Saturday, February 21, 2009

It was a good day to race: Park To Park race report

The weather held out and there was only a slight headwind. No complaints from me.

Park To Park is a good, flat, mostly straight 5 miler from downtown Houston to Hermann Park. It's a great race to gauge how your spring training is going.

The plan was to run somewhere between 6:05 and 6:10 per mile. Turns out, my buddy Ed had the same plan. He and I have the same negative split racing philosophy (start out slow & run the 2nd half of the race faster than the 1st half), so we decided to work together to deal with the headwind and maintain a proper pace. Ed is much better at this than I am so it was an opportunity for me to work on pacing. I wasn't sure I could hang with Ed the whole race but was ready to give it a shot.

About that whole pace thing. The problem with running with a Garmin watch is that the miles on the watch and the miles on the course may be different. So when you pass the first mile marker *AFTER* the Garmin says you've run a mile....who/what do you believe?

This was the case today. The watch was telling us we were running ~6:05p during the first mile, but we hit the first mile marker ~6:15. Although we didn't discuss it, Ed and I decided to believe the Garmin. Both of us have run too many races to believe the first mile marker. And, to be honest here, I was not ready to pick up the pace by 10 seconds per mile ;)

By the time we hit 3 miles, we were zoning pretty well but the discomfort of the race was setting in. I mean discomfort in the same way a dentist says, " may feel some discomfort..." Ed and I had taken turns blocking the headwind but, as I felt like the wind was actually cooling more than slowing us down, I decided to lead vs tuck in. Somewhere during mile 4, Ed faded back a bit and I was left to my own devices.

Just after mile 4, I passed two very tough competitors. About 300 meters later, one of them passed me back and left me in the dust. Note to self...making a move with a mile to go in a 5 mile race may not be the best tactic. Okay, it worked on one of the guys; but he's coming back from several broken ribs...I don't think it will work later in the season.

I finished with 5.05 miles on the Garmin (likely due to a long 1st mile). Several folks, who also had Garmins, indicated the course was a bit long as well. I measured it later on GMaps and found it to be ~5.08 miles.

We all had to run the same distance so it's probably not that big of a deal...unless the course record was under assault. As for me, I'm really happy with my race and even managed to acquire some 3rd place age group hardware. Ahhhh, no...3rd place in your age group is not quite good enough to turn pro...

Yep, a good day to race

UPDATE: Forgot to mention my time of 30:48.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2009 Chevron Houston Marathon

This year, I’m pacing the 3:20 group. For non-runners and newbies, that means I’ll lead a group of folks who want to run the marathon in 3 hours and 20 minutes. Actually, there will be two of us leading the 3:20 group. Marathons are funny and things happen. So, with two of us doing the pacing, we can be reasonably assured that at least one of us will be able to get to the finish line.

Cool thing about being Pace Leader
You get to run the marathon for free. Yep, I get a bib number and everything and I don’t have to pay a dime. This satisfies my inner graduate student immensely.

You get free clothes. This year Under Armour is providing us with a singlet, socks, shorts, and a very nice running jacket sort of thing. Very cool. Oh yea, and we get shoes too. What, you say you didn’t know that Under Armour makes running shoes? Well, they go on sale at the end of January. So, I’ll be styling in shoes that only a few other lucky runners will have. This satisfies my inner fashion junkie.

I get to make a speech at the Marathon Expo on Saturday. Okay, it’s not exactly a speech. But I do get introduced and get to say a few words to anyone who might be listening. I haven’t worked out exactly what I’ll say but it’s probably going to be about taking it easy in the first few miles, running at a steady pace, blah, blah, blah. Of course, all of the pacers will be there and we’ll be around to answer questions. This will satisfy my inner public speaker.

And, I get to help a bunch of folks reach their goal of running 3:20 in a marathon. This is good as, over the years, many folks have helped me reach some of my running goals. Now I get to do the same. This satisfies my inner do gooder.