Sunday, May 17, 2009

Apple Blossom half marathon

I did a couple of things I never have done before: 1) Run a race without tapering for it, and 2) deciding the day before a race to run it.

I ran the Apple Blossom half marathon in Hastings this morning. It's run from the Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center and this year was the 29th running.

It was a beautiful day for a race. Early morning temps were in the upper 30's and race temps were still cool. Going into this one I decided to race it. I needed a benchmark to see how I'm doing and to help tune my training paces this summer. I didn't have a hard goal but I was hoping for a 1:45.

We were all bussed a mile or two north of the Carpenter Nature Center to a St. Croix Park. I used to camp there 25 years ago when Control Data Corporation owned it. It's nice that it's a public park now so everyone can use it.

There were three races starting simultaneously from different starting lines. 5K 'in front' in the left lane; Half-marathon behind the 5K'ers in the right lane, and 10K'ers about a mile behind. This year the race had chip timing for the first time. The only timing mat was at the finish so we all had the same start time synchronized to the gun.

I met my running partners Kristen and Karl there, put my extra clothes in a drop bag and a few minutes later we were off and running. This is a fairly hilly race so it's a good thing I like hills. I remembered to hit my lap timer for each mile. Here are my splits:

1 8:01
2 7:11
3 7:18
4 7:53
5 7:57
6 8:27
7 7:47
8 7:45
9 7:40
10 8:11
11 7:25
12 7:39
13 7:31
13.1 0:47 (0.1 miles at 7:45 pace)

I finished in 1:41:36 and had a not-too-high heart rate average of 162.

The variation in my splits is mostly due to hills. On a flat course I'm sure they would be more even. I estimated the midpoint time and was happy to get negative-splits 51:07/50:29 or (7:48/7:43) 1st/2nd half paces.

I didn't really feel good until mile 8 and then I felt like I really wanted to run. It could have been the Shot Bloks. There were plenty of aid stations for water and a 'sports drink'. I just stuck to water but at mile 6 I took ONE Shot Blok and chewed it up right away. I also took one S!Cap shortly after for sodium/potassium. 2 miles later I felt great. At mile 8 I took another Blok and this time I just sucked on it and kept it in my mouth, biting off tiny pieces from time to time. I finished it about mile 9.5. At mile 10 I took my third Blok, sucked on it for half a mile then ate it. I took another S!Cap then too. From my splits you can see I'm averaging near a 7:30 pace for the last three miles. I remember running uphill and into the wind during that time too. I had a nice finish and then got together and with Kristen and Karl to relax in the sun for awhile before heading home.

I would like to run this one again next year but I hope the shirts are a different color. Powder-blue is not my color.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

nothing much new

Still ramping up the miles and should get to 43 this week. No problems so far increasing by about 10% per week.

I have added something new to my training. Tuesday mornings I go to Discover Strength in Plymouth for strength training. I'm thinking of dropping out after a total of 5 sessions and doing similar workouts at my primary gym. You can check out Discover Stength at:


Friday, May 1, 2009

12.7 miles today

This was my longest run of the year and I ran the final two miles faster than the first ten! I felt good at the finish but my muscles feel a somewhat tired now. My goal is 34 miles this week which I will meet if I can get in a 9.3 miles river loop on Sunday.

Last Sunday I yelled 'Uncle' at the 2 mile mark into my river loop run. It was 41 degrees, raining cats and dogs, and some heavy duty lightning/thunder. I was completely soaked and turned around for a wet run back to the club. I was wearing my 2008 Twin Cities Marathon shirt which I am convinced was the reason for the cold rain. I won't be wearing it this Sunday.

My goal for the next month is to work my way up to 50 miles per week and then start into an 18-week marathon training plan. At the end of that I will run the Twin Cities Marathon.