Saturday, June 29, 2013

2013 Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon

2013 Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon
Training For New River Trail 50k: Weeks 1-3

None. 2013 is the inaugural running of this event.

The first 3 weeks of training for the NRT 50k has consisted mostly of slower paces while I get my body readjusted to longer distance running. I'm running 3 times a week and ending every 3rd week of training with a 1/2 marathon or, in the case of Iron Mountain, a 16 miler. 










   High concentration of miles in the 8 to 11 min/mile range over the past 3 weeks. Very few of the miles in the 7 min/mile range were ran consecutively, so I was not expecting to run as many sub 8's as I did at todays race.

The Course
This is a non-technical, fine crushed gravel trail. There is slight elevation changes, but they are gradual and almost impossible to differentiate from a flat surface while running. I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a half marathon PR due to the relative flatness of the course.
The Race

This event has 3 distances racing simultaneously. A 1/2 marathon, a 10k, and a 1 mile. It is impossible to know who is doing what distance, but I knew after the first mile or so that I had 6 in front of me. Just before I reached the 10k turn around 4 of the ones in front of me came running back towards me. This meant I was 3rd over all in the half. I held 3rd for the first 8 or 9 miles, but eventually had to drop my pace from the mid to high 7's down to a low to mid 8. Shortly after dropping my pace I got passed by 2 and held 5th for the remainder of the race. I also managed a 1st place for my age group, but I acknowledge that running a 1h45m half marathon is not particularly fast for a flat non technical trail, so it was just a fluke that some faster runners didn't show up and take the podium spots.
Bling! Crossing over the Jackson River on I-64 with me pillaged booty!

Garmin Data: HERE
Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon
2013-time: 1:44:53.04, Pace: 8:00, Place 5/34 overall, 1/3 in my age group, 5/17 among men

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

NRT 50k Training Plan

NRT 50k Training Plan

     The New River Trail 50k is going to be my first "official" timed 50k race. I've worked up a training schedule that involves running a 1/2 marathon as a warm up race every 3rd week starting on June 29th with the inaugural Jackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon and ending on Oct 12 with the NRT50k. The exception will be Aug 31st with the Iron Mountain 16 Miler in lieu of a Half Marathon.

     Rather than follow a strict schedule, I'm gonna train for this one more by "feel". Basically I'll have a general intention of running a weekly 8 miler for intervals, a 12 miler at tempo, and alternating my weekend long run every 3rd week between a race, a 20 miler, and a 26 or 30 miler. I'm not even going to begin making goals for any of the warm up races or the NRT 50k itself. As always I will give it what I got on race day and be happy to finish each event knowing that I kept myself active.

     Worth mentioning is that the NRT 50k is a USATF certified course with official timing at the 26.2 mile mark that can be used for Boston Qualifying. I am not prepared to say at this time that I'm looking to BQ. Im just going to go through the motions with my training plan and whatever happens on race day will be acceptable as a reflection of the effectiveness of my training. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

2013 Salem Sprint Triathlon

2013 Salem Sprint Triathlon
2013 Time 01:03:10 (S-7:35, T1-1:52, B-27:40, T2-1:29, R-24:36), Place-39/106 Men,  7/18 Men 40-44
     Pool swim triathlons have a strong appeal to me. I've never taken the time to get comfortable in the open water, but I have easy access to a pool, so pool swim tri's offer me a chance to incorporate my cross training disciplines into a competitive environment without having to leave my comfort zone by venturing into the open water.

     That said, I'm no big fan of the "comfort zone", but I know where I'm at right now too. Mentally I just don't have the drive that propelled me to some of my fastest times and statistics. All I want out of my recreational life is to simply be active, spend plenty of time outdoors, and maintain a few health stats such as body weight, body fat %, and blood pressure. I seem to be doing a good job of this so far by running longer with less intensity, taking more rest days and focusing my cross training on weight training for endurance.

     Still, even knowing that I'm not as competitive as I was from 2011-mid 2012 doesn't subtract at all from the satisfaction of participating in racing events. I actually find it quite interesting watching my race stats change from year to year as a reflection of where I'm at mentally and what kind of training I'm doing.

     Last year heading into the Salem Sprint Tri I was doing regular brick workouts and still getting plenty of quality pool time. This year has seen very little time on the bike or in the pool and my running has been mostly long, slow distance. My expectation for this years Salem Sprint Tri was adjusted accordingly.

     Regardless of where my training is, when race day rolls around I'm giving it all I got. Anything less would render the results less meaningful. 

     The Swim
     The 300yd pool swim consisted of a 6 lap snake swim in a 25yd pool. With starts being 10 sec. apart the potential for congestion was significant and I saw plenty of it. The important thing was that I adjusted to the congestion without letting it effect the quality of the experience. I passed 3 or 4 people in the first 150 yds and eventually was passed by 3 or 4 presumably different people in the last 150 yds. By the 4th lap I was ready to take a break at the end of a pool lane and get some oxygen, but I fought through it and settled on just abandoning the flip turns in favor of pushing off the wall with my head above the water to just get an extra breath or two. I ended up with a 7:35, which is 42 sec slower than last year. Not bad at all considering I hadn't even been in a pool for over 4 weeks!

 Felt slow, but kept it under 2 minutes, so I'm not disappointed.
The Bike
     They call it a 15k, but it seems to be 9/10ths of a mile short. The first few miles of the course have a few turns where volunteers are critical and they did a good job of flagging us in the right direction. I passed more people than I can remember, but it seems like it was at least 10. My calves were feeling that happy burn by mile 3 and I knew I was trashing myself for the run, but I was just trying to get the most out of THIS moment, so I kept pushing. Time was actually faster than last year by 12 seconds, which is astounding to me since I hadn't been on a bike in 2 weeks. I'm going to credit it to the high intensity elliptical work I've been doing lately.

Seemed to flow smoothly and was within a few seconds of last year.
The Run
     I was trashed from the bike and with no brick training lately I just had to laugh at myself. It wasn't miserable like at Angels a few weeks ago, it was just sub par. I wasn't motivated to pass anyone except for the people who were seriously burning out. With about a mile to go I found myself behind a young kid (10-ish) who was racing HARD with long strides, but still moving at my burned out jogging pace. I could tell by the way he kept trying to pull away from me that he wanted to hold his spot and I was right at my oxygen capacity to let him keep it, but I still had enough reserves to keep an option to pass on the table. When the finish line came into sight he turned on some juice and I held back for a few seconds then turned on some juice myself. I caught up to him, but he was working hard for the spot and I wasn't invested in the effort anyway, so I slowed down to make sure he crossed the finish line first. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
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     Finishing with a 1:03:10 was an awesome surprise. Giving up less than 3 minutes from last year, when my training was much more focused towards a better finish, is incredibly satisfying. I still look forward to breaking an hour on this course one year, but I'll be back in 2014 regardless of the shape I'm in as long as they are holding the event.