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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Race report

Unfortunately, no witty title.

Race weekend went poorly, and I have no one to blame but myself. Saturday was the Lake Mingo Trail Race, which I was running as part of the Kennekuk Road Runners Grand Slam series. We drove out to Danville Saturday morning, and started the race in slightly chilly weather, with overcast skies. My plan was to pace Steph for most/all of the race, which would hopefully keep me at a slightly slower pace than usual, helping me save energy for the North Shore Half Marathon. We started off at roughly a 12:00-12:30 pace, which was right where I wanted to be pace-wise. About halfway through the race, I unconsciously increased my pace and was feeling good, so I kept going at my increased pace.

(as you can tell, I ended up running so fast, it was impossible for a camera to capture me...)
I ended up finishing in 1:12:51.1 (10:15.6 pace - about 2 minutes/mile faster than I'd been planning, but was feeling good. Average heart rate of 164BPM), had a serving of Recoverite, and left shortly after the awards for a quick post-race massage.

I took the bus up to Chicago, had an ice bath and pasta dinner (not at the same time) , and went to sleep. Josh and I had to leave the next morning at about 5:30 to get to Highland Park for packet pickup. We got there in plenty of time, picked up our race numbers, and warmed up.

The fact that my race number was 911 was not a great sign.

My goal for North Shore was to finish in less than 1:45:59 (8:05 pace), so I could qualify for a preferred start corral at the Chicago Marathon. I started off feeling really good - a little sore in my hamstrings, but feeling very good, given that I'd run a 7.1 mile trail race on a difficult course the day before. As anyone who knows me might predict, I started North Shore way too fast (running at roughly 7:30), but at that point, my legs were feeling good. That only lasted for about 4.5 miles, and then things started falling apart. Pretty soon after that, I started having to take walk breaks. My legs were dead from that point on, and I spent the rest of the race alternating between walking and running.

Here's a shot of me in one of my few decent running moments.

I ended up finishing in 1:58:48 (9:01 pace, average heart rate of 176BPM, which is FREAKISH because my max HR is supposed to be 185 - for those of you doing heart rate zone-based training, I spent 78% of my time/1:33:13 between 90-100% of my max heart rate), finishing 753rd out of 1327 runners, 59th out of 78 in my age group, failing to qualify for preferred start at Chicago.
I got a quick post-race massage, and then Josh and I headed back to his place for fantastic (as usual) pancakes from Justyna. Another ice bath Sunday afternoon, a short nap, and several Manhattans @ Wildfire, and a cigar and Knob Creek at Sheffield's helped to relieve the pain a bit.

As I said, I've got no one/nothing to blame for my poor performance at North Shore beyond myself - if I'd been serious enough about qualifying for preferred start at Chicago, I would have dropped out of Lake Mingo (even though it would mean I wouldn't get a Grand Slam award this year from KRR). So, here's what I'm doing about it:
Being more realistic about my abilities
Getting better organized about quality training

At this point, I'm doing 2-3 races between now and Chicago:
Howl At The Moon (8 hour trail ultra, I've declared my goal distance as 35 miles. Justyna and Josh will most likely be handler(s) for me)
Buffalo Bill Stampede
(6 hour drafting allowed bicycle race near the Quad Cities, will be trying for > 100 miles)
KRR Wild Wild Wilderness (7.6 mile race, my plan is to camp out the night before, and run 2 additional slow loops before the race, then run the race slow as one of my long training runs)

I've got my training plan for Chicago pretty much finalized. I'm taking this week off, will do some running and biking next week, then start training for Chicago.


Full Metal Lunchbox said...

The Shea I know *never* does anything half-ass.  I suppose that is not always ideal.  But for what it's worth you did finish the half marathon faster than a lot of good runners.  (You walked part of the way and still managed under 2 hours.)

Even in your weaker moments, you still amaze me.

5:05 AM  

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