Tuesday, 27 August 2013 07:44

Wee-Chi-Tah Trail Half-Marathon Race Report

Wee-Chi-Tah Half-Marathon Trail Race

Let's continue the story from yesterday shall we?  In case you missed it here is the recap of the Hotter N Hell Hundred Bike Race.

wee chi tah - trail run - race report

 After the bike ride we showered, had dinner and back to bed early again as we needed to get up for a half-marathon trail race.  Makes total sense doesn't it?  When the alarm went off I don't think Jeff, nor I, moved.  What in God's name were we thinking? Totally spent and dehydrated we pushed our way to the car while Bob hung back as he wasn't running and was going to head back to Austin. Before I tell you about the race let me just say that I have NEVER done a trail race.  Karen has and has told me that they are just different and you run them slower.  I thought great....run slower so more of a recovery run.  Yeah, not so much.  You start out and everybody is gung-ho and you go with the flow out of the gate.  Jeff was gone in seconds and I was caught behind other athletes, which was not a bad thing. I didn't know what to expect so going out a bit slow was fine by me.  That is until the first mile was done, my watch beeped and I saw: 8:48.  What was I thinking?  If those people were not in front of me I probably would have run a rather idiotic 7 minute mile.  Holy hell this is going to be hard was my second thought. I ran and with every step my quads screamed, then my calf, then my hamstring.  Even my arms and neck were yelling at me to stop and lay down. I hammered on and eventually wound up with two guys behind me and we were chatting while running single track.  These guys were pushing me otherwise I don't know if I would have kept on.  We were together for about 2-3 miles but on the trail that seems like an eternity of having guys breathing down your neck.  At once you want to yell at them to pass you but at the same time you are happy to have partners because you have no clue where you are or where you are going.  The small chit-chat that last 20-3o seconds and then stops for minutes helps pass the time. Now, this trail racing stuff is HARD. You are going up and down repeatedly. You are jumping over roots and rocks.  Avoiding getting hit in the face by twigs.  You have to be on your game.  At one point we went through a series of ups and down that while only 1/4 mile in length kicked my ass.  I reached the top of one of the dunes and stopped dead in my tracks.  One of the two guys, who had resorted to calling me Jeep because of my shirt yelled out: C'mon Jeep you cannot stop now. You are my pacer. I said alright let's do this and I ran not 100 feet, not 10 feet but one foot before I never saw him again. I just could not keep up the pace but I was determined not to walk.  He had given me the inspiration to run the entire race.  This was at mile 6 1/4 (yes, that is what the mile marker said) and I knew that I had about 1 hour and 10 minutes to go.  Let's do this. At one point you go over a suspension bridge that sways and rocks and I fell into the fence three times because I did not have the leg strength to hold myself up. Once past that you run up a cliff and a spectator yelled: #472 looking strong. I replied with:  You are not a very good liar.  I was done until we crossed a stream and the cold water on my feet made me want to stop and lay down.  One of the volunteers must have seen my face and said only one more mile to go. I heard this and started running, then I heard 'go you can get in under 2 hours.'  WHAT? I huffed and I puffed and I climbed the last hill then crossed the finish line and hit my stop button at 2:00:00.  HOLY SH*T are you kidding me?  Looking to go 2:30 and I beat that by 30 minutes.  I was spent. I could not stand at the finish line and the idea of doing anything other than involuntary breathing was impossible. Caught up with Jeff afterwards and he said that was the hardest trail race he had ever done.  Hands down.  I don't know if I'll go trail running anytime soon but to put down a 2 hour run on that course made my day beyond belief.  We grabbed some bananas, oranges and water then headed off to the car where I proceeded wrap a towel around my waist and strip in the parking lot because I just did not care anymore.  I was spent and tired and hungry and dirty. In other words I was done. Off to the Motel 6 for a quick shower, then out for breakfast and a two-hour ride back home.  All in a good day's work to say the least. This endurance weekend was a big boost of confidence for the rest of 2013 and truly for what lays ahead in 2014.  If my body can react to a trail run and finish in 2 hours after pouring myself over my handlebars the day before in a 100 mile race then I truly believe that a 5:30-5:45 bike split with a 3:45 run split at an Ironman next year is well within reach.  Now to work on my swim anxiety.

Published in Race Reports

Dallas Rock and Roll Marathon was not a race that I had planned at the start of the year.  It wasn't until Amy Perkel of Boundless Nutrition sent me an email asking if I wanted free passes to the race (it is nice to have sponsors) that I added this event to the list.  Of course my first question to myself was how do you recover from a Half-Ironman?  And the obvious answer was to run a half-marathon.  Shortly after accepting this kind offer did Karen ask me if I wanted to run the A2A Half-Marathon on April 1st.  This time I emailed Coach and she said it would be fine because she would just add-on miles to the run or make it a hard run.  One way or the other my recovery from a Half-Ironman was to run not one but two Half-Marathons. When 70.3 Ironman San Juan ended I checked Training Peaks and noticed that the run was NOT going to be a recovery run, but instead a 10 minute warmup followed by a steady tempo pace.  Scratching my head I thought.......really?  Then I looked at the Saturday training and saw that it was to be three hours on the trainer followed by a 30 minute run.  Seriously what were my legs going to do in this race?  I had no clue. After exchanging text messages with my Coach on Saturday night it was determined that the 'tempo' pace was going to be 8:30-8:45/mile.  I wanted to be close to what I figured my pace at Ironman Texas was going to be and this was a compromise with my coach. [caption id="attachment_5604" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Chico Sporting His El Diablos And His Medal"]berry5k_running_race[/caption] On Saturday morning Chico was running a race as well.  He had a 50 yard dash scheduled and it was quite possibly the funniest thing I have ever seen.  The race director was going to count down from 10 and by the time she hit 6 all the kids (about 100) took off running.  They were moving so fast that Chico got run over, but the brave soul popped back up and kept hustling.  As soon as all the kids hit the finish line, they just wrapped around and raced each other to the medals.  I could not stop laughing and did not get one good pic of them. After that I met Robert over at TriShop for a 3 hour CompuTrainer ride on the Ironman Arizona course.  I managed to get in 57 miles for a 19 mph average that made me happy considering I had no recovery or taper for this ride.  After that we bounced off and put up 3.25 miles in 30 minutes for a 9:12/mi pace.  This was a great day of training.  Later that night we hosted Karen's sister who would be running her second half-marathon, and first since the Debacle in the Desert (Yes, the RnR Las Vegas.)  We had ordered vegetable pizza and some salads for dinner.  By around 8:00pm my eyes were fading fast and by 9:00pm I managed to walk to bed.  Within moments I was asleep.  I don't remember saying good night to anybody.  I don't remember turning on or off the TV.  I just remember the alarm going off at 3:30am. Thankfully I put out all of my morning food and clothes.  I was dressed and eating by 4:30am when Karen's sister came out and joined me for some hot coffee.  A little chitter chatter, Karen finally awoke and we were on the road by 6:15am.  It was crazy getting to the race site.  There was so much traffic and at one point we went about 10 feet in 5 minutes.  Boundless Nutrition was kind enough to provide me with VIP parking passes (Thank You Amy -- these were a life saver) and we were able to park right at the finish line.  On the shuttle to the race start and I laughed so hard.  There was the bus driver who had more energy than me and was hilarious.  We laughed the entire time to the race start and I'm sure we annoyed plenty of people but I was relaxed. [caption id="attachment_5602" align="alignright" width="224" caption="Nancy (Karen's Sister) And I Before The Race"]dallas_rockandroll_halfmarathon_race[/caption] We got into Corral 6 which was a 2:00 projected finish time.  Let me just say that all the people in the 1:50 to 2:10 projected finish time have all the right in the world to complain about proper seeding in a race.  Normally I am in Corral 1 or 2, but seeded myself back here because I did not know what my legs would provide on race day.  As we walked up to the start line (approximately 10 minutes) I had planned to take it easy for 10 minutes and figured I would be right with everybody else.  Before I knew it I was passing a ton of people and even walkers......really?  Walking within the first mile?  I was so frustrated but knew I had to maintain my plan as that was far more important than the pace. I hit the first mile at 8:54 and felt strong.  OK, so now I need to hit the paces of 8:30-8:45 per mile and picked it up a bit.  My legs felt very strong, even through the hardest part of the course.  This course sets up like a mountain.  Uphill until Mile 8 and then downhill from there on out.  My goal was to run up the hills at the same rate of perceived exertion and ignore my watch (this is a story for another day and one I am very much perturbed about.)  As I hit one hill after the other and I was passing runners and feeling strong I made up my mind that come Mile 10 I was going to forget the 8:30-8:45 pace and just run. Each mile ticked off and they were all faster than 8:30 and I thought.....where is all this leg drive coming from?  Splits from Mile 2 to Mile 8 were:

  • Mile 2: 8:31
  • Mile 3: 8:06
  • Mile 4: 8:23
  • Mile 5: 8:13
  • Mile 6: 8:15
  • Mile 7: 8:09
  • Mile 8: 8:04

It was at this point that I wound up next to a runner who was looking fluid and for whatever reason made it my mission to not get beat by this guy and to bury him.  Why?  No clue.  I was probably trying to deflect any pain that I was about to endure and push it away from my brain. We started running in lock step.  He would pull slightly ahead and I would catch him.  We would run together for a bit and then I would surge ahead a tad. This went on and on from mile marker 8 to mile marker 10.  It was at Mile marker 10 that I said it is time to set the best 5k of the entire race so far. I pushed any and all ideas out of my brain and just ran.  My leg turnover was solid.  I was landing mid-foot.  I was not breathing too hard and I felt like I was on cruise control.  I was smart enough to hide my heart rate on my watch and only had total time and pace.  Next time I race a half-marathon I am getting rid of pace as well. When I hit Mile 12 I then spoke to myself and said you can do anything for a mile and started running harder.  This race was going to end with the fastest mile yet even if it meant tossing cookies or passing out.  I can say that for the first time in a while I had a little stitch and felt hungry.  Either way this was not going to stop me from running as hard as my legs would carry me.  I also started doing math and knew there was a time I wanted to beat. As you enter into Fair Park I saw another runner wearing an orange singlet and it was like a bull seeing the red cape.  I went hard after him and I passed him, but that must have made him mad because he surged as well.  Except guess what mister orange singlet.....I'm only in 4th gear and BOOM down to 5th gear and blew him away. When I crossed the finish line I was hardly panting and felt so strong that if I had run at this pace the entire race and negative split is as well I would have set a PR this day.  I felt so strong out there and my HR stayed relatively low for the pace I was running.  Mile splits from Mile 9 on:

  • Mile 9: 7:59
  • Mile 10: 7:57
  • Mile 11: 7:50
  • Mile 12: 7:57
  • Mile 13: 7:40
  • Final:  7:08 pace

My final time was 1:47:22.  This cruise control run placed me at 117 out of 782 M35-39 or Top 15%.  Overall I finished 863 out of 11312 or Top 8%.  I am very happy with my result considering where I am in my training and having just raced a Half-Ironman.  Next week brings another challenge because on Saturday I will be riding for 5 hours and then traveling to Oklahoma for another Half-Marathon.  I do know that this upcoming race will be slower with a goal of finishing between 1:50 and 1:55 since the first 5 miles will be in Z1/Z2 and the final 8 miles at my goal race pace of 8:45-9:00 per mile.  Execution, again, will be the name of the game.

Participant Detail
Finished In:    01:47:22 (8:12/mile)
  • Overall: 863 out of 11312 (Top 8%)
  • Division: 117 out of 782 (Top 15%)
  • Gender: 668 out of 4258 (Top 16%)
  • 5 Km: 26:47
  • 10 Km: 52:41
  • 7 Mi: 59:40
  • 10 Mi: 1:23:10

[caption id="attachment_5601" align="aligncenter" width="248" caption="Up Next!!!!!"]arbuckles_armore_halfmarathon_running[/caption]  



Published in Race Reports
Sunday, 19 February 2012 12:44

Stonebridge Half-Marathon Race Report

Yesterday I ran the Stonebridge Half-Marathon for the second year in a row.  The distance works perfect for training purposes and it is a small race so you really get to enjoy it.  Not to mention the post race spread is pretty good.  This year Karen and my buddy Juan decided to join me in the run and we had a great time with great results. My mindset going into this race was to practice pacing for 70.3 San Juan.  My goal in San Juan is to run a 1:44 half-marathon and so that was the goal for this race.  Coach had scheduled a swim session as well so I figured I would do the swim set before the race to mimic being a bit tired before the run. At 5am I jumped into the pool and rattled off 2550 yards of swimming that included 3x (5x100 Very Fast - :30 RI) 50K sets.  Obviously very fast is much faster than race pace and so I was happy to know that I would really be pushing myself and burning some of the glycogen off.  As we left the house and got on the highway Karen asked me if I had my GU (First Endurance Liquid Shot is what I use) and it was then I realized that I forgot it at home in the fridge.  I would be running this half-marathon with no nutrition and only living of the course and that means only water because I cannot drink Powerade.  Thankfully I had eaten a Honey Stinger waffle after the swim. When we got to the race site you could feel the cold and with the rain it was one of those days where people would question you as to why you are up and going for a run.  As we walked to the starting line I told Juan that we should run 8-8:15s for the first two miles and then bring it down from there to the 8:00/mi mark and finish right at that 1:45 mark. Then the gun went off Juan and I immediately settled into a nice stride.  Before I knew it the 1 mile marker was there and our watched went off with a 8:02 mile.  OK great the legs feel good and slightly ahead of the 8:15 but not by much and I am gaining confidence.  We continue to run stride for stride and all I can think of is Iron War.  Trying to imagine what Dave Scott and Mark Allen were thinking as they were running.  They were competitors competing on the biggest triathlon stage and Juan and I are friends and training to pace for 70.3 San Juan. It was around Mile 2 when we heard galoshes boy.  The sound was horrible.  Each step sounded as if the guy dunked his shoes and socks in a bucket of water before the race.  It made that squashing sound and was driving me batty.  I wanted to really pick up the pace to get away from him but I had a plan and I wanted to stick to it and this guy was running right along with us.  I looked at Juan and said to him WTF is with this guys shoes he's making me crazy.  He agreed and said the guy had earbuds in and probably couldn't hear them and so he wasn't annoying himself. By the time Mile 3 came along galoshes boy was no longer with us and we were on our own.  Juan and I were in a nice stride and cruising and I was having a great time.  I never felt like I was pushing it or working and was really just out for a long training run.  That is until we hit the half-way point.  At mile 6 you turn left and are headed down the longest straight away of the run.  The problem was that the wind kicked up and the road is a series of up and down elevations.  Not the type of elevation that you climb for .10 mile but for 0.25 mile then flat then another gradient that lasts 0.25 miles.  Into a headwind this made it work but my legs felt great and I just attacked the hills. It was at this point that I started to catch those that had burned past me earlier in the run and when I started to drop Juan.  My legs felt great and I wanted to negative split the run and so the pace picked up.  Picking off one runner after another was fun.  After getting past one person I would find another.  At Mile 9 I passed a guy fairly easily and he said to me 'go get 'em you look great.'  When he said that I realized that I was still not pushing myself.  I looked at my heart rate and was around 161 bpm.  Normally my heart rate would be in the 170-180 bpm range. I credit this consistent low heart rate to a couple of things.  First this past week has been a slight step back in workload for Ironman training.  Secondly I had taken First Endurance Pre-Race about 45 minutes before the start of the race.  My body has gotten used to Pre-Race and my heart rate felt low and consistent.  After passing the Mile 9 marker I made a decision to step it up and run the last 5k harder than I had any previous miles of the race. At the Mile 10 marker it was time to pick up the pace but not sprinting.  Again I wanted to finish in 1:44 and make sure to execute the race.  I had a lot of juice in my legs and dropped a 7:22 mile at Mile 11 and then a 7:28 at Mile 12.  I hit Mile 12 and again made a decision that Mile 13 was going to be the fastest mile of the entire day.  I was moving but again I never felt over-extended or worn out.  I was in cruise control so to speak. As I came up on the Mile 13 marker I could see the finish line clock and saw 1:40:52 and new that I would be crossing just a tad past 1:41.  As I crossed the final timing mat I hit my watch and looked down and was at 1:41:10.  I walked about 100 feet past the finish line expecting Juan to come across in 4 minutes as he was doing very well with timing his race at that pace.  Before I could get that thought fully through my head I heard the PA announcer say 'Catch him USC' and I knew it was Juan.  He was wearing a USC jacket for the race and I was surprised because he too picked up the pace quite a bit.  He finished in 1:41:40. With the cold clothes and weather being what it was I made a run to the car to get my bag but more importantly Karen's bag that had fresh clothes so that we could change into them.  By the time I got back Karen was just crossing the finish line.  She came across the timing mat in 1:52:05 and set a PR by over 5 minutes. [caption id="attachment_5323" align="alignright" width="224" caption="Team Baha On The Podium"]stonebridge_ranch_half_marathon_podium_bahamundi[/caption] Standing around we waited to see results.  With such a small field you never know where you may finish.  Last year I ran a 1:36 and finished 5th in my age group so I did not expect much but we did not see a lot of women so maybe Karen got herself to the podium.  When the results were posted we walked over and saw that we both were going to be on the podium in our age groups.  We both finished 2nd in our age group and Juan finished 5th in his.  It was a great race for all of us. Takeaways:

  • I can pace myself and hold back.  Need to remember this in a month when San Juan rolls around.
  • I can run a half-marathon on nothing but water, but will not try that again.
  • Create a plan and stick to it even as others are passing you at the beginning as they will either flame out or they are just faster and you will never catch them anyway.
2012 has started gloriously with a 3rd place finish at the Bold In The Cold 15k and a 2nd place finish at the Stonebridge Half-Marathon.  Looking forward to hitting my goal time of 5:10 for San Juan.
Thank you for reading.


Published in Race Reports