This will be proportionately written to the size of the race… short. The run is primarily a fund raiser, and as a 5k on a day off for most people, it’s pretty big. 20k people big, in fact. It’s amazing that people can’t listen, and don’t pay any attention to the signs, like people with strollers and with their little kids lined up in the 7min pace section. For how big the race was, it didn’t seem too bad at all, though I was near the front-ish, so that didn’t really affect me too much.
Anyway, my race went well. This was actually my first 5k, so I wasn’t sure how my pacing would go, but I got 7s, which I’m very happy with. Harry got sub 8s, Mark sub 9s, and Josh sub 10s, so I feel we all did pretty darned well. Other than that, there’s not much to say. Three miles is pretty darned short for a run, but we jogged in three miles to get there, and jogged and walked back, so it was altogether a fun way to start Thanksgiving morning, and a lot more worthwhile selflessly donating time and money instead of selfishly eating.
The triathlete training bible talks a lot about different type of races. “A” races being the big one or two you train for in the year, “B” races being ones you put effort into, but don’t push and train to the edge, and “C” races being those that you do, just as part of training, and just to do. No pushing, no risk, you’re just there because you love to race. That’s what Clarksburg was to me; a chance to do a 20 mile, pre-marathon, typical Sunday training run. In that light, I got exactly what I wanted out of the run, I finished, I had good times with a friend, I accomplished some speed work I never thought myself capable of, and I loved it. As a bellwether to my CIM success, all signs point to positive. Yay me!
Let me just say, this is what was meant by “Avenue of the Vines,” not the “Bovines” event. The course was beautiful, the day was perfect, I couldn’t have asked for better run conditions. The course meandered through the streets of Clarksburg, a small town just along the river, south of Sacramento. Parts of the run went through wineries, parts through country roads, parts along the levy above the river tributary. It was amazing, quaint, and perfect. In a heartbeat, I’d do this run again.
I usually title this part, “The Race,” but since I wasn’t really racing, I’m just going to call it the run. As a training run, I didn’t push myself at all. I told Harry when I was trying to get him to do this (which he had a good excuse for missing, being in Oregon),
that I wouldn’t race it, but would rather run alongside him the whole time. Well, Harry didn’t show, but Amanda did! So, I extended the same idea over to running with Amanda, and we did the first 15 miles of Clarksburg together, chatting, keeping our minds off of injuries, and just enjoying the beautiful course. Thanks, Amanda! I would rather run with friends any day, and it’s friends who’ve helped me get to where I am today.
So anyway, the first fifteen miles were pretty mild. We paced in the low 9s to start, but as injuries and a week of sickness began to catch up with Amanda (I still can’t believe she ran twenty miles after being sick all week long), our pace slowed down to the mid 10s. Around mile ten, I forewarned Amanda that I might take off around mile fifteen, depending on how we were doing. Well, right at fifteen, Amanda’s injuries really started to get to her, our pace was down to about 11s, and I felt the need to push myself a little more. So I took off for the last five miles… and it was awesome.
For the last five miles, I was running (depending on headwinds) between 6:50s and 8:20s. I would have never thought that, after fifteen miles (my longest run ever at that point), I could kick it up to run sub 8s. Frank, at mile 18 or so, told my that I could catch up with Hiroshi, and try I did. Just thirty seconds, he said, and at the 400 meter mark, I saw Hiroshi ahead. His pace was slower than mine, and I thought I had him, but that 400m mark put a fire under his feet and he sped up, leaving me to come in just a few seconds behind him. It was a nice push to bump up my speed just a little more, and I had a great time doing it.
If you were to ask TBF coach Dan Foster about fueling, there’d be a quick answer, almost a mantra: early and often. After this week, I can totally agree with that, not even just on the performance of the day, but on its affect on subsequent days.
Sunday, I raced the 7th annual Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon (see below), and did fine, but raced that as a training run, not as a real race. Two days later, I ran 7.5 miles with Harry, and really struggled. Our pacing was ~9:20, and I was the driver of that. At mile 1, I was already gu’ing (or in my case, Hammer Gel). By mile 3.5, I felt like I’d run 8 already. By mile 6, I was exhausted, and it was taking everything I had to keep going. If I can’t do 28 miles in a week, how am I supposed to do 26.2 in one day?!
In retrospect, I believe it to be 100% a fueling issue. Monday night, I did a weights workout, then went to bed. Tuesday morning, I did 30 minutes of cardio on a bike, a weights workout, and then a workout with my PT. Throughout the day, I ate about 1500 calories of food, then went on the 7.5 mile run. I was already in a deficit before I even started the run…
And the big lesson of the week was this: for the two days following it, I was tired, exhausted, and felt ill — all from exercising on a heavy deficit. So when I think “early and often,” I need to think beyond just that day, but realize that failing to do so can knock me out for a couple days. Not only does that undo the work I did by working out unfueled, but it sets me back. So early and often needs to apply to my every day life — plan out my workouts, eat for success, and stick to the plan.