Fitness Update: 1st place (of a kind …)

This week was the build-up to the Sham Rock and Run on Sunday.

I started with 5K run on Monday along the streets around my house. I got a 6.5 mph pace, which is the base I felt I needed for the pace I wanted — the pace I want to make for the half-marathon. As mentioned in my previous post, I ran at a pace that kept my lungs working without causing too much of a hacking. By this point I had cleared most of the cold, but still had a lot of the phlegm and mucus. It is actually looser than I have ever had so much of it before.

From there I ran 1 mile on a treadmill on at the wellness center. It was a cardio endurance test for a 4 week rev up the cardio program they have going. I set the treadmill for an 8.5 mph pace, and ended up running the mile in 7 minutes 15 seconds at a 8.28 mph pace.

On Thursday I went up to the course for the 10K and ran a practice 5K on it (the race Sunday was a 5K/10K combo, with the 10K a double loop of the route) to see how the course felt with its rolling hills. It was actually gentle enough that I hardly noticed any of the grades. I ran it it 60-degree weather at a 6.6 mph pace. The temperature dropped through the 50s while I was running it, and the wind probably added a 10 degree chill at least.

The rest of the week was various cycling and other light cross-training episodes, to build my energy up for Sunday’s race.

Sunday was the time change, so the 8 a.m. race start was actually 7 a.m. sun time, with the sun just coming up over the horizon as the race started. The course for the Sham Rock and Run was on N Eastern St. between 108th and 96th streets. The start was by KellyBrook Elementary School on 106th, and then went up and down Eastern. The 10K did the route twice.

As usual, I started a bit further back in the pack than I should have, so was passing quite a few people for the first stretch, trying to find my tempo. Once I found it I made a slow progression of passing people, until I found about 4 different people, at various times, that I ended up using as pacing people, until they started to drop back and I started to pull forward.

The first of those was a guy I had met at the 1 Mile PR, and again at the 5K Cupid Run. When I came up on him and started pacing with him, he said he thought I would be ahead of him — some how I impressed him with my speed at the mile. I mentioned I had started a little too far back. But we had a nice conversation.

I should mention that I had nice conversations with each of the pacing groups. My pace always was good enough to allow me to talk, with some catching of breaths, so I was obviously not overpaced.

I  might have used the cold as an excuse to not push as hard as I could, but I also didn’t want to over pace and run beyond myself.

The last person I paced with had a device that told him the pace and time and distance. He mentioned that we were running at an 8:30 minutes per mile pace. I ran with him about a mile before he stopped to walk at mile 4.

For the last mile I saw a certain set of people in front of me, and made a goal to try to pass 6 of them. I didn’t pass that specific 6, but I did pass 2 of them and 7 other people.

When I came to the final turn, the volunteers on the corner said “it’s all downhill, sprint from here” to which I replied “I only have one speed,” which wasn’t quite true, as I started lengthening my stride and did speed up the pace slightly.  I pushed even more when I saw the clock at the finish line said 53:30 — made me realize I could make it under the 54 minutes that I had set for myself as a quasi-goal.

But that clock was off somehow. Because when I got to the table where they printed my results for me, it said gun time was 52:50.56 — a whole minute faster, and my chip time was 52:32.30.  So it took me 18 seconds from when the horn blew to get across the starting line.

My other stats (for the 10K finishers) was 49th place overall, 31st male, and 1st in my age bracket (age bracket was males 50-54). That first place is the first mentioned in this post’s subject line. It earned me a $25 gift certificate to the Rock and Run Pub and Brewery. So now I’ll have to go over there to eat sometime. Probably make it a date with this beautiful redhead that I know …. 😉

So that is my narrative for the build-up to the race today.

To break the stats down a bit, that pace of 8:30 was pretty accurate. The official pace for my time was 8:31. It also made my average speed 7.08 mph. I’m hoping to set a 6.55 mph pace for the half marathon, to come in at 2 hours. But if I could keep the 7.08 for a half, that would be a 1 hour 51 minutes time.  So perhaps I should be considering working toward something better than 2 hours for the half-marathon. At least I know that 2 hours is a reasonable goal.

The other observation is that today’s weather was 27 degrees, with almost no wind. That temperature, with the weak sun on us, was almost as ideal as the 50 degree weather I usually consider good. We will see how warm April 23 is to see how warmer weather (perhaps) affects the running.

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