Saturday, July 31, 2010

Colorado road trip report

My regular readers are aware of my goal to visit all 50 states and I am now only 4 away (missing Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Hawaii). I did take a few pics but none of them turned out very well so I may or may not post them here.

7/27- woke up around 5:30 and hit the door by 6:00 for an 8 AM flight out of Birmingham. I'm really doing it and am excited. We landed in Denver around 10:00 Mountain time and I picked up some Pizza Hut to eat then went on a long walk to my gate for my connection to Albuquerque, New Mexico (state #44). I picked up my rental car and hit I-25 north and did not stop until I reached the capital city of Santa Fe. I spent a fair amount of time driving through the city. It's got a strong Spanish and Native American flavor with interesting red rock scenery but a bit too barren for my taste. From there, I took the scenic route through some mountainous terrain before getting back on the interstate just before the Colorado border. Northern NM is a bit greener and looks more like Colorado. I was only a little more than an hour from the Texas border and although I had been to east TX before, I would have liked to have gotten a small taste of west TX but I just didn't have enough time. It was almost twilight by the time I hit the Colorado border (revisited state) and drove for another hour and spent the night in a small town just south of Pueblo.

7/28-I was tired last night and there would be no rest for the weary today. I was up by 7 AM and hit the road for an hour to Colorado Springs. My first stop was the Garden of the Gods where I was blown away by the mountain views and red rock scenery. I took advantage of a bike trail in the park for a training run. How does it feel to run at over 6,000 feet elevation? Yes, it will leave you short of breath but if you keep the early pace easy enough, you can manage. Of course it did slow me down but in each workout, I maintained a decent pace and had something left at the end. This one was also an extremely hilly route so I felt good about an average pace below 8:00 for 5 miles. Next was Pike's Peak, where I drove all the way to the summit, about a 2 hour round trip up to 14,115 ft. elevation. I ran a half mile loop around the parking lot because I could. I ate my lunch at the visitor's center where I was joined by an older couple from Houston and it was good to hear a southern accent. I got a little bit of a headache but nothing too severe in terms of altitude sickness. It was now back to the interstate heading north for about an hour toward Denver. I made it to Golden by late afternoon and met my old buddy Tony, my Bible study leader at Clemson, whom I had not seen in 5 years. We went out for dinner at Woody's pizza and then he took me up to Lookout Mountain, about 7,500 ft elevation overlooking Golden with a view of downtown Denver in the distance.

7/29- I had planned to tour Coors brewing facility in the morning but it was not open. Too bad. Instead, I spent more time driving through the Rockies. I didn't turn around on I-70 until I got to Vail then stopped in Silverthorne for lunch (about 8,500 ft) then finally picked up US-40 toward Rocky Mountain National Park and Trail Ridge Road. I don't think words can say just how stunning it was. The road took me up over 12,000 ft. I could see clouds floating just below with mountain peaks all around and views of lakes further down. Someone once said that I should bring an atheist here and it will convince then that there is a Creator. Back down and back to the interstate near Ft. Collins. I saw corn fields to the east and mountains to the west. From here, it was only about 50 miles to the Wyoming border with the capital city of Cheyenne just a few miles further. I stayed there for the night (state #45) and would check it out in the morning.

7/30- Unfortunately, there was some type of festival in Cheyenne called Frontier Days so downtown was jammed and there wasn't much I could do. That's okay, I don't think I missed a whole lot anyway. I hit the road again, this time east on I-80 to Nebraska (state #46). I exited in the town of Kimball and stopped at a grocery store where I found the people to be quite friendly. Of course the scenery was not very exciting but a few gentle rolling hills broke things up for a bit. I headed south on US-71 and picked up I-76 west to Denver. From here, my plans were flexible until I was to leave the next evening. Denver is at 5,280 ft. elevation and just outside the Rocky Mountains but the city itself is surprisingly flat. If I could find some good running trails, this could be fun. I found the city to be very well laid out with a road called Colfax Avenue running due east-west right through the heart of town. I decided to go back to Golden and found that this time, the Coors brewery tour was open. I waited in line for the bus where I laughed to myself at northern tourists complaining about the heat (85 w/ no humidity). I learned everything I would want to know about beer and yes, I had a free sample after the tour was over. I then headed back east on Colfax where I found a nice city park called Escalande near the edge of town with views of the Rockies, where I did a 5 mile tempo run at Mile high elevation and performed surprisingly well. After a bit more driving through town, I called it a day and spent the night in Aurora, just east of town.

7/31- I woke up at 8 AM and went back downtown, where I ran 8 miles on the Cherry Creek bike trail with views of the skyline. After I recovered, I parked in a garage and did a walking tour of the shops on 16th St. Mall. That was pretty cool too. Overall, this was a great trip but I was ready to go back home. I took an evening flight and did not land until after 11 PM and arrived safely at home just before midnight. Fortunately, I would have a "slack day" on Sunday to decompress and feel rested before the work week.
Next year, I will run the Couer de Alene half marathon in Idaho and cross the border into Montana. My backup plan is the Missoula race in Montana, where I can cross into Idaho. Either way, that will take care of the entire lower 48.

Monday, July 26, 2010

training 7/26-8/1

7/26- Indoor 10K time trial. Time was 42:18 (#2 all time, :35 off). I should be pleased with this one but the PR drought continues. In fairness, I wasn't completely fresh and probably still had a little excess glutamine in my system. I'll try to quit that stuff again soon. I'm sick of excuses and explanations. I want a PR now. 1st half: 20:47, 2nd half: 21:31. Miles 4 and 5 were both near 7 but a hard fought last mile allowed me to beat my Peachtree time by 9 ticks.
Grade:B+/3 credits/distance=6.5

7/27- flew to Albuquerque, stopped in Santa Fe and ended up just south of Pueblo, CO. No running.

7/28- Garden of the Gods 5 mile run in 39:15 at 6500 ft. elevation. Difficult to assess my performance. Not only was I more than a mile high, it was also an extremely hilly route. I went out conservative but turned in a strong 6:40 5th mile mostly downhill. Incredible scenery. The altitude was not the only thing that took my breath away. .5 cool down.
Pikes Peak summit loop at 14,115 ft. Covered a half mile in 3:55 with a decent pick up at the very end.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance=6.0

7/29-Treadmill broken at hotel so I had to resort to laps around the parking lot. Ended up covering 2 miles in 13:15 at nearly 5,000 ft. elevation. Decent performance. I am free from the glutamine but still need taurine.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=2.0

7/30- Escalande Park hard tempo run. Battled mile high elevation and a strong wind and turned in a strong time of 34:40. Flat route, mountain views. Awesome all the way around. 1st half: 17:16, 2nd half: 17:24. Overall pace of 6:56
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=5.0

7/31-Cherry Creek bike trail run with views of the downtown skyline. 8 miles in 61:40 (7:43 pace). Not as strong as previous day but still a solid performance. 1st half: 30:55, 2nd half: 30:45. Needed more water than expected probably due to altitude. Groin area was a bit sore possibly due to excess taurine. If I can get off that stuff too, it would really be awesome.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=8.5

8/1- Jet lag in the morning forced me to postpone my run until mid afternoon, which meant it had to be indoors. It would be so awesome to be free of the taurine but that's not happening now. I crashed out just after noon and woke up feeling awful so I took 500 mg. of taurine and it helped but wasn't enough. Hoped to run 7 miles to bring my weekly total up to 35 but hit the wall after 3 miles in 23:47 with a rapidly slowing pace near the end. This was my worst day in more than a month.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=3.0

Weekly summary:
Not too bad in terms of distance for a vacation week but I have to train harder than this or the PR drought will continue. My fitness is no worse than it was a week ago but how I wish I could be free from this taurine. I was in a foul mood much of the day on Sunday.
Distance=31.0/ GPA= 29.6/10= 2.96

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2010 Twilight Retro 5K RR

fairly smooth cycle overall. Not many great workouts but very few bad ones. Because of the intense heat, my mileage has been down around 35-40. The best news is that I am much less dependent on the taurine and glutamine. I actually tried to quit that stuff altogether but that ended up in disappointment on Friday.
Race day:
It was a game time decision based solely on the weather. The forecast called for a high of 98 with only a 20% chance of rain. Based on that, I expected to bail in favor of an indoor 10K time trial. I would not make the decision until 5 PM, one hour before race time. After going out to lunch at a Golden Corral, the skies looked somewhat threatening and I heard a couple of rumbles of thunder. Wait a minute, this could work out well. We'll get a cooling rain and hopefully it will remain overcast at race time. It turned out to be a pretty decent thunderstorm that lasted from about an hour. By the time the rain stopped, it was 5 PM and a comfortable 75 degrees. The race was a "go" and I felt good.
Race time:
As luck would have it, the sun came out shortly before the start. The temp was only in the low 80s but I'd estimate the humidity to be about 90%. Not the best conditions for a PR but I resolved to give it my best shot. I got in a quick warm up and felt good but my hair was already soaked with sweat.
I've run this one 3 times before so I knew what I was getting in to. It's a nice downhill start and relatively flat for the first 2.4 miles. Then, we make up the lost elevation over the next .6 miles with a gentle but relentless uphill grade before going back down to the finish. I wanted to get out around 6 flat, which would be fairly comfortable then really push the 2nd mile, hopefully reaching the next marker in 12:05 or so then hope to hang on for a 6:30 then kick it in.
We took off down the hill and a quick look at my Garmin showed that I was doing about 5:15 pace. I find that in a 5K, it is especially difficult to rein in your energy and avoid starting too fast. The first quarter mile passed by in about 1:20. That's about 5 seconds too fast and it would come back to hurt me later. Johnny was out cheering me on and warned me to take it easy. Still, I saw 2 slower running buddies ahead of me so I decided not to worry about it and settled into the planned effort. 2:50 at .5 and looking good. Just maintain this pace. Late in the first mile, we hit a slight uphill, which would slow the pace and I hit the mile marker just under 6:00 as planned. From here, I made an effort to pick up the pace but sadly, there just wasn't much there. I saw a 6:05 pace early in the 2nd mile but it had soon slowed to the 6:20 range. I was still around 9:30 at the halfway point. No PR today but a sub-20 looks like it's in the bag but I am struggling. My legs never felt too bad but my wind was awful. Could that possibly be from sucking air nearly saturated with moisture? Finally, I reached the 2 mile mark just under 12:20 and I hit 2.1 right around 13 flat. That last mile would be tough but it would take a ghastly fade for me to finish over 20. Just under 3/4 of a mile to go and it's time to make the U-turn to face the uphill. Again, the grade was gentle but it's length and location on the course was what made it so tough. There was only one small break in the next .6. Last year, I saw runners who were ahead of me that could not take the hill and actually walked for a few seconds. It happened again this year. I managed to pass 2 fading runners but my pace had slowed to the upper 6s and hit Mile 3 in 19:03. My Garmin measured the course at 3.16 so the finish line was further away than I expected. At least, I was through the hills and I had to hustle to the line but just like Peachtree, I wanted it just enough in the end. No official results yet but I estimate my time to be either 19:57 or 19:58. It was good enough for 19th overall and 2nd place in my age group and I chose a new Asics tech running shirt as my award.
Final thought:
When it comes to 5Ks, if I break 20:00, I'm happy with my performance. If I don't, I'm not. It's as simple as that. This is the 4th time in my last 6 5Ks that I have broken that barrier. Still, on one level, I am a bit frustrated as a result of my current PR drought. My last one was an unofficial time trial on New Year's day. Today, perhaps it was unrealistic to expect to finish close to 19. It was so humid that the windows on most buildings were still foggy an hour after the finish. I did enjoy myself tonight and saw a lot of my buddies.
Grade: solid B

Monday, July 19, 2010

training 7/19-7/25

7/19- Indoor 7.5 at easy effort. Never struggled and turned in a 7:35 pace. Very even splits. Felt like I could have gone all day. This is a 3:18 marathon pace.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=7.5

7/20- Johnny's workout with a 100 heat index. It was a short interval ladder. (200-400) x4 with an 800 for dessert. 200s were 34-35 fast and controlled. 400s were at hard effort: 72-73-72-71. Final 800 was a hard fought 2:33 for an overall pace of 4:50/mile for the intervals. Wanted to break 2:30 in the half but still strong and satisfying. Took half a glutamine and it felt like it was just a hair too much but it cleared nicely by late afternoon.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=3.5

7/21- Another solid performance in 90+ heat. Trak Shak 5 untimed (forgot Garmin) but estimate about 7:15 with a strong finish. Felt like I could have gone longer and faster but still pleased. I only took 1/4 of a glutamine and may be able to quit that stuff very soon. That would be a MAJOR victory. It would mean that all of my neurotransmitters are balanced and the only thing stopping me from reaching my potential is a manageable hyperthyroid condition.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

7/22- Took about half a glutamine and woke up a bit sluggish but improved as the day progressed. I'm going to try to quit this stuff starting tonight! I am still planning to race on Saturday but the forecast high is 97 and the race is at 6 PM. My only chance of a good time is a brief cooling shower before the race. Today's workout was an easy 6 indoors in 45:47 (7:38 pace). Even pace, just a tad sluggish.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=6.0

7/23- No glutamine. I had a good morning but by the time lunch time rolled around, the good feeling was slipping away. Until further notice, I need just a small amount of that stuff. At this point, 1/2 pill is too much. 1/4 seems to be about right but since it comes in a capsule, it's hard to regulate it just right. I am quite disappointed. I really thought that I was healed. Planned rest day anyway. Race is still a game time decision but unless we get a cooling shower nearby, I'm bailing in favor of an indoor 10 K time trial. I'll save $30 by doing that.

7/24- Twilight Retro 5K was a go and it was a steam bath. Unofficial time of 19:57, 19th overall and 2nd place in my age group. 1.5 cool down.
Grade:B/4 credits/distance=5.0

7/25- only 12 hours later. Easy 8 indoors in 63:44 (7:58 pace). Struggled but hit the sub-8 target.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=8.0

Weekly summary:
Decent week overall. That distance is pretty solid for a 5K race week. I want some PRs now.
Distance=35.0/GPA= 32.4/10=3.24

Monday, July 12, 2010

training 7/12-7/18

7/12- 6x600 with a 200 jog R. I had hoped to do 8 of these but I cut it back because the heat index was close to 100. I should have waited until 7 PM. I hoped to average under 2:00, which I just missed. Times were 2:00-2:00-2:01-1:59-2:06-1:58. Pace per mile: 5:23. Average performance. The pills were in balance. It was natural fatigue. When I don't rest after a race and do my easy runs at 7:43, this is what happens. If my mileage is over 40, easy runs should be near 8:00 and recovery jogs don't work for me. I need a day of complete rest.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=3.5

7/13- Planned rest day. I was back out there less than 36 hours later rather than 48.

7/14-AM- 8 mile progression run with Gee-off's group. Average pace was 7:35 with the final 3 miles at BQ pace. I stuck with the group but it required a lot of energy to do so. This one could cost me tonight. Lost key on the run but fortunately had a spare in the glove compartment.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=8.0
PM- Trak Shak 5 in 92 degree heat. Aimed for 8:00 pace and ended up at 7:39. That's too fast. I do get a rest day tomorrow.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.5

7/15- Planned rest day. Well deserved. 9 hours of sleep and no bizarre dreams.

7/16- Another Friday let down. I took only 1 glutamine and it was too much. It did not clear my system by the evening either. I did not even attempt a time trial and it was too bad because a nearby storm had cooled things down. Vestavia 3 in 22:06 (7:22 pace) and it was tough.
1 hour rest then 3.5 with Ryan and Chilton at 9:00 pace.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=6.5

7/17- AM- only took half a glutamine last night and had an immediate negative reaction. As expected, it did not clear in time for the morning long run so I had to bail on it and squeezed in 1.5 at Vestavia before it got too hot and humid. Time was 10:22 with the last 4 laps in 6:47. An all out mile would not have been much below 6:30. When it does clear my system, I'll be fresh and there's potential for something special.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=1.5
PM- Some of it has cleared. Indoor 5 miler in 36:44 (7:21 pace). Saved something for tomorrow's possible time trial. Miles 3 and 4 were around 7:30 and were difficult. Improvement.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

7/18- Last night, I didn't take anything and woke up this morning with my legs feeling as stiff as a board. I responded by taking a full pill in the morning and it was too much. I'll try to settle on 1/2 but I really think that my magic formula could be more like 1/3 and yes there is a difference between 1/3 and 1/2. At least I am trending down and I can only hope that one day I'll be free from this stuff and I'll only have to take the Lithium
AM- tried a mile time trial and bailed on it after the first lap. I'd estimate that I would have run around 5:45. Tried some 200s and could not better 31 seconds.
Grade:C+/1 credit/distance=1.0
PM- Indoor 5 mile time trial in 33:57. I still had some excess glutamine in my system but I was pleased with this one. Still a full minute down on my PR.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
If I can get off the glutamine/taurine, I will break through this Fall.
Distance=36.0/GPA=23/9= 2.56

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

training 7/5-7/11

7/5- Lakeshore 7 at easy pace. Temp was in the upper 80s and dry and it was painful. Solid 1st half but faded in the last 2 miles. Overall time was 54:44 (7:49 pace). 1st half in 26:52, 2nd half in 27:52. Average overall. Maybe a bit dehydrated.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=7.0

7/6-Johnny's workout was short intervals with the temp at 90 and dry. It didn't feel too hot but I doubt I'd feel good in a 6+ mile run. I enjoyed this one. 2x200 in 33-34. 2x300 in 54-52. 4x400 in 72-74-74-65. Pace per mile: 4:43. Strong.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=4.0

7/7- Trak Shak 6.5 @ 7:29 pace. Felt good and refreshed at the end. I tried drinking Powerade on the run while carrying a handheld bottle and was very pleased with the results.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.0

7/8- Indoor 3 miler ASAP. Should have put more emphasis on the S. Again, assuming that the distance was accurate, my time was 24:08 (8:03 pace) without putting forth any effort. Good recovery day. Stupid me took too much taurine last night and increased the potency on glutamine. Rough morning but the excess had cleared by late afternoon. No "A" only because I did not feel good until the afternoon.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=3.0

7/9- Due for a bad day. It seems that I am becoming more sensitive to the glutamine. I only took 1 last night and it still felt like it was too much. That could be good in the long run but I wish I could just stay stable. I tried a 5HTP before the run and it left me sluggish. I guess that running is my serotonin booster. Workout was a 400 time trial in a weak 65.8 followed by 2x200 in which I only managed 33 in both. Finished the day with a slow social run at Veteran's Park. Below average but not awful.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=4.5

7/10- Long run. 9 miles with Brad in 70:28 then an extended drink stop followed by the Trak Shak 5 loop in a painful 41:30. Overall pace was just inside 8:00 for 14 miles, which is my longest run since before Nashville. Weather was in the upper 70s and humid. Went home and took a nap. Dreamed about my grandparents getting divorced. Ha Ha Ha.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=14.0

7/11- Afternoon run in the heat of the day. 92 degrees with close to 100 heat index. Indoors, it was a comfortable 68 degrees with a fan. 5 miles in 38:36 (7:43 pace). Just a tad fast but still good. Even pace, even effort, appropriately sore. Everything went as expected.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.5

Weekly summary:
Good week overall. Friday's time trial was the only sour note. I must avoid caffeine. If I can do that, I may no longer need the glutamine or even the taurine. Mileage was a bit high for this time of year even in a non-race week. It will probably settle near 40 until September.
Distance=45.0/ GPA= 28.7/9= 3.19

Monday, July 5, 2010

Peachtree 10K RR

Sign up:
Registration was done online and it was a royal pain in the rear. I had just driven home in pouring rain from the ING Georgia half marathon and tried to get through to to register. It took me about 7 tries before I was finally successful. I was one of the last ones to get in and I've heard that many others could not. There has got to be some sort of change in the registration process. It's essentially a lottery based on one's network connection. Serious runners are turned away in favor of walkers who exercise once a year. My proposal is to set a qualifying standard for guaranteed entry that is easily attainable for a person with average ability and is free from debilitating injury or illness who trains at about 20 MPW. Make it 55:00 for men under 40 and 60:00 for women. Then, you could fill the remaining spots through a lottery so therefore, nobody is technically shut out from participating and less talented athletes will become more motivated to reach the standard. In any event, I would be participating in the largest 10K in the world. More than 50,000 runners would finish this year.
It was not a very good cycle overall. I battled thyroid symptoms, GABA deficiency and an upper respiratory infection. Those issues in addition to the summer heat and humidity had kept my weekly mileage down to about 30/wk over the past 6 weeks. That just won't do. However, I felt as if I had turned the corner in the past week after switching to from GABA to glutamine supplements and getting the infection completely out of my system. I had completed 4 straight runs of 3-6 miles all at sub-7 pace without a rest day. Friday would be a recovery jog and Saturday would be rest day.
No significant adventures here. I arrived in Atlanta by lunchtime and met my buddy Nick for pizza at Mellow Mushroom. From there, we headed to the expo, where I purchased a pair of overpriced running shorts. Dinner was a 22 oz. Porterhouse at Longhorn's and as usual, I left only the bone behind. The race would start at 7:30 Eastern time, which means that we would have to get up at 5 AM (felt like 4 AM) but the advantage was that we would beat the heat. 7:30 in Atlanta is probably the equivalent of 6:45 in Birmingham because of the time zone difference. As for the weather, I really can't complain. It was only 67 at the start and about 73 at the finish with sunny skies and 70% humidity so the heat wasn't much of a factor. That's about as favorable running conditions as you can expect for Atlanta in July. I felt good when I woke up and good warming up. A PR (41:43) would be a tall order today especially on that course but I did predict a sub-43 (less than 7:00 pace).
Course and strategy:
Relatively flat first mile with a mild incline in the last half but it was early enough that you barely even noticed it. From there, the course went gradually but steadily downhill for the next 1.5 miles and the downhill got a bit steeper towards the bottom. After that, we climbed "cardiac hill," a climb, followed by a curve in the road, and finally an even steeper climb after the curve. All told, the hill was 3/4 mile long and made up the lost elevation from the previous decline. After a brief downhill, we went back up for most of the 5th mile then the finish would be mostly downhill. The plan was to conserve energy early with a first mile just a hair under 7:00 and keep the effort even on both the downhill and uphill. Then, if I had anything left after cardiac, I would let it loose but I expected that I would be beat up by then and would have to push hard just to maintain my pace.
Because of my sub-42 at Vulcan, I qualified for sub-elite status so I would not have to dodge any slow runners and my start was fairly smooth. In the first mile, we were treated to patriotic music honoring the greatest country on the face of the Earth. Yes, I said it. I'm usually out too fast in 5Ks and 10Ks but today, I was able to rein in my energy and my first 1/4 mile was around 1:40 (6:40 pace), just a tad ahead of schedule. Throughout the first mile, I had to fight through a little bit of traffic and had to be aware of the median in the center of the road. I stayed on the right side because traffic was a bit thinner and overall, I don't think that it slowed my pace significantly. The first mile passed comfortably in 6:44, just a tad fast but based on how I felt, I "might could" run a little better than expected. I knew that I would gain some time on the upcoming decline but I kept looking at my Garmin and saw that it was not a significant change of pace. Should I increase my effort here? No, I better not. I know what's coming. Nick and I had driven the course the previous day. The 2nd mile was a little slower than expected but since the 1st was faster, let's call it even. Finally, my pace quickened a bit as the downhill got steeper but with about .15 to go in the 3rd mile, we had reached the bottom and it was soon time to head up cardiac. The hill was not too bad early and I hit the split button on my Garmin to find that my 3rd mile was almost the same speed as the second. I was still on target for a good time and felt pretty well. The hill flattened briefly as the road curved. Halfway there now and it's starting to hurt. Just keep the effort even. Despite hurting, I was surprised by how well I was holding the pace. Even as I neared the summit, I looked down to see a paces around 7:10-7:15. The thought of a PR actually entered my mind at this point. As we passed the hospital that gave the hill it's name, I heard a spectator yell out "All downhill from here." YOU LIE! We did have a short downhill afterwards but for me, Mile 5 would be the hardest of all. Most of this mile would be a gradual incline. Although it wasn't very steep, its length was the killer. With 2 miles to go, I would need 6:30s to PR. Not likely. A sub-42 was slipping away as well but the predicted time of a high 42 was well within reach and my 2nd best time of 42:30 seemed doable as well. Now, with a little more than 1 mile to go, I increased my effort as the course went back downhill. Although I never felt terribly uncomfortable at any time, my legs just would not go much faster. The hills in the previous 2 miles had simply taken too much out of me. Near the end of Mile 6, there was another uphill grade for about a 1/4 mile. Now, that wasn't very nice! Thankfully, that would be the last of the hills. 6 miles down and about 1/4 mile to go now. Can I break 42:30? Do I want it bad enough? It's going to be close but this downhill sure is boosting my pace. 100 yards to go. Sub- 42:30 is mine if I want it bad enough. I do. I crossed the line in an official time of 42:27 (best time of the year), 2nd best of all time.
Final remarks:
I was not completely exhausted at the end and felt that I may have left about 10-15 seconds out there. I certainly wasn't taking any chances with it being sunny and 70 degrees. One thing about the heat is that it tends to hit you suddenly and in my tempo runs, my paces fell off significantly after Mile 3. I did have the pleasure of meeting several people from the Atlanta chapter of Christian Runners. Overall, I was quite pleased with my race and my strategy. Put me out there in November on a flatter course and I would have been very close to a PR.
Grade: B+
6:44 (6:44) nice and comfy
6:37 (13:21) slower than I wanted, downhill
6:35 (19:56) ouch time is beginning
7:03 (26:59) very good mile up cardiac, can I PR?
7:02 (34:01) answer is no
6:55 (40:56) not much left, how bad do I want it?
1:31 (42:27) 5:48 pace for .27. I wanted it.
Pace per mile: 6:48. Overall place: 819 out of 50,044 (98th percentile)
Next 10K:
My best shot at a PR this fall is a race in Mobile in early November. My friend Rebecca ran it last year and set a PR by almost a minute. My lifetime goal is a sub-40. That seems a bit too ambitious this year but I think a sub-41 is well within reach if I can train properly.