Sunday, May 29, 2011

Week in Review 5/23 - 5/29

Run: 56 miles
Bike: 126 miles
Swim: 10,100 meters

I snuck in a race on Saturday, the Run for Peace at Home. Probably a bad idea, but a great cause and I was trying to steal my first win on 2011. About 15 minutes before the start I saw Paul. If Paul is a bridesmaid to John Compton, I guess that makes me Paul’s flower girl. I took second to Paul in a pedestrian 17:29. Despite the time I enjoyed some Great Harvest Bread, tons of fruit from Dilworth Grill (wish this was at more races) and won $70 of gift certificates from Omega Sports, productive morning.

This week was a monster training week, but I think I have been overdoing it. I've raced the past three weekends and I'll be racing the next three as well, so I think a down week with a taper for King Tiger is in order. 

In other news while I am still primarily a runner, Danielle and I have also been biking and swimming a lot to get ready for triathlons. We both know that we won’t really be competitive in triathlons this year (because of my biking, her swimming) but we are working hard. I have been getting my bike mileage up and this week we took our first swim lesson with Nicole. I am really enjoying the different training even if I am really maybe a year away from threatening for an age group award in decent sized triathlon.

After looking at how fast the Latta results have been (and the disproportionately long bike) I am going to stop worrying about Latta and start focusing on the Grand Prix series and the Camp Thunderbird Lake Wylie tri.  That tri has a nice 10 mile bike and a hard 5k run; so I should definitely be more competitive in that race than I will be at Latta.  If nothing else, I'm looking forward to sneaking in another sprint tri this season. 

Looking forward to a down week with a taper before King Tiger.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Winning some bread


Saturday was the fourth Grand Prix race and gave us the opportunity to win some bread.  Literally.  Great Harvest Bread Co. is the title sponsor and gratiously gives out bread and cookies to the Top 5 Men & Women.  Obviously, both Chad and I were hoping to be lucky enough to snag some delicious bread and cookies.  While warming-up, we ran into Meagan Nedlo who confirmed that the lure of Great Harvest Bread was too much for her and she would be toeing the line.  Although Meagan is awesome and I enjoy seeing her on training runs, seeing her on the starting line isn't enjoyable, because it simply pushes everyone back a spot.  Nonetheless, the top 5 would be getting bread, so I was still well in the mix!

Fast men can't pose.  I think Chad is the
only one looking at the camera.
From the gun Chad realized he was in the mix for a top 5 spot.  John and Paul had shot to the front immediately, with Vincent and Jim trailing, leaving Chad with Billy, Michael, Richard, and Mike.  By halfway through, it was a nice pack of Chad, Billy, and Richard (sound familiar?) chasing Jim and Vincent, who were slowly coming back.  They tracked down Jim at the 2 mile marker and Richard put in a big surge to try and drop the pack.  Chad was still feeling pretty good, so he matched Richard's surge and put one of his own in coming up the last big hill, and finally passed Vincent with about 600m to go.  Crossing the line in 17:05, Chad grabbed third place overall, for his first Grand Prix podium spot!  Very exciting. 

Although the times weren't blazing fast, this course is hilly and has lots of turns, so it's not exactly fast times material.  Chad ran a really smart race, racing the people instead of the clock. Fifteen seconds separated third from eighth. It would be great to see that group finishing! 

Chad finishing with Richard,
Vincent, and Billy in hot pursuit.
I had the pleasure of working with Michelle  pretty much the entire race.  We started next to each other and ran together until the last big uphill.  The same spot where Chad put in a surge and finally gapped Richard, Billy, and Jim is where Michelle put in a surge and gapped me.  I just couldn't match it, even though there was a long downhill to try and gain ground on.  I finished 4th overall in 19:09.  I felt so much better than I did at Twilight and ran a bit faster on a harder course.  It's hard to be too disappointed with that. 

This was the first race where Chad placed better than I did, which I have to admit was a bit odd.  But I'm really proud of how well he ran.  He continues to get faster and I'm excited to see what he can do at the end of the summer when we finally get onto some fast courses. 

After collecting our loot, we zipped home to take care of Max, grab some groceries, and get ready for the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Copper Classic 1000 yard dash.   Joey had run this "race" last year and told tales of free beer for the winner, so Chad and Thomas decided to throw their hats into the ring and try to win some free beer.  We decided to bring Max, so only Chad was going to race.  I put a lot of pressure on him to win us some free beer.  Sure, he had already won bread and cookies, but beer is also awesome and I wanted to have it all.  The race was a great time, Thomas took the overall, with Chad and Joey trailing not too far behind.  All was not lost though, because the top 3 got free beer.  Hooray beer!  Michelle took the women's title and Emily Barrett took third.  Chad, Michelle, and Emily had all raced Great Harvest Bread earlier in the day, making for a rather impressive double.  Billy Shue was kind enough to provide photography services, but I decided to drop the camera on the sidewalk and it appears to be broken.  Looks like a trip to Best Buy is in order.

Chad with his 2nd place prize-
a growler of beer!

On Sunday we woke up bright and early to do a "long run" with Thomas, Michelle, Matt, and AJ.  Ardyn joined us in the babyjogger.  It was great fun watching Chad push the babyjogger the last 2+ miles.   It certainly didn't look easy, which is why I didn't volunteer to help.  Later Chad's Father, Ed, and Diane stopped in for a short visit.  They were on the way home from Myrtle Beach and joined us for lunch at Big Daddy's.  It was amazing.  Oh and the visit was nice too :)  It's always great to spend time with family and Ed & Diane enjoyed meeting Max. 

We now have a week off of Grand Prix races and a long weekend coming up.  I'll be taking a week off of racing.  Chad is, as always, a game time decision.  So many races, so few open weekends!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Twilight Recap

Chad’s Twilight 5k Recap

The good:  I broke 17, I can never(should never) complain about that, especially in the heat/humidity on a course that has broke me down before; 6th place finish in a GPx race, best ever, won my age group.  

The bad:  my last quarter mile, running scared, looking over my shoulder.

The ugly:  I expected my time to be better than skyline, it wasn’t; my pre-race food consumption, nearly came back(literally) to haunt me.

In the past this race has dominated me:  2010: 18:31;  2009: 20:02;  2008: 22:09.  So, I was excited to go into this race healthy, rested and feeling good.  A Friday evening race always confuses me.  I have my Saturday morning routine down so that I know just what to do when and I am usually feeling some nerves so I am not really hungry in the mornings so only nibble just a bit.  But for an evening race I found my self nervously eating in the afternoon.  When it got time to warm up I was not happy with how my stomach felt.  The warm up felt sluggish, which is strangely sometimes a good sign.  I don't know what was going on, it was a rare feeling for me that I was racing because I had to more than because I wanted to.

I was happy to see Steve Spada at the start and meet his son.  I was not happy to see John Compton at the start, because despite being a great guy that just means all the rest of us get bumped down a slot.

This is the biggest 5k that I know of in Charlotte so there was a sizeable number of spectators in addition to the 1,500 or so runners.  I did a few last minute strides, wished my friends well and we were off down Tryon.  Aaron sprinted out to the front, led only by a Let Me Run boy who I think Aaron terrified with his warrior scream.  My goal was to try and lay back and stay relaxed for the first 2 miles and then turn it on up the hills to the finish.  Billy came up on me and said something about working together, which was fine with me but, I wasn't sure he would hang back with my pace.  After about a third of a mile people were still going by us and Billy lost patience and left me.  Spada came up on me and we ran together through the mile.  the clock said 5:00, but it was really about 5:26.  Good thing I race with my garmin instead of trusting the race clocks to be accurate.  Feeling good thankfully, if you aren't feeling good at that point in this race, save yourself the trouble and stop.   

There were a bunch of people in front of me, maybe 20?  After the mile they started slowly coming back to me.  I kept an eye on Billy ahead and also noticed that Richard Harris was no where to be seen.  I continued to reel in people and pass them as I went down Morehead and on to Cedar.  As I went down the hill on Cedar I tried to calm myself and prepare for the 6-7 minutes of hell that was coming.

The last 1.2 miles lived up to its reputation, it was a beast.  The two-step sharp incline at Hartigan's was not a big deal but as always the false flat, continuing uphill that followed hurt me.  I tried my best to stay strong, passing a few more people.  I turned onto 4th street and appreciated the support from Michael Kahn amongst others.  Still climbing and probably slowing. I was trying to regroup for that last push.  Billy ahead looked to be having a great race and I struggled to make up any ground on him.  I was excited to see him making up ground on BMac as there weren't many people left to pass.

Then something odd happened, Billy passed BMac and BMac stepped onto the sidewalk and waived me by, I didn’t have time to process what was happening I just kept trying to chase down Billy.  Crossing Mint I got on his shoulder.  The plan was to stay there until at least Tryon and then unleash a kick.  For some reason unknown to me, I got impatient and I also confused Church St. with Tryon St.  Thinking I was closer to the finish than I was, I made my push and opened up a good gap.  Unfortunately I used just about everything I had to build the gap and now with .2 to I was no longer the predator, I was the prey.

I had just enough to hold off a furious kick from Billy.  Dr. Greenapple captured a great finishing picture.  In addition to the picture I have to thank Scott and Greenapple Sports and Wellness for being huge supporters of the Charlotte athletic community and also for sponsoring the Grand Prix Series and the One2tri Race Team.  I am never excited to need to need their assistance, but I always know they have the tools, techniques and knowledge to get me back to my best as soon as possible.  Thanks guys!

Last words:  Grand Prix series races need their overall awards to go 5 deep and the Twilight 5k awards were ridiculous.  John Compton won and got a pretty cool light up plaque trophy.  Paul was second (always a bridesmaid) and got another of the 5k finisher medal on a different color ribbon.  Then I received my award, a trophy, but not just any trophy, a trophy that lights up and is so cheesy it is awesome.  Billy, a second behind me recieved another finisher medal.  

P.S.  I am not suppose to talk about Danielle because she had a bad race, but she still finished 3rd overall.  If I didn’t love her so much it would be frustrating that she is faster on her bad days than I am on my good days, but I do!  I hate to see her have a bad race, but she still battled hard and I am proud of her.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

way way late skyline recap

Coming off the Boston Marathon and then bringing home a new puppy, you can imagine how motivated I have been to run or workout or really do much of anything that isn't playing with the puppy.  I blew off Tuesday's track workout and had low mileage all week, pretty much just ignored the fact that I was racing Saturday. 

But as it always does, time marched forward and before I knew it I was rushing to get out of the house, later than usual (have we mentioned the puppy!?!?).  Danielle and I got in a decent warm up, ~3 miles part of it with Lat ands Alice (who loves sushi).  A few strides and we were on the line.  Someone asked me my plan/goal and I said I would be happy to get under 17.  As I said it, I realized that was probably, pretty aggressive considering the uphill first mile and legs which were feeling about as dead as you might expect. 

I set my garmin on 5:30 pace and we were off, I wanted to stay pretty aggressive in the first mile, knowing that the most of the last mile was straight downhill.  The lead pack of Paul, Marchinko, Popple, Hovis and BMac, took off and I settled in on Mike Moran's shoulder and worked on the early uphill.  Creason pulled up on me and I stayed with him, we had a nice little pack, through the mile around 5:32. 

Did my best to stay strong and increase the pace after the hill of a first mile.  Creason and Moran disappeared and it was me Billy and Richard Harris coming up 5th street.  

Rollin' down 5th st.
Thanks to Christi Carter for the photos

Harris seemed to be pushing the pace just a bit so I made sure to match it.  Coming up 5th I saw Chris and Sarah outside to cheer, so I surged just a bit to be leading my mini pack as I went by.  Billy and Harris seemed unimpressed, so surged again just before getting to C&S and ran to the side of the road to get high fives and throw off the vib that I was feeling great.  That lasted for about 10 seconds and then Harris got real.  Second mile in 5:24 (10:56).   Pretty much at the mile marker Harris broke free and I couldn't match.  I worked hard that last mile but it seemed like Harris was flying, he was gone, the battle was on with Billy who was holding strong on my shoulder. 

The last mile I felt dead, but the downhill brought me home fast as expected.  I never knew exactly where Billy was, one step behind me or five?  I could hear him and I know he was giving it his all, so I was basically just running scared to the finish.  Third mile:  5:15 (16:11), last .13 about :38.  Finished 16:49, 8th overall (subtract a minute from Beigay in the results, still 17:25 with the baby jogger!), third in the age group behind Bmac and Harris.  Two questions:  (1) since when is Harris in my age group!?; (2)  top 3 overall of small races is fine, but for the GPx races it is a little ridiculous.  Brad Popple runs 16:16 and get an age group award, Billy finished in my customary position (4th in the AG) running 16:52!

After finishing I tracked back as always to catch the end of Danielle's race, she was looking strong but locked in a battle with Michelle.  She was a half step ahead as she passed me and I did my best to cheer her in.  She was a step ahead on the last turn and held that despite a really gutty effort from Michelle.  It is really good for Danielle to be pushed like that and respond.  The focus will be on getting her short distance speed back now that she is actually starting to recover from her injured foot.   

Danielle and Michelle's finish
thanks to Sandy McKeon for the D's photos

Fast and Pretty podium, Alice Danielle Michelle 1,2,3!
After the race we snagged some GREAT(literally great) Harvest Bread and cooled down with Danielle, Lat Alice, Michelle and a bunch of other CRC peeps and then home to Max.  I was very happy with this race, not happy with it "all things considered" but just happy with it period.  I think I will always be happy to go under 17, sure I would like to be faster but I am appreciative of where I am.  During the lead up to a race it is good to covet faster times, but after a hard effort I am trying to take a little time to appreciate the effort.  Then... on to the next one! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A race, a social, and an anniversary


Last weekend was a busy one.  Saturday morning was the second Grand Prix race of the year- CPCC Skyline 5k.  Chad will  recap that because he is really good at race reports.  Suffice it to say that a mere 12 days after Boston, neither Chad or I were feeling that great leading up to the race, but things worked out just fine :) 

Saturday night was the big Charlotte Running Club social at French Quarter.  We had a blast catching up with friends and seeing everyone all cleaned up and pretty for once.  It's crazy how skinny we all look in real clothes!

Sunday was our one year wedding anniversary.  We celebrated with an easy long run at McMullen and dinner at Vivace.  That was my second time eating at Vivace and it was incredible.  If you haven't been you are missing out big time.  After dinner we took a family picture with Max.  During our run we thought it would be fun to take a picture each year on our anniversary so we could look back and see how we and our family had changed.  Last year it was just the two of us and this year we added Max.  A very fun and adorable addition if you ask me. 
No races on tap for this weekend, but we do have a big One2Tri Racing Team meeting.  There is a rumor that our Castelli bike kits are in!  Really looking forward to hanging out with the teammates and checking out the new gear.