3/14/09

Gate River Run race report




This was my first time running the Gate river run in Jacksonville. It's been a long time since I've done a race with more than 2000 people so that record number of runners (12,901 to be exact) was very overwhelming. I made sure I got to the stadium very early to avoid sitting in traffic and not getting a good parking spot. I ate my oatmeal on the way to the race site and sipped 20 ounces of water and aminos from 6:30-8am. However, I left 2 hours early for my 20 mile drive and I still sat in traffic. However, I had plenty of time to hit the port-o-potties (without a wait!) and sit in my car for an hour. I didn't see anyone I knew before the race but I did see a lot of people! There were so many people, I couldn't believe it!
Unfortunatly, I didn't get a seeded number because I didn't register in time. I just registered 5 days ago so I wasn't one of the first 2000 people who registered and submitted a 1hr and 30 min (or faster) time to be in the front section. Therefore, I was side-by-side with 10,000 other people trying to push my way to the front.
When the gun went off, I didn't move. When I did move, I walked. And once I was walking I noticed I was slowing down. I then stopped and finally, one minute later, I was running.
I started my watch when my chip crossed the timing mat, even though USATF rules go by gun time (and not chip time).
The first mile felt like 1 minute. I was weaving my way in and out of the slower runners, trying to catch up to the seeded runners. I was running on the street, sidewalk, curb..anything to get by people. I felt a little bad rubbing shoulders with a few people but I needed to get a good pace. After the first mile, we started heading to our first bridge. This bridge connects downtown Jacksonville to San Marco and once again, mile 2 went by really fast. It was miles 2,3 and 4 that were fast (in terms of pace) but I was running on new and unfamiliar roads. I started to get a little tired around mile 3 so I slowed down the pace for 30 seconds after every mile. It seemed to work well because I was still able to keep a good mile per hour pace.
There was no sport drink on the course so I grabbed water at mile 2-7. Although it was a little foggy and cool out (just like last weekend in Albany for the half marathon) I used the water to cool my face down.
The spectators were great and there were so many people on the course!
After I saw the sign for mile 7, I knew what was coming. Since I read the course description in my race packet, I was preparing myself for what was coming at mile 7.5. The HART BRIDGE!
184 feet up in .5 mile. Ouch..it was a nice shock for my quads. I feel all my "hill" training on the treadmill paid off because I wasn't too winded and my legs were only burning from the last 7 miles and not so much from the incline. However, I had no choice to slow down the pace and looking back on it now, I wish I would have pushed a bit harder going up.
Then comes the downhill from mile 8.5-9. Just flying down the hill and quickly making our way to the stadium for the finish. Since I have only done one 15K (gasparilla 2006) I wasn't sure how much I had after mile 9 until the finish. Well, 2 minutes later I was at the finish and ready to walk out my tired legs.
I really pushed hard to run fast and for my second race in a row and still on tired legs, I PR'd! I didn't go into this race as tired as last week because I took off thurs and fri from running. Instead, I rode with Karel on thurs for 40 miles (which was no easy ride!) and swam on Fri (3600 yards). I was happy that I rested my legs.
Well, I'm happy with my 1:07.51 finish time. 2 minutes faster than my first 15K and I finished 29th in my age group (out of 1206) and 717 overall.
Here are my splits (I'm sure you can tell when I suffered up the Hart bridge). I'm really proud of my pacing...I'm SO ready to do a triathlon...is it time yet???
7:21
7:09
7:01
7:05
7:09
7:11
7:18
7:36
7:40
2:17
Total: 1:07.51

3/13/09

Resolutions and rewards

Did you make a nutrition-related resolution approximately 3 months ago?
I think we all have habits that can be changed. Perhaps, your habits are keeping you from your ideal weight.
About 3 weeks ago, karel and I noticed that we were eating ice cream yogurt almost every evening. Granted, we were only eating about 1/4th cup w/ fruit, it was a bad habit that we needed to break. There was no reason to eat the ice cream yogurt at 110 calories per 1/2 cup, but it was a bad habit that did not contribute to an improvement in our training. Even if the ice cream had no affect on our total calories for the day, it is not healthy to have a habit of eating ice cream after dinner...even if it is just a little bit.
Now, we only eat ice cream on Sat and/or Sun. After our hard training. The best part is that it can be any type of ice cream. Maybe we want butter pecan (my favorite) or mint chocolate chip...We use small bowls (like coffee cups) and we still eat fruit with our ice cream but it is more rewarding on the weekends when our body actually wants the extra sugars.
I know people like to have cheat days to eat whatever they want one day a week but I believe that we should always want to put heart healthy food in our body. Sure we could choose ben n' jerry's which is loaded with saturated fat but we choose yogurt ice cream or double churn. We aren't eating french fries or chips and we aren't ordering pizza. We still believe in making all our meals and putting the best foods possible in our bodies.
If you eat healthy every day of the week and you exercise everyday, especially long on the weekends, I believe that you should have some variety in the diet. Resolutions are often un-realistic and I believe people are too hard on themselves. I love eating healthy and I love the way healthy food makes me feel and makes me perform. Most of all, it is so rewarding to know that the food in my body is allowing me to do what I love to do (train and race) for a very long time.
So, if you have a few "bad" eating habits that you need to break, give yourself a day to workout a bit harder and reward yourself for that hard training. Having said this, you still need to portion control and prioritize heart healthy food. There is no point reversing that hard training session which you thought would make you stronger, by eating more than 500 calories in one meal and eating fatty or sugary food. Be consistent with creating good eating habits and be wise when you do decide to have a treat. Ice cream on sat evening will not hurt you but eating ice cream every night will not help reach your weight and performance goals.
Good luck with healthy eating and think about a new resolution that is rewarding for all areas of your life.

3/11/09

Tired

I'm tired. This early morning stuff is hard when it is dark outside. This morning at 4:35 I wasn't quite sure why I was getting up. Then I remembered that I am a triathlete who wants to train while others are sleeping. Maybe I should have stayed in bed because I had tired arms, tired legs and tired eyes this morning.
I felt recovered on Sunday evening after a busy and tiring weekend. Monday I slept in until 7:30 which felt great. I headed to the pool and swam an easy 1650 and then went straight home to sit at the computer for the rest of the day.
Campy and I have enjoyed the day light in the evening. We are running 1 mile together in the evening as often as we can. OK-Campy would run it every day but I am just pooped in the evening. However, it is nothing fast and I don't call it "training" so it really is fun to get outside before dinner. On mon. we ran to Karel's work (1.3 miles) at 6:30pm so that he could drive us home when he got off work at 7pm.
Tues morning I just couldn't stay indoors. The trainer is still in my car from this weekend (so that Karel could warm up for the crit) and I think it will stay there for a while. It was 56 degrees when I did my 30 min. run at 6:45 on Tuesday morning and when I rode at 7:30 it was just beautiful outside. I did my intervals (6 x 5 min w/ 3 min recovery) and survived.
In my biochem lab yesterday afternoon, we made aspirin. It was pretty easy to make and I felt like a real science nerd with my goggles on, mixing ingredients and measuring substances in flasks and test tubes. I just love school...except for the exams.
So, back to this morning...I am totally tired now and can barely keep my eyes open. I am trying to work on my dietetic internship portfolio and I hope I don't make careless mistakes because of my tiredness.
My run was good and I felt smooth. 3 x 8 min w/ 3 min recovery. I have another race this weekend and I'm sure I will have slow legs once again. I miss being fast as a runner. However, I think my body is ready to do a triathlon. Running off the bike....bring it on!
My arms barely survived swimming this morning. Remember how tough I thought it would be to run before swim...well, now I love having NOTHING to do after I swim!
Our main set was a series of 4 x 100's w/ 100 recovery after each set of 4. The first set was on 1:30, then 1:25, then 1:20. I barely made the 1:20's which made me think that I need some rest. Then we did a 400 pace which I managed to do in 5:36. Total yardage this morning was 3750. Long morning in the pool.
I am taking it easy tomorrow and Friday. With over 15,000 runners for the Gate river run on sat. I at least want to have a semi-decent 15K time.
Hopefully everyone else is surviving the time change.

3/9/09

Albany Race Weekend


Here's a pic to sum up the weekend

We got into Albany around 8pm on Friday. It was an easy 3:15 drive and we went right to the Hilton to pick up my race packet for the half marathon. We checked into the Days Inn which was .5 miles down the road and we were asleep by 10pm. I didn't sleep that well but I was able to sleep in until 5:45. I made coffee and had a small bowl of oatmeal w/ a little bit of banana and some raisins. I was out the door at 6:40 to walk/jog to the race start. The weather was cool, around 50 degrees but the fog was unbelievable. You couldn't even see infront of you.
I wasn't sure what to expect from my body this morning. I knew the course had a few ups and downs but nothing too difficult. However, my body was tired from a full week of training without any type of rest day. My 45 mile ride on thursday was a good-warm-up for me but my swim on Fri. was all about sprinting. Before the swim on Friday I did a 3 mile warm-up for the race w/ a few 90 sec. race pace intervals but I still couldn't get over our sprinting day in the pool.
The best part of the race (besides finishing) was seeing all the athletes at the race start. I saw a ton of M-dot, Ironman hats, bright running shoes and happy people. It just makes me feel good to surround myself with people who enjoy running (or triathlons) as much as I do.
When the race started at 7am I knew my body wasn't forgetting the hard training this past week. I thought I was going fast but at an 8 min/mile for the first 2 miles, I had a feeling this was going to be more like a training run. I hate using the word "training run" for a race because I can't really justify paying $50 for a training run. I wanted to be sure I didn't leave anything on the course and I wanted to atleast push harder than a normal sunday morning long run.
My leg gave me trouble around mile 6 and I thought I was in big trouble for the rest of the run. I walked 10 sec. through an aid station and it seemed as though that did the trick. I wanted to quit at mile 6 and 7 but that is normal for me. There has never been a running race that I didn't want to quit. 100%, everytime..I want to quit. But, I have only quit one race in my life (due to a heel problem at mile 21 of a marathon in 2007) so I think my need to quit is just in my head.
With lots of enthusiastic Albany spectators on the course, I had great encouragement along the way. The course is really beautiful and we run through a lot of nice neighborhoods and I loved looking at the houses...throught the fog.
I ended up walking at aid stations 6, 9 and 12 but just to get some sport drink in me. I didn't want to take a chance of running too long with my weird right leg problems (feels like a tendon is giving out in the front of my thigh when I run, but then the weirdness disappears when I walk and then run again..weird) so I took it easy for about 5-10 sec.
Luckily, I started feeling good at mile 10. Those crazy slow twitch fibers in me. Whereas most people get the endorphin rush at mile 1 or 2, I get it at mile 10. Uggghh.
Well, luckily I did get those endorphins because I was able to pick up the pace for the last few miles. At first I thought I was going to go 1:50 as I predicted my pace for the first few miles. But, I was amazed when I ran through over the finish line in 1:43. Not too shabby for a "training run" but believe me..my body felt it! Whereas a 1:43 might not leave me very sore if I had tapered and just ran comfortably, but a 1:43 after a week of training left me incredibly sore all day long. Sore and exhausted.
After the race I started walking back to the hotel and saw Karel on a side street warming up on his trainer. I told him that I placed 2nd in my age group and 19th overall. He was happy and I was looking forward to watching karel for the rest of the weekend.
After getting cleaned up, Campy and I headed to watch Karel in his 3.6K time trial. This course is crazy with a 180-degree turn in the middle of the TT with a downhill before the turn and then a big climb back up. Karel didn't get last in the TT but since that is not his strength we are always happy with a not-last place finish :)
Jeff ended up getting 4th and he missed 3rd place by 1 second! Bummer.
Karel rested in the afternoon as I did work on the computer.
The race in the evening was a one hour crit on the same course as the TT. The course was great for spectators because we had many opportunities to see the races. HOwever, Campy didn't want to stop and watch so we walked all around the course taking pictures.
The Lidner Capital guys did awesome and they really worked hard to break up the pace of the race. I knew Karel was feeling strong but I wasn't sure how he would do for this crit. Well, he ended up sprinting for the line and placed 5th!! Great job Karel!!
I'm just so proud of him. Two years ago he was hoping to just finish the Pro 1,2 races and now he is a category 1 rider sprinting for the podium. I know that podium finish will come soon I just can't wait to see when it happens. I really have no idea how he can sprint after they average 27mph for an hour but perhaps I am just jealous that he is able to do it. Jealous, but supportive :)
We checked out of the hotel on sunday and headed 15 miles down the road to Leesburg for the road race. The pro 1,2 guys did a 140K (90 mile race) on a lollipop course. So, after I watched the guys start, campy and I drove a few miles down the road to the loop part of the course. We hung out at the feed zone even though Karel and the guys didn't need me to feed them (aka. hand them water bottles). Since each loop was around 26-27 miles, it took the guys around an hour and 10 min. to make a loop (they averaged around 25-26mph). Campy and I killed some time by taking long walks and on the 2nd loop, campy took a nap and I studied.
Around noon we headed back to the finish after enjoying the sunshine for about 3 hours. I was excited to see them finish because in a road race, if you don't get dropped it is all about the sprint to the finish.
The last 1K to the finish line was an uphill and then flat so it is a big burner on the legs. There was a one man break and then another guy. The field was sprinting for 3rd place and when I saw Karel on the outside, I knew this was going to be close. I don't know how he did it but he ended up 5th again. Sprinting after 90 miles is something I don't understand and will never be able to do but Karel always amazes me.
The weekend was great for the Lidner Capital guys and they earned a lot of money. In total it was over $400 (among 4 guys) that they earned for top finishes and omnium results. Most of all, the guys worked well together and really showed passion for what they love to do.
Here are a few pics from the weekend: