Monday, May 31, 2010

Cotton Row 2010

Cotton Row, Cotton Row. How I love and hate you all at the same time!

Cotton Row is the premier footrace event in this area. I love the festivities. I love seeing people who may run one race per year pushing themselves. I love renewing old acquaintances. I saw people today that I haven't seen in well over 5 years. Really, this is a first class event.

Dink and Suzanne Taylor know how to put on an event. Thanks to Fleet Feet in Huntsville and Mercedes Benz of Huntsville for sponsoring this race. Every year it seems better than the year before.

Huge shout to some folks who ran great today... I'm proud of my bud Daniel Ogles for his hard work preparing for this and then gutting it out. A co-worker Olivia Cole signed up and did both the 10k and the 5k. I thought only crazy people did that. And my good friend and Fleet Feet Racing team mate Eric Fritz busted the 20 minute mark today! Nice job!

It is all about me isn't it? I ran a 40:36 (why o why can I NOT break 40 in the 10k?) which was 66th overall. I ran a lousy 5k in 20:18 (how's that for even pacing) but that got 2nd in my age group.

The 10k
I was going to run with my friend Shane O'Neill, and I did for a mile and a half or so. He was going to pace me to a sub 40. If I had stayed with him, I would have broken 40. I let him go pretty early.

I was totally unprepared for this race. I am simply not in 10k shape. And this course is tough. Really tough. I should have been a little tougher. I just didn't get after it like I should have today. It's one thing to be unprepared, but it's another to lay down a bit during a race. I have a good reason to be unprepared (Country Music Marathon), but not giving my best to the course today is inexcusable.

Having said that, 40:36 is a 21 second PR. That's nice, but I should be breaking 39.

I ran a smart race, but not a tough one. I didn't start too fast. I ran the hill hard, but didn't redline. I was right on pace at the top, and I intended to bring in the last 2 miles near to 6:00.
  1. 6:13
  2. 6:27
  3. 6:45
  4. 7:00
  5. 6:14
  6. 6:29 (I just didn't like hurting. Wimp.)
  7. 1:27 (0.24 miles)
The 5k
I had no motivation for the 5k. I didn't want to put in the effort that would be required to break 20. I knew that I had no PR in me. Why was I doing this? I still don't know. Next year, I think I'll just volunteer at Cotton Row.

I started on sub 20 pace and thought I might hold it. I hit the 1 mile mark at 6:22 and felt un-miserable. So, I held on for about another quarter mile and simply gave up. It was hurting and I wanted to quit. I ran mile 2 in a terrible 6:50. Huh? Really. I was a quitter today. I seriously thought about coasting the rest of the way at about a 9:00 pace. That would have been pleasant.

But then Brett Wilks caught me at about 2.5 miles. I probably was coasting near 7:30 when he caught me. Miserable. I even told Brett to go ahead, I was done. I expected him to surge and go, but he didn't. He stayed with me. So, I had to speed up. The faster I ran, the faster he ran. He wasn't going to put me away, but he wasn't going to let me quit either. When we hit the 3 mile mark, I decided that now is the time. Will I toy around or just go all out? I decided to just go. I really didn't know I could run that fast. I ran the last 0.11 miles in 29 seconds. Yeah, that's a sub 4:50 pace. And I felt like I could have done that a little longer, which was weird given how miserable the rest of the race had been.

I've just got to get tougher. I need to work harder, lose weight, and repeat hills. Cotton Row last year gave me the kick in the pants I needed to get serious about my training. This year, it will do the same.

All in all, a PR on a tough course and a day in which I was woefully unprepared isn't bad, but it wasn't my best and I know that. And the 5k, at least I learned that I can run fast if I have to. Positives and negatives from both races.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cotton Row Nerves

Um. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I decided to sign up for Cotton Row this year. A 10k a month before a marathon is genius. A 10k a month after a marathon is not wise at all. I simply haven't had time to recover from Nashville and then focus on the systems necessary to run my best 10k.

So, this will be one of the first races that I've gone into without really being prepared. I've done a couple of weeks of crash course type training with hills in Denver and track work and tempo runs. But all of that has felt extremely uncomfortable and sub-40 on a flat course would be tough. Sub-40 tomorrow on that beast may not be possible. Oh well. Maybe I can PR.

And then there's the 5k afterwards. What was I thinking? At least the 5k course is more reasonable. I'm pretty nervous. Maybe I'll get lucky and have a good day and PR both distances. More likely, my lack of preparation will show and I'll finish way back of where I should be.

Live and learn.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Tempo

The title of this post is just a play on words for those who read music. I'm getting back to my pre-marathon tempo pace. (Get it? a tempo. Nevermind.)

Believe it or not, I know a little bit about music. Not much, but a little. I really wish I knew more, but I can't truly enjoy music on the same level that most folks can because I'm nearly tone deaf. I can sight read pretty well because of my days as a tubist in high school. But miss a note by up to a step and a half, and I'll never know it. You'd think that these inept ears equip me perfectly to be an American Idol viewer, but I don't really like that show. Even I can tell that those people can't sing.

Wow, I'm rambling. But I know you missed my wit much more than you missed my workout descriptions and splits. Maybe not.

Anyhow, I did a 20 minute tempo run with Matt this morning. We did a 3.5 mile warm up and a 2.5 mile cool down for 9 miles total for the day. The tempo portion ended up being 3.11 miles in 20 minutes for a 6:27 (6:30 was the goal) overall pace. That was much harder than it should have been and I'm having difficulty imagining how I could hold that pace for 10k, especially with a huge Mountainwood hill right in the middle.

How bad is a DNS? I'm not ready for this race, Cotton Row.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Apologies

I owe all three of my readers an apology. I mean, I can't just stop by this blog and tell you what a great workout I had this morning without some sort of explanation about why I haven't posted in 3 weeks. Don't you at least deserve that? My apologies for leaving you hanging.

Work has been extremely busy since about March 15, and it really has gotten intense since the week of the Country Music Marathon. I've had to decide whether I'll do without sleep, workouts, or blogging. Well, blogging got the ax. Actually, lots of things slipped, not just blogging. Things seem to be more reasonable now, so the hiatus was temporary. I'm back. Besides, all you missed was marathon recovery. You didn't really want to hear about short, slow workouts did you?

Right now, I'm beginning Jack Daniels' Gold Elite plan. It's supposed to get one ready for a variety of race distances, except the marathon. I don't have a marathon on my schedule any time soon, so I'll be doing the occasional 5k, 10k, 5 mile, 8k, or whatever distance is in the area on a given weekend. This plan adds what Daniels calls "repetition" training. I haven't done any of that, so I hope this will freshen up my workouts and stimulate systems in my body that haven't been used yet and help me past this plateau I'm on.

Today was a repetition day. 10 x 400m at "R" pace (faster than 5k, maybe 1 mile or 3k pace) with long rest between bouts. The goal is to recover such that the next one feels like the first one. You may take 3 to 5 minutes between reps. If it takes longer than 5 minutes, you're running too fast.

Matt came over and we ran to the Athens high track. This was perhaps the slowest warmup ever because I dreaded running these reps. I was delaying in every way possible, and Matt called me out on it, too! It turns out that I really liked this workout. The last 3 or 4 were right on the edge of nausea in the last 100m, which is where I like to be for a hard workout. I sure don't want to cross the line and lose the contents of my stomach, though. Anyway, here are the numbers.
  1. 82
  2. 80
  3. 79
  4. 78
  5. 77
  6. 80
  7. 79
  8. 78
  9. 77
  10. 75
I've really felt great all day. Man, that workout felt good. (Well, except for the actual running fast part, that pretty much hurt.)

Friday, May 7, 2010


I suppose I should update my blog from time to time. I wish I had something really clever or interesting to say, but I don't. That's why I haven't updated.

What next? I really don't know. I will be running the Cotton Row Run 10k and 5k. However, I know I can't get myself into 10k or 5k shape between now and then. I'm just going to run hard and see what happens. I doubt I'll run a race between now and then. I'm focused on recovering properly from the Country Music Marathon. I did NOT recover properly after Rocket City. After Rocket City, I shifted my focus immediately to Mountain Mist, and ran a really bad race there because I pressed too hard too soon.

The first time I ran (what I did the day after CMM cannot be called running) after the Country Music Marathon was the following Thursday. All I could think about during that run was, "When can I run another marathon? I want another chance. I'll be tougher during the last 10k next time." The marathon bug has bitten. I must tame the beast that is racing 26.2 miles. Another week of easy miles and I'll be ready to run fast and far again.