Friday, September 27, 2013

Scenic Sandpoint Half Marathon

Race Date:  9/15/2013
This was my first time running the new Sandpoint Half course.  It use to be an out and back for 13.1, but now it is an out and back for about 10.2 miles, then there is an out and back near the finish for the remainder of the distance.

Jeremy's bib was blowing in the wind
I haven't been running long in a while because I have been doing more weight lifting since it is sort of off season right now.  Rosi and Emily decided not to do this race after all so Emily gave me her registration.  Thanks Emily!

I found out Jeremy was running this race so I was glad to be able to carpool with him.  I was hoping Jeremy and I would both go sub 1:30, his plan was to go out at 7:00 pace but agreed to go 6:50 pace with me.  Paul chatted with us at the starting line and I told him I was going to try and go out at 6:50 and hold it, his plan was 7:00 pace also but said he would run with us.  The temperature at the start of this race is usually about 45F or so but today the sun was out and it had to be at least 65F at the start.

The sun was out this morning!
Once we started I realized this heat was going to effect my race goal.  At mile 3 I was already sweating and warming up.  I started to fall back, Paul and Jeremy tried to hold the pace but we all eventually dropped back to 7:00ish pace.  Paul was holding a consistent pace in front of us as I was losing my momentum quickly.  The heat was taking its toll on me and I knew I wasn't going to go sub 1:30.  My goal at this point was just to hang on and keep Paul within striking distance, he was my carrot most of the race.  The wind was at our back for the first 5 miles but at the turnaround we had the head wind.  So now it was hot and windy.  I bridged the gap and caught Paul and some other fellow and started to draft off of them due to the major headwind as we crossed over the bridge (mile 7?).  I was pretty much dieing at this point, barely holding on.  Paul and the other guy were taking turns drafting off of each-other but I couldn't  gather enough energy to pull ahead of them to lead.  They took turns as I benefited from it.  At about the 10 mile mark I passed the guy I was drafting off of and Paul was still ahead of me.  At the second turn around (mile 11?) I was finally closing in on Paul.  My body was doing everything it can to tell me to stop or at least walk!  It took everything I had to keep going.  I had about 1.5 miles left and I turned off my headphones and listened to myself breath (pant actually!) .   I knew I could keep going and maybe even pick up the pace knowing I only had about a mile to go!  I passed Paul and then a couple of other guys.  I said to myself, "Steady Rene.  Hold on.  Keep the legs moving!  Just keep going!". There was another guy in front of me I was trying to catch.  The finish line was now in site.  I picked up my pace and caught the guy.  I started to go even faster, he picked up his pace and he wasn't going to let me pass him.  We both sprinted to the finish and he beat me by 3 seconds, lucky for me he is in the 20-24 age group.  I was happily surprised to grab 1st place in my AG!
Empty the tank...

...and leave everything on the course!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Snake River Canyon Half Marathon

Race Date: March 2, 2013

I have Plantar Fasciitis so I wasn't sure what to expect for the race.  My goal was to PR (personal record), but I didn't know if my foot would hold up.  I learned how to tape my foot from a couple of videos on YouTube so I taped it the evening before.
Snake River Half Marathon Bib

I rode down with Rob, Danielle, Cheryl and Sherri.  Once we got there it was pretty cool outside (49F) and I couldn't decide what to wear, the wind made it feel like it was 34F.  I was considering a tank top but decided on the long sleeve Elements shirt.  It is light and very comfortable to run in.  I saw a lot of familiar faces from the Spokane racing community so I knew it was going to be a good race.   I did notice there was a headwind which this race is notorious for.  I ran a half mile warm up then took off my sweatshirt and pants and put them by the fence.  I hope they are still there when I get back!

Miles 1, 2  Pace: 6:16, 6:31
I have always taken a gel before a race, but have heard lots of debate if that was the right thing to do.  I decided to not take a gel this time pre-race.  The gun went off and we all took off.  The fast dudes disappeared quickly, I was in the second pack and there were two familiar faces in this pack, Ted and Shawn.   I looked at my watch and knew I couldn't hold this pace for 13.1 miles.  The pack started to break up, Ted stayed in the front pack and three of us dropped back to form a separate pack.  Within my pack Shawn was in front and I was drafting in the tail.

Miles 3  Pace: 6:40
Photo by J. McCabe
I stayed tucked in and adjusted when needed to find the best area to get the least wind resistance behind the runner in front of me.  I carried three gels in my fuel belt, I took my first gel at mile 3 and slowly ate it.  I was feeling really good.

Miles 4, 5, 6 Pace: 6:44, 6:46, 6:45
I was cruising along and noticed a couple of runners catch our train and ran behind me.  There must have been two or three guys.  My body and mind felt good.  I took my next gel a little before mile six so I can wash it down with water at the aid station.  Due to the unpredictable winds, I didn't know if we would also get a head wind on the way back.  I was relieved we didn't have the headwind at the turn-a-round! 

Miles 7 Pace: 6:39
This is where things change a bit.  Since there wasn't a headwind I didn't need to draft anymore. I felt really good and started to pick up my pace.  I ran past the guys I was drafting off of before and a caught a couple of guys in front of them and then it happened!!  My left foot PF flared up which caused me to slow down.  Once I slowed the soreness subsided.  I was taking more short choppy steps with a quicker cadence.

Miles 8, 9, 10  Pace: 6:45, 6:41, 6:45
2nd AG
All the guys including Kercher pass me, I could not respond. Shawn, the guy I drafted off of earlier was still behind me.  I tried to maintain good running form, head up, back straight and chest out.  I was running by myself at this point.  I was getting really hot so I took off my winter hat and shoved into the pocket on my fuel belt.

Miles 11, 12 Pace 6:46, 6:46
Still running by myself and getting tired fast.  Still trying to maintain good running position and hoping my foot won't flare up again.

Miles 13,  Pace 6:34
I see a guy in front of me and want to catch him before the finish line.  I ran with him earlier around mile 8.  If only I can just pass him!!  I pick up my pace, open my lungs and exerted myself!  I pass him finally and then I cross the finish line.

I was super excited to PR!!  Once I stopped, my foot got sore again.   Shortly after finishing, I put my legs in the ice cold river which helped my feet and legs feel better.  Ahhh

Finish Time 1:26:53
Avg Pace: 6:38
Avg Heart Rate: 174
Max Heart Rate: 184