Saturday, January 21, 2012

2012 Run Downtown 5k

The RDT 5k last year was my first road race in over a year and first 5k in 18 months, and I was happy with my 16:58 time. This year, I was just hoping to beat that time. I had a great December, with almost 400 miles, though almost no speedwork (only 54 miles total speedwork since the start of October). But January was rough, with some niggles and a nasty cold. I felt recovered for the race, and wanted to try hard. It has been rainy the past few days, and this morning was no exception. 30 min before the race, it was pouring. Fortunately the rain stopped shortly before the start and the weather ended up perfect- cool 45 deg, slight breeze. It’s a big race with 3000 runners on a moderately hilly course (about 200 ft climbing). I arrived only 15 min ahead of time, ran a few strides, nodded to a few of my GE co-workers, and waited for the start.

I normally start too slow and finish with gas in the tank at 5k’s. I changed it up this time, sprinting hard from the start. I was in about 8th place after a minute. After the long gradual uphill to mile 1 (5:21), I was in about 16th place, 5 second back from a pack of 10. Mile 2 is predominately downhill and I passed a few people (5:20). The last mile has a steep uphill, then some flat and a gradual down to the finish. I passed someone at mile 2 but he hung with me and I could never ditch him- he ended up sprinting past me at the end. Last 1.1 mile was 5:52, with a total time of 16:34. This is a road PR for me by 1 second, and only 10 seconds off my all-time PR, so I was very happy with the results. The GE team did great, too, with 5 runners breaking 17 min, a new record (most previous was 2?).

I think today is good proof that trail runners can still run well in short road races, even with minimal speedwork. I think mileage base is far more important to 5k speed than anything else. Now, that’s not to discount speedwork- race predictor calculators say I should be able to break 16 min for a 5k based on my half marathon speed, and I’m sure I could do that if I trained and tapered specifically for a 5k. But, that’s not my priority, so I’ll just have fun at these short races and do the best I can while focusing on trail ultras. Either way, this was a good start to the year, though it still makes me wonder what kind of time I would have run at Harbison 50k if I weren’t sick. Hopefully I can find out next year. Regardless, this is a great race that is competitive, well organized, and fun. One final note- my 16:58 from last year would have gotten me about 23rd place. So I improved my time by 24 seconds but only 1 spot. And of the 14 who beat me, only 2 were over age 30. Bunch of young bucks!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2011 Year In Review / 2012 Preview

I figured I should quickly wrap up last year and set some goals for 2012.  First, the year in review:

The Good:

  • UROC- One of my best races ever at the highest profile race of my life, earning the last podium spot
  • 14 races (most since HS or college?), 10 trail races, 6 ultras, 4 wins (SweetH20 was highlight), 2 CR
  • Set World Record as part of 100x5k GTC team.  Not often you can say you own a WR!  Also set my 5k PR at that event, as well as setting 3 other PR’s during the year
  • Ran 3769 miles (72 mpw), highest ever by a large margin and meeting my 3000 mile goal
  • Completing Foothills Trail on first attempt, in the second fastest time ever

The Bad:

  • DNF at Old Dominion 100.  Not much to say here, other than that I learned a lot about mental toughness and the importance of goals.  Part of that learning was reflected in my later MMTR 50 finish, which I wouldn’t have finished without OD100 experience.  I’m proud of toughing out that MMTR.
  • Didn’t reach my goal of finishing 100 mile race (see item above)

The Random:

  • I think I own 20 pairs of active running shoes
  • Pace per mile of races: fastest of 5:10, slowest of 14:09
  • Had a great time running new East Coast trail races and meeting new people.

Looking ahead to 2012:

Goals- run at least 3300 miles, set 2 PR’s, win 2 races, top 5 finish at competitive West Coast race

Race schedule:

Spring- Harbison 50k (oops- DNS due to sickness), Uwharrie 40, and Jones Gap 15k as lead up to Umstead 100, with goal of sub-15 hrs

After that?  Who knows- have 47 race possibilities on my schedule. Looking at Logan Peak, White River 50 or Waldo 100k in the summer, and Steamboat 100 or Georgia Jewel 100 or UROC 100k or Stump Jump 50k in the fall. Finishing with TNF 50EC Championship in San Fran at end of year.  I’m really debating between White River or Waldo- I’m planning to head west for one of them.  Both are known for being beautiful singletrack races.  Biggest difference is WR fits better in the schedule, but top 2 places at Waldo earns a spot at Western States.  Guess I’ll have to decide soon.