Saturday, November 17, 2007

2007 Dizzy Fifties 50km

At 3 o'clock on Friday, Novemeber 16, I decided that it would be a good idea to run an ultra marathon less than 18 hours later. Despite 3 months of plans, I tossed it all away in two minutes when tempted with the opportunity to run 31.07 miles in a foot race.

I will spare you the grueling details... but I will share a picture of what pure joy looks like in finishing something that tests the limits of the body and the mind beyond imagination.

In the end, I shattered my 50km PR by 37 minutes and finished in 4:42:36 (9:06 minute miles), coming in (preliminary) 10th overall of 108 runners.

Thanks to Jeff Kyser and all of his volunteers for a great race, and to Laura and Sirius Beagle for being there at every turn working as my crew.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

2007 Huntsville Half Marathon

Huntsville Half Marathon.

I went into this race with a quick taper and a little rest of 2 days prior to the race. Otherwise I was generally fatigued with weekly mileage around 70+ per week and lots of long runs.

My original race plan had me starting at 6:30 pace and then lowering it down to 6:20 pace toward the end.

Of course once the race started, all of that was out the window...

I was lined up with a pretty fast pack at the start, having Dink, Satterfield and the Brian Robinson next to me shoulder to shoulder. We all went our pretty hard, pulling early mile splits of 6:14 and 6:14. At some point in the second mile I tried to pull away from the pack and that is what I did. I pulled out and lowered the pace, passing Richard Roadenhausen and not looking back I continued to go strong over the first few hills, hitting mile splits for 3-5 of 6:11, 6:20 (uphill) and 6:02 (downhill).

At this point I see the first place women in front of me and I wanted to catch and pass here. Right before Chaney Thompson I was able to blow by her and head down toward the greenway. I didn't know it, but the pack was closing in on me.

Running north along the path I was still moving well, hitting my next three splits in 6:12, 6:16 and 6:18. Then I hit the cone turn around and saw how close the competition really was! Dwayne was seconds behind, as was Dink. In the next mile I realized that I was not going to be able to hold the 6:10 average pace and slowed slightly. In this section is where the two speed demons passed me. This was slightly demoralizing and I again slowed coming into the last aid station before the hill with mile splits of 6:21, 6:23, 6:26 and 6:47 (uphill).

I stopped at the last aid station for water and to regroup. I was was running next to Tim Vinson after the aid station and we ran shoulder to shoulder, holding each other to the pace. We pushed up through the hill and then knew that it wouldn't be long. In the last 2 miles I would try to pull out ahead of Tim and then even the pace out. He would surge forward and catch up every time.

With less than a half mile to go, I decided that I would make one last push and make it an intense push. I pulled ahead of time, pushing the pace into the mid 5's for a few hundred meters and then slowed back to the previous pace. It turned out to be enough to hold him off in the end. I ran a 6:15 final mile to finish with a 1:23:13, leaving me 4th in age group, 14th overall.

This was a very positive race as I was able to beat Kevin Betts and the Brian Robinson, both of whom I normally trail. The disappointing part was that the others in my age group all broke 1:20 and 'stole' my age group award:)

When I was done racing, I went back to bring Leah and her first half marathon to a finish. She was mentally strong and I pushed her late to come in at a great time for her first distance race.