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Posts Tagged ‘Race Report’

  So, this race report is a little different from it has been for the Pig the last two years.  Why?  Well, it’s a report on the half marathon.  After the ankle injury last year, I’m actually lucky to be able to run the half with my team.

  Going into the race yesterday, I was hoping to hit a PR on under 20 miles a week.  But, once I saw the weather, I knew that there was no reason to even push for it.  Read below to find out more.

  On Sunday, May 2nd, my team and I reported to our team meeting place in downtown Cincinnati.  Thanks to Dave Neyer for hosting us at his company’s location.  It’s always nice to have an indoor location with restrooms, etc.  Especially yesterday.  The weather was miserable for a marathon.  Rain, lightening, and hot.  When I say hot, I mean it.  It was 65 F at 5 AM.  There were also thunderstorms in the area.  It looked like it was going to be a fun day.

  We all met up there, Catie and Ali (my two primary running partners over the season), Jamie W., Jamie I., Ralph, Victoria, Trish, Scott, Jeff, and of course Wayne.  Unfortunately, Wayne injured his hamstring earlier in the season so he didn’t run with us this year.  I know it absolutely killed him not to run, but you can’t run a marathon with a torn hammy. 

  We all waited around, for our friends to show up.  We talked, worried about the weather, and joked around.  I made sure to help Ali and her husband Dave with the details (baggage, safety pins, and nip guards for Dave).  I also visited the mens room a good 5-6 times…just to be sure.  As we moved closer to the time we needed to leave for the start line, I noticed that Amye and Erin had not arrived yet.  Now, they are usually late, but not this late.  Turns out, they couldn’t find the building, but they did make it to the start.

  As we moved to the start line, I made sure to keep Jamie W., Catie, Jeff, Dave, and Ali with me.  I didn’t want them getting lost and running alone.  As it turns out, that’s exactly what Dave did and with great results.  We made it to the start with plenty of time.  I got my extra clothes, etc. onto my bus and waited for the start.  Jamie had to make a “quick” pit stop, which took forever with the lines.  It was raining the entire time.  While waiting it appears that there was a nearby lightning strike, which took out a transformer.  All of the street lights went out at once and we were plunged into near darkness.  Luckily, near by Paul Brown Stadium still had power.  Once that happened the sky really opened up into a downpour.  We moved toward the start line, each holding onto the other’s garbage bag poncho.

  We were trying to get to the 4:30 Pace group, as we thought starting with them would allow us to go out at a good pace, but not too fast.  We didn’t make it.  We were only able to make it to the 5:00 Pace group.  Oh well.  The gun sounded and, as usual, everyone pushed forward.  Well, about four steps…then stopped.  It took us almost 8 minutes to get across the start line.

  We took the first mile slowly.  It was difficult to go fast anyway, the street were packed with people.  Jeff had to retie his shoe twice, but it wasn’t a big deal.  We made it over the bridge into Kentucky without issue.  I looked for my friend Mo around mile 1.5, but didn’t see her.  We continued through Newport across into Covington and then back into Ohio.  Two bridges in the first 4 miles is no fun, but it’s better than during the last four miles!

  I could tell that Ali was excited.  I kept having to pull her back.  I was trying to control the pace so that she wouldn’t burn out too early.  I also kept having to slow Jamie down.  She appeared to be feeling good and the pace showed it.  Unfortunately, my Garmin got bumped at the quarter-mile mark and didn’t work from there out.  So, I kept asking Jamie for the pace.

  We stopped for water around mile 4.  We also almost lost Ali at that point.  It’s hard to keep track of five people  when you have 18k people running a race.  Luckily, we found her fairly quickly.  We proceeded down 7th Street in Cincinnati and proceeded to get pumped up by a great crowd.  By this point, the rain had stopped and I had removed my hat.  I was wet, but feeling really hot.  My body doesn’t like heat, so I figured I’d rather get wet.  At the end of 7th is the beginning of the climb.  Near the end, there was a music group playing I love Rock and Roll.  Catie and I got a little carried away with the music and the singing and opened up a 30 yard lead on Jamie, Jeff, and Ali.

  We decided to slow down a bit and wait for them.  The caught up within about a quarter-mile.  Then we start the hills.  The first hill is a long slow climb up past Channel 9 on Gilbert Avenue.  About half way up this hill I looked back to find Ali, Jamie, and Jeff.  I saw them walking about 500 feet behind us.  Neither Catie nor I talked about it, but we continued to run.  Sorry Ali, Jamie, and Jeff, but we felt good and it was too early to walk. 

  We continued up, past Channel 9, and turned right onto Eden Park drive.  This is where the real hills start, and has been a breaking point for me during my past Pig’s.  This year, for the first time, I made it up Eden, which is a short but steep hill, without stopping.  We continued past the first relay point and hit the 6.8 mile mark.  We’d made it there in 1:15.  Not bad considering the easy early pace.  We continued up the hills, past Krohn Conservatory, around my favorite part of the course.  There is an overlook that allows you to see all of Northern KY and most of downtown Cincinnati.  It’s a great view and a good place to see how far you’ve climbed. 

  We then continued up Victory Parkway and finished the hills just after mile 7.  The split for the half is around mile 8 and I really felt energized when we got to it.  In fact, Catie said something to the effect of “Alright, speedy, you’re pushing the pace.”  Of course I was, it was a down hill.  We continued on Martin Luther King, which is a rolling section of the course.  Working up the hills and then pushing the pace down them.  We followed MLK back to Gilbert and knew we were getting close to the big down hill.  We hit mile 10 at 1:55 clock time, which was about 1:48 actual time. 

  Catie had wanted to break 2:15 and I knew that so I really picked up the pace as we went down the hill on Gilbert.  It’s about .75 miles and a great place to pick up some time.  We were really flying.  I didn’t have my garmin, but I’m willing to bet we were doing an 8 minute mile flat, maybe even in the 7’s.  We continued down the hills at a brisk pace, did the out and back on Central Parkway and headed down Eggleston.  About half way down Eggleston, we saw another TFL runner.  I didn’t have any idea who it was from the back.  But, when we got next to her, I recognized her.  It was long-lost Erin.  Turns out they did make it to run.  Catie and I passed her pretty easily (have I mentioned we felt good) and continued toward the finish.  We had about half a mile to go and we knew it.  We made the turn onto Pete Rose Way, which is where I usually run out of gas.  Not today.  We hit the marathon 26 mile marker, meaning we had .2 to go.  Catie surged at that point and I worked really hard to reel here in.  We then hit the half marathon 13 mile marker and she surged again.  I couldn’t cover that one and let her go.

  We crossed the finish line at 2:15 and change.  Catie was about 10 seconds ahead of me.  Overall it was a good race.  We did the first 6.8 miles in 1:15 and change.  The second half we did in about 1:01.  Around a 12 or 13 minute negative split.  Now, I realize that most of the second half is down hill, but I don’t care. 

  The one thing is does tell me is that I could have gone faster in the first half.  If the weather had been better and cooler, I may have been able to PR.  Think of that, a half marathon PR on under 20 miles per week.  That would have been nice.

  I think that the end of this race tells me one thing.  I like the distance races and I think I’m built for them more than the shorter (say 5k) races.  I really felt strong at the end and thing with proper training I could easily break 2 hours.  My goal for the summer is to start working on improving my speed and endurance.  I’d really like to break 2 hours this fall and then have a good marathon next year.  I’m tired of working to “just finish.”

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  Today, I ran my first race since the famous walnut incident.  The 33rd annual Cincinnati Heart Mini-Marathon, a 15k race.  My goal was to run a 1:28:30, which is a 9:30 pace.  I felt that I could do that, assuming the weather cooperated. 

  The weather this morning was, however, questionable.  The report showed about 48 degrees with rain and wind.  I bounced back and forth between short and my tights.  I was really only concerned about the rain.  I went with the shorts, but also took my rain jacket.  I figured that would keep my core warm enough and the rain off of me.

  The race started at 8:00 AM on the nose.  I was running with my friends Victoria and Traci, and there were others around all the time as well.  It took us about 5 minutes to cross the start line as the crowd was pretty large.  Now, if you’ve not run the race, it’s a rolling course with a few good size hills.  The first mile is about 50%/50%, with the middle half mile being all up hill.  As it turns out, we were way to fast for the first mile: 8:48.  Oh well, nothing I can do about that now.

  Laps two, three, and four went by fairly quickly.  I did, however, have to carry my jacket and hat.  It was still warm with no rain, only some wind gusts in our face.  Miles two, three and four were 9:33, 9:25, and 9:29.  Dead on pace.

  Right before turn around we were looking for our coach, Wayne.  Wayne, as my two loyal readers will know, is a machine.  He’s 70 and has never run over a 3:59:59 for a marathon.  Unfortunately, he’s been having some ankle tendonitis issues.  Today, he was worried about his hamstring, and with good reason evidently.  We saw Wayne at about mile 4.25, walking on the right hand side.  We checked in on him and he said “Hamstring…BAD!!!”  Wayne is a true warrior so I know that it was killing him to walk.  But, I also knew that he’d finish the race. 

  The turn for the heart mini is at the bottom of a hill.  When you turn, you go up a fairly steep hill for about 200 yards.  Then, it’s another half mile slow climb.  That was a difficult climb, as I was getting tired and found carrying my jacket a pain in the ass.  Mile five and six were, again, right in line 9:35 and 9:34.  Then the hard part… Torrance.

  Torrance is the part of the course that nobody likes.  It’s about a 100 foot climb in one tenth of a mile.  Hard…and I’m ok with saying that I walked about half of it.  I lost Traci and Victoria at that point.  Luckily, Traci had grabbed my jacket out of my hand and tied it around her waist for me.  Thanks again Traci.  I did run the last part of that hill and then recovered coming back down.  Mile 6 was still good: 9:34. Unfortunately, that walking hurt my time in mile 7: 10:23 for the mile.  But, really not that bad.

  By the 10k mark I was feeling tired.  I also had lost my pacer in Victoria and Traci.  So, now it was all about mental toughness.  So, that’s what I focused on.  Staying tough and keeping the pace.  Mile 8 is another slow climb and I had to stay focused.  I did well in mile 8: 9:42. 

  Then came the killer: the last hill up the bridge back into downtown.  It’s actually two hills with a small down hill in the middle.  The first hill is about 40 feet in under two tenths of a mile.  The second is 55 feet in one tenth.  I walked the first and when I started the second, I talked a lady walking next to me into running it.  I needed the motivation and so did she, I hope.  The pace took another hit on mile 9: 10:32.

  At the top of the hill you get a great downhill.  About 65 feet over a quarter mile.  That was a nice recovery and I actually picked up the pace for that section.  Then the last three tenths are a slight up hill.  It doesn’t look bad but at the end of a race, it was.  I finished the last three tenths in 3:40, which is an 8:32 pace.  Not bad considering I was just about done.

  My final time: 1:30:45, which is a 9:46 pace.  I missed my goal time by 3:15.  But, I broke my previous PR in the 15k by 2:08.  I’ll take that considering 6 months ago my doctor didn’t know if I’d ever run again.  Looking forward to the Pig in May.

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  Today, 10/12/2008, was the 2008 Dayton River Corridor Classic.  We’ve been training since sometime in July.  My longest run was a 13 miler, which I did in a little over 2:14:00.  My goal this year was to PR in the half marathon, which would be better than a 2:06:39, a 9:39 average pace.

  I had my plan set to hit my PR.  I was going to start out slow, in the 10:00 – 10:30 range for the first couple of miles.  Then pick up the pace to my goal of about a 9:40 or so.  I was running with Amye, Erin, Victoria, Ralph, and Ed.  The gun went off at 9 AM sharp.  We started off in one big group, but we split very quickly.  Ralph, Ed, and Victoria were in front, while Amye, Erin, and I stayed a little more conservative.  I was very concerned about the weather, as the forecast was for a 83 F high.  The start was cool enough, but I didn’t want to kill myself. 

  I was concerned for Victoria, as she was running with Ralph.  Amye, Erin, and I did the first mile in 9:43.25.  Ralph, Ed, and Victoria were at least 20 seconds ahead of us at the first mile.  I know Victoria and Ralph, and I know that she can’t stay with him.  I can’t either, it’s no knock on her, he’s just fast.  Part of me wanted to be up running with them, but I stuck to my plan. 

  The first few miles were uneventful, other than a wrong turn on the course.  We ended up going through a park, across some grass, and then over a downed fence.  As it turns out, it added about a quarter of a mile to the course, and it was very weird. 

  We continued on the correct course, which is basically a paved bike trail.  At about mile 5, I was zoned out, and a little ahead of Amye and Erin.  I figured as long as I could hear them, I was close enough.  Well, by them I realized I couldn’t hear them, I was well ahead.  I have no idea how far, but I know it was a good distance.  I really felt like I was in a great rhythm.  I was clicking off the miles pretty good.  Mile 1-6 were: 9:43, 9:43, 9:37, 9:57, 9:34, 9:18.  I decided at this point, it was time to keep my “move” going and to PR.  I hit 6 miles at about 58:00 even. 

  At this point, I started to pick off people.  I would set my sights on a person ahead of me, and reel them in.  I felt good, and just kept moving.  I hit every water stop, taking gatorade.  At mile 6 I did a salt capsule.  At about mile 6.75 I did my GU.

  At about mile 7, I saw Ralph and Victoria about a quarter mile ahead of me.  I decided to try to reel them in too.  By 7.5, I had caught them, as Victoria was starting to cramp on her left side.  I ran with her and Ralph for a little while, but she put her headset on and told us not to talk to her.  So, I left them behind. 

  I continue to pick people off as I could.  Mile 7-9 were: 9:30, 9:14, 9:33.  I kept looking for shade, but there was very little. I hit the only real hill at about mile 10, which was very little.  Not a big deal at all.  At mile 10, I had about 28 minute or so to hit my PR.  I decided to keep my pace as steady as I could, but not slow down.  At mile 11, I took some water but no gatorade.  I ended up dumping the water on my head, which really helped to push me onward.

  At about 11.5, I saw Ed ahead of me.  I told him “Come on Ed, pick it up, don’t let the guy with the chronic lung disease beat you.”  The two ladies in front on me looked at me like I was crazy.  When I reached Ed, he said that he was just feeling bad, cramping up, etc.  I ran with him for a little while, but ended up leaving him. 

  About 2-3 minutes later, I heard a “Hey, Ed, how’s it going?” behind me.  I thought, “Gee, that’s odd, who else would know Ed up here?”  Then, I saw Ralph next to me.  He said that Victoria started walking around mile 10, and told him to go ahead.  So, we ran the last 1.6 miles together. 

  When we hit mile 12, we had about 10:30 to go to break my PR.  I grabbed a cup of water, and dumped it down my back.  Then said “Let’s go!”  Off we went.  I pushed the pace, and Ralph stayed right with me.  That last 1.1 miles felt like about 3 or so.  It was hard.  We ended up running the last mile in 8:27, which is really fast for me.  In fact, at that point, I think it was all out. 

  My unofficial time: 2:05:17, for 13:29 miles.  There was a course error, so we were indeed about .2 long.  The are going to adjust times, but still a PR by 1:20 since last year.  I’m very happy with that considering the temperature and the way I ran the race.  I did have a negative split (1:03:19/1:01:53).  I think I ran a very good race.  I stuck to my game plan, I managed the heat well, and felt good the entire time.  I’m tired tonight, but that’s ok.

  Afterwards, I was worried about Victoria.  She ended up needing her rescue inhaler.  She was also acting a little weird.  I’m not sure if she was angry with me, that I beat her, angry with Ralph for leaving her, or just angry that she pooped out like last year.  I guess I’ll email her to find out.  I ended up driving home, because I was worried she was sick.  She seemed ok by the time we got to out meeting place. 

  Overall, I’m very happy about my performance.  My next race is the 2008 Run Like Hell for the CF Foundation.  Soon, it’s going to be time to start training for the marathons.

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