Monday, May 30, 2011

Race Report: Lytle Park Duathlon

It was suppose to be the Lytle Park Triathlon.  However due to the pool not being open yet it was changed to a duathlon.  A 1 mile run, 12.5 mile bike, and finish with a 3 mile run.  The pool was closed due to delays associated with the State of Illinois (go figure).

This was probably the least organized event I have participated in.  It just seemed a little thrown together that morning.  This event has gone on for years so I am assuming the issues with the pool threw the director off a bit.  Oh well, on the with the race report.

It was a hot and humid morning.  I got there a little early in order to get a decent spot in the transition area.  I wanted to be close to the bike exit area so I didn't have to run that far with the bike.  After I got settled in I did an easy warm up run around the park and stretched.  At 7:45 the pre-race meeting started and the director gave us some last minute instructions.  At 8am the race started.

The first leg of this duathlon was a 1 mile run (substituted for the swim).  It was a fairly flat out and back route.  This run was in town with lots of trees so the wind was not really a factor.  I started off really fast but got into a little bit of a rhythm after the group spread out.  I did not get passed which was good.  This leg went pretty good with a time of 06:30 which ranked 13th overall.

Transition #1 went pretty good.  Slipped off the running shoes, put on my bike shoes and helmet, and grabbed the bike.  It was about 15 yards for me to get to the exit.  I mounted my bike and was off.  T1 time was 35 seconds which ranked 15th overall.

The bike portion was an out and back course.  Out 6.25 miles due north then return.  After about a mile the bike route took us out in the country.  With a south wind at 10-15mph you can see where this is going.  The first 6.25 miles with the tailwind yielded some fast speed.  My average going out was probably around 26mph.   Then came the turnaround.  Now I am on my way back to the park with a headwind.  This really sucked big time.  I think my average was probably about 15.5 mph.  I used up a lot of energy on the 6.25 miles back to the park.  Overall I was pleased with my bike performance.  Total bike time was 0:39:01 which averaged 19.2mph and ranked 8th overall. 

Transition #2 from bike to run was quicker and easier.  Rack bike, change shoes, and go.  My T2 time was 30 seconds which was 7th overall.

The final leg was a 3 mile run through town on an out and back course.  It was pretty flat and the wind wasn't really a factor.  However, the heat factored in this part of the race as well as the fatigue from the 6.25 mile bike against the wind.  I did ok with a time of 0:20:35 or a 0:07:21 average pace (10th overall).  On this leg I got passed by 2 other competitors and also passed one competitor.

I ended up finishing 8th overall and 2nd in my age group.  Overall, I was pleased with my first multi sport event of the year.  A little disappointed that we couldn't swim.  Oh well, my first triathlon is coming up in a couple of weeks.  I think the lake will have water in it.

Time Summary:

Run      6:30
T1        0:35
Bike    39:01
T2        0:30
Run    20:35

Total Time:  1:07:12

A Couple of Side Stories

While setting up my stuff in the transition area I noticed another competitor wearing my fraternity letters.  I knew there was a good chance that he is attending my Alma mater because his shirt also had "tandem" on it.  There are not many schools around that have tandem bike races.  I went over and introduced myself and talked to him for a little bit.  It is always cool to run into someone you don't know but have a lot in common.  However, I felt old saying I graduated in 2001 and was President of our fraternity when the chapter house was purchased.  Anthony did great in his race as well.  He finished 3rd overall and 1st in his age group. 

It was also interesting to hear another youngsters triathlon story.  This kid was about 13 years old.  He had all the right gear so you could tell he has done this thing many times before.  The interesting part about this story was listening to his mom tell us why he got into triathlons.  He looked pretty athletic, but I guess given his size, team sports in school haven't been favorable for him.  He competitive thirst is quenched by doing triathlons instead of other sports and has helped his self-confidence.  It is interesting to hear these stories and appreciate them.  It is good to see young people getting involved in the sport of triathlon.  The kid actually performed pretty good too!

Onto the next race!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Race Report: Twin Cities Twosome

On Saturday May 14, 2011 my wife and I participated in the Twin Cities Twosome 10k relay race in Urbana.  We decided to do this event rather than another 5k race in another town because we could run the event as a team.  There are not too many events around like this where we can race together in this way.

The event was the 20th annual and benefited some great local charities (Center for Women in Transition, The Crisis Nursery, and the T.I.M.E.S. Center).  This race has some unique categories such as; husband-wife, parent-child, corporate, combined ages, and high school.  There was a 5k open category as well.  This was different from the other events I have ran in where I am trying to place in my age group.

Overall I thought this was a great event.  My wife and I finished 4th is the Husband-Wife category.

For the middle of May the weather sure felt like early March.  Rain showers, overnight and in the morning, dropped the temperatures and increased the wind.  The temperature was about 50 degrees but with the wind it felt like about 40 degrees.
My wife elected to do the first leg of the relay.  She started with the main large group.  As that group started it was just a waiting game for me until it was my turn to run the last leg of the relay.  So I did a light jog and did some stretching.  In order to complete a 5k in Crystal Lake Park you have to run 2 laps.  I knew that my wife would be finishing her first lap around 13 minutes so I got back to the start line to cheer her on. 

As she past by I knew she was running at a good pace and looking good.  Now, there I stand around for another 14 minutes waiting for her to get back and do the official relay switch.  As I see her come up and over the hill I stood out on the exchange zone awaiting her arrival. 

Once we did the exchange I once again had a lot of adrenaline and ran the first quarter mile or so at a 5:40/mi pace.  Of course it helped that first part was down hill.  Most of the run was inside the park which cut down the wind factor.  After about a half mile I settled in to a pace I felt comfortable with and worked on maintaining that pace.

I finished the first lap (2.5k) under 10 minutes.  I knew then I had a chance, although it would be close, to finish in 20 minutes or better for my 5k part of the relay.  When my legs were screaming to slow down I had to remind myself by saying 20 minutes over and over.

As I rounded the last curve I could see the finish line and gave it all I had.  My GPS watch said 20:01.  We'll say it was 20:00 minutes as I didn't stop my watch right away =)

My laps times were as follows:

Mile                        Pace/mi
1                              06:19
2                              06:30
3                              06:33
3.11                         05:50

I ran the my last 5k in 19:52 so I guess I am consistent.

We had fun and we both had great run times.  This was a fun event hopefully do it again next year.  Hopefully the weather will be a little nicer.

Now onto my first triathlon of the season in a little over a week.  This racing stuff is addicting.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Race Report: Illinois 5k and 1/2 Marathon

Illinois 5k

On April 29th I did my second 5k and on Saturday April 30th I did my first 1/2 marathon.  I did these two events on back to back days known as the I-Challenge.  This was part of the Illinois Marathon weekend.

A couple of weeks prior I was hesitant to go all out on the 5k Friday night because I wanted to leave some juice in the tank for the 13.1 miles I had to do the next day.  However, the weekend before the actual race I did a test run by doing a 5K then 13.1 miles the next morning and I felt pretty good.  So I was determined to give it my best on the 5k come Friday night.

As I arrived at the 5k race I was nervous.  I did my normal warm-up routine of drinking a Gatorade Prime, jogging 4 minutes, and then stretching.  After that was done I got in my chosen "projected finish time" corral, turned on my iPod, and started to get focused.  My goal was to get under 20 minutes and to do that I knew I had to have a consistent fast run.  I was able to monitor my pace with a GPS watch. 

I started really fast averaging about 5:50 mile pace on the first 1/2 mile.  I knew I had to slow down because I couldn't do that for the entire 3.1 miles.  My first mile was 6:12, second mile was 6:23, and my third was 6:38.  By the time I got around to mile 2.5 I knew I had a shot to break 20 minutes.  This kept me pushing as my mind started telling me slow down.  As I made the turn on Kirby a group of spectators lined both sides of the street.  Adrenaline is starting to kick in.  I go down through the tunnel into Memorial Stadium and more spectators filled the east side of the stadium and where screaming and cheering (not for me but it helped).  I knew I had to go 100 yards, run through the end zone, then do another 50 yard dash to the finish.  As I crossed the 50 yard line coming in I heard the announcer give out a race time.  I looked at my watch and knew I had to go into a full sprint for the last 100 yards or so to break 20 minutes.  As I turned for the last 50 yards I could see the race clock.  I ran as hard as I could and crossed the line right at 20:00 minutes. 

I knew I beat 20 minutes because I was a few seconds behind the race clock.  My actual chip time was 19:52 or 6:24/mile.  A NEW PR!  Very exited and pumped up about that.  I got my medal and some water and walked around a bit to get my legs back as they were a little wobbly.  Then I waited around for my wife to finish.  She had a great 5k time as well!  It wasn't til I got home and checked the official times that I realized I finished 37th of out 4,211 and finished 3rd in my age group!  Very happy with my 5k performance heading into my first 1/2 marathon.

Illinois Half Marathon

The next morning my wife and I headed back to Champaign for the second phase of the I-Challenge....the Illinois 1/2 marathon.  I wasn't as nervous for this event as I was for the 5k.  I did my normal warm up routine as I have done for every run in the 3 months prior in training. 

I ran 13.1 miles the Saturday before in 1:41.  This being my first 1/2 I didn't know how the running crowd would be at the beginning so I started in the "2 hr projected finish time" corral.  This forced me not to start too fast.  It worked.  My first mile was about 7:48.  After the first mile the crowd starting thinning out a little and was feeling pretty good at a 7:15 pace which is faster than I have done on any previous long runs.  As the miles went on I was able to maintain that pace for the first half of the race.  I knew I was in good shape as I passed the 1:40:00 Pace group around mile 6. 

At this point my calves were starting to hurt, but I kept trucking, because I knew that I would soon be at the halfway point.  The miles went on and the calves and legs got more and more tired.  It always seemed when my thoughts of shutting down come up there was always a group of volunteers/spectators there to cheer the runners on.  One cool thing is that your race bib also had your name on it.  It was really motivating to hear people you didn't even know shout out your name and encourage you.

By mile 11 and 12 it took everything I had to maintain my pace.  But I kept telling myself, "almost there...almost there".  As I turned into Finale Alley another group of spectators were there cheering the runners on.  Then made the hard right into the stadium tunnel where I could see the finish line.  Not sure where the energy came from but I went into a dead sprint the last 60 yards or so to finish strong.

I have always thought people that did these 1/2 marathons were crazy.  Why would they go through the pain of the race and be sore for days after.  Well now I guess I am one of the crazies.  For me it's the feeling I experienced before the race and the euphoric feeling I felt after crossing the line that will probably keep me doing these type of events.

I will definitely do more 5k's as it fits in good with my triathlon training.  I believe I will make the Illinois 1/2 marathon an annual event.  Who knows, it may not be my last 1/2 marathon of the year.

Now onto to getting ready for my first triathlon of the season at the end of May.  Really looking forward to that event.  Stay tuned and follow my blog (on right) as I will be posting more race reports throughout the summer!

I thought the medals were very nice.