March 04, 2019 - Learning to tuck smartly
This run race is considered one of our local season openers for endurance runners. It is a flat course following along the beautiful Snake River down in the Palouse, but the weather is where the challenge arrises. Years previous this course has been deemed challenging because of wind, rain, and sleet. This year is was 20 degreeds and a direct headwind on the way out. The benefit, however, is that the course is a 6.5mile out, and a 6.5 mile return.
It has been so cold here lately and the snow has made February the heaviest snow fall on record for the last century! So, my training has been reliant on the treadmill and Zwift. I have dared to go out a few times with these conditions, however, the roads are unreliable and ppl don't shovel their walks. In the end I am altering my gait and stride accomodating the road conditions. I am 1.5 year post a labral tear to my left hip and after compensating due to my change in stride, my hip is very sore and clicky. In the end, the outdoors are just not worth it to me. The advantage/disadvantage to training on the treadmill (longest run was 1hr40min) I wasn't sure how this would translate to the open road. The positive was that I carb loaded like a mother for this race! I am known for my big bowls of rice at work now which is a sweet change up for the salad-turkey meat nurse.
My warmup for the race felt smooth and that direct headwind out proved to be challenging. When it was time to start, of course, everyone else nails a faster than usual pace. The mental game for me is, "I look forward to passing you when you can't hold it." My goal pace was a 7:33/mile and so I started out smooth and in stride, tucking behind ppl so they took on the headwind for me. Focused on a comfortable Z4 heart rate of 170-175 on the way out, jumping from person to person to stay with my wind-breakers. I felt like I could just go for ever! The downside is that starting at mile 4 my guy I was tailing started to notice his fatigue and slowed his pace. I didn't have anyone else around me to break the wind. So in my head I just assumed it to be a recovery mile. He stayed slower at mile 5 too. At this point I am getting pissed because I knew I had a tank left in me. We were running a 7:40 pace by this point. I continued to conserve my energy, downed my X2 fuel and kept on track. The turn around was further out than the 6.5 miles, and so when I looked at my watch, seeing a 6.63 miles, I said in my head screw this! Passed my guy, beared the remainder of the head wind to get to the turning point. It was smooth sailing from there! Tailwind was "refreshing" and boy did I overheat! If I could have run in a sports bra and capri's I would of, not noticing it was 20 degrees out anymore. I picked my pace back up to a comfortable 7:20-7:25, but it was too late to recover my pace of mile 6. So mentally, stayed solid, and just counted ppl as I passed them. Hold form and staying smooth in my stride. I finally got a guy at mile 10 that was fun to run with, holding a pace in the 7:20s, but he had to stop for water which ruined my motivation. I was all I could do to hold my 7:30 the last 2 miles! Legs felt like they could keep going, hip was solid, heart rate staying in Z4 this whol time. Mental strength now; just focus on the lady in white about 40 sec ahead of me. "just pass this guy and hold her!" Talked up this guy to keep him running along side me! Motivating him to hold it, stay with me! His breathing, flying arms, and lack in form was not what I need on this last mile. So I actually turned up my beats and smooth sailed! I was pissed when I looked at my watch at 13.1 and noticed I still had a 1/4 mile left! SOB!!! Hold it!
The course was long per everyone's watch. Mine clocked a 13.37 with a 7:32min/mile. I learned pick someone faster to pace and just hold on as long as possible because the 3 miles of a 7:41 fucked up my avg. Took 4th in my age group and walked away smarter.