Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Next Races; Speedwork update.

So I am now signed up for the Seashore Nature Trail 50k. This will be on Dec 17th in Virginia Beach, VA and I'll be running again with my brother. Since he just finished his 1st marathon (Chicago) in 17 years, and he never wants to run, well, train for, another one - he thought he'd get an ultra under his belt. No real chance of us losing each other at this one!
I don't expect to be in the best shape, but as this is relatively flat, I should be ok. My brother on the other hand - he'll survive, with even more limited training.

While I was at it - I went ahead and registered for the Harbison 50k in Columbia, SC on January 7, 2012. I have a goal to break 6 hrs there, beating last year's time by 38 minutes. With my odd knee injury for some 6 miles or so last year, I think it's possible - just have to see how I recover from Seashore.

As an aside - my speedwork session yesterday was interesting. Slogged thru my 2 mile warmup, then was to do a reverse ladder: 1200k, 1000k, 800k, 600k, 400k, with 200m Rest Intervals. I still had it on my schedule with 3:40 marathon goal times. I hit these during my Chicago training.
1200k: 23 secs slow. Wow this is bad.
1000k: 6 secs off.
800k: actually felt I could Run again! 5 sec off.
600k: Guess my legs needed a reminder. 1 sec off.
400k: 3 seconds under goal pace.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Camp Croft Half Marathon Race Report

So the 2nd Annual Camp Croft Half Marathon took place Saturday November 12, 2011 at camp Croft State Park in Spartanburg, SC. Weather was almost exactly like last year - about 35° at 7am and warmed up to, I'm guessing, low-50's soon after the finish. Sun came in thru the trees with the biggest difference from last year being the muddy conditions (and there was water in the lake this year!).

Hung out before the race with my co-worker Marty after getting my packet (nice bag with the logo on one side and course map on other and another nice shirt). Saw just a few others I knew, said a quick congrats to Jason and we were about set to start. I'm not familiar with the park only having run there two other times, but it was the same course as 2010. (I did read my Race Report from last year...brought back some recollections).
I tried not to start off too fast, letting Marty and plenty of others go ahead. The "strength" my legs felt the previous weekend was gone and my cardio was still absent. (Please come back!!). The course had strung everyone out and frequent sections of mud (and a continuous carpet of beautiful leaves) made almost every step interesting, and dangerous. The first couple of miles is the toughest with some rolling terrain. I ran as long as I could before relegating myself to walking some uphills. Oh well.

I had noted my 2010 splits for the 3 aid stations, so I could at least compare myself to last year's event. Ran thru the 1st one at mile 4.75 (had my handheld water bottle) in 42...dead on last year's. I thought I felt worse than I should have, but after ramping my mileage up the last few weeks post-marathon (12, 15, 13, 24, and 30 including this half) and having an 8 day exercise hiatus in there, I shouldn't complain. It'll come back - it always does.

Marty stayed 30-40 seconds ahead of me for many miles, I just tried to keep him in my sights thru the undulating and twisty trail. Removed my long sleeve GTC shirt (what was I thinking wearing that over a t-shirt??). Took a Gu. Looked forward to the nearing of my 2010 time of 1:11 for aid station 2 at Mile 8.1. I did catch him for a few minutes at the Lake, but he was soon ahead again. Hit Aid Station 2 at 1:11 (3 seconds off last year). Marty left as I entered and I had a quick fill-up and continued out thru some sandy trail. A nice change from the single and double tracks.

Somewhere thru here I started feeling a bit better. I wasn't completely out of breath, my legs weren't exactly "weak", but I was still having a recurring groin/hip issue that goes back to my Asheville Half Marathon in Sept., must be those hills. What am I thinking still contemplating the Mount Mitchell Challenge?? Even with time off - it's still there...
Took my 2nd Gu and tried to remember to drink.

So I eventually caught Marty and I stayed within 5-10 seconds of him til the finish. Hit Aid Station 3 (Mile 11.5) in 1:43, 20 seconds faster than the 1st Camp Croft Half. Am I consistent or what? These last few miles are where I pushed hard last year (with someone right on my heels) and I chipped a bone in my right foot. I never felt strong at all this day, but was satisfied with my run with the training I had (or had not) done. I finished in 2:03:21, still 20 seconds ahead of last year. Heard the course is actually closer to 13.5 miles...either way - another one in the books!
Marty finished 5 seconds ahead of me (beat him by 1 minute last year).
Joe passed us a few miles from the finish and just beat Marty.

Only at Mile 3 or so and already out of breath
Seth (RD) did another fantastic job putting this race together. Plenty of volunteers, course well marked (although I almost turned the wrong way after the one stream crossing...but only because I did not look first!), nice food (Bagels, Clif bars, fruit), already mentioned the bag/shirt. A pint glass with the logo on it was a surprise (to me) finisher prize. Then there was the giveaways...last year, I got nothing. This year, a $25 gift certificate from REI (just opened this month in Greenville) and another glass! Sweet! I actually went to the store that afternoon before heading home and picked up a membership and pair of gaiters. Finally got some to test them out. Next weekend - back at Paris Mountain. Next year - back at Camp Croft Half Marathon!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Leaves everywhere!

I finally got back to my trails at Paris Mountain State Park: my friends Brissy Ridge, Kanuga, North Lake, and Pipsissewa. Yesterday I started my trail running/training season that will hopefully go on thru May or so. My renewed park pass is such a good deal....$50 for a years worth of free access. Small price to pay to support a local trail system.
My foray back onto the trails went well. Once I got out there - I remembered how tricky this season can be as leaves covered practically every rock and stick out there. Surprisingly -  made it thru unscathed except a little left ankle twist. This first loop felt so easy (similar to the post-Asheville Half run). Not that there is that much climbing on the loop I do, but I got so used to walking some stretches last year. This time - I think I ran my fastest loop ever (under 56 minutes). A 2 minute break to swap water bottles, and back out for loop 2. Legs felt it a bit, but can't complain with only a ~2 minute longer loop.
Random notes: Quite a few people out (2 runners), upper lake was quite low, but beautiful. Trees were still turning yellows and oranges.
-Very happy for Jason for completing his 2nd 100 miler at Pinhoti this weekend!! I'm in awe of the dedication and determination...congrats.
-Jason for a distance PR at Pinhoti! What an effort!
-Dan and Charles at Pinhoti...tough luck Dan (and I still don;t knwo what ahppened to Charles, but he always makes the best of everything!)
-Team D.N.R. for another SOLID performance at Ragnar Tennessee!! What was I thinking that I didn't joi in this time?! Looked like so much fun - as it always time - Guz is in!
-My co-worker who completed her first Half marathon this weekend in Savannah! Yes - it was tough, but you did it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

8.5mi - where did my cardio go?

Seven days off with no exercise at all following a post-marathon recovery week really showed that fitness is negatively affected with time off. I went out for ~8 miles on Sunday after my test run on Friday. Started off fine, speed was decent, although I probably should have gone slower. Felt slow, but stayed steady, took my standard walk breaks. Never felt great, and never felt poor until the last .1mi when my knee became sore. Lucky for me - I was stopping at 8.5 miles anyway. I was doing 8:50/mi but my cardio was really lacking.

Hoping it comes back soon.

This week planned 25+ miles (6 today was just fine) including 12-15 on trails this weekend (just not sure where).

So many races this weekend:
Paris Mountain 15k
Shut In Ridge Trail Run
Pinhoti 100
and lastly - Team DNR is back and going to Tennessee for Ragnar. Go Goons!!
Best of luck to all those runners!!