I am going to try to beat Mike
to be the first to post about the race. Unfortunately, his will still be more interesting.
There were several titles to this post that I could have used such as:
*You Get What You TRAIN For.*
*It could've have been worse.*
*Water in the mouth, not up the nose please.*
But all of these sound like I didn't do well or have a good time which is untrue. I had a blast. All three titles are technically correct but carry the wrong message.
First, this was my first race back from a long, long injury. And training has just started getting back. If I thought getting through the injury was a "long road", guess what? Getting back to my conditioning before last April's horrid half is going to be a long road as well. I dug out the HR monitor the other day to include the data in my log again as I finally got back to daily training. And the numbers were not good!! Morning, noon, or night, the HR was either 10bpm higher than "usual" or my pace was almost 60sec slower per mile. That's right, the old MP pace has been shot dead. If I try running 6:40's now, I'll be DNF at mile 18. No surprise, but having the numbers staring at me gives me the chills. The good news: I am seeing immediate improvement "day to day" as the the paces are getting easier and the HR is slowing coming back down to earth during my easy outings.
Second, it indeed could have been worse. I was pleased with my performance. Scared I'd be sucking wind by mile 3, I determined to run the initial miles in control. I was successful in avoiding the temptation to surge up to my friends, Jon and Ozzie up ahead a few dozen yards. This plan worked very well. By the end of the race I was running as fast as I could go but I could have kept going. So while I hit a pace ceiling, the steady pace throughout the race allowed me to catch anyone dying in the final miles.
It didn't go exactly as planned however. I had arbitrarily chosen 90% maxHR as the pace I thought I should start off at and work the race around there. That didn't work because I felt in control at a higher heart rate so I decided to let the HR be elevated as long as my breathing was controlled and my form stayed smooth. But elevated it went! Right to the tip top and stayed there. I always thought my max was 182 but it turns out I hit 186 going up the last big hill. How about that? Anyway, after 1 mile or so I hit 180 and I couldn't shake it. It would drop slightly but bounce right back at the slightest incline. Needless to say, I was concerned about a possible crash in the final miles. But the breathing was controlled, I could talk, and the form was smooth. I did, however, feel like I was on the brink of running "out of control" if I went one smidgen faster. In fact, if I even *thought* of trying to run a little quicker I'd start getting nauseous.
So the standout lessons here are:
1. I need weeks of miles to bring my HR back down to where it belongs. There are pace ceilings and I hit mine.
2. It was the right thing to do to stay in control in the early miles. This is one of my few steady pace races and I enjoyed it. Especially since at the end I felt like I could continue.
3. My endurance training over the last few years has not deserted me. Even though I was at my limit pace-wise, I handled the elevated HR over the entire distance without crashing. Good news.
Thirdly, I had trouble at the 2nd water stop. For some reason, I attempted to ingest the water via my nose. Lots of sputtering. But I laughed at myself.
It was good to get back to the race scene. All the familiar faces were there - too many to list. Marc
was up from NY and not to spoil his news but he got an 11 second PR for the distance. He hung out with Mike for 4 miles and then dropped the hammer to clinch the PR. Nice job! It looks like Team Boyden will be back in training come September. The summer schedules will quiet down (and my injury resolved) and we can return to those chilly Sunday morning runs around Boyden Lake.
The race itself went smoothly - except for the winner. He had such a lead than when he went across the border into Canada they stopped him! The rest of us got in as they wrote down our numbers as we zoomed by. Getting back into the U.S. was smooth as well. Just smile and wave! However immigration did come down to the finish line and wait for one in particular to finish and took him off by himself to ask him a couple of questions.
And finally... I won my age group! Placing 6th overall in 31:00 I hit the *sweet spot* of age groupings. Of the 5 ahead of me #1 and #2 were in their 20's, #3 and #4 were in their 50's, and #5 was in his 40's. Hah!