Sunday, September 29, 2013

Great Race 10K RR

EDIT:  I'm surprised by all the page views for this one. I consider it a rather forgettable and mediocre race.  One additional development is that I did have to go back to a low dose of magnesium.  It is pure magnesium malate with no co-factors.  Folate combined with magnesium was suppressing adrenaline too much.  3 weeks later, I'm still looking for the key formula.

Pretty much a living nightmare for the past 6 months.  Mileage has been in the low-mid 30s with little quality and few runs longer than 10 miles.  That just won't do but I was doing as much as I could because my energy was usually shot.  I am forced to face the fact that the magnesium strategy has failed and re-learned the lesson the Thym-Adren is the only way.  My last run was a 3 miler barely below 8:00 pace with a brutal fade starting in Mile 2.  Hopes were not real high.  In fact, I was not even sure that I even wanted to run only 2 days before race day.  On my first day back on the Thym-Adren, I did not expect a significant difference especially with excess magnesium in my system.  As far as time goals, I had no real expectation, I actually thought I might be over 50 minutes if I did not change the formula.  I would be fairly happy with simply beating my recent PW in Atlanta on the 4th of July (45:54).  Under 45 would be a moral victory even on a fast downhill course.

Like the Gatorade Steelers 5K 2 years ago, I chose this Pittsburgh race largely because I have family in the area.  Also, it would be state #7 of 10 in terms of 10Ks (SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, FL) and now PA.  The trip was fairly smooth.  I chose to fly this time because my car is getting old.  After a long layover in DC,  I got into Pittsburgh without a hitch on Friday evening.  Pre-race dinner was a very good but overpriced porterhouse steak at Morton's. 

This is a first class event in every way.  It is a point to point downhill course ending at the point in which Pittsburgh's 3 rivers meet while passing through 3 college campuses and lots of city skyline views.  That's not to say that it was all downhill and a piece of cake all the way.  Miles 2,4,6 each had long and steep declines but there were some tough stretches.  The course began with a fairly steep half mile hill before going back down.  Mile 3 also had slightly more up than down while the first 3/4 of Mile 5 was a steady climb.  Still, because the course contained more than twice as much elevation loss as gain, it cannot count as a PR in my book.  Thus, it was purely a fun run.  I estimate this race to be 45 seconds faster than a flat 10K such as New Orleans or Mobile and about 1:30 faster than an "average" rolling course.

I may have qualified for a seeded position but chose to line up near my estimated pace.  It was quite crowded early and I did not fight the traffic very much.  I was laboring almost immediately on the first uphill through residential areas.  A little over a half mile in, we turned into a business section going steadily downhill.  My legs had no power at all but the breathing was pretty well controlled.  The first mile passed by in 7:12 and in my training runs, I often felt decent early so I still feared that this would turn disastrous soon.  Fortunately, we got a welcomed steeper downhill early in Mile 2 and my pace had quickened to the 6:20s on the steeper sections and was pleased to see a 2 mile split time under 14 after passing by Carnegie Mellon Univ.  In Mile 3, I battled a bit of an incline still hanging on to a respectable pace through the Oakland section of the city near the Pitt campus.  I was nearly an even 21 for 3 miles and officially 21:46 for 5K.  Okay, barring an unexpected meltdown, I should be no worse than a low 44.  I turned in another solid Mile on the downhill as the city skyline came into view.  When the dreaded Mile 5 came along, it was a strange feeling, I really felt no worse than I did in the first half mile but could not access any power and the same held true on the last downhill.  Still, I gained several positions going up that hill near the Duquesne campus.  I would give away some of those spots in the final Mile but my pace increased nicely on the steep downhill.  The course leveled off about a half mile from the finish and we made the turn towards the finish.  I was around 41:40 for 6 miles and prepared to accept a low-43 finish, which was a lot better than expected.  In the end, the finish line came sooner than expected around a curve and a last drive to the line brought me there in an even 43-flat.  I would have broken it if I knew how close I was but oh well.

7:12 (7:12)
6:41 (13:53)
7:08 (21:01)
6:42 (27:43)
7:17 (35:00)
6:42 (41:42)
1:18 (43:00)
AG: 68/607- 88th percentile.

Final thought:
6 months ago, I would have been fighting mad over such a poor performance.  On Vulcan's course, I doubt that I would have been much below 45 compared with my CR of 41:32 so that shows how far out of whack I really am. It's hard to believe that I was in sub-40 form on level ground just 6 months earlier.   However, I have shown in the past that my thyroid/adrenals will come down nicely after a few months on the Thym-Adren.  Will the magnesium issue flare up again?  Probably.  I will take it only on an as needed basis.  I am now 3 away for the 10K in 10 states goal.  The next 2 are easy trips to suburban Nashville, TN and Bowling Green, KY.  For #10, I want to make it special and am leaning towards a mega race in Richmond, VA.

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