Sunday, November 23, 2008

Report: Fall Classic HM

Cleveland Fall Classic Half Marathon

Coming off a PR in the marathon 4 weeks ago, I planned to end the racing season and shut it down for the year. After a week off, I ran a couple tempo miles and found that I had some speed left over and my T-pace actually picked up some. I decided to race one more. I few factors helped me decide:

- Andrea was targeting this race (I'd be there anyway)
- It was the only race in the Cleveland West Road Runners race series that I had not previously done (going for the career CWRRC race "slam," including the Spring Classic, Rocky River 5 Mile, Mohican Trail 100, Bay Days, and now the Fall Classic)
- I had not raced the half marathon distance since September 2005 (with a soft PR 1:26)

So I thought why not run one more race. Based on the tempo runs of the last two weeks, I had a stretch goal of sub-1:23 (sub 6:20 pace) to possibly earn the lottery by-pass for NYCM.

Training: Since the marathon and the easy post-race week, I've run about 40 miles per week with one 3-4 mile tempo run. Tempo run four days ago was 6:08/6:11/6:08, so I felt fairly confident about a PR effort today.

This past week has been unseasonably cold and snowy like a January winter. It was 14F when we drove up to the race and barely 24F at the start. I was still thinking of wearing shorts, but decided on tights, l/s tech shirt, hat and gloves. The choice of attire worked out well.

This race usually has good attendance - I had heard post-race there were about 800 runners combined in the HM and 5k. After a 25 minute easy warm-up, I shed the extra layers and head to the start. I only got in a few easy strides. Then the start:

1- 5:36
2- 6:51 (average of miles 1 & 2 = 6:14)

Mile one kind of surprised me but I did not feel like I was going that fast (better than 5k pace) and mile two confirmed that the first marker was off. I settled in.

3- 6:17
4- 6:16

The course is a flat double loop consisting mainly of a three-mile stretch of metropark road. An out-and back performed twice with two small side-loops included. Most of the road was clear of snow but the two side-loops had some perilously slippery ice where we had to slow down to avoid falling.

By the first turnaround at three miles, I worked myself up to 9th position and was immediately swept up by a pack of four runners and landed in 13th. I wondered if I started out too fast.

5- 6:11
6- 6:12
7- 6:33 (icy loop and dodging 5k runners)

The seventh mile the course was congested a bit as we caught some of the 5k runners and also had to dance on some ice through the side-loop on the metropark path. I survive the first half, still on pace for 1:23, and wonder if I bit off too much.

8- 6:20
9- 6:27 (icy loop)
10- 6:37

I'm not sure if the tenth mile was marked right. I was still feeling okay as I passed ten in 1:03:21 which bettered my 10 mile PR. I did the quick math and figured I needed to push it to get the 19:40 final 5k to hit my goal. A couple guys passed me and I was in 14th position, or so.

11- 6:36
12- 6:25
13- 6:37 (icy loop)
0.1- 0:38

Watch time: 1:23:38

Considering the cold temps and icy turns, I can't complain. I just PR'd by nearly 2.5 minutes and finished 15th OA (I think) and 3rd AG. If the conditions were better, who knows?

I went to the car to grab the camera and jogged a mile cool-down to finish with Andrea, who had a good race too. Here are a few photos from the day:

Frigid 14F when we arrived for race registration.

During cool-down. Most of the race was on metropark road like this one.

Andrea approaching the finish on one of the icy loops. You can't really see it, but the footing was treacherous in a few spots.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One more mile challenge

The One More Mile Challenge is simple in concept: Starting on November 1st run one mile and each successive day add one more mile to the distance of the daily run.

Now on day 20, five of the original nine competitors remain in the challenge. After today's twenty, tomorrow comes twenty-one, and so on...

Runners who've successfully completed day 21 will have logged 231 miles total, 126 for the most recent seven days. Incredible!

Click here for the rules. Click the photo above for the most recent update.

(Credit Mike Keller for organizing this charitable event.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A runner's life cycle?

From Greg Crowther's "The five stages of PRs:"

1. You set PRs because, by definition, your first race at each distance is a personal record.

2. You frequently set PRs by large amounts because you're still growing and maturing, and/or because you started training relatively recently, and/or because you're in the middle of a successful weight-loss program, and/or because you're now training much more sensibly than ever before.

3. You set PRs less frequently and by smaller amounts, and you find these modest improvements disappointing because you've become accustomed to stage #2.

4. As PRs continue to become more elusive, you learn to savor each new one.

5. You are now too old, too injured, and/or too unfit to set PRs. To compensate, you either invent new categories of achievement (such as "seasonal bests" and "age-group PRs"), try events that you've never done before (and thus return to stage #1), or stop racing altogether.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ultracentric 24 hour

Scott Jurek states on his blog that he's taking a shot at the 24 hour run today at the Ultracentric Experience in Texas. Could Mark Godale's American Record (162 miles) be in jeapordy?

I look forward to hearing how it goes.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Photos: Inland Trail Marathon

Mile one of the Inland Trail Marathon

Runners enjoyed favorable fall weather, sunny and clear 40s with light breeze, at the Inland Trail Marathon on Sunday in Elyria, OH. Andrea enjoyed the half marathon as a training run. The day was my turn to cheer and spectate, as well as get in a few easy miles and take pictures. This diabolically straight course -- an out-and-back on a straight bike path for 12.5 miles, with a half mile on road -- produced fast times. I witnessed a few PRs out there.

Click here for link to my album from the day. Photos at following intervals: one mile mark of the marathon and 5k, mile 8.5 of half marathon, and mile 21.5 of the marathon.

Per front page report:

John Paull, 44, the runner-up in 2006 and third place finisher in 2007, won the 2008 Inland Trail Marathon when he crossed the finish line in 2:53:35. Eric Hanscel, 31, finished second in 2:58:17. Andrew Brosius, 30, was third in 2:58:35. Theresa Walton, 38, was the first female to finish in 3:29:37. Cam Grahl, 34, was the runner-up in 3:30:56. Kristin Kachnowski, 37, was third in 3:35:38.

Congrats, JP.

The Inland Trail was built on an old railroad bed in Lorain county