Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Towpath Marathon (Half Marathon - Fall)

The Towpath Marathon races have been around for a long time.  This year they added 2 additional races in the Spring.  A half marathon in April and a 10 miler in June.  The race directors billed it as the Towpath Trilogy as it highlighted different sections of the Towpath in Peninsula, Cleveland, and Independence.  I did not plan on running this race and even resisted considering it.  After having a great race at Akron and the constant encouragement from friends.  I made the decision to sign up.

Going into this race.  I did not plan on attempting a PR as I honestly did not think I could ever duplicate the effort at Akron nor really wanted too.  I felt like I had ran the perfect race in my hometown and anything else would be a let down.  Now, a lot of you who read this know me to varying degrees and for those who do not know me all that well.  It is very rare that I share something personal and I am not going to do that, but I will say that there is an issue that has been bothering me lately.  It has creeped into my runs and I had been rage running the past week or so.  Now, it sucks being in that mood.  But is does lead to some great training runs.  So, as a result of these rage runs coupled with my legs getting used to running again.   I had my best training runs leading up this race and have never felt better.  Couple that with a flat course and this was a recipe for a PR.  I had been playing down these thoughts in the days before as I honestly didn't know what runner would show up on Sunday.  The one who struggled all day at River Run or the one who powered through Akron like it was downhill?

I woke up early Sunday morning and began my pre-race routine.  It was an early one as they were closing the race parking a 7am.  A full hour before the race.  I didn't want to be closed out of the parking. So, I arrived just before 7 and race traffic was a mess.  I decided to break the nerves by blasting my new power song and fist pumping.  It was dark still, so nobody could really see how much of a dork I was being.

Once parked, I made a b-line to the bathroom.  After a quick wait, I made my way back to the car and got ready to go.  At this point it was close to 30 minutes before the race began and I made my way to the start to visit with the fellow runners and listen to the final instructions.

Not sure what everyone, including myself is looking at. 

The full marathon started at the finish line while the half marathon and 10K races started about 5K down the road.  Our start was a quick downhill run then a left onto a road then another quick left before a 2 mile stretch of road before we entered the towpath.

The race got off to a quick start and I was flying at 8 minutes per mile.  On the 2nd left onto Riverview.  Things began to straighten out and I was still running 8's.  I began to fatigue already.  Crap!  I did not feel as good as Akron.  Negative thoughts already began to flood into my head.  Telling myself it was too early, I pushed on.  We then came upon the marathon start and the street was lined with people cheering us on.  A quick left and I hit the 5K mark at 24 minutes!  Crap!  I just tied my 5K PR.  I pushed on making a left into the Towpath.  I walked the first water stop as I need to regulate my heart rate and settle into what was going to be a long day.

This is wrong, but I love how that guy is struggling to keep up with me. 

From 5K till mile 10, through mile 8.  Things were going pretty well.  It was a false flat down and I didn't have to expend as much energy to maintain a pace in the mid-8's.  There was not a lot of room so everybody did a great job organizing a single file line and I got in a group running the same pace.  This was nice as I could relax and stay with the group.  At this point I saw and got a low five from @Matty_083.  He was up with the leaders and killing the race.

I made it to the turn around and began the roughly 6 mile trip up.  It was time for the false flat up and I began to fatigue.  I wanted to pull off pace.  I didn't feel crisp and even though I was on a PR pace.  It was becoming less of a reality with every step.

I survived to mile 10 and kept telling myself only 5K, only 5K.  Pushing on, I made it till 11 and then 12.   I was hanging on for dear life at this point.  Mile 12 through mile 12.6 felt like two miles.  I couldn't believe how long it was taking.  Finally making it to the edge of the Towpath I came upon a mob of people cheering us on.  I wish I had a photo of it as it was crazy.  Both sides were lined with people 4 deep.  It seemed like the were hanging from the trees.  At this point I saw Matt again and I thought he was yelling at me to sprint.  I took off and may/may not have pushed a group of runners out of my way.  I made a quick right and BOOM!  Finish.  I made it in 1:50:11.  Not only was it a PR, but a PR by 3:52!

Here's a quick look at my improvement over the past 6 weeks:

Half Marathon #1 (8/28) = 2:02
Half Marathon #2 (9/11) = 1:59
Half Marathon #3 (9/24) = 1:54
Half Marathon #4 (10/9) = 1:50

Where's the beer tent!?!?!

This ended up being a great race and I had a blast running it.  It did have an odd vibe to it, but in a good way.  I also want to thank Progressive for stepping up and being the title sponsor for this race.  It is great to see a local employer supporting people being active.  

Enjoying the post race activities with fellow speedsters Jill, Lauren, Pam, and Steve.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Training Recap: Summer

I haven't posted any training blogs since the end of July.  So, I thought I would post a recap from the past ten weeks.  Most of it was spent cycling and struggling to run.  It was quite humid all summer long and with my schedule.  I was primarily running during the heat of the day.  The good news is I road strong all summer, but suffered to run.  If I were grading myself I would give myself a B+ on riding and a F for running.  At the end of July I road in several cycling tours and in August.  I road a strong MS 150 Pedal to the Point.  The past 6 weeks I have ran the Buckeye Half Marathon, River Run Half Marathon, and the Akron Half Marathon.  As the daylight decreases and the temps drop.  I will be focusing more on running and distance races while trying to get in some riding when weather permits.

Running:  230 miles with an average pace of 9:39

Cycling:  2,541 miles with an average speed of 18.3

Total miles:  2,771

Calories burned:  112,868