Monday, September 22, 2008

3.1 + 10 - 2

It was a solid last weekend of "hard" training as I kept up the intensity a bit during taper for October 5th's marathon. Saturday I headed over to St. Anne's Catholic church, just a few blocks away and right off my regular running route. My grandparents attend there, and Grandpa had given me a registration form for the race a few weeks ago. The race route took me through familiar neighborhoods just behind my house, and being so close by, felt like a fun thing to sign up for and tune up some speed work once more before the marathon.

It's one of those great, tiny 5k walk/runs, with maybe 60 or so participants, with kids bopping around in race t-shirts and toddlers in strollers. We all lined up behind a marker in the church parking lot, and when the gun went off 4 of us jumped right away to the front. There was a younger dude, maybe in college and clearly a runner, who was joined by a guy maybe 10 years older than me or so. They were just behind a younger kid in big chunky shoes and big loose basketball shorts with a cotton t-shirt. I was behind the 3 of them, sure that the kid in the floppy basketball shorts would come back at some point. I tried to just run hard, using the "race" only as motivation to keep a hard pace, always pursuing that elusive sub-7:00/mile over 3.1 miles.

The first mile, which ultimately takes us on a street just behind my house, was pretty much all uphill, with 2 small especially short but intense climbs. By the end of that first mile I was just shy of 7 minutes, right on pace. The 3 leaders had opened up on me, including the goofball in baggy shorts, and I figured by mile 2 he'd probably come back. I was wrong, though - by the end of mile 2, where I was still right around my 7:00/mile goal, he'd fallen behind the other two, but collectively the 3 had continued to open up on me and I knew I wasn't going to catch them on my speed alone. I started to fatigue pretty hard in mile 3, no doubt thanks to charging up that hilly first mile and my complete lack of strategy when it comes to 5k - I basically just run hard until I fall down. I was kind of slogging my way up a final tough little hill when I saw its crest and realized that's where the finish line was - in my mind I still had several more blocks. A last push and I cross in 4th place overall with a pace of 7:11/mile. Still chasing that sub-7, but it was a tough workout, and was just what I was looking for for the day's run.

I was waiting around a bit afterwards as my grandparents had planned to come to the finish line, when a woman approached and asked, "Are you xt4?" Turns out she's G, Robert's wife and fellow triathlete. Robert's rocking IMWI next year, joining me and Brazo in the hometown constituency. Represent!

Anyway, G and I had a lovely chat about our faire little burg, about tornados, about running injuries and crazy, crazy Ironman. Hopefully she and Robert can join the JLT next time we all get together!

My grandparents arrived just as the awards presentation began, and I hadn't considered that there was a "youth" division (the winner of which handed my ass to me a full two minutes before I crossed the finish line - ah, to be young and fast...or even old and fast. There were no age groups or anything in this race, just top 3 men, top 3 women, and top 3 youth. I ended up taking 3rd place in the men's division - awesome!

And here's my Grandma and me celebrating the big finish.

Sunday, then, I had 10 miles on tap, abbreviated from my scheduled 13 to accommodate the previous day's 5k. Because I tend to operate in terms of balance and equilibrium, I used this last long run of the season to revisit my early season's half-marathon training route, which I haven't used since May, switching to a different route for my Half IM and marathon training. It was good to hit the old mile markers, and bittersweet, as always, to note that leaves were just budding on trees when I last ran by some of them, where now some are already changing colors. My ankle started to become an issue by about mile 6 or so, and I decided by mile 7 to shortcut home and make it an 8 mile total run - not the distance I wanted, but my ankle was hurting enough to change my stride and slow me down, and at this point I figured it was better to forgo 2 more miles that would be junk than risk further aggravation. I finished up with an easy 8:57/mi pace. With the right precautions in place (notice the sweet brace on my right ankle in the picture above...) I've had several pretty consistent weeks of solid training, where the ankle has been "present but not painful", but two of my last 3 workouts have left me limping (though it felt great at the 5k, so go figure). I stretched and iced when I got home, but it was pretty sore. I'll evaluate it pretty closely this week and abbreviate workouts if I need to to continue to feel strong - nothing more important now than just arriving to the starting gun as healthy as I can be on October 5th.

So - that was the weekend of me. How was yours?


KodaFit said...

Congrats on the 3rd place! I have pretty much the same strategy on 5k's - the run till I drop approach... It gets the job done, but I'm sure there's something better. Let me know if you find it!

I'm in mid taper with an October 4th marathon. I've found I've become paranoid though. I left home for a run last night, only to return a minute later for my ITB strap. A minute into attempt 2, I returned and grabbed the shin sleeves as well. Feeling like a walking ad for running injury products, I still had a great training run - a little unorthodox, but still great.

Hope the next week and a bit go well for you - and the ankle holds out!

R. Jeffrey Davis said...

That's a great story about the 5K. Those young punks drive me nuts (my 2 sons fit in that category). I had a great weekend of riding capped off by a reduced 8 mile run (from the scheduled 10)

Erin said...

Yeah, you! Great work, and very cute grandma.

Now, bring on the mary! Can't wait to see how it're totally ready.

Team Brazo said...

Great job -- 5k's for me are not good for my body. It is that ALL out full speed run that doesn't seem to end. I ran a 5k last year after oldest-mini's x-country race in Stoughton and had a blast. But my hamstrings were not in good shape for awhile.

Alili said...

Hardware! Nice job out there. this weekend I chased down a 70 y/o racewalker and got whipped by a 76 y/o...and I'm sure some kid in baggy shorts beat me too. ;)

Bring on the marathon-you are SO ready.

M said...

How great!!! I love the pic with you and your GM!

Mommymeepa said...

Cute pic of you and Grandma. Great race. How's the ankle?

Take care,

richvans said...

Hey XT - do you know your bib number for TCM? I'm hoping to be near mile 23 cheering you on around 3:30 after the start.