Archive for October 11, 2010

As much fun as I had last weekend racing at the Harvest Fest 5K, I have to admit that I was a little more than disappointed in my performance.  Finishing second overall and first in my age group was fine from a “results” standpoint.  But as I’ve said numerous times over the past two years – the only person that I’m really “racing” on race-day is me.

First, Second or Fiftieth is pretty much irrelevant.  It is more a matter of me being happy with whether or not I race up to my capabilities.

Frankly, running a 19 minute 5K time on a flat course in near perfect weather just wasn’t good enough last weekend.  Now, I’m not about to go all “Reese Bobby” and declare that “If you’re not first, your last”, but I knew that I was capable of a lot more last weekend.

Sure I had a tough week of training leading up to the event and yes, running out front for the first two miles of the race was “different”.  But as I thought about the Harvest Fest Race this week during my training runs, the thing that stuck with me was that I don’t think I stayed as “mentally tough” as I would have liked.

I allowed my mind to wander during the middle portions of the race and with it, my pace “wandered”.  That kind of effort is simply not going to cut it this weekend at the IBM Uptown Classic.  If I am going to in fact break that 40:00 minute 10K time, I needed to toughen up.  Get back that “Eye of the Tiger” that I had back in Pittsburgh making my Boston Time in 2009 or at numerous times this summer as I posted PR after PR at the 10K and 5K distance.

Next Sunday is go time and the only thing that can stop me from achieving my goals next week frankly is me.  It was time to “get right” from a mental standpoint and with my last two “tough” training runs scheduled before race day – now was the time.

Saturday morning’s workout was my last real chance to log some “tempo” miles as I don’t want to push pace too hard too close to IBM.  There is a delicate balance between training hard and training foolish.  Leaving my best race out on Brushy Creek Trail a week before IBM didn’t make a lot of sense.

But that said, I needed to dial-in, focus and run strong.  Eye of the Tiger.

Saturday’s workout called for 6.2 miles :20-:30 seconds slower than IBM Goal Pace which is 6:26/mile.

I took “to the hills” for this workout, and decided to run the recently reopened Brushy Creek Trail.  The run would have a little bit of everything designed to slow me down.  The route featured lots of ups and downs, a climb over the Dam and back as well as a “soft course” with all of the new aggregate that the county has spread in trail repairs. 

Saturday’s run was a dress rehearsal as I wore what I expect to race in next Sunday with the exception of my Brooks T6 Racing flats.  I ran in my trainers which are a good 6 ounces heavier than my race shoes.

Splits were just about perfect at:

7:04, 6:38, 6:57, 6:50, 6:39, 6:38 and a closing 2/10 at 6:16 pace.  

Saturday Tempo

Total time 42:05 over the 10K course 6:47/mile, :21/mile slower than goal pace.  The best part of the run was the feeling that I could have clipped off another 2-3 miles at 6:30 pace with little trouble. 

My legs “were back” and I was loving it.

The rest of the day Saturday was spent with Dawn and Landry.  We ran some errands, picked up a new scarecrow, hay bale and pumpkins for the front yard.

We also managed to somehow lock the baby in the running truck (seriously) and made it home in time for the South Carolina vs. Alabama game.

Now as far as the truck-door locking incident, I will say this. 

Sh#% happens. 

I was not too worried as the air conditioning was running and we were only 20 seconds from getting in by me cracking through the sliding rear window in the Ford – but the local EMS guys were quick on the scene and able to get us in before Landry even batted an eye.  A little stressful obviously, but I think it is a rite of passage for new parents.

Landy playing "under the sea" at home

An added bonus was the fact that I didn’t have to spend  the rest of the day getting the window in the truck repaired – instead, Landry and I got to watch the Gamecocks take down the #1 team in the nation for the first time in football history at the school.  Maybe between the Phillies and Gamecocks, Landry arrived on the scene at precisely the right time in 2010.  Hopefully she will not have to endure the years of suffering that I have over the years rooting for those two star-crossed sports teams.

Sunday morning was equally glorious – tremendous weather, although a bit overcast at 6:00 a.m.  The roads and the trail were quite dark until sunrise around 7:00 a.m.  I was going to run this workout “by feel” and try to bring it in at a comfortable pace something right around 7:25 felt right after Saturday morning’s tempo work.

At mile 2 my Garmin started acting very peculiar and was beeping at me incessantly.  When I glanced down under a street lamp, I could see that the display that has stared back at me faithfully for more than two years and 3,500 miles was in disarray.

I decided to “run quiet” from that point on and did not bother to play around with the device.  I’ll figure it out later when I get back I thought – no sense ruining a great run.  The miles ticked off and before I knew it I was back climbing up and over the dam at Brushy Creek Park.  With no technology to rely on, I decided to let me legs dictate pace and push through the end of the run.

When I hit the final mile I had the feeling that I was running strong, but really didn’t know if I was running at 7:30, 7:15 or 7:00 pace.  All I knew was my legs felt great, my mind was focused and breakfast was going to be on the table in a matter of moments.

As I heard the familiar beep as I approached the house, I knew I had reached mile 12 and I shut down the run.  Coasting to a stop I felt perfect.  No aches, no pains, no heavy breathing.  Perfect.  One week to go.

Sunday Long Run

After I was able to reboot my GPS, I saw that the run came in at 7:18 pace.  1:27:43.  A great Sunday run on the heels of a great tempo workout the day before.  As I cooled down and started to kick off my shoes on the front porch I realized that it was back.  I felt like I had found my “mojo” at exactly the right time.  The run went even better than I had thought when I took a look at the mile by mile breakdown:

7:29, 7:19, 7:15, 7:07, 7:28, 7:22, 7:24, 7:28, 7:22, 7:20, 7:16, 7:04, 7:02

Now if I could just remember to wear shorts with pockets in them to the store so I don’t end up locking the truck by accident we’ll really be ready for next weekend! 

Dadathoner, always learning.