Monday, October 14, 2013

2013 Middle Half Marathon 1:45 Pacer report

The weeks before the Middle Half I debated on what I was going to do on race morning. I hadn’t registered for the race. Most of the guys I run with were registered, and the two brothers that I was most competitive with were registered as well.

Brother number one was hindered by orders from his doctor on the pace he could run. Brother number two was capable of running better than my half marathon PR pace. I needed to run 18 miles because I’m in marathon training mode. What to do? Didn’t want to go out to fast with brother number two. Didn’t want to pull brother number one out past the pace he was supposed to run. I always go out to fast in my races and fade in the final miles. Didn't want to stand by and spectate.

Actually had that thought process in my mind finishing up my run on a Saturday before the race. Saw Miles running on the greenway and turned around and discussed the possibilities of being a pacer for the Middle Half. Boom problem solved. I got in the race and hopefully helped some folks reach their goals.

This was my third time to pace a half marathon at this pace. I was more worried this time about the first mile. My ankle and feet are really cranky/stiff and slow to loosen up. I practiced pace all week, but always took at least a mile at around 9:00/10:00 pace to get going. I ran the course the week before as part of a 18 miler and the last few miles didn't go as wanted. Really didn't think a mile or so of warmup was a good idea. It'd be awful ugly for the pacer to crash in the last couple of miles.

Should have known race day magic would make all of that go away. Standing in the corral before the start I was really nervous. Had the GPS watch and a timex watch, just in case. Carried a gel in case I needed it in the final miles. I printed out a band with the locations of water stops. The pace sign wasn't a concern, it's actually lighter than the water I usually carry on long runs.

I'm not much of a cheer leader kind of guy. I explained my job was to keep everyone from going out to fast. Try and think of the race in three sections. The first four miles up to Oakland Mansion should feel really easy. Holding back the pace. The next four miles would be more work to stay on pace up until mile eight. About the point where we would make the left turn on to Rutherford Boulevard. Mile eight is where you see where you where, evaluate start a push to maintain or surge. Mile 9 you get to see who is ahead of you and try to reel them in.

1 7:58
2 7:57
3 7:59
4 7:58
5 8:01
6 7:57
7 8:00
8 8:00
9 7:57
10 7:57
11 8:01
12 8:01
13 7:58

Saw my wife and son number one on the rail coming down the track to the finish. She had to shout or I wouldn't have seen them. Clock said 1:45:08 when I went under it. Official chip time 1:45:04.

My wife made the comment about where all of the people I was pacing. I don't know. Big group all of the way up through mile 8. I remember looking back a couple of times and thinking that I was like a roadblock with the big group that was behind me. But, typically in the half marathon mile 8 is where everyone starts stringing out. Everyone gets really quiet the rest of the way home as well. Some pushed ahead and went quicker, some must have started dropping off. Did have several people thank me afterwards for helping them set their goals. That makes it all worthwhile. Great day for a race. The Tate family continues to put on a premier race year over year.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Elevation profile corrected from RunningAhead
Elevation profile from Garmin
Tried out the elevation correction feature on RunningAhead's workout import feature. Looks really good, about the way I'd picture the actual hill versus the noise from the Garmin software. Hit the lap button at the start of each repeat to see how long the hill was, .18 of a mile or 289.68 meters. Surprised that I actually went sub 8:00 up the hill. I do my hill repeats at a moderate effort. These were a solo effort. BQ1 ran over with me, but did short hill repeats at the top where the hill is the steepest. I did the "long" side, from telephone pole to telephone pole. Thought they were about a quarter mile. Probably is from the bottom to the top. Even when we have a group doing hill repeats, everyone is running at different effort levels. I do prefer the long repeats to the shorter ones. Four was plenty for my first time back in a couple of years.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Won the lottery

Told the wife that and she said, wow, how much? No, not that lottery the Monkey lottery.* Her response, "big deal". Oh well. Glad to know that I got back in. This will be the 3rd for me. This time I'll actually train. Plan on running hill repeats tomorrow. Though I'll have to go back and see how much hill work I did in the past.

It's not like I didn't train at all the last two times. The monkey course is just a beast. Usually when I'm able to double the 11.2 at around a 7:30 pace, I know I'm in pretty good shape. It's been awhile. This time I'll be chasing that elusive 3:30 time again. Easy enough only a 8:00 mile pace. The soul crushing part for me is hitting mile 19 and climbing up nine mile hill. That's the part I have to prepare for. Trent's probably right, you can't train for the monkey.

*Believe this is the second year for the lottery to enter the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon, in Percy Warner Park, Nashville, TN. Roughly 300 spots.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Random running

No heat acclimation for me this year. In years past, the evening speed workouts in the 90's would help. Nothing this year, except the normal early morning run. The mid 70's and humidity just combine to kick my ass. Decided this morning's workout I'd just try and hang on behind the guys when they started their 50 minutes worth of tempo pace. After all they did decide to run it on one of our hillier courses. Usually its in the fall and we have a little bit more of a base.

Forgot to start the GPS until around mile 2+. Oops. Strangely the map shows the distance and route? Felt pretty good, but didn't do the 50 minutes worth, probably only 5 miles worth before the last hill sucked most of the life out of me. Did have to try and keep the youngster in sight because he didn't know the course. He missed the last turn but the course is still about the same going either direction for the last couple of miles home.

Saw a few things over the last several days where I just have to shake my head. Tights in the summer, ok you've got fat/flabby legs, but into the big box store with shorts over the top for a guy? Or wearing your race bib into the local big box store? Fuel belts for your 2 mile run / walk on the greenway? I really can't say much I'm wearing my calf sleeves as I type this, if I had to run to the store, I'd leave them on, but at least throw on a track suit to cover them up. Not that I give a shit what anyone thinks, but the better half is clearly bothered by some of my choices in clothing.

Done with the Jack Daniels workouts I've been doing for the last 8 weeks. Yesterday's Fenton Payne or last week's Smyrna 5k were to be the test of fitness after that buildup. Didn't sigh up for either on. Endurance is pretty decent. Leg speed is in the crapper. I doubt a 20:00 5k is even doable at this time. Should I be lucky enough to get into the Flying Monkey Marathon I'll continue down the marathon training path. Otherwise, I'm kinda in limbo. I'll keep the base going, but other than that. Who knows.

 Lot's of little niggles lately, but the pain in my big toe after an easy run had me baffled.

A little web search gave me this link.

"Big toe pain is classic myofascial pain where the muscles get knots in them that refer pain elsewhere. The knots are called trigger points and have to be broken up in order for the pain to subside which you can easily do on yourself with trigger point massage."

"The trigger point causing big toe pain is in the lower back of the calf. The trigger point will be incredibly painful so massage it as much as you can and the pain should subside"

It worked, really need to buy one of those books.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mild summer

Really enjoying the mild summer temperatures, the rain not so much. Usually by this time of the year my yard would be scorched and only need mowing every other weekend. This summer it's out of control after a week. Does make for some great wildflowers on the long run. Everything is super green.

Sunday's long run was the second day with temps in the low 60's. Incredible for summer time in Middle Tennessee. Even the humidity was down, or maybe it was the slight breeze. Either way, great morning for a 12 mile run. BQ1 picked the route to avoid hills, no real climbs just a few rolls. Really hard to hold back the pace on the run. Did run a mile at around old marathon pace, just to catch the fast guys in the last mile home. 7:04 pace and it felt really comfortable. Think that's the pace I'll target going forward for T pace.

Runs like sunday, really make me think a sub 3:00 is still possible. Long shot, definitely but still a realistic goal. Short term goal is to attempt the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey lottery. Still would like to run a 3:30 on that course. If that doesn't pan out, maybe another sub 3:00 attempt at Rocket City.

No track work in the week ahead. Just 2 workouts at T pace. Tuesday will be 4 x 1 mile at T pace with 3 minute recovery. Friday will be 40 minutes of  adjusted T pace, the same workout I did last Friday. The pace continues to come down. Two weeks ago it was at 7:11 pace, this past week 7:06 pace. The big difference in this Jack Daniels stuff versus McMillan is the length of the workout. Jack never really seems to go past about 40 minutes of work, McMillan went up to about 1 hour and 15 minutes worth, in 10 minute increments. I"m still stuck in the past, everyone else is doing Pfitz or Hanson or the other latest marathon plan of the week. Old dog, new tricks and all.

Also need to start increasing the distance of the long runs. The past couple of weeks have been 12 milers. No need for water at that distance or gels or even a Succeed cap with the low temps. Did a couple of 14 milers in June. I needed the water and succeed in the heat. I'd like to get up to about 15 miles without the need for water or succeed, if the temperatures cooperate.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Time trial

Did a time trial this morning. Don't think I've ever done one in the past. Didn't really care to do one this time, but what the hell. Figured it would be a good check of the work in the last 6 weeks. Big plus would be someone to chase after. I had two rabbits in front to chase. The first youngster, no way in hell I could keep up with him. But, BQ2 damn sure thought I'd be able to hang with him, maybe even beat him.

It wasn't even close. I'd driven in on the road we would be doing the mile and a half time trail. Thought I'd be smart and pick out some land marks to break the distance up in to equal segments. My plan was to try and stay on his shoulder. That didn't last 20 yards. Next plan was to keep a manageable gap to try and close on the back stretch. That was an even bigger pipe dream. Ended up with a 9:57 for the distance and about 50 seconds behind BQ2. It wasn't even a race. Shit, I've run faster tempo runs than that. It equates out to a 47 VDOT. The same *&^%$ number I started with 6 weeks ago.

Thought I'd pretty much laid everything out there. Even wore the heart rate monitor to see what would happen. Strangely the numbers are almost exactly the same as the 5 mile worth of T pace work from last week. That was at an average pace of 7:12. Old age is taking its toll. Oh, I did decide short distances suck. I'm a marathon guy.