargo. With lots of hard work and a little luck it will be a great race. Even better yet, I will be surrounded by several friends that will also be running, it will be an awesome reunion!
Elevation profile from my March 6th run.

Here are some random pictures from some of my recent runs.
Sometimes running through the countryside can be confusing!

View from the top of a long hill

Some runs have started out like this.

While others have ended like this.