Thursday, May 30, 2013

Race Review: Randy's Run 5k

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how Strava had said I just did a PR in a 5k. And I did that during a training run with walk breaks. So I figured I would head out and try to hit my 5k goal for the year. So I looked around and picked one close to my house. My wife signed up too, she was going to walk it with the kids in the stroller.

Randy's Run

This run benefits kids that attend Eden Prairie high school. A scholarship was set up after a man from the class of 1985 was kill in combat. So his classmates set up this run in his honor, and the money from it goes to fund the scholarship.

Race Morning

Spring in MN is dragging out, we woke up to rain and wind and 50 degrees. We got the kids up, put pants and sweatshirts on them. I put on some running gear and a sweatshirt to stay warm before the race. We drove over, it was misting / raining and still pretty grey. At that point we decided that probably the kids wouldn't deal well with the cold and rain while on a walk with mom, so she decided to sit it out. I did a quick warm up run, which I later determined was probably insufficient. I have noticed lately that without a warm up my heart will race a little at the start of a effort, and it can be mentally taxing.

Sitting in the car staying warm

Staying dry

The Start

So the deal with this race is they invite service members to race, and let them line up at the front. Other's can line up at the front too, but they get to line up early and compete in some sort of team 5k. So, knowing I'm not the fastest cat in the herd, and also not the slowest, lined up not quite at the front, but above the middle.

There was an unceremonious start, and away we went. I was surprised at how slow we took off, usually there's a surge of speed and then people slow down, but this group just sort of settled in on a pace that I was thinking was a little slow. So I sort of ran around people for a quarter mile or so. After that the group stretched out.

Lining up at the start. The guy in blue on the right wins. The guys in green end up winning as a special forces team. I'm in there somewhere :)

Heading across the start line, look how determined I look!

The Run

It was very hard for me to gauge my effort, on one hand nobody was passing me and I was passing plenty of people, on the other hand my watch was telling me that I was going below my goal pace. My legs felt like stumps. And I'll put this out there, I also don't really know how to pace a 5k, I was thinking to myself, stay strong, then push the last mile or so, that's where it will be hardest.

The miles were ticking by, I was still picking people off, catching some people who had sort of run away in the first half mile, but I knew I was missing my goal.

About 3/4 mile to go. I did catch that guy in white


1:36 (7:14 pace for .22 miles)

The Finish

We hit the 3 mile marker, which I knew was wrong, because there was no way we were only 500 feet from the end. I cannot for the life of me get my legs to move any faster, just lead, huffing and puffing, trying to find a little bit more speed. No dice. I ran across the line, didn't barf on the girl who was taking my chip off my foot and then met the kids and my wife.

Coming in, I had just passed that guy
We hung around for a bit, had ice cream and then the kids got cold and went back to the car. So we called it a day.

Post run water was a hot commodity

The littlest one found the only padded chair in the joint

Perfect day for some ice cream :)

The Results

23:35 (PR)

Closing Thoughts

First, the race was pretty good. A nice event, run by a good people. Though I have really gotten used to a nice results breakdown where I can see where I stand in my age group, or whatever. All we got for results was a PDF with names and times. Oh well, I got some nice water bottles and a pretty decent shirt out of the deal, and the cause seems pretty decent.

Of course I'm happy that I have a new PR, but I kinda thought I had some more get up in the legs. Who knows, maybe I do, maybe I don't. Right now I'm thinking about another run at it in a few weeks.

Also, my garmin says the course is long by about a 10th of a mile. That's not much, but my watch has my 5k time at 22:46, which makes me feel a little better :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Time to find a 5k

I was just looking at Strava and saw this

So that's just what Strava has, I've only got data on there from a couple of weeks. If you're an avid follower (why wouldn't you be?) you might have noticed that my recorded fastest 5k race time is 24:05.

My excitement doesn't stop there. Let's take a quick peek at that 5k from 3 days ago: Here was the workout plan for that day:
5 min z1

   1 mile z4
   2 min z1

25 min z2
So the plan wasn't to break any PRs

Here's my execution of that plan:

TimeDistanceAverage Pace

Ok, are you with me here? That 5k that Strava has as only 15 seconds slower than my PR has a warm up and four minutes of walking in it.

I've said it before, I like to race, and with no only one race since October, it's been hard to motivate myself lately. Time to find a 5k, plus it's a goal for the year.

* Note: If you're paying attention to my lack of consistency during those miles at zone 4, due to my inability to figure out my heart rate zones, I did them by feel. The, predictable, problem with that is that I wasn't quite keeping it in the right zone, so speed was down, but so was effort. Third mile especially.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

First Time Trial

Last night I did my first bike time trial. It seemed like something fun to do, and hopefully would give me a few nights a month where the atmosphere would push me out of my comfort zone.

If you're western Twin Cities local, check it out. Every other Tuesday put on by Twin Cities Spoke.

Honestly I was prepared to whip out my camera and take a bunch of pictures, but then I chickened out, because my first expereince there was parking next to a lady who was already on her bike trainer warming up... And hour before the first rider would start. So, I felt a little out of my element, no pics.

The Setup

I drove up there after work, I picked up a sandwhich and a drink on the way there for dinner. Registration starts at 6, the first racer goes off at 7, and you go off in registration order (approximately) every 30 seconds after that.

I say approximately because the guy three in front of me got number 38, and I got 59, mostly though everyone else was numbered as they were standing in line from what I can tell.

I got to the right area just before 6, then drove the course. A 5.5 mile out and back (11 miles total) along a rural road with pretty wide shoulders. The hills would be described as rollers, nothing killer. The race is based at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, which is pretty much a compound, and suprising to me, you can't see the registration area from the street. No matter, by 6:05 there are cyclists pretty rolling off the side street where the parking lot is pretty much constantly, so it was easy to find.

I pulled in expecting to see a few people there, but there were tons of people there, and a line at the registration tent. So I parked, got in line, filled out the registration / waiver form and got my number. Then straight to the bathroom, the sandwich didn't agree with me I guess.

The Psych Out

Now, I already know I am not a fast cyclist. I mean at my local bike group I can hold my own against most of them. At a triathlon I just hope to not loose too much time, and compared to people who spend all their time riding bike, I would expect to be trounced. What I didn't expect here was that it appeared that MOST people were going to be faster than me, just by looking at them.

While standing in line everything seems fairly innocuous. People are friendly, chatty with each other. Most people seem to know each other. Looking around there are a fair number of time trial bikes, with the deep wheels and discs. And then there are the people who are already warming up. On trainers, having ridden the entire course already, etc.

So I'm thinking to myself, well I didn't bring my trainer. It's 6:30, and I am still in my street clothes, and to bike 11 miles at a warm up pace would take at least 40 minutes. My start number is 59, so I'll be starting at 7:29:30... oh and I forgot my water bottle at home... numbers crunching ... eh, I'll do a quick spin down the street and then settle in near the start and see how that looks.

I should mention that I'm confident now that I'll be pulling up the rear of the field here (both in finishing time and start position) and that makes me nervous, because I like to be more competitive than that. I elect to not wear my new aero helmet that my sister got me for my birthday. Not for the first time trial where I am sure I will be getting last.

The Start

So after my few minutes of warm up I setup near the start. They are going off every 30 seconds as promised. People sort of coast in and find their positions by number, chat it up a bit. I glanced up at the starting area... "Hey look at that, that guy has both feet clipped in, and someone is holding him in place, I've never done that." ... heart beating faster ... The lady in front of me is talking to the guy in front of her. He got 2nd overall in the standings last year. He's wearing regular eye glasses, and a T-Shirt and riding a fixed gear track bike. He rides for free because he did well last year. She eventually looks back at me and says "you'll probably catch me in 45 seconds" I think to myself, likely not.

I get up there, clip in, the guy holding me feels stable. And off I go.

The Race

My heart-rate immediately jumps to unsustainable levels. Not because I'm pushing super fast, but the previously mentioned psych out is in full effect.

45 seconds go by, just kidding, for the first 5 minutes I'm sure I was mostly focusing on breathing and settling down, I was not paying attention to time. 30 seconds is a long time to make up. So really, unless I'm really flying I don't expect to pass many people, though I do notice that I am catching the woman in front of me.

Just under a mile I get passed, and just after that I pass the lady in front of me. For the next three or so miles I am just watching people bike away from me, then get passed again. At the turn around I see someone right behind me. Much to my surprise it takes quite a while for him to pass me, a couple of miles at least. Though what is most interesting about that is, when he finally does pass me, he BLOWS by. Quite fast. I pass one more guy about 2 miles from the end.

The Finish

The lady I had talked to at the start had mentioned she likes to put in her final big push near the white fence at the end. She then went on to tell me there is another white fence that she sometimes gets confused about and that really messes her up. I think I saw the 2nd "not yet" fence, but I don't remember seeing the "go hard now" fence. I had decided I would start in on my final effort with about 3/4 of a mile to go, at 20 mph that's just over two minutes of hard pushing.

Heh, this is funny, there's a small hill right there. I start my push on the way down it, and then push through it and then the last little bit is sort of downhill. So I felt slight trashed and then recovered and honestly the finish is a blur. I tried to push all the way to the end, and then I soft pedeled for a few blocks trying to catch my breath.

The After Party

After my short cool down I went back to my car and packed my bike up. Some people had left, some people where still racing, some people were milling around. I'm not a super social guy, plus it was 8 and I wanted to get home and hang out with my wife for a bit before heading to sleep, so I sort of changed clothes and left.

The results which were advertised to be posted in real time didn't come up till after I went to bed. Real time results would be a neat feature, but I didn't really care that they had a flub with it. They posted to Facebook about it around midnight I guess, and seemed a little deflated. Four hours turn around, and working into the night seems like a nice thing to do too.


Time 30:44.62
Calculated Speed 21.47 mph
Overall 62/78
Age Group 20/21
Division 51/53

Overall I'm not super excited by those numbers. It's hard to say, I probably could have benefited from a longer warm up, and it would have been nice if my heart rate had stayed below 200. What really digs in is that at three triathlons last year I could hold that pace (or close to it) for longer. So I guess I've got some work to do. Hopefully with the first one under by belt the next one will go a little smoother. And I'll break out the aero helmet, at least now I know where I stand :) Oh right, and I guess this is the very start of the season, maybe I should cut myself some slack, but what fun is that? :)

TNT Thoughts

I had fun, it's fun to do races. I didn't quite think of this as a race going into it, but others were clearly there to race. Everything went off without a hitch, and I'll be doing more. It will be fun to, hopefully, see a progression. If you're in the neighborhood and want to do a quick run down the course to see how you stand, give it a shot. Hey, if you're faster than me, are you as fast the the rest? The guy who got first finished in 23:21.9 for a sustained speed of 28.25 mph. And the guy who got last finished in 37:48 for a sustained speed of 17.46 mph

Monday, May 6, 2013

April Training Notes

This month my totals looked like

Swim38,000 yards10:50 hours
Bike149.38 miles10:15 hours
Run35.48 miles5:35 hours

Last Month

Swim34,400 yards9:50 hours
Bike155.25 miles10:30 hours
Run48.5 miles7:25 hours
1:20 hours

April 2012

Swim39,400 yards11:50 hours
Bike270 miles15:30 hours
Run69 miles10:20 hours

Things seem to be going well, it's been a cool spring so far and I think I'm about at my breaking point for indoor workouts. Compared to last year these numbers look tiny, but last year I was training for 70.3 races, not sprints. This year is mostly about speed, and less about endurance, so I'm doing higher intensity, and lower volume.

I'm having a good time swimming. This year my lane is full of people who are much faster than me, so it's an interesting degree of challenge, because even when the intervals aren't that challenging my lane mates seem to be going much faster than me ... and I like to keep up, so I try.

All trainer rides but two, here's to hoping we get some decent warmer weather here in a couple of weeks. Plus I want to spend more time on the new bike getting it all set up for my liking.

The current plan I'm on has be basically in maintenance mode for running. So it's mostly shorter runs with short intervals in them. Though this week I was able to string together two 7 minute miles in the middle of a 10k, and that's a new best effort for me.

Coming up
This phase will be over soon, I'm just getting into the planning stage for the next one. I'll be doing my first TNT race in a little bit. And the first triathlon is a little more than a month away. I'm getting antsy...