Sunday, October 30, 2011

Plymouth Wicked Halloween Run, Plymouth MI, 30th October 2011

Today was going to be a little different as Bren had decided to sign herself up to walk in the 5k with the dogs - a horrible prospect for me, but she decided to go for it all the same.

The day started bright & early, as usual, for a race day, but cold. I'm not sure exactly how cold, all I can say is that it was damn cold. We got down there with about 45 minutes to spare as we wanted to make sure we could get a half decent parking space. The city was buzzing and filled to the brim with runners, all very strange for 7:30am on a Sunday morning. A stage had been setup so that a local dance troupe could start the racers with an all singing, all dancing rendition of Michael Jackson's Thriller. There was about 1,300 runners in the 10k, which considering this is it's first year, is pretty incredible. I decided to start a little down the pack, just to let those that stand a chance of winning get away. My plan was to try and average under 8:51 so I could break 55 minutes. I started out beside Chris, but I had my plan and a Garmin watch that would be nagging me the whole way about my pace, so I wasn't going to hang around too long.

So the starter gun went off and so were we. Initial starting was very slow, the pad you had to cross to start the timer was small and it was taking the field a while to get across. I was hoping that the field would start stretching out very soon after we started, after all, I had a time to work on, and quite an ambitious one at that. So I eventually got to amble over the line a minute or so after the gun, the place was mobbed. I knew I had to try a set an 8:51 pace and stick to it but the race was so busy that I struggled to find any space to run. I was constantly crossing behind people, slowing down, speeding up, trying to get some space, but nothing I did would get my pace down. I ended up putting in 9:26 which was almost 40 seconds off what I needed to try and beat the 55 minute target that I needed. Luckily I had set the Virtual Partner pace on my Garmin to 8:43, which I had set the previous week, while running around Walled Lake.

The course was nice and flat, and what with it being mid-fall, very pretty to look at. Plymouth really is a very pretty town and I think that helped calm me down. I was still having to jostle to find a gap to run in but the field was spreading out and I managed to find my stride, putting in a respectable 8:42 for the second mile. I had now resigned myself to missing my target, the choice was now, by how much.

I had been getting concerned that I hadn't been pushing myself enough and that I can do better than I have been. My first competitive 10k, had my heart rate peak at 192bpm, whereas the following runs were nowhere near. I realize that when I run myself, it is easy to fall into a slower pace and slack off, but during races it should be easier to push myself. My conscious effort to use the Virtual Partner had started to pay dividends though.

I decided that I had to keep going, I would do everything I can to try and maintain the 8:43 pace, as set on the watch. the aid stations came and went, I had at least a sip of water at each one. I now try and walk while sipping due to myself almost drowning while trying to drink and run. I know it loses a little time, but it is minimal compared with the embarrassment of almost drowning while running, nowhere near any large body of water. I also don't take anything from the aid stations that I don't normally take during training runs, a race is the wrong time to try anything new, so the Gatorade, from GU and M&M's were dutifully ignored. The third mile of 8:48 disappointed me a little as I feared I would start with my pace creep, so mile 4 brought another conscious effort to speed up a bit, when it came in at 8:44, I was pleased. I lacked the mental capacity to try and work out what my predicted finish time would be, but all I was hoping for was ~56 minutes and a new PR. Mile 5 & 6 came in respectably at 8:47 & 8:45. Mile 6 looked good as I kicked it up a notch to try and finish strong, with about 1/2 mile to go, I realized that I might just make the 55 that I was looking for. I knew we must be very close, but my knowledge of downtown Plymouth is very limited, outwith where the pubs are, of course. But there the finish line was, I kicked it up a notch again, crossed the line and stopped my watch at 55:03. It wasn't until I saw the official timing that I knew I had done what I set out to do, 10k in 54:59. If it hadn't been for that first mile, I could have done way better, so who knows.

So with my new tech shirt, my medal and some snacks, I settled down to the tough job of recovering and looking for friends to finish their personal battles.

I finished 51st out of 90 in my division, 426 out of 1264 overall, I'll take it

A great big thanks to Bren for being there, being supportive and doing the 5k with our crazy hounds...

Video of the start of the run -
Official results - 8

How the Garmin saw it -

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pleasant run around Walled Lake - 10/22/11

I just got my Garmin Forerunner 405 back after I sent it in for repair so, to celebrate, I decided to go for a run around Walled Lake. It is a run I have done three or four times now, with varying degrees of success, with my best so far being 43:55. My previous effort was ugly, with me even having to walk a couple of times and finally finishing a fairly dismal 50:41, giving a pace of about 10:43. I made a conscious effort on Saturday to set my virtual partner on my watch to the pace that I need in order to finish the Wicked Halloween next week in under 55 minutes ~ 8:50. The stars aligned and everything just seemed to click, my legs felt fresh, it was a beautiful, if a wee bit chilly, morning. I ended up PR'ing my pace (8:43) & my 5k. All good signs for next week, so we'll see what happens.

How the Garmin saw it -
How it looks in Endomondo -

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Detroit Free Press Marathon, 16th October 2011

Detroit Free Press Marathon, leg #3 - 16th October 2011

So this was a race that I never really thought about or intended to actually do, mostly because 5k is too short for me and a half of full marathon are quite a bit off in my future right now. My company was trying to put a group of runners together to raise money for a local charity and were covering the entrance fee for the race, so I thought I'd have a look at the website anyway, just for the hell of it, it was then that I saw that you could run the whole marathon course as a relay team and that the first leg, which crosses from Detroit, over the Ambassador Bridge was in my sweet spot, 6.2 miles, a 10k. I approached the coordinator to offer my services to any team that needed someone, at which point I was told that there weren't any, and I was a little disappointed. I kicked the thought around in my head for a few days, spoke to Bren about it and decided to try and put one together, with me running the first leg.

Getting the gang together...
I decided to put a post on Facebook, just to see if I could generate some interest, I wasn't really sure, which of my FB friends ran, but what the hell. Within a few hours of posting, I had two bites, both from colleagues/ former colleagues, neither of which I knew ran, but what the hell, we were on our way. Right from the start I knew I wanted the first, Sean said he wanted nothing over 6 miles, so the second leg suited him down to the ground, Derek didn't want anything too big but has been running 5k's, so the last leg, might be a small stretch for but he was happy to give it a shot, now just needed someone for the longest leg, #3 at 6.7 miles, and the shortest leg, #4 at 2.9 miles. I tried contacting a few other guys but I was struggling to get someone to commit. It was at that point that Bren suggested I ask my son, Gordon, how he felt about doing the fourth leg. Gordon has been running 2-3 miles daily at school as part of his cross country practice and he was keen, so now we had four. The fifth was proving to be a little more challenging, but I had a lead and while he said he was going to do it, I wasn't convinced. So I decided that it was time to commit to the team and actually register on the site. The process is relatively painless and is done through the website, much like many of my previous races. Eventually the runner for #5 decided to commit and we were just waiting now, until, with about one week to go, leg #3 pulled out, due to injury. So now the bedlam began. Very quickly it became obvious that another colleague could step in, but only if he could do legs #1 or #2. I wanted to do #1, but not really a big deal, all that was needed was to go to the expo and arrange it with the American Department of Homeland Security. So now we were set, we had all five and they were;

  1. 6.2 miles   Kevin Power
  2. 6.0 miles   Sean Luce
  3. 6.7 miles   David McWilliams
  4. 2.9 miles   Gordon McWilliams
  5. 4.4 miles   Derek Pratley

I was now predicting a ~9am start time for myself, so we decided to leave a little later on and drop myself off first then Bren could take Gordon to his starting line at Belle Isle. I had a couple of minute walk to the start of my leg and got there at almost dead on 8am. I was thinking that the race was about one hour old and Sean would be running. I was anticipating a ~9am start

The official results
The results is a great one but also very confusing. My phone, running the Endomondo application had me down as doing 6.82 miles in 1:03:11, whereas the official website said my leg was a 6.7 mile leg and their timing has me down at 59:58 - giving me a pace of 8:57. Sean's running app on his iPhone also gives equally baffling results, but we'll take it. I was hoping to be somewhere in the 4:05hrs region, so 8 minutes inside that isn't too shabby.

On reflection a couple of things come to mind; no drinks or snacks for relay runners at the end of their stages. kinda makes you feel like a second class citizen. The end of race 'Conquered' party was very disappointing. The organizing was a hassle, getting to and from the leg start/ finish points was a major pain as well, especially without anything to drink. Cool shirt & medal though.

The team, from left to right; Derek Pratley, Sean Luce,
David McWilliams, Gordon McWilliams. Kevin isn't in the picture.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oakwood Red October Run 10km, Wayne, MI - 1st October 2011

I foresee another short write up one for this one too. I had been getting a wee bit concerned about the temperature for my morning run so, on Stu's advice, I picked up some running tights and a long sleeve tech shirt and just as well - weather conditions, damn cold, cloudy and windy.  The race wasn't due to start until 9:50am, so we didn't have to rush around trying to get there on time, although I did want to be a little early as I hadn't picked up my race packet yet and we weren't totally sure where we were going.

After standing around in the cold for what seemed like an age, we finally got started. I started out at an ok pace, if anything a little slow.

A few really annoying things;

  • One fellow racer boxing me in as we ran up on someone in front
  • The same racer elbowing me
  • Running for a mile or so with a young boy who was wondering where everyone was running to and why, he ended up finishing the race and even getting a medal
  • One race marshall, stopped us to let some cars pass through, I was incensed
I averaged 9:14 per mile, finished the 10km  in 57:01. According to my Garmin the race was actually 6.24 miles, so just a little over 10km.

How the Garmin saw it -
Endomondo -
White cotton, long sleeved