Monday, October 16, 2006

Not hammered but done

After Sunday's United Space Alliance 10-miler, a race distance PR for me, I still find myself seeking the elusive perfect race, a race with ideal conditions, and one that will give me some indication that the full marathon in January is probable or even possible in under 6 hours. I had hoped this would be the one and that it would give me a little bit of confidence going into the Koala/Luke's Locker Half Marathon in two weeks, a race with a 2:48 minute time limit, which closes the course completely after 3 hours. Can you tell I'm worried?

On to the good stuff!!! I spent Saturday and Sunday at a beach house in Galveston, fishing with the kids and relaxing. I arrived at UH-Clear Lake to light showers and overcast skies. Whenever I arrive at a race, I get this excited, nervous feeling about me, kind of like when you've waited in line to get on a roller coaster and you're next. I walked over to the tents and started to mingle. Lot's of familiar faces. I was trying to relax a little and clear my mind but unfortunately, laughingly, I cleared all the important stuff out as well. I almost forgot that this is a chip timed race and came reall close to not even going over to get my chip. LOL!!! Then I realized I left my Garmin, searching for satellite signal on top of my truck. I hope the feeling and craziness of race day never goes away. I hope it never becomes mundane to me. This is too much fun!

Of course, On The Run put on a great event. The race was very well organized. The course was very flat and there were a half dozen PR's by Striders and bloggers, including an awesome 1:17:34 by Steve, a speedy 1:30:39 by Jessica, and a brilliant 1:25;13 by Joe C of the Bay Area, just to name a few outstanding performances. First timers, June and Bill delivered stellar performances with 1:55:36 and 1:35:23 respectively. WTG everybody!!!

Unfortunately, my Garmin splits are a mess. For some reason, the 1 mile autolap was WAY early on mile one so I hit the Lap button twice. Then I turned the autolap off but passed the 4 mile marker without hitting the button. I did this two more times so suffice it to say, it's all screwed up. I'm not even going to try to figure it out. When the official times are posted, I'll update with my 5 mile time, recorded by the chip. Beyond that, I'm not sure. On the Garmin thing, most people I talked to showed the distance as 10.07-10.09. That's only about 140 yards. I've been reading a little about the accuracy of GPS and how it can be off. Motion Based does some fancy calculations to try to correct for the shortcomings of GPS but it's just silly for me to worry about all that. No system is perfect other than measuring it with a tape measure but GPS is probably about as good as it gets.

I ran pretty strong the entire race. One issue faced by this first timer is how fast to go, how much to conserve, not wanting to bonk by the end. Well, I guess that's several issues. I wondered most of the race if I should pick up the pace or if by doing so, I wouldn't have enough in the tank to finish. So, steady it was. I held about 14:30 pace. I think a couple of early miles were around 14:15. At mile 7, I picked it up a little and finished with a 13:39 mile 10. Speaking of finishing, my good friends Bill and Jon came out around mile 9 to pace me and give me a bit of a boost into the finish. Appreciate it guys. It really helped me focus for that last mile. Then, coming around the last corner and looking down a little less than a quarter mile, I saw June and Cassie hootin' and hollerin' and got an even bigger boost. The Striders tent was positioned very close to the chute so I received a big welcome and much trash talking there after turning in my chip.

My finishing time was around 2:23:00. Probably the highlight of the race was coming across the bridge by Clear Lake and looking out over the water at the wall of rain coming toward me. There was no doubt that it was headed my way. In a way, it was refreshing when the bottom dropped out. It kind of washed the "tired" right off of me. But my shoes got just a little bit heavier and the puddles got deeper and for about a half a mile there, I was running in about 2 inches of running watter, with cars splashing water on me as they drove by. It sounds like a horrible time but frankly, I had a blast. It wasn't like a training run where you can just live to train another day. THIS WAS A RACE!!! So, knowing that, I just embraced the conditions and turned it into a fun time. I actually ran with my eyes closed, only opening them briefly every 5 or 10 seconds to make sure my course was true but trying to protect them from the stinging downpour. FUN!!!

On to the half!!!


Pat said...

I ran in the rain too. It was a first, since it doesn't rain in Phoenix much. Sounds like you enjoyed your run, congrats!

Keep up the good work, I can't wait to hear about your 1/2 mary.


JustJunebug said...

its about time you updated this blog!! :O)

it makes me smile to visualize you running with your eyes closed. I would just fall over if i did that!!

you rock, and i cant WAIT till the 29th for both of us!! You're gonna do JUST GREAT!

Anonymous said...

Your 2:23 ten mile race coverts into a 3:10:23/ half and a 6:36:56 full marathon. Keep up the training and work with Sheps. He will get you through it. Good effort out there.

TX Runner Girl said...

Great report! It sounds like you did great...I think you are going to have an awesome time at the 1/2!!!

Sarah said...

I was cheering for you right next to the finish line -- I don't think you even saw me because you were so focused! :) Great race, Vic.

Anonymous said...


Congratulations, nicely done! You should be very pleased with the result 1) It did not wipe you out, and 2) You're right in the ballpark for your marathon goal.

For the Houston Half, we have time limits to discourage strollers from entering. We will have a limited number of trained walkers, but we keep the publicity subdued on that. As far as the actual race day, the finish line will be up when you arrive and you will get a recorded time, so don't stress about that! You might do the last bit of the race on the Allen Parkway path if they open the road to traffic, but that's safe and pleasant. By all means take a look at historical 20k results to get a sense of this.


Jill said...

Great report. You are getting better with every day!

Cassie (TIGGS) said...

Vic- Nice work! I am very proud of you!!

no water at mile 4=bad organization, but the post race burrito was good....

jamoosh said...

Great job Vic. Be tenacious and stay focused. Thin positive about the half and it will come to you.

I enjoyed running in the rain today so I am glad that you too had a blast. I love running in the rain.

atownrunner said...

awesome running vic. i loved it when it started raining. see ya at the half.

Anonymous said...

Running in the rain is just part of your training experience. As such, what would you pack to wear if it's raining?

No need to answer, it's a for yourself question.

Keep pluggin'.

doug said...

You're a modest guy and a true gentleman, Vic ... so I'll tell them about the 4-5 runners that you picked off in the last three tenths of a mile. ;)

As Doug said, keep at it!

L*I*S*A said...

Vic, you are an awesome person, and I love reading your description of events. It's almost as if I was there running it with you!

Way to go, and the marathon will be a piece of cake at this rate.

The ever-elusive 'perfect race' will happen, and when it does, you'll know it!

Jenny said...

Woohoo! Great run Vic! The rain sounded like fun, though I'm not sure it's a great idea to run with your eyes shut! LOL