Where Your Dreams Become Reality
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Subject: RE: 50+ Masters Training and Racing Open Forum
We continue to swelter here in the mid-south, breaking single-day records for 8 of the past 12 days. The bluegrass is anything but, as the rain has been spotty at best, and highly damaging at its worst. Even so, we feel very fortunate, as many have it much worse than us; they've struggled to stay cool and restore normalcy in the face of power outages and immense damages due to straight-line winds in excess of 90 mph in some cases. As Rtype pointed out, our wants to run are pretty trivial pursuits in the wake of such calamities.....but run we must.
I managed only about 23 miles on 5 runs (4 days) this week, including a race on the 4th. Heat and humidity played heavily in my decisions to not run on several days, as I couldn't get out the door early and then just couldn't justify running later in the day. My weekly log looks as such:
Sun: 6.8 easy (3.2 am, 3.6 pm)
Mon: 0 too busy dawn-to-dusk
Tue: 0 bagged it given I was racing on Wednesday
Wed: 7 w/10k race in 38:23
Thu: 0 pretty sore afte the race, knee was pretty tight
Fri: 4.1 easy (3 on trails)...a little less sore, but knee was still pretty stiff
Sat: 5 easy to moderate, a little less stiffness in the knee
Race Report for the Bluegrass 10k:
When my knee started aching a few weeks back, I really thought "here we go again"; it might be the start of another race-less summer. I'd missed a week and a half of training, missed my usual tune-up 5k, and stopped trying to shed a few pounds in the weeks leading up to race day. In essence, I'd given up preparing for the race; it didn't help that the long range forecast was for hot, hot, hot. But then during the last week of June, I had a couple of decent workouts indicating I might be able to race it without ruining my knee. Although I knew I couldn't be as competitive as I'd like, I posed to the group whether they thought I should give it a go. Thanks for your responses, and especially to Alan Bennett for putting things in proper perspective and cajoling me into toe-ing the line. So a few pounds heavy, and few miles under-trained and under-raced, and a few degrees too warm, I signed up for the race at the "Last Chance" race check-in on the 3rd of July. My expectations were pretty low.
Woke up a 5:30, had some iced coffee and honey toast, but never really got into my usual pre-race routine, I mostly sat and worked the crossword puzzle waiting to hit the latrine. Got out the door about 6:50 to head downtown and start prepping for the race (sorta). I figured that since I wasn't going for a PR, I didn't need to be as ready to go fast from the gun, so I did very little warm-up (maybe just 500m of jogging and a few light dynamic stretches). What I mostly did pre-race was enjoy seeing my running friends at the start. We talked about how our training has been going (or not), we talked about getting together to do some speedwork (never seems to materialize), and we talked a lot about the ridiculous weather, haha.
The weather report indicated that the temperature at the 7:30 start of the race would be about 75 degrees and with the rapid onset of daylight would climb to near 80 by 8:00 and into the mid 80's by 8:30. Humidity would also be fairly high with light winds. This would be one of the warmest start temperatures for the Bluegrass 10k, but even so, some 3,300+ runners (and walkers) chose to brave the heat and partake in the event.
This race has never offered prize money and that tradition continued, which tends to keep many elites away, but a few local elites from surround colleges always come through to at least provide some competitiveness on the front end. This year, a couple of local small-school standouts battled for second and third, but they knew from the get-go that they were badly outmatched by the elegant masters elite runner Kevin Castille; he is absolute poetry in motion. When the gun went off, he immediately separated himself from the field, went through the mile in about 4:44, kept it strong, maintained fairly even splits, and finishing in 30:07! It was the fastest time in recent history and was the largest margin of victory ever. Heís originally from Lafayette, LA, which may explain why he runs so well in the heat, but I wonder what he could have run under ideal conditions. You can read about his race here:
Iím just sorry that the race organizers wonít pony up some money to bring in more elite runners. He most certainly could have run sub-30 with some competition. This could and should be a premiere event; there is discussion about the race being managed by a different group in the future, if so, maybe things will change for the better.
As for my race, I tried to start out more modestly than usual. I figured Iíd shoot for 38 minutes and see what happens. I came through the mile in 5:56, which felt surprisingly easy, hit the 2-mile mark in 11:55 (5:59 split) still feeling good, but was already thinking this was too fast for me to maintain. The third mile is deceptive; itís a climb out of downtown on a shallow 1.5% grade that you hardly notice, and during that mile, I felt that I was running smooth, but I could tell that I was flagging and my third mile split was 6:21, as I came through the halfway mark in 18:53. The fourth mile is downhill at about the same 1.5% grade for the first 2/3rds mile then you turn around and start heading back up that same hill. My fourth mile split was 6:19 which was a bad sign, as I should have been able to get back down around 6:00 for this mile. Iíd also lost contact with the guys that I was running with for the first half of the race. It doesnít get better from that point as the lack of training and the heat started to mess with my attitude. The fifth mile has the last bit of uphill (I clocked it in 6:23), then the last 1.2 is either downhill or flat (mile 6 was IN 6:08). From mile 4 onwards, I really felt I was just trying to hang on, as I finished in 38:23 with a second half time of 19:30. I was spent and pretty light-headed at the finish. A bunch of guys that I have traditionally beaten were ahead of me, so itís clear that I was not at my best. On the other hand, this was right in the ballpark of where I figured Iíd be, I did end up winning the 50-54 division by a few minutes, and all things considered, it does portend to better days ahead, if I can get my knee to behave and my weight back down to where it ought to be.
It was a good day for masters, as my new acquaintance Glenn Mays (41) ran 33:17 for 4th place, and my good buddy Ricardo Ocampo (44) placed 15th. Never have so many masters been in the top 15. The womenís side was not as competitive, as the winning time was just 39:05, and 43:40 would get you in the top 15.
As for the rest of the week? Well, the knee felt fine the rest of the day after the race, but it was quite stiff the following day; I took the day off. I labored through 4 easy miles on Friday, and another 5 easy-to-moderate miles on Saturday. With no races on the horizon, itíll be easy running and rehab on the knee for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, Iíll be able to build up to a better fall racing season.
OK, that is my long-winded report for this week. If you manage to read this far, I thank you for enduring my self-indulgence. I hope you all are making it through whatever weather (or aftermath) youíve got going on and would certainly love to know how others are managing to race and train during this heat wave. Moípak, thanks for your detailed report from the more wintry down-under.
Best wishes to all!
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