Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Patriot Half Marathon, PR, and Good Training Week

Welcome everyone ! This week (May 20 - 26, 2012) was a pleasant week, although it is beginning to get a bit on the warm side out there. I did have a good week of running though, and I think the build-up to my latest half-marathon went well.

The soreness / stiffness in my knees that I was feeling last week has persisted throughout this week when I've run a few days in a row. Once again, I either inserted some rest days or did some cycling, and that seems to help. I'll just play it by ear and see how things go. It doesn't really feel like an impending injury, just like I might be getting close to my body's limit at this point.

On Sunday, May 28th, I ran in the Patriot Half Marathon in Rockwall, Texas, and had a fun time doing so. The race started promptly at 7:45, with about a thousand runners signed up for the half. There were spotty clouds out during the race, and although there was a relatively clear sky at the beginning for the start, there were just enough clouds passing by to cut down on the sunshine during the race (at least the first 90 minutes or so). They had given different people in the race either a red, white, or blue balloon just prior to the start, and as they sang the National Anthem, the people would one at a time or in pairs let go of them. It was actually pretty neat to see.

The starting temperature was 72 degrees, with a SE wind gusting from 10 to 25 mph, and humidity at 83%. Two hours later it was 78 degrees, same wind, and the humidity was at 68%. This race was the first one I've run that had the "chip" on the back of the bib itself, with square antenna's setup at the start, finish, and mid-course check point to read the bib. I would still rather have the shoe tags myself, but I suppose it worked OK. I did notice though that my result were not in the initial results posted...mine were in the backup they made (as were many others), so I suspect it isn't as fool-proof as the shoe tags.

I started pretty near the back of the pack for this race, and just eased into the race. Although there was quite a bit of sidewalk running in the early miles (probably up to mile 4...not exclusively, but largely), the sidewalks were even, with no overhanging trees, and were wide enough to run three to four abreast. I was able to weave through the crowds, passing single runners and small groups at a time quite easily.

We ran through a couple of parks, and along a nice green belt as well. From there we turned onto a highway that was completely blocked off (very nice...thank you for that), that had rolling hills. Miles 6 and 7 were largely downhill which was nice, and the mid-course checkpoint was at the 10K mark. The turn-around was right at Mile 7, and at 7.2 a large hill started.

At this point we had the wind in our faces, which was both good and bad. Good, because it served to cool you off a bit. Bad, because in addition to the hills on the way back, the headwind was a bit stiff at times. From 7.2 to 7.6 we climbed almost 60 feet, then between 7.6 and 9.2 we climbed another 55 feet. From 9.2 to 10.3 it dropped about 55 feet with two hills in between, then from 10.3 to 12.5 it climbed another 75 feet. Altogether, there was 621 feet of climbing during the run. It just seemed like the uphill sections kept coming, so that did add to the toughness.

I did manage to have some pretty good splits though, and set a new official PR of 1:54:18, which is 3:17 better than my previous PR at this distance. My splits looked like this:

Mile   Average Pace Per Mile  
1 8:48
2 8:49
3 8:49
4 8:54
5 8:46
6 8:24
7 8:25
8 8:53
9 8:56
10 8:39
11 8:39
12 8:46
13 8:25
Last 0.14 miles 7:31

For a warm weather run (at least warmer than it has been in a while), I was quite pleased with the result. I really focused on hydrating much better than my last "warmer than normal" effort, both early and often, and I feel like I managed to do relatively well this time. It is amazing to me how much it just saps and zapps me when I fail to hydrate properly...it just sucks out my will to put forth any effort at all when it hits, and will hit without warning. I'll be feeling fine, then wham...I'm out. But that didn't happen during this run. :-)

In the end, there were 738 half-marathon finishers, and I placed 110th. In my age group (a 10 year age group for this one from 50-59), I placed 13th out of 49 finishers. The course was challenging but fun, the traffic control was excellent, and there were LOTS of water stations along the way (at least 11 or 12) with water, Power-Aid, and wet towels. Definitely one I would consider doing again. There was also a nice medal handed out the finishers. Great race !!!

Here is what my training for last week looked like...

Day   Activity   Distance (in miles) Avg. Heart Rate Max Heart Rate
Sunday Running 6.65 141 165
Monday Running 6.52 141 153
Tuesday Rest Day ---- --- ---
Wednesday Running 6.60 155 178
Thursday Running 7.07 153 187
Friday Cycling 20.58 105 134
Saturday Running 5.50 163 179
Walking 0.90 142 154

 These are my time and distance totals for the week:

Activity   Time Total   Distance Total (in miles)
Running 4:37:02 32.34
Walking 0:12:32 0.90
Cycling 1:27:14 20.58
-------------- -------------- --------------
Overall Total 6:16:48 53:82

Day   Activity   Sets Reps Recovery Interval
Sunday Pullups 10 7 2:30
Monday Rest Day --- --- ---
Tuesday Dips 5 10 2:30
Wednesday Pullups 10 5 2:00
Thursday Rest Day ---- --- ---
Friday Rest Day ---- --- ---
Saturday Pushups 13 10 0:45

I started back with the pushups once I completed this month's challenge with the dips. I don't know which one's I actually prefer, so a mix of those two will probably be on the schedule moving forward.

I read an article earlier today about rest periods between sets, and I believe that I'll be increasing my rest periods based upon that (along with a corresponding increase in reps per set). It seems that rest periods between 30 and 60 seconds gear one toward fat burning. Rest periods between 1 and 2 minutes is geared largely towards hypertrophy (building up bulk), and rest periods from 3 to 5 minutes are more geared toward strength training. Since building up my core strength is actually what I have in mind, it seems that going in that direction might produce better results.

Another major FAIL on abdominal-specific work during this week....it just never seems like I "want" to do it. Perhaps June's challenge of 100 situps a week (or an overall total of 400 situps for the month) will spur me on to doing what I KNOW is the right thing. Let's hope so. The last thing I need is back problems because my core is weaker than it should be.

Happy Running Everyone !!!


  1. You had an AMAZING race! Your splits were so consistant - congrats on the huge PR!

    For the record, I never WANT to do ab specific work. Which is why I slack on it a lot.

    1. Well, at least I know I'm in good company on disliking the ab work. Guess I'll just have to get over it and do it whether I "feel" like it or not. :-)

  2. Michael, you are a MACHINE!!!! I would kill to be as fast as you.....what a great time you put up for a new PR!!!

    1. You are too kind Bill...thanks for the words of encouragement. It certainly didn't feel all that fast going up the hills with the wind. ;-)

  3. Fantastic race Michael!! Your consistency in splits is impressive! Congrats on your PR!!

    1. Thanks Michelle. You can really tell where the hills were by looking at the splits, but it was a lot of fun.

  4. Enjoyed the race report! I'm amazed how fast and consistent you were in the heat. Well done!

    1. Thanks Scott...I was probably more focused on hydrating and cooling (water on the head) than I was on the pace. It will be interesting and challenging to see what the Texas summer brings. :-)

  5. Great job on your PR!! You are the statistic man-how in the world do you keep up with all of that? That's why I don't teach math-I'm too literacy minded! :)

    I have learned my lesson about being hydrated. Yesterday I bush hogged our front pasture for about 4 hours, then ran my virtual 10k race (first one!). That 6.2 miles almost KILLED me! I shall be drinking plenty of water from now on. :)

    I might take up that June challenge-I like crunches WAY more than sit-ups so I'll be doing those.


    1. Thanks Shannon...I do tend to get carried away with the stats, but it is part of the fun for me. A way to relive it in numbers I suppose. I read your post about mowing for 4 hours in the heat and THEN running a 10K...well done ! I'm not sure I would have been motivated enough to run after that much work. :-)

  6. Good pacing, good time!

    Hot and hilly!

    Congrats! You need to do a cool race someday...;)

    1. Agreed...but that will probably have to wait six months at this point. Time for "summer fun" :-)

  7. Congrats Michael. Very very nice run and great race report!

  8. Wow! Considering the heat and the course elevation change, that's pretty darn impressive!

  9. Congrats on a great race! It was the first half marathon I've done and finished just under 2:02. Your splits are impressive considering those hills. I slowed down about 2 min/mile the second half. I hope to run cowtown next year as my first marathon. Enjoyed reading. Thanks.

  10. Congrats on the PR - great time esp with the hills!
    I'm impressed on how you keep right of your training!!

  11. ** keep track of your training...