Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shamrock 4 Miler

Earlier this week, I was considering driving down to Beaufort, SC to race the Paris Island Sprint Triathlon with some Sport Factory teammates.  Ultimately, the 4 hour drive was quite the deterrent, and I opted to keep my training in Charlotte for the weekend.  A day later, however, my desire to race was still persistent.  After a quick glance at the Charlotte running calendar, I compromised and registered to run a race here
instead.  It's not a triathlon, but it was a race, and that alone was enough to satisfy me.

Speedwork has essentially been non-existent in my run training recently.  Most of my runs are on tired legs and end up being more about completing the distance rather than focusing on pace.  A 4 mile race is shorter than I prefer, largely because I am just simply not one to enjoy sprint-type efforts.  10k and half-marathon is much more my distance.  However, by signing up to race, I knew I would push myself much harder than I would on a typical Saturday training run.

Clothes out the night before.  I may be living in Charlotte, but I was still set to represent The Sport Factory!
Race morning weather was unseasonably warm.  It was 58 degrees and perfectly clear at 7am.  After downing my typical pre-race breakfast (toast with peanut butter, honey, cinnamon, and banana) and cup of tea on the drive to the race site, I set out to get in a good warm-up.  I ended up running 1.5 miles and followed that with some dynamic stretching.  Despite a weak of some significant training, my legs were feeling pretty good.

The course was an out and back layout with NON-STOP rolling hills.  I was expecting a relatively flat course, but this was anything but flat.  My goal was to average sub-7 minute pace, and I had planned to start out slightly conservative so that I could consistently drop my pace each mile.  In typical fashion, however, I went out fast and at the quarter-mile point noted I was holding a 6 minute pace.  Hmm, not exactly the conservative start I had intended.

I tried to keep my leg turnover high on the downhills and then maintain a consistent effort, albeit slower pace, on the uphills.  Coming into the turnaround, there was a significant downhill, which only foreshadowed the significant uphill we faced after the turn.  My mile 3 split was much slower than my first two miles as a result of that climb.  At the turn I counted a single girl ahead of me, but 2 girls within striking distance behind me. I knew then that I had to hang on to my current pace to prevent being overtaken.  Around mile 3 was when the reality of running fast and maintaining a HR about my lactate threshold started to wreak havoc.  I found myself nauseated and struggling to hang on to my pace.  The downhill sections seemed to be incredibly short and the uphills just never seemed to end over that last mile.  As I was verging on puking, the finish line came in to site and I made one last push to get myself across the line.

With a time of 27:41 (6:55 pace), I was happy to have accomplished my goal of sub-7 minute pace.  

Mile Splits: 6:35, 6:48, 7:06, 7:02

2nd overall female out of a field of 413.  I'll take it!  The award for my sufferfest - a mug and a Michelob Ultra.  Hmm, not exactly my thing, but appropriate given the St. Patrick's Day theme.  Guess they'll be an ice cold one waiting in the refrigerator for company.  Beer was the theme of the day, as there was ice cold green beer waiting at the finish line for all the participants.  In case you're wondering, I passed on that too.  Instead, I headed back out for an extra 3 miles to cool-down and bring my total mileage at 8.5 for the day.

Looking over my data, I've struggled yet again to negative split a race.  Arguably, there was a net uphill grade over the second half of the race that contributed to the slowed pace.  My heart rate, however, indicates a consistent effort, averaging 177 overall and progressing from 171 to 183 from start to finish.

I'm not sure what will be next on my race calendar.  I had planned to race the Cool Breeze Sprint Triathlon on April 1st, but it looks like I'll be working in the trauma ICU instead.  Oh boy, aren't I lucky!

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