Monday, October 31, 2011

6 weeks

Did the 3rd 20 miler in the buildup for Rocket City on Sunday. Well, at least it was supposed to be 20 miles. G and I met a Lascassas Baptist Church at 5:30 and ran a combination of routes we'd done in the past, but in reverse. Only did them in reverse because I needed 6 miles worth of fast finish at marathon pace. This route put the climb up the hill on Oregon in the early miles instead of in the last six miles.

This was G's first 20 miler and the first time he's trained to run a marathon. He's beat me at every distance, except for the marathon. I expect that to fall as well, but hopefully not in his first one. Though his brother, BQ1 showed they are both running machines.

Great morning for a long run, about 32 degrees and no wind. Really like this time of year with the leaves changing and the sunrise. Awesome stuff. We both took it pretty easy most of the way. My plan was to start the marathon pace push at mile 14. G decided to go as well, but of course as soon as it was time to go, another hill. Thankfully, it was a short one and we were able to maintain a 6:48 pace. We held pretty evenly for the next 3 miles where G said he was going to back off. He decided to go one more mile with me.

I ended caving in the last half mile and only got 19.5 miles with 5.5 miles worth of marathon pace. I started to cramp up and shut it down. G, soldiered on and got his 20 miles. Pretty impressive, first 20 miler and 4 miles worth of fast finish. He was pulling me along the entire morning and especially in the marathon pace push.

Fat Ass 50k

Start time: 8 am, Tuesday January 1, 2013. What the hell, I'll be back out. 

Location: General Bragg HQ's trailhead,1540 W. College St., Murfreesboro, TN, 37129

This is an unofficial Fat Ass run so there is no entry fee, no awards, and no wimps. There is some aid and some post event refreshments. It's an out and back course so you can do any distance you want.

I'll provide water,  and gatorade (General Bragg HQ). Please bring something to share as well.

The course starts at the General Bragg HQ on the Stones River Greenway and goes out to Stones River Battlefield, around the battlefield and back to the greenway and on to Cannonsburg and then back to General Bragg's HQ for one loop. One mile to the battlefield, a two mile loop and the one mile return to the pavilion at Bragg. From there, a six mile out-and-back to Cannonsburgh. Each loop is around 10 miles and only minor elevation changes, no hills. Bathrooms at the battlefield, the start and at Cannonsburgh. The 50k distance is 3 loops. The pavillion at General Braggs HQ's serves as the starting and ending point, as well as the aid station.

The inaugural run.

Year 2.

Year 3.

Year 4.

Year 5

Year 6

Battle of Stones River Anniversary, December 25, 2011.

Battle of Stones River, from Wikipedia.

Jan. 1, 1863 The armies spend the day reorganizing and caring for the wounded.

150th Anniversary Events

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Yasso 800's. I think most marathoners have at least heard of them. The marathon program I'm using now and for my PR effort has them scheduled about 7 weeks out. Last time I ran them, it was the confidence boost I needed to attempt a 3:05, when I had been training towards a 3:10. (actually they had me secretly thinking I could pull off a sub 3:00). I've also been injured pushing to hard several years ago.

This mornings effort sucked. Really almost expected it. I'd been wondering how in the world I was going to run 8-10, 3:00 800's when I was having trouble running 60 seconds at 6:00 pace. Warmed up for a mile with G in the misty/drizzle. The temperature was 45 degrees and a pretty strong wind. Ran 4 repeats and didn't hit a single one on target.Closest was about 4 seconds off.

Changed directions on the track and increased the recovery a little bit. I'd been taking a 400 meter recovery at a slow jog. This time I walked for a 100 meters and then slogged the remaining 300 meters. I was startled by another runner on the track and switched directions so we'd both be running the same way. I hit the start line about 10 yards behind this runner and started out for rep number 6. He was moving quicker than me, but stopped at 200 meters. I kept going and had my fastest rep of the day, 3:01. Damn. Just where I should have been all along.

Guess, I need someone pulling me on the track. That, plus it felt like the wind was blowing in my face for 300 meters of each of the laps. Plus, the cooler weather had me feeling aches and twinges I haven't had in awhile. I ran one more rep, but it was another slow one and called it a day.

The running streak has me feeling strong. I just don't seem to have any 5k speed. That's okay by me, don't really need it for the marathon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

what to do

One of the bad dreams that keep race directors awake happened to the Middle Half on Saturday. Never mind that this was the 5th year for this race. Awesome technical long sleeve shirt to those runners who have run all 5 years. How many races do that? This race has been a first class event from the very first year. Somehow, a interesection was blocked wrong. Most of the field ran an extra half mile.

The local running forum board started the "discussion" within hours of the finish. This the take I find spot on:

Edward. "Yes, the course was long due to an error in parking a police car. Life happens. Yes, I am certain that the race director is beside herself. 2,250 racers really wanted a certified course to actually be followed by those to whom they rely on being directed. We can anticipate a better-followed directive next year. Any runner who has raced more than once understands that "things" happen. Runners deal with those things. Clearly, paying for an accurate course is part of the entry fee, especially at a much-anticipated event like the Middle Half. So, is running through the 'Boro with police support, water support, crowd support (especially the little ones who did not grow tired of being high and low-fived).

Merely a suggestion: consider that we now have a new PR for 13.6 miles run on a beautiful October morning, amidst a multitude of happy campers.
Or, you could be miserable like me and blame the extra length on why I couldn't stay with, catch up to, or even see, runners who had a much better day dealing with the extra length than I did. Not that I am bitter. As my father would have said, quit your bitching, tie your shoes, go run and just get over it. Oh, and wear this year's shirt, because NO ONE is going to miss seeing you in that. lol 364 days to go to Middle Half #6 (leap year, don't ya know)"

Most runners eventually think along similar lines. I did see some runners visibly upset when they finished. I was wondering the same thing for the first few runners coming in a few minutes later than I expected. Hopefully most will be glad for great weather and accept the time for the unique distance.

About the only thing they can do at this point is damage control. They've acknowledged the error on the website. It would be nice to have a new column on the final result to give an "equivilant" half marathon time. That's the math most of the runners are doing in their head. Non-runners don't get that part.

In hindsight, I don't really see how it could have come out differently. A race of this size has the course being the responsibililty of the local police. Even though the lead vehicle,a police car, may have wondered why they weren't following the course. They wouldn't have questioned it because it was a closed course. What are they going to do? Stop the race and question the officer blocking that intersection? Hey dude/dudette you should be blocking east/west traffic not north/south.

I could see where the course should be patrolled before the start to make sure everyone is in place and appriopriate intersections are blocked. Then again, lots of the cross roads don't get blocked until right before the start.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Music City Half Marathon

Picture from this thread on the Nashville Striders board.

Ended up going to the Music City Half Marathon on Sunday morning. The W brothers drove, picking up Dr P and me on the way out of Murfreesboro. BQ1's hip was still bothering him. so I used his bib and he spectated. Big crowd at around 500 or so. Parking was a breeze, the R lot with the finish line was within 100 meters of everything. Plenty of parking, plenty of porta potties and beer.

Beer was the deciding factor for this race from the beginning. I was really on the fence about the race because I just wanted a long run, and didn't want to race. The W brothers, though have an eye for the local races that have beer. Not that many in middle Tennessee. The Zoo run 5k, Octoberfest 5k, The Flying Monkey Marathon and this race are the only one's I can name. Sure, other races may have beer, but it's domestic swill, not local micro brews. Great to finish a race and enjoy a Yazoo, Blackstone or fine German beer, instead of some watered down American attempt at beer.

I did a easy 4 mile run before the start, trying to time it within about 10 minutes. Plan was for 18-20 miles easy. Lined up towards the back, so I wouldn't be tempted to try and run fast. Still, the first mile was under 8:00 and I was holding back. Took almost 2 miles to get everyone scattered out pace wise. I settled into a pace of about 7:50 and planned to hold that till the end.

Seems like the half marathon crowd is different, or maybe it was just me. No one really seemed to be racing. It was all fun in the sun, lets have a good time. I was ok with that, that was my plan. Just struck me as odd that most people didn't seem to be racing. At least that was my thoughts until we hit mile 5. Then I was thinking the leaders should be coming back our way. That thought made me pick up the pace.

Seemed like I was holding back until I saw the leader. He was all by himself. 2nd place wasn't even close behind. Dr P was 5th. All of this got me down to a 7:10 pace and I forced myself to slow down. Only slowed to 7:40 or so. Once I got close to a runner I'd reel them in and then back the pace back down again. I still needed to got 20 miles and didn't want to fade in the end. Plus, I didn't want to take any gel or gu. I carried some just in case, but didn't plan on using them.

I continued passing runners around the lollipop section of the course at mile 6. It was really tough to keep from racing once the course doubled back on itself. Ended up just making a game of passing runners and trying not to go to hard. Last 4 miles were 6:58, 6:47, 6:42, and 6:43. Nice way to do a long run and the beer and sunshine at the end made it all worthwhile.