Time to Race

Posted: March 28, 2011 in Pace and Racing
Tags: , , ,

Sunday morning I climbed on my bike and headed out along my “12-mile hill route”.

This is the same 12 mile running route that I take on Sunday mornings before I swing back past the house and then “tack on” whatever the required mileage for the day calls for.  When I am running my longest of long runs it might be 8 or 10 more miles during marathon training.

When I am not in a training cycle it might only be 2-4 miles to finish off my Sunday long run.

I had never ridden the route on the tri-bike before and I was curious to see the % elevation of the largest hills.  One of the cool features on my new bike computer.  I was going to be riding about 30 miles on Sunday, and thought what better way to warm up.

The first part of the ride was smooth and steady, I held my own through the hills and ticked off my opening five miles at 18.5, 20.8, 20.7, 20.1 and 20.9 mph.  It turns out that the toughest hill along the route represents a 4-5% grade for a little more than 6/10 of a mile.  Try setting your treadmill at 4% and run for 4 minutes or so.  That’s a tough hill – no doubt about it.

Traveling the route on my bike however it was amazing how fast the miles flew by.  I typically run between 8.3 and 8.5 mph, at least I did when I was healthy, so covering the same ground at nearly 3X the speed grants a much different perspective.

I got back to Parmer Lane and headed into the wind for the next 9 miles or so before turning back around and heading for home with the wind at my back for a change.

I covered 30.8 miles in 1 hour, 37 minutes and 40 seconds.  18.9 MPH with a top speed of 31.8.

I’m comfortable down on the aero-bars up to about 30 mph, when I start to get a little “nervous”.  I’m hoping as the weeks pass and I get more and more time on the bike I will also gain more confidence.  But for someone very new to cycling, it appears that I am taking to it pretty quickly.

I had not thought too much about the race that I was missing.  The Capitol 10K here in Austin.  A few fleeting thoughts bounced around my head from time to time, but for the most part I was able to concentrate on my ride.

I got home, threw the bike back on the trainer, peeled off my riding gear and hopped into the shower.  Dawn and Landry were waiting on me to go out for Sunday breakfast, and I was hungry with a capital “H”.

When I walked back into the bedroom however the TV News said, “Today’s Capitol 10K is now underway!”  With a shot of the runners leaving Congress Avenue.

Sunday's Cap 10K - Austin, TX

My heart sank.

I was missing the 3rd largest running of the event in the 34 year history of the run.  Many of my good friends were out there on the course and my knee had relegated me to the sidelines.  Ugh.

About the time I was staring down my Belgian Waffle and two scrambed eggs – I would have been coming through the finisher’s chute.

I know it’s not healthy to “what if” things, but I was very curious as to how I would have fared if I had been able to run on Sunday.

5th place in the Male 40-44 AG went to a runner with a time of 38:23, 17 seconds slower than the 38:06 I ran back in October.

Now, race days are all different.  Temperatures, conditions, course elevations etc. – there is no way to say I would have been able to match my PR from earlier in the year.

My good friend Scott Birk who got the best of me at the Resolution Run 5K in January ran on Sunday.  I paid him back at the 3M half Marathon in December.  Scott and I run pretty similar paces – I wonder how he did on Sunday?  Turns out Scott ran a 37:23 good enough for 82nd overall.

Michael Ford, one of my competitors in the Austin Distance Challenge who finished just behind me turned in a 38:52, good for a top 10 finish in our age group.

So bottom line, I’d like to think I would have run sometime around 38 minutes on Sunday and taken home a little hardware for a top 10 finish, which was how far down the race rewarded participants this year.

Too bad.

Well this Saturday in Charleston, SC another large 10 kilometer road race is going to be held.  The Cooper River Bridge Run.  The race that I trained so hard to earn a seeded entry in last summer.  Culminating in that 38:06 at the IBM Uptown Classic.

I haven’t run in 4 weeks.

It will be 5 weeks this coming Saturday.

I’m racing.

My knee is going to be as good as it’s going to be on Saturday morning.  I’m going to pin on that bib and run the best race that I can.

If I finish strong – good for me.

If I have to slow to a walk – it will be the first time I do so on a race course, but it won’t be the last I’m sure.

I realized that what I missed most this past weekend was the spectacle of race day.

Race Start - Cap 10K 2011

I missed competing.

I missed being a runner.

So Charleston, I’m headed your way this week.  I won’t be bringing my watch, but I will be bringing my heart.  I know that my good friend Richard Blaylock understands. 

I’m a runner.

It’s time to run.

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Comments
  1. Cortney says:

    All you can do is your best! You got this! I’m scared of my tri bike. I ride the brake down hills. I don’t do fast 🙂

  2. You know as well as anyone – you learn from every run and from every race, but especially the tough ones. If you slow to a walk in this race, you will learn what it’s like to listen to your injury and to finish a race even under the toughest physical conditions. I trust that you will take from this race what it’s going to give you and find in it strength to improve as a runner and a person. Best of luck to you Joe!

  3. Kevin says:

    Hey, dude, just hang in there and get your knee healed up. I’ve been nursing an injury as well and missed the Cap 10k and thought I’d need to be on suicide watch. You’ll get stronger and come back even better. Nice blog, btw.

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