Monday, February 20, 2012

Frostbite 5 Mile Race Report

After a rest week, I kicked off a solid block of training last week.  My Tuesday workout consisted of 8 repeats of 800m.  I wasn't hitting the times I expected, but I wasn't too worried about it.  I had great runs on Wednesday and Thursday, racking up 37 miles in 3 days.  We've had some great weather this winter, so I couldn't resist an easy 4 miles on Friday.  Saturday was my first race of the year, the Frostbite 5 miler in Ambler, PA.  Plan was to get 9-10 miles total, so I went out and got a 4 mile warm up in.  The day started out chilly, but the sun was out and the temps were in the mid 30's for the 9am start.  I had run this race in 2010 so I was familiar with the competition and the course, although the start / finish had been moved to a high school which was on the old course to accommodate the sold out field of 1500 runners. 

Being in the middle of a training build / block for Boston, I wasn't expecting anything incredible but I wanted to see where my fitness was at.  There was a strong field and I had run the first 3 miles of the course during my warm up so I knew the first two miles had some downhills and were going to be FAST.  I lined up near the front and we were off. 
Relaxed and smiling at the start!  
Talk about a fast first mile, we came through at 5:10.  I counted and I was sitting about 14th or so and surprisingly I was getting passed by younger guys on the downhills, maybe I was holding back?  I came through mile 2 in 5:15 or so and then we hit some climbing.  I was feeling pretty good and I passed a few runners up the hill that comprised the first half of the 3rd mile.  This was my slowest mile at about 5:29.  Then we hit a residential area and onto a gravel path.  The path wasn't ideal, some loose gravel and tough footing which slowed you down, but I was able to pick off another runner before we hit mile 4 (5:23 or so).  At this point I was getting gassed and I knew we had a decent climb to get up to the final straight.  I wasn't thinking about where my finish time was at all, I just focused on trying to run a great race.  I passed one more runner up that last hill and we made the turn, now less than a half mile of flat to downhill.  The runner I just passed came storming by me, but I was focused on my race. 

I was definitely pushing it, not pretty but man was I shooting to break 27!

 I turned the corner to the finish and got my first glimpse of the clock. 26:high.  I knew I would be close to breaking 27, but it wasn't to be. 27:02 for 10th overall and 2nd in the 35-39 AG.  My previous race on this course had me at 27:27, so I took a good 25 seconds off my time!

By this point it was beautiful outside, and I had to run because Lauren wanted to get a run in before our day "started".  It was a GREAT race, very well organized, indoor registration and what appeared to be sufficient restrooms.  I didn't get to stay for the post race food, but I heard great things about that.

After an awesome boys day with my son Joshua and my dad at Motorama, I was pooped and ready for bed.  We had a great group run on Sunday morning from a friend's place.  Six of us were greeted to some great weather, getting a long run of 21 miles in.  I expected to feel pretty crappy, but I was surprised to have some great legs under me, those recovery weeks really do work!

So my week ended up at 71 miles at 7:07 average pace.  Next week is the Ugly Mudder trail race in Reading.  I signed up for it to get some trail experience for the HAT50K in March.  I probably won't adjust my plans too much, do a long run on Saturday and see what I have left for the race on Sunday.

Happy Training!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

HCM Foundation "Mainstream" Media Exposure

I know I've mentioned my involvement as a board member of the HCM Foundation a few times (or more!).  It has been an exciting and rewarding experience for me over the past two years, watching it grow in so many ways, the most important of which has been it's impact on those in the community who are dealing with Cancer.  We had a board meeting on Sunday night which spurred some great discussion and plans to launch some even bigger things in 2012.  I could go on all day about that, but I wanted to post a great article which was just published in Lava Magazine.  HCM is showcased among some pretty big names in our sport, which is a great sign that it's mission has the Foundation headed in the right direction.  HERE's the link.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Random Updates – Superbowl 10K, Boston Training Report January 2012

Last Sunday was the Superbowl 10K.  This the 11th running of the race and it was my third year directing the event which sold out at 550 entrants on December 13.  As I’ve mentioned before, this race has been its share of inclement weather the past two years.  As race day approached, my eyes were glued to local weather predictions which noted the potential for a large storm event.  Luck was finally on my side and the storm stayed to our South.  After a great long run on Saturday AM, I was able to ride the course on my bike and measure it out.

Sunday AM we were treated to an overcast sky and temps in the low 30’s.  The volunteers never cease to amaze me and I can’t thank them enough.  I also want to thank my wife Lauren and my cohort Carly.  From parking to registration to timing to food prep, everything went seamlessly.  With the exception of a false start (how embarrassing!) due to technical difficulties, the race went off without a hitch and before you know it we were treated to bright sunshine!!

All total, a record number of finishers cross the line that day, 489 in all.  As an extra perk, the top 50 male and top 50 female finishers are recognized with custom Sockguy wool socks and Autumn and Joshua love to hand them out as the runners cross the line.  It’s really cool to see that this has become a staple of the race, many people thanked us as we handed them out saying that their goal was to get the socks!  
And they're off!
We did some neat things this year to set our race apart and add value to the event.  Long sleeve Brooks Running technical shirts were given to all participants, the socks were given out, there was cash and Brooks Running shoes given out to the top 3 overall, top masters and the most spirited Superbowl costume (seen above on the far left at the start), post race goodies included hot soup, pizza, soft pretzels, soda, water and Gatorade.  We had a fire going to keep the runners warm and we provided all of our 45+ volunteers with custom hooded sweatshirts.  On top of all that, we LOWERED the price to $27.50! 

The event donated ten spots to the HCMFoundation, a charity that provides services to individuals and families battling the effects of cancer.  Those ten spots raised MORE THAN $3000 for the Foundation.  On top of that the remainder of the proceeds go to the Lehigh ValleyRoad Runners and their mission of supporting youth running!

There are some things that can be improved on, but judging from the overwhelming positive feedback I think we’ve made some great changes.   I’m honored to be a part of such a great event.
My helpers, waiting for the first finishers.
As far as my training goes, well I’ve been enjoying the milder temps this winter and I feel like I’m starting to come to form….itching for that first “test”.  Through the first 5 weeks of the year I’ve run 300 miles, topping out at nearly 70 miles last week.  My tempo and speed workouts are right where I want them, my heart rate is gradually coming down for any given pace and my long runs have gone very well (four runs of 20 miles or more since January 1, 2011).  This week will be a down week of mileage and effort to try and recover from the 65-70 miles per week over the last three weeks. 
My first test will be the Frostbite 5 miler on 2/18, followed by a long run the day after.  The next weekend I’ll race the Ugly Mudder which will be my first trail race, probably a smart move considering my first 50k (also a trail race) is about 5 weeks away!

Next post I'd like to explore some of the great group/package event coaching/racing packages out there in triathlon and running, namely the Runnersworld Challenge and REV3's new event VIP coaching packages.