Monday, June 2, 2008

Back blogging

ORN: Trails, 7 miles, 56 min.

Alright, this is my approximately millionth do-over for staying on top of blogging. Really, I'm going to do it this time. At least for a while.

It's an interesting time in my training -- about six weeks post-Boston and six weeks pre-ultra. Overdistance is just picking back up, with 17 miles yesterday. Since the marathon, I had done one 12 mile trail run and three 10 mile runs, but nothing much over 7 other than that. Lazy if you consider the fact I only took one day off in May. But, I wanted to let my body adapt to running seven days a week, and wanted to work on boosting my weekly mileage back up that way before upping the long runs. From the end of April, my weekly mileage was 29, 35, 52, 56 and 43.

The cut-back week last week happened mostly because I was racing on Saturday, my first 5k in almost a year. When I started running in May 2006, all I did that year (from September on) were 5ks. In 2007, I did 5ks (along with a 10k, 10 miler and HM) through the first half of the year, then did another HM and a full marathon.

Race report

The "Run for the L of It" is a little 5k in Downtown Louisville, sponsored by U of L's Alumni Association, and one I did last year. Last June I set my 5k PR at 20:41 on a hilly course and hot day, and off running about 25 mpw. That was the last 5k I did, although I talked about shooting for a sub-20 attempt from then on.

So this race has been on my calendar for several months for that purpose. It's small, it's flat, and well-timed. Plus the T-shirts are cool.

My twice-weekly speed sessions had been going well, including 5x1k (with equal time rest) the week before. In fact, during that workout I averaged 6:15 pace.

So I was feeling optimistic on the warm, muggy race morning. I found a great parking spot, finished my coffee, got my number and starting warming up. I did not feel snappy. The legs, despite having a fairly easy week previous, were a little dull. I did about 10 minutes of warming up with some pickups thrown in, and had resigned myself to a mediocre race with 15 minutes before the start. I saw a couple of friends who had come to cheer, which made me feel better. One is a regular running companion, and a sub-20 5k'er herself, and she had faith the goal was within reach.

After a somewhat silly start, with no recognizable starting line, I looked around to analyze the competition. Not many females there who looked in race-shape, so I figured I could place fairly high. One lady who looked competitive I overheard talking about running 6:45 pace, about 20 seconds/mile slower than I was hoping to do.

I was in the front two rows of runners when the gun sounded, and resisted (thankfully) the urge to stay with the front runners. I settled into my groove fairly quickly, and remembered the course fairly well.

As we got about a half-mile in, a young Derby City Athletic Club runner asked me what pace we were on. I said I wasn't sure, but I hoped it was around 6:30 pace. I remembered roughly where the one mile marker was -- only because the aforementioned friend (of sub-20 fame) and I ran through it in about 6:05 last year, which was WAY too fast.

But I didn't see it. I looked for it around 5:30 into the race, and then checked my watch again around 8 minutes.

"Uh-oh," I thought to myself. "Either I'm going really slow and they've changed the course, or there aren't any mile markers."

Around then a girl passed me -- one I had not seen at the start, but the only one ahead of me. I kept her in sight for a while.

As I passed the sole water stop, my watch read roughly 10 minutes. I felt like I was on pace or close -- thank heavens for speedwork -- and I had faith if I could hang in there I'd be fine. By then it definitely felt like work. Mentally I crossed my fingers and hoped the water stop was near the halfway point and I pressed on. The wind was rough in places; I could feel myself being blown aside. By now the only female in front of me was out of sight, and I knew unless she fell off pace I wouldn't catch her. I was already working hard enough.

For some reason, the part of this race beyond the water stop seems to go forever. During the half-mile following the water stop, I entertained the notion of quitting (as I do in most races, although I've never done it). Shortly after, though, I rounded another corner and began running back against the walkers still heading the other way.

A few more blocks and I was back at Eighth and Main, which meant I had four blocks to go before the last turn, so roughly seven or eight blocks total. I don't think I looked at my watch for a while, I just concentrated on making the blocks pass while maintaining pace and form.

I had also abandoned the watch because it was clear there were not splits to help me pace. Mental finger-crossing still ensued.

I took the last corner and could see the finish just two or three blocks away. I began to kick with what I had left, which probably wasn't much. I had glanced at my watch and knew I had scant time, although I don't remember what it was. I just told myself to find that next gear and hammer home. If I didn't make it, at least I'd be close.

About a half-block away, I realized the goal was within reach, and my friends were standing there cheering. I hit the finish in 19:30, a personal best by 71 seconds.

I took home second female, but mostly I was happy with my time.

Next up is a 10k, sub-40 attempt, at Huber's later this month. The overdistance continues with a 10 and 20 miler this weekend and 12 and 20 the next. Our 32-mile trail race, the Rattlesnake 50k, is July 12.

Two opportunities for track on TV this weekend!

ESPN Classic on Friday, from 2:30-4:30 p.m: IAAF Golden League in Oslo, Norway. Great match-up in the women's 800m and Jen Rhines in the 5k.

NBC on Sunday, 4 p.m.: Nike Prefontaine Classic. HUGE meet. Lagat and Webb in the mile, along with seven other runners with PRs under four minutes. The men's 200m also looks good - Xavier Carter, Jeremy Wariner, Wallace Spearmon and Asafa Powell. And the women's 100m - Alyson Felix, Torri Edwards, Carmelita Jeter, Lauryn Williams and Muna Lee. (At Reebok last week, it was Lee (third), followed by Williams, Jeter, Felix and Edwards.)

Almost T&F trials time!


Ed Hammerbeck said...

Wow, way to go Tracy!

Mir said...

That's so awesome! Sub-20 by half a minute, and with no mile go girl. :)

Anonymous said...

awesome job tray! without markers, my brain would have shut down and told me i was either lost off the course or hopelessly never going to finish...
congrats on your first (of many) sub-20 5k's!