Saturday, March 8, 2014

Race Report: 2014 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile

I got up around a quarter after 6, my breakfast was 2 english muffins with butter & jam, and a cup of coffee.  I drove down to the race site, parked about 2 miles away in a church parking lot.  I was really surprised with the road conditions, they were icy and rutted.  I made my way to the starting area, made use of the portapotties (they were plentiful), and enjoyed pre-race hot chocolate.  The sweats drop off was at the bandshell, and as I removed my warmups I got the first hint that the wind coming across the lake might be a problem.  Fortunately that omen never came to pass, as the sun got up higher, and the wind stayed mostly calm the weather conditions were never really a factor.  In the starting area it was obvious in my vicinity most people were running with one or more people that they knew.  As I typically do I kept quiet and just observed others.  Everyone was in good spirits, and it seemed like a good bunch to race with.

Once the gun went off it took almost 90 seconds to cross the starting line.  A lot of start/stopping, in typical Minnesota rush hour fashion.

The first mile felt pretty good, I intended to run it around 11:00 but ended up just over 10:30.  "All good," I thought to myself, if it stays this way I'll just run even splits throughout the race."  Split - 10:38

The second mile has a couple of hills on it, and I made a mental note that this stretch was going to really suck on mile 8 when we come back around Harriet for a second lap.  Also, I noticed a strange ever s slight numbness in my left foot, almost like it was going to sleep.  It didn't hurt, it wasn't bothering me, it just felt a little weird.  If I had the benefit of knowing that this was foreshadowing, I would have taken the time to stop and re-tie my shoe.  Split - 10:33

The third mile was where the first signs of trouble showed up.  My heart rate was still up from those hills in mile 2.  I dropped off my pace a bit, but my heart was still going 160.  Split - 10:58

Miles 4-6 it was very obvious that my primary goal of a 1:45 race were not in the cards, and I switched to my fallback goal of 2:00.  But as each mile went by my times were going up, and it was not looking good.  Around this time I began talking to some of the people around me.  The one nice thing that I have found about running off the back of a race is that the nicest people are usually back there Average split - 12:10

Miles 7-9 is where the wheels really came off the bus.  I could no longer even maintain an easy jog, recovery run pace.  I took walk breaks to get my heart rate down.  I took walk breaks to go up hills (I was right, those hills on mile 8 sucked) I took walk breaks to rest from walk breaks.  In the 9th mile I felt a sharp twinge in my left ankle that lasted for a couple of steps and then went away as mysteriously as it appeared.  The numbness in my left foot from mile 2 had been constant and accepted by my brain as "Normal" for the time being.  Even at this point I did not link the two. Average split - 13:30

In Mile 10 I caught up with one of the runners I had befriended earlier in the race.  She was also struggling (It was her first time covering 10 miles in a single run at all, much less in a race).  I was determined to finish the last mile running the entire way, so I pulled this runner along with me, talking her through.  I countered her negative talk with positive talk (which actually helped me tremendously, because I had been having some pretty negative internal dialogue for the past hour at that point).  About a half mile to go I started to get a shooting pain in my left knee.  I sucked it up and we crossed the line together.  I wished her well and went off to get my warmups.  Split - 13:07

  • My plan was to run a 1:45 race - average 10:30 per mile throughout.  Start with a slower first mile, make up the difference in miles 2-3, and then run even 1:30 splits the rest of the way.  My fall back strategy (Assuming that I couldn't hold the pace) was to run a 2 hour race (Average pave 12:00 per mile) 
  • I was not able to hold to this strategy - it was apparent only three miles into the race.  I switched to my fallback strategy, and for a mile or two thought that I had a chance of achieving it.  But as I started needing more and more frequent walk breaks (See 'Conditioning' below) it slipped away from me.  By the 7th mile I accepted it for the train wrek that it was.   
  • I ended up over 18 minutes off my primary goal and almost 4 minutes over even my fallback goal. 
  • There is no doubt whatsoever that I had seriously cut back my miles in the weeks leading up to this race - I was not ready to maintain my goal pace over the distance.
  • I could not get my heart rate to settle down, it was redlining throughout the race, even after I had conceded my pace.  I had to take ever more frequent walk breaks and nurse myself to the finish line like an overheating car.  The worst was when I would go past race volunteers posted along the course and get a "Lookin' good!"  from them.  I don't think that they were intentionally being patronizing, but all in all it was pretty embarrassing since I was doing anything but 'looking good.'
  • Hindsight tells me that a combination of my calf muscles being too tight and my shoes improperly laced created a chain reaction of events resulting in irritation of the tendons on the top of my foot.  Adjusting for my foot caused misalignment in my knee that over the distance resulted in the shooting pain. 
  • The week leading up to the race my daughter came down with what turned out to be strep throat.  I got poor sleep the entire week as I cared for her at night.  While I have not gotten sick, there is still 100% certainty that I was exposed to the virus.  So to my mind sleep deprivation and a busy immune system definitely contributed to the breakdown.
  • If I am serious about running two marathons and running them "well" this year, I definitely need to stick to my training plan and get my miles in with no more excuses.  Also, I don't have specific hill workouts planned.  These need to happen, because those hills were not even all that big but to me they were killers.
  • For the conditions I went with a full beanie, light fleece gloves, last year's long sleeve 5K jersey over a Nike pro combat hyperwarm long sleeve shirt, tights, Nike running socks and my Asics GT-1000's.  
  • I was fortunate in that it was not very windy, as my gear was not wind resistant.  A good add to the list above would have been a light windshell to keep my torso and arms warm.
  • I am convinced that at least part of my leg issues can be attributed to the top laces on my left shoe being cranked down too hard over the top of my foot.  I will be looking into lacing alternatives for my shoes.

The two mile walk back to the car was a nightmare.  The top of my left foot still hurt, my left knee still hurt, and the plantar fascia on both feet felt like they were on fire.  All that plus I was stiffening up.  The next day I had DOMS in my quads.  All said I really need to look into my conditioning plan.

There are a few things that I would have done differently - Gotten my miles in, stretched properly, paid attention to what my body was telling me earlier on.  As for whether or not I will ever do this race again, my answer has to be "Maybe." It is definitely a special time and place of the year.  I find myself wondering how I would have felt about the day if I had just run the 5K and really opened it up.  As for how it helps me to prepare for the next event on my calendar (Grandmas), it served as an eye-opener.  I need to re-asses my race plan, ensure that I am able to get my miles in and get to the start line prepared.  I don't like blowing up in races nd would prefer not to have it happen ever again.

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