25 September 2010

Magnuson Series

6 Body
7:00 AM - 181 Body
of Day
9:30 AM Distance 15 km Power  
1:07:08 (the race clock had me at just under 1:07 for some reason) Time
7:12 min/mile Speed
Breakfast 6:00 AM – cereal
Workout Food 1 gel and water 15 min before start, half a cup Gatorade after 5 km, half a cup water after 10 km
Injuries right knee
Workout Type  
Weather low to mid 60s, sunny, dry, some wind
Course Magnuson Series
Results 15 km – 5th
official results
Equipment old Brooks road shoes
Clothing shorts, sleeveless active t

What an up and down experience... let me fill you in.

Every time I have run outdoors for the last two weeks my right knee has been giving me grief. Especially after a fast or long run.

ASIDE - yes, I finally called my PT and will see what the heck is going on.
So each run I have done lately starts out okay but then I feel totally hamstrung towards the end as I am favoring one leg and I do NOT feel fast. Or even good or comfortable. I did a quick (for me) run Tuesday and my knee hurt. I rested Wednesday and it felt better. I did some track work Thursday and it felt fine until the last interval and then it really hurt. I rested Friday and it felt much better. When I woke up Saturday it felt okay so I took two preventative Ibuprofen with my breakfast and headed to the park.

It was a gorgeous morning. Warm enough to not need a sweatshirt while hanging around the start and this event happened to coincide with Family Fitness Day so there was a 500 m kids run and several parents with strollers that were going to enter the 5 and 10 km event.

As we lined up my stated (read: thought, I was not really talking to anyone but myself) goal was to try and go under 7:30 pace. My long term goal is to run a half marathon at 7:00 pace so two months out this seemed like a reasonable thing to expect. Especially since I have been doing some speed work this fall. There were maybe 40-50 people here doing all three events (5, 10 or 15 km) so I kinda moseyed up to the front to avoid getting stuck behind the slow 5 km crowed and off we went.

ASIDE – the start was totally old school, "On your mark, get set, go!" I loved it.

Right away the pace was fast. I had checked out the results from the last two months and thought to myself that if the same people show up, I could be top three easily and maybe even win this thing... :) Not so today. Instantly a group of about five formed up the road and I settled into another group of about five.

As we got to the first intersection of trails about half a mile in there was a cone in the trail to our left which meant don't go this way. The leader – who was about 50' off the front – hung a left here. Everyone was looking at him and then they started to yell and let him know that he was going the wrong way but he either did not hear or was to embarrassed to admit his mistake or something; he never turned around and we never saw him again. Too funny.

Every year it takes me a while to develop a sense of speed and this year I don't have it yet. So while I knew this pace was too fast, I had no idea by how much. About two miles in I am forced to slow down and some of the guys in my group of five pass me and slowly pull away.

It's a 5 km loop and they have water and Gatorade at the start/finish so I was going to have two chances to grab a drink. Nice. The first time through not much had changed. There were still about five guys up the road in a pack, a few people in front of me and two guys right behind me. I stopped to drink a cup of Gatorade and it was SWEET. Much too sweet/strong. Damn. I dumped most of the cup into the grass, tossed the cup into the trash and started running again. Blech.

As we hit the only hill in the course one guy behind me passed me and then as we rounded the baseball field the other guy behind me passed me. So now there was a 10 second or so gap to the next person behind me and I was alone. About this time I was thinking that if I ran 7:45 pace I would be thankful.

And I was still slowing down! Ever since I dropped off from the leaders I felt like I was slowing just slightly all the time and when these two guys behind me passed me it sorta took the wind out of my sails and I felt like I throttled back even more. Kinda funny how in cycling you want to be right behind someone and while running – for me at least – it's good to have someone right behind you instead. It pushes me along.

And then my right knee started acting up. :( I had read on the Internet (I know, I know...) that if you run on the balls of your feet that your skeleton can cushion you more so I gave this a try. And it worked! My knee felt much better when I would strike on my arch or ball instead of my heel. But it was also much more effort and my calf got tired super fast. Not sure if I was doing it wrong or what, maybe I just have weak calves? So this kind of went back and forth, as my calves got tired I would lapse back into heel striking and my knee would flare up.

The second time through the start/finish I saw several of the 'rabbits' on the sidelines and realized they had just been doing the 10 km run. So I probably started fast needlessly. This time I got some water instead of syrup and it went down much better.

I felt like I was absolutely plodding! My knee was hurting now as opposed to just being uncomfortable and I was breathing hard and there was no one around me as the runner behind me had stopped at 10 km. And then just like that I started to feel better. It was only a tiny amount but it sure helped.  There were also corner marshals at major intersections and they would cheer everyone on as we crossed the road. I always really appreciate that.

About 200 m from the finish line you hit the trail that contains the finish chute. Only problem is you are about 800 m from the finish and instead of turning left and crossing the line you turn right, run 200 m, turn around a cone and then run about 400 m back. Nothing like a u-turn on a narrow path to interrupt your pace is all I gotta say... I think I actually slowed to a walk the first two times through here but this time I accelerated quickly and was determined to ramp it up some for the finishing kick. And I did. Having done a track workout just two days ago helped as I was able to gauge the distance and effort and not die. Don't get me wrong, my 'kick' is more like an infinitesimal acceleration but to me it was a bit of a boost.

After I finished I limped down the trail for a bit to recover and to try and work out my knee. It did not really help. So I had some Gatorade, water and Bear Naked granola (they must have been an event sponsor), got in the van and drove home feeling like I had run slow and hurt myself to boot. Poop.

Oh yeah, my splits were almost exactly the same so turns out I did not slow like I thought and did go slightly faster on the last lap than the second. What do you know.
Hours later I decided to check my pace and low and behold it was great! Obviously I was breathing hard because I was going fast. In retrospect the pace at the beginning was probably around 6:30 or so and then I slowed to my pace. That result was a nice surprise.

Seems like most of the times I run I see something funny or interesting – stands to reason as I am new to this sport. Today that thing was two guys running in sandals that looked just like this.

They were literally just a layer of rubber covered by a layer of leather and held on to their feet with straps. And these guys looked like total nature boys too... tiny shorts, tattoos, unwashed hair, you get the picture. And they both finished the 10 km course faster than me.

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