Fitness Update: (Modified) Half Marathon


Well, This past week I ran my second half marathon, sort of, but sort of didn’t.

The Kansas City Corporate Challenge half marathon was scheduled for this past Saturday. The route started at the Southcreek Business Park and after a loop around there ran down through the Overland Park Community Park and the Tomahawk Valley Trail.

But rain Saturday night had either washed out, or flooded, parts of the trails at the further end, so they had to modify the course. We ended up with two loops around the business park and a “short” run down the trail and back, for a total length of 9.8 miles.

Now, the Saturday before, I had run a long run of 7.5 miles, but between that long run and the Half Marathon, I didn’t do any running. I swam once, did a lot of biking, but mostly I slept in each morning. The week before the race I was suddenly very tired, and opted to rest over train.

Which turned out to be the right option.

It rained the night before the race, but was dry and overcast the morning  before the race started. The humidity was above 90% and the temperature was about 60 degrees. The 700-some of us lined up into sections based on our expected running paces. And then we were off.

This was the first race this year that I ran without having run some of the course to check the terrain and know what to expect. So the first loop around the business park seemed a little long. It was also a question about setting a pace, and being comfortable with it.

The pavement on the upside of the loop felt better to me than the downside, but I enjoyed going downhill more than uphill. Except that we did get some breeze, and it ended up being a headwind while going downhill. That is one of the things I like the least while riding a bicycle, and I found I don’t really like running into a headwind either, whether uphill or down.

On the second loop around I heard someone behind me talking to the person next to her about her fitness device, and how it was telling her we were at about a 9 minute mile pace. I asked back, did you say a 9 minute mile? When she assented, I said, “Good, that mean’s I’m not running too fast.”

Because the 9-minute mile was the pace I had wanted to set.

Which bring me to an aside. Many times during the first two loops of the race I was being passed by people, and I could hear them breathing hard as they did so. I was always able to talk to them, say hello, good job, go for it, etc., but many of them didn’t have enough breath to reply. As long as I was running at a pace where I could talk, I knew I wasn’t overpacing myself. Many of those people I subsequently passed later on down the trail.

After the second loop, we took a left turn onto the trail section of the route, and started heading both into headwinds, and a scattering of sprinkles that continued to get more misty and persistent as the rest of the race went on.

Running the 2+ miles down the trail to the turnaround, I kept expecting to get to the turnaround sooner than I did. At first it was only a few people coming back and me, but as the numbers thickened, I kept on feeling like I  had to be close. When a pack of people from my company came back by me, I found myself encouraged, just as I did when my friend Paul Mast ran by and we gave each other a high five slap on the exchange.

Then finally the turn was made and I was on the way back. This was the stretch where my passing of people became a slow but consistent reality (along with a few passing me still).

It was also where the heat from my own brow, and the moisture from the air and rain around me, started fogging up my glasses enough so my visibility actually began to decrease. Occasionally I would look over the glasses to verify what I was seeing. But mostly they kept the rain out of my eyes.

There were a lot of long stretches on the way back. Here’s the last turn back toward the business park — but, oh yes, I forgot about this long run back up to the turn-off. And then when we got back to the loop it was several stretches and turns before they actually brought us back into the final stretch where we could actually see the finish line.

I had been running right behind one guy most of the way back up to the pack and around those turns, but as we got to to the penultimate turn I started stretching out and putting on my last speed. As I passed him, I expected him to put on his own burn of speed, and still stay ahead of me. But he didn’t. Instead I found myself passing about 5 more people in my final sprint to the finish line — always running through the objective before slowing down.

I saw that the clock was somewhere before 1:27. When I checked the stats my time was: 1:26:22.5 with an overall place of 371 and a Gender Place of 287. I probably won’t know until later today how I actually placed within my division of the Corporate Challenge.

Many of the other people from my company talked about how they just weren’t ready to do a half marathon on Saturday, and glad it was shorter. For me, I came in with trepidation, but between the rest, and the weather, I felt like I could have kept my pace up for the full distance — but was just as glad that I didn’t have to.


Fitness Update: between half-marathons


Last week was the week before the week of the Kansas City Corporate Challenge half marathon. It is the second half-marathon I am doing, four weeks after the first.

I have been trying to get guidance on how to stay in condition from hone half-marathon to the other. The basic guidance I have received is to keep my regular mid-week runs (currently two 4.5 mile runs), and do a long run on the weekends, but not up to the full 10 or 11 I should have right before the first half marathon. Keep working on the cardio to keep it up, and I should be fine.

So this weekend I ran 7.5 miles for my long run, and ran two shorter runs earlier in the week, along with biking and swimming. For one of my short runs I actually ran a 4-mile route to the NKC YMCA, swam 1,000 yards and then ran 2 more miles home.

On that short run I got my average speed down to 6 mph. On my long run I was at 6.06 mph. My first half marathon pace was 6.41, which was slightly slower than i wanted for my intended goal to finish in 2-hours.

On my first half marathon I had a basic goal to finish, and a time goal to aim towards. I seem to be keeping my endurance up, but not necessarily the pace, in the interim, so I may just be focused on finishing this second one. I am sure the adrenaline will help me get some extra speed, but I am not sure whether I want to get to much extra speed from it, and burn out too soon.

To put up some stats:

  • Total miles run in 2017: 237.8
  • Total miles biked in 2017: 1,314.76
  • Total yards swum: 10,000

From the half marathon I will need to keep a more general condition for the Kansas City Corporate Challenge Triathlon, which is in June on Father’s Day. And after that a lot of vacation travelling breaking up the schedule. Trying to decide how I track and keep fit on the three categories while traveling. We will see what I do. But that is conjecturing about something quite a ways ahead. I’ll let the subconscious brew thoughts on that before I decide.

Fitness Update: Northland Half and 5K


Sunday was the final race of the Northland Progress Series sponsored by The Running Well Store. Perhaps next week I will do a post on the series as a whole, if something else doesn’t come up of more topical interest. Today, however, I am going to concentrate on this week, and specifically the half marathon.

Last week I mentioned my overdoing it attempt to run the half solo, the dehydration, etc. So this week I ran two 4.5 prep routes, but nothing longer, before the half marathon on Sunday. I also swam 2,000 yards, skipping my Friday swim to sleep in. I was highly sleep deprived this week by Friday, but managed to get a lot of sleep on Friday and Saturday nights, hoping to be recharged for the half marathon.

But I don’t think I was quite up to the quality I was two weeks ago when I did the 12-mile run.

Because of family car arrangements, I rode my bike the 7 miles to the race course. There I met several people I had seen before and come to know. The person I knew the longest was Paul Mast, who was running the 5K, not the half, because he had just done a 10K on Saturday. We discussed our expected times: his was around 22 minutes, mine 2 hours.

I also saw the “young man” (lower 40s) I had been seeing each of the other races, Jason Thomas, and actually got to meet his wife and daughter before the race. In each of the previous three races I had managed to finish and stay ahead of him.

I was also looking for Deidre Eilts, who would be singing Sunday afternoon with me in the Songflower Chorale concert that was my Sunday afternoon gig, but didn’t manage to spot her.

This time, I started near the front of the pack, and managed to end up running with some of the 5K people. I struck up a conversation with one guy, and about a mile in found I was at a 8 minute pace, instead of my intended 9. So when he took the turn back, I tried to alter my tempo toward what I thought was 9. But I wasn’t feeling overextended, it felt right. (I’ll have to remember that tempo for the Corporate Challenge 5K on May 6).

When I reached the 2 mile marker I saw the lead person looping back and hitting the 3 mile marker — so about 50% faster than me.

There were “plenty” of water stations, and I was well-hydrated, so I didn’t have issues with that. I didn’t feel the multiple times to walk, but as I got onto the gravel levee at mile 5 I did sense a change of my pace.

Up to this point, and through most of the rest of the race, I was getting passed periodically, and passing very few people. So the tempo and dynamic of this race was different than the other three races.

I made it to the end of the levee, and did the turn around the circle and started back. That was about 8.5 miles, and around 9 miles I found Jason Thomas coming up alongside me. He was apparently close behind me at the turn, and finally got up to there. The two of us used each other as pacers from mile 9 until mile 12. I had enough energy for spurts; I walked at the water stops and got going again, syncing with him, while he didn’t stop, not thinking he could start again if he stopped walking.

We kept a good pace, and I hope encouraged each other; I know he kept me going. I finally wasn’t able to catch back up to him after the water station at mile 12. I kept behind him, and the distance separated slightly until about mile 12.5 when I started walking until the tingle and dizzy went away, then ran the last quarter mile.

It is possible I wimped out, but though I didn’t make my 2 hours, I was satisfied with my gun time of 2:02:43.30 and chip time of 2:02:38.98 That was an overall rank of 79, age rank of 5 and sex rank of 40.

If I had made my 2 hours, and nothing else had changed, I would have been rank 70, still age rank 5 and sex rank 36. To change my age rank I would have had to carve off 6 minutes; so from the stats perspective it didn’t make a real difference.

So, while I finished before Jason on the first three races, he finished before me on the half marathon, with a time of 2:00:05.50 — just five seconds over 2 hours, and right at the pace he was planning. He placed 69th overall and 4th in age group.

I feel fortunate to have struck up that friendship; won’t know when/if we will cross paths again, but it was a blessing for me, and I hope for him.

I didn’t see Deidre on the course, but she apparently saw me. She ran a good race, and was third in her age category.

But both of us were feeling it at the concert, though the music gave us our second adrenaline rush of the day, and we had an excellent performance, that I might write about somewhere else.

I did take 15-20 minutes to recover with the refreshments at the finish line before taking a quite leisurely bike ride back home. I had the endurance for the distance, but not the strength for the speed.

Summary: first half marathon was a success, but I want to train to a slightly better edge before the Corporate Challenge Half Marathon on May 20.

Fitness Update: More Personal Milestones


And by milestones, I mean that literally, as well as figuratively. Though I may actually mean mile-markers along the running trail.

This week started out with the usual commuting to work, recovering from the past’s weeks physical examination. I kept my activity points up by the usual bicycling commute, and then had the accident incident on Wednesday.

Thursday got back into the swing of things with the first 5k of the week and another 1,000 yards of lap swimming.

The real milestones came on Saturday. I started the day riding to the Line Creek Trail to be there at the break of dawn. I then set my timer and started running north 6.6 miles before returning to complete 13.2 miles in an even 2 hours. I passed many mile markers on the run of my first half marathon distance.

I had started out a couple months before preparing — as a potential competitor in the Kansas City Corporate Challenge.  My company ended up with two other runners in my category, so I became the alternate. But I didn’t talk myself out of actually trying to run the distance. And run it I did.

That, along with the bicycling, and swimming at Oceans of Fun, accumulated me enough points to make Saturday my MisFit points record day.

I followed that up on Sunday by buying my first pair of running shoes. I know, seems out of order. But I finally had time to get to the Running Well Store and have them do a stride assessment and help me select new shoes.  We will see how well, better or not, I do with, actual running shoes.

I’d looked at three different pairs in my category, and finally tested and decided on Asics Gel – Cumulus 17. What a lot of numbers. Hopefully worthwhile!

Speaking of which, each lap of the Caribbean Cooler at Oceans of fun is 266 yards. So I swam (not floated) 2 laps each on Saturday and Sunday — or another 1,000 yards. Not sure how I’ll count them in my annual total, but decided it will be one more thing I will track.