Marathon Life

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A painfully slower Father Joe's Thanksgiving 5K

Since my company was paying for yet another race as part of their Wellness program, I decided to sign up for a Thanksgiving day 5K race, the Father Joe's Villages 5K. I was debating if I should run it as I heard it was the same course as the Komen 5K on Nov 3, which I previously wrote about . That was my first official race since 2008. I was relatively happy with my 9th overall finish and 1st in my age division.

This race, however, was a completely different story. When I found out the day before that the course was not the same as Komen and didn't have the steep half mile hill at the end, I was so happy. I figured I could shave off some time from the 19:02 at Komen. Well, it didn't happen. After a fast first mile (5:50?), I struggled in the last half of the race, slowing down considerably and ended with a 19:40 finish. It wasn't all bad news though. The silver lining was that I placed 2nd in the 35-39 age group out of over 100 people in that division. I was 56th overall out of about 2,200 people. You can see my age division results here and overall results here

I realize it's only 38 seconds slower, but that's an eternity in a 5K race. I just didn't feel great from the start. Here's a breakdown of the mistakes I made from the start that affected my performance and how I can learn from it. Looking back on it, I clearly see why I finished slower.

1.  Too much caffeine: I made the mistake of having half of an Americano (made on my awesome new Breville espresso machine) an hour before the race. Normally, I don't like to consume a ton of caffeine before a race, but I figured it would help me get a burst of energy since I was tired from getting up at 6:20am. This plan backfired. The shot was so concentrated, I think it was too much and I didn't realize it.

2. Not enough food: I only ate a single slice of raisin bread instead of my usual cereal with milk. I didn't want to chance it with any dairy and racing hard (stomach issues). I should have stuck with my routine.

3. Lack of hydration. I didn't have enough water with breakfast. I should have had at least 16 oz of water. I had a few sips. I was worried about peeing, but there were porta-potties everywhere. The last race had tons of water at the starting line since the finish was also in the same area. My mouth was a bit dry right before we the start and I was super nervous. I should have brought the water bottle from my car with me, but didn't. So after about a minute of running, my mouth felt like a desert and chalky. It affected my breathing too. It was like I had no saliva in my mouth!! I have never had this happen to me before! It was scary and I started to panic. I was hoping there would be a water table at Mile 1, but I didn't see water until just before Mile 2. Too late.

So those three factors affected my performance in a major way. The course itself was not that bad. At the half mile mark there was a small hill. At 1.5 miles there was a larger, steeper rolling hill, but it was short. It was a relatively flat course that was WAY EASIER than the Komen. Figures

One last thing. Before the Komen race I did 2 "mock" 5Ks on the treadmill in the preceding weeks. This time I only did a few mile repeats on the treadmill at a faster clip, but not at my goal speed. And that was just once on the Monday night before the Thursday am race. I should have done more speed work to get my body acclimated to racing hard.

Now I know. Being out of competitive racing for 5 years has affected how I approach races. I forget the little things that can have a big impact on race day performance. You live and learn. There's always another 5K. I think I may try one in mid-December. We will see how I feel.

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posted by Anthony at 4:58 PM 5 comments

Saturday, November 16, 2013

My First Race in 5 years - Nov 3 Komen 5K

I have abandoned this blog and had no intention to. Due to a string of injuries and a stubborn hamstring injury from Dec 2007, I haven't competed in a marathon since June 2007. I decided that I will try another marathon in 2014, just 7 years later. My hamstring is still an issue, but it's something I can deal with now more efficiently. I got used to the pain and my mind focuses on something else. The scar tissue is there and I feel it when I run.

On Nov 3, I raced my first road race since 2008 at the Susan Komen Race for the Cure. I ended up coming in 9th place overall,1st in the 35-39 age group with a 19:02! Results are here. Granted, this race was more about charity so there were only about 500 "timed" runners. The super fast runners didn't come out for this race so the field was less competitive. Still, I felt given the long layoff from racing, it was a respectable showing. It wasn't my fastest time for a 5K (17:59) but not my slowest.
Photo Credit: Mike Regala Photography. Me at the starting line!

I was extremely nervous since I hadn't competed in a race for so long. The last time I raced it was a glorious day when came in 5th place at the San Diego Camp Pendleton Mud Run in Oct 2008. That was such a long time ago.

I was aiming to run in the 18-19 min range for this 5K since I really didn't know the course or what I was capable or doing. I had been running 25 miles per week or so and thew in some fast workouts on the treadmill. I had done a few "mock" 5Ks to see where I was at so I knew I would be around that time.

Race Breakdown
I ran the first mile way to fast at 5:40. At mile 2 my split was 11:52, which I purposely slowed down. But during the final mile my wheels fell apart due to the half mile hill right at the end. We actually ran onto the 163 freeway and up an exit ramp at the Quince Street exit. That was HORRENDOUS to happen at that stage of a fast race. My legs seized up and I could feel the lactic acid. If that part were flat, I seriously would be at least 45 second faster. The good news is that only 1 person passed me on the hill and that was it. After I finally got to the top of the hill, I saw that there was only about a quarter mile left so I ran as fast as I could. I saw the clock ticking down and wanted to at least break 19:00, but just missed it. My legs and lungs were on fire.

After the race, it took me several hours to breathe properly. With time, I should get used to the faster racing outdoors. I need to get my lungs acclimated to that type of super heavy aerobic activity.

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posted by Anthony at 10:30 AM 1 comments

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