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2012 Race with Grace: Race Report

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I set the alarm for 5:30 to give myself time, but woke up early and rolled out of bed about 4:45. That's okay, because I still got over 7 hours of sleep. It also gave me enough time to have a normal breakfast routine including pullups du jour (close grip pronated today) and pushups in the intervals between fixing and eating the various parts of breakfast. I skipped the TGU/windmill combos and KB snatches because I expected to get plenty of exercise later in the morning.

Daughter showed up at 7, and we hit the road. The early start for walkers was informal and not well organized, but she got moving a half hour ahead of gun time for the crowd. The organizer had not put much thought into a formal early start for walkers until I talked with him last night; I expect he'll have something better thought out in advance next year.

Forecast for 9 AM was 40F and sunny, with 6 to 8 mph southerly winds, Forecast for 10 AM was for 48F. As near as I can tell, the forecast was very close to dead on. It was great running weather. I set out to just run at a comfortable pace, without worrying about people passing me or me passing other people. I did better with the not worrying part this year than last year. Early on, I noticed a guy swapping places with me who was breathing pretty heavily. I realized that was how I had been breathing in this race 264 days ago; but today I was pacing to breath easily.

The original plan had been to run intervals. Then I thought, for a race I can increase them from run 4, walk 1 to run 5, walk 1. Then I thought that maybe I could run a mile, walk a minute. At one mile, my time was 6:22, 8 seconds faster than last year. I felt pretty good after a mile, so I kept running. I passed daughter a bit after the 2 mile mark, and waved to her. By that time, I was thinking in terms of running 20 minutes, because one of my goals is to run 20 minutes continually 3 times a week. Stupid motivational tricks strike again.

At 20 minutes, I was close to 5K, and I wanted to see a running split. That turned out to be 20:22, or 12 seconds faster than last year. Well, that would slow when I got to real intervals. Partly on general principal, partly for cardio, I took a one minute walking bread at 21 minutes. Then I thought I should run 5 minutes and walk at 27; but at 27 I could see the 4 mile mark. Stopped for 2 small glasses of water at the 4 mile water station, then took a short untimed walking break before starting to run again on the downhill. Took my 3rd walking break, a timed 1 minute, at 33 minutes. Late in the race, I took another untimed, but under a minute, walking break at 40 minutes; then I ran for the end.

I sprinted the stretch where I could see the clock at the finish with the seconds ticking toward 43 minutes. Didn't quite make it; final time was 43:05. That was 47 seconds faster than last year, for an average pace of 6:57 per mile. I was impressed. I ran the full distance last year, took walking breaks in the second half this year, and actually covered the second half faster this year than last.


I'm more fit in general this year. I'm also a bit wiser. I probably could have run the full 10K, but I'm sure I finished in better shape for taking the four walking breaks.

The strategy of turning off the intervals, but turning on the readout of time, distance, and pace every minute worked well for an organized race, particularly where I was changing the walking intervals as I went. That was the point of the every minute readout on the app. But now I need to reset the app to reading out less frequently, as I don't want those frequent readouts for solo runs, walks, or intervals.

The real runners showed up this year. Last year's time surprised me with a first in age group. This year's faster time was more than 3 minutes behind the age group winner. Also, the over 50 male (who doesn't qualify for age group because Over 50 is worth more) would have been in my age group, and came it at 35 minutes and change. (Can't look up the change right now because the timer's web site maxed out its bandwidth. Not terribly shocking, on a day when they timed ~6500 participants in two major local races.)

The most noticeable body impact immediately after the race was tight calves. I could tell that I haven't been running this far regularly. But that is a good training effect, and one that's pretty easy to deal with. Long stretches, adequate rest, and build the regular mileage slowly.

The bad foot and sore thigh did not complain at all during the race. Afterward, the bad foot was no worse than after a routine run. The sore thigh lets me know if I try to run a short distance now; I'll see how well it recovers over the next two or three days.

If the recovery goes as well as it might, I'm about ready to start running continually instead of doing intervals. I'll still have to pay attention to the thigh and foot, and back off as needed.

After the race, there were bagels, Greek yogurt, bananas, coffee, and water available. I took a banana, a container of Greek yogurt, and a bottle of water because that was what I wanted. I noticed a contrast from a year ago, when I took a bagel and wondered where the c ream cheese was. This year, the bagel is too expensive given what else I wanted to eat today. I hadn't expected any insights to my dietary habits out of the race, so this was a small bonus benefit.

Because my daughter took over 2 hours to walk the course, I had plenty of time to get back and greet her at the finish line. But because she was participating this year, I don't have any photos of myself. Maybe there will be some professional photos available in a bit for a price. If so, I might have to actually buy some.

Overall, I'm happy with my two year tradition of running a race on Thanksgiving Day. I'm ready to make it three years in another 371 days.
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