Monday, November 4, 2013

On to Richmond

I first want to cover Army Ten Miler, which I feel pretty good about.  The race was a build-up for me for Richmond Half, which I will race on Nov 16.  I wanted to go sub 51:00, but I'll take the PR of 51:35.  The start of this race is always a bit chaotic, which I began quite conservatively(first mile was 5:09).  Although, ironically, 5:09 ended up being my average pace for the race in the end.  The race started off with the lead pack, followed by a chase pack, and then myself a few yards back.  We made the uphill turn onto Arlington Bridge, running along the uneven stones for a short time before getting back onto pavement.  I patiently keyed off of GRC's Sam Luff, who was at the back of the chase pack.  By mile 3, as the race unfolded, the chase pack broke apart, with Sam and I gradually passing runners who went out too fast.  I wanted to run right next to him, however, he seemed to maintain this consistent 3-4 seconds on me, but both of us were running the same speed and passing people.  We passed the 5 mile mark in just under 25:30, which was on target for sub 51.  We hammered down Independence Ave, catching a few Ethiopians who had fallen off the pace, and I passed through 10K in 31:49, and mile 7 was 35:50-something.  I saw Charlie Ban, who took a sweet picture of me turning the corner towards the 14th street bridge(above).  The 14th street bridge would then slow things down.  This course certainly is slower than Cherry Blossom, mostly because of the last 3 miles of this race.  Sam and I hammered up the 14th street bridge as efficiently as we could, and caught a few more guys.  It certainly felt like I was running 5:00 flats, but my next 2 miles were a lot slower than it felt(averaged somewhere around 5:12 splits), even though I felt I had picked up my pace, and continued to pass a runner every now and then.  The bridge is deceiving.  We finally, finally exited off the bridge, after mile 9.  Sam and I had surged ahead of a few other runners, but one runner was right behind me, Graham Tribble, who had clocked a 1:07 half marathon back in Sept.  The last mile is a few twists and turns, with the last 1/2 mile uphill towards the finish.  Graham started kicking past me, and appeared to have beaten me, but I drafted right behind him for one last charge.  With a 1/4 mile to go I surged past him and never saw him again.  I ended up finishing 4 seconds behind Sam, in 25th place.

Overall, this race is a really good build-up for me to race the half marathon.  I have been coasting since then, hitting 56 miles the week after the race, and 72 miles last week.  My long runs were 17 miles each week, along with some extra cross training.  This time of year I always feel the need to add a little cross training to my routine.  I got my bike out for the past few weekends, getting about 20 miles of riding each session.  Nothing crazy, just work without the pounding.  While I was in Florida in the beginning of October I added pool running again too, which I have continued to do weekly.  I will do a tune-up track workout this week, but nothing too taxing to take anything out of my legs.  Just enough to get me in the right zone.

I now look to Richmond, to compete well, and in the process of doing so, to finally, finally take down my 1:08:39 half marathon PR.