Thursday, September 27, 2012

Taper Pains

With just a little over a week out from Steamtown, I am in the midst of my taper. It is nice but frustrating at the same time. I like the physical rest from the reduction in miles but when one is operating on all cylinders it feels like deploying the parachute in a drag racer way too early. This morning it felt odd that I woke up knowing I would not run at all today. Only the fourth day off since my ultra in July.

My latest dilemma is whether to add one more 5K speed/tempo session this Saturday. My choices are either one of my favorite courses out in Blue Bell, PA for a cause that is good but a bit more religious in its mission statement than I like or a course up the street I can walk to. While the latter is appealing for its proximity, you have to remember that I run around here all the time so it might not be as inspired. Especially since I raced the course back in the spring.

Those are not the only options really but the most reasonable from the sense I won't get into a showdown that will negatively impact me on the 7th. Even if I could try to race not one but two races for $100 bucks. One of those is nice and early but I have a lot of complacency on that course because I run and bike the route at least 5 days a week. (It is on my bike route to and from work.)

In the end, I might not do any but still....

Sunday, September 23, 2012

So one more trail...

Two days after my last post, I ended up hoping into a local trail race series. Or I should say one more trail race for me. Can't beat the cost...0. And some good runners come out to tackle a mysterious trail course that nobody knows until they show up. This year the Wissahickon Fall Series partnered with New Balance and Bryn Mawr Running Company to step it up a notch. Anyways, Thursday's race was a mere 2.75 miles but some really technical trail footing. Actually, a heck of a lot more than I expected. I was rocking my Inov-8 F-lites thinking we'd be on some more wide open double track that you could really open it up on. Once the race started, I did my best to work myself outfront and I managed to get on the trail first. However, right when we went into a big technical rocky downhill, I was swooshed. My reaction was...WHOA! And the person kept opening a nice gap on top of the distance he gained on the downhill. But I kept at it steadily eating back at his lead. Once we got off root riddled and boulder hopping stretch, I really started chopping it down, especially when we kicked it up climbing. With about 2/3rd of a mile to go, I caught up to the leader before he had one last surge to try to add some distance between us. But with a half mile to go, I finally caught up to him again and passed for good putting some serious distance before the finish. So I managed to come from behind for the win. Really happy with my performance.

And just two days later, (or yesterday), I traveled down to Maryland for my first ever race in that state. I ventured down to Havre de Grace for the Celebration Run, which is a 5K held in town for the past 15 years. (This year was 16) I was enticed by running a new course and the $100 gift card for 1st thru 3rd. Plus, I was in the town once before last year on my way back from Baltimore. It has some waterfront views. Considering I was back on the roads, I didn't have to worry too much about technical footing. However, not long after the race started, I had to worry about one thing....directions. Despite being such an established race, the course was open to traffic and had no course marshals. Luckily, I knew two things, the course did have arrows in orange and once I got by the 1 mile mark, I only had two more turns. At the registration, they had plenty of copies of the course available to look at. I also got the run down on the course from a runner who I have seen at a lot of my Delaware races. All of these things were a big help because within the first 1/3 of a mile, I was out all alone. About 1/2 mile in I got confused about a possible turn but I saw the orange arrow and went the right way. From there, nose to the grindstone and hammered out a 15:57. Second ended up being over three minutes back. It would have been a lot closer but apparently the people running 2nd and 3rd at the two mile mark, blew by the next to last turn. For my victory I got $100 to Dicks Sporting Goods which will come in handy at some point. And I celebrated the Celebration Run with breakfast at the Waffle House in town. Oh yeah.

Not sure of next weekend's racing. I may or may not race since as of today I am two weeks out from Steamtown. I'm feeling really good about my condition and don't want to screw it up.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

With the fury of the trail and ultra (all of one 50 miler) seasons behind me, it seems I continue to neglect this blog just a smidge.

Since my last post, I have been much more active racing, alleviating some of the worry I had relative to my conditioning. I’m feeling much better about where I am at physically and as such, mentally.

To follow-up on the possible 10 miler in my previous post, I did wind up traveling to York for its premier 10 Miler. In an effort to avoid, a long drive in the morning, I opted to drive out the night before and stay the night. It was the first time since 2001 that I spent the night in York. (In 2008, Peg and I got stuck in York when our car brokedown. But then we were not in downtown York.) Great weather really made it a nice outing and even better race. Despite some bus shenanigans (it is a point to point) and a delayed race start (which did help me), the race went super smooth. I was out front solo from the get go cranking out rather steady miles on the converted rail line. Even managed to drop my 2nd fastest split in the last mile! In the process, I set a new PR in 55:31. Considering, it was only my second 10 mile race and on a cinder-like trail surface, I might be able to whack off some more time on a road course. At the end of the day, I had a huge boost in my confidence.

In the weeks since the race, I have done two more 5K’s, each with increasingly faster times. (They were not any races that were too special in terms of prestige. Yet, I will note that the HCA 5K win was the 1st time I have won the same race 4 times in a row. Which I believe, may match the number of times I have won Milltown’s July 4th 5K.) And I have been feeling real solid in my workouts. (So confident that on the 8th, I ran 20 miles home from a BBQ/Bowling outing at 10pm. It worked out nice because I slept in on Sunday knowing my 20 miler was done.) Now the tough part is going to begin. The taper. I am ready for it but feel so guilty not running my normal mileage. However, with Steamtown, just a little less than three weeks away, no need to be stupid. I am ready for that race. (Especially, now that I finally booked my room. I waited a bit late but got a nice place not too far for race morning that did not require two nights.)