Sunday, September 4, 2011

Summer Recap

And just like that it's September.   Almost 3 months since my last entry.  It feels a bit like a confession at church.  Well - at least how I'd imagine it would feel like - with me being neither catholic, nor a church goer...  but other than that.  Exactly like it...

I don't have a lot of creative juices as I sit down to update my blog.  The main purpose is to jot down a quick recap of the summer - mostly for my own benefit.  To remind myself of what went well, and what didn't, so I can learn from it for next year.

If you want to read this - go right ahead - but don't tell you that I didn't warn you.  If you're having trouble sleeping at night - maybe print this out and keep it by the side of your bed.  You can thank me the next morning.

Ok - late June - the Slacker Half Marathon.  I set a big PR here - 1.23.45.  I love the symmetry of those numbers.  However - it definitely wasn't smooth sailing.  I went out way too fast - 10K was in 38.50, and at 6.55 miles - the half way point - doubling the time got 1.21.xx.  Around 10 miles I started to struggle, and the last mile was pure hell - 7:30ish  min pace, which given the overall average was 6:20 - it shows how bad the wheels had come off.  So despite the PR - next year - go out a little slower.  That last mile is tough, you can gain at least a minute on that alone if you're smarter.

Still - 2nd in AG - nothing to be unhappy with and a big old medal.  Here's a group of us at the finish - me in the back middle.  All AG medalists - except they didn't have the silver medals at the time and had to mail them to us. Grrr...  if only Jay was a bit more secure with his body...  :)

Then back to the grind.  I wanted to follow a friend's plan from earlier in the year, where he ramped up the mileage 3 or so months out - and then did achieve the sub-3 that I'm also striving for.  July I had my 6 day weekly PR mileage record 91 - and also mileage month PR (341).  And it was bloody hot all sodding month !

Straight from that into early August I ran the Evergreen 5K.  Another fast course.  My goal was to go sub 18 minutes so I could officially 'retire' the distance.  I hate 5Ks with a passion.  The race went exactly to plan. 5:45 min/mile splits pretty much the whole way, to a 17:50 time.  3rd in AG so another medal.  BlueEarth was there too - just a few yards behind - and a sub 18 PR for him as well and 1st in AG.  Amazing.  Very happy with how that went.  It was also the first time I learned of the amazing Scholl family.  Tyler - at 10 years old - ran 16:21, while his 14 year old sister Tabor, ran 17:26 - the only woman to beat me that day.  Unbelievable family.  I'm sure they'll be very well known in a few years.  Next year I'll run the 10K.  Lesson from this one - there is no chip timing at the start - so get up closer to the front.  I probably lost 5 seconds or so from my PR because of the time it took to cross the start line.

The positive - both the Slacker and Evergreen Races qualified me for the A wave at next year's Bolder Boulder.  Looking back to my beginning of year goals - 'sub 1.25 in the half, sub 18 in the 5K' - check, and check.

The following weekend was Georgetown to Idaho Springs.  I knew that it was very unlikely I'd beat my new half PR, so I trained through the race.  73 miles that week and expectations were low.  Driving up with a couple of friends, I cautioned them against running too fast the first few miles, and then went about proving what a hypocrite I can be.  All plans of a slow start went out the window.  Way too fast the first few miles - I was gassed at 7, and struggled home again.  1:26.31 - still only 5 seconds slower than last year despite the huge positive split which told me that I was in a lot better shape.  Next year - GO OUT SLOWER !  You can easily make up that time at the bottom.  First 7 miles I averaged 6:25 pace, last 6 it was 6:45+ pace.  Still - I was happy that I kept it going, despite a strong urge to quit and walk it in.  I hadn't tapered for this race. but that's about the only positive I can glean from that one.

The only other unusual happening was later that week.  I was grinding up dried ghost peppers (bhut jolokias) and some of the powder got into the air and into my lungs.  I went into a coughing spasm - and pulled my groin....  as a result I lost 3 full days of scheduled running - my first missed runs of the year.  Even now, 3 weeks later, I can feel that it's not completely healed.  As a result, August was just 272 miles.

August was also sodding hot.  In fact - it was the hottest August on record in Denver.  So all in all, a reasonable mileage effort.

As I write now, it's less than 4 weeks to go until St George.  The Georgetown to Idaho Springs half, and the 'pepper groin' incident have taken a little of the luster off my form and confidence.  Still - that's probably a good thing.  A friend I met at a club run fell apart after 16 miles at St George from going too fast on the downhills.  Given my experience in Boston - I can definitely envision that scenario.  I need to respect the hills of St George.  Go out too fast - and my quads will become jelly.  Better to go in with some trepidation, take things easy, and see if I can turn it on at the end.

We'll see.

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