Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ten Observations: Running the Capital 10K

Ok. I know I haven't kept up with my Ten Observations post for 24 and Damages. The season finale of Damages runs an hour and a half Wednesday April 1 and I guess 24 ends sometime in May. I will do my season ending Ten Observations for each show. Never the less, I like the Ten Observation format. It helps frames my thinking for certain events, like my Cap 10K run. Here it goes:

1. The weather was perfect. As I type this post it is 57 degrees in Austin and sunny. The timed race started at 8:45 am and I think the temperature was about 45 degrees. Here is a map of the race course.

2. The starting pen was great. Not to crowded. The bib numbers were color coded by speed. The elite runners were yellow and purple, faster timed runners wore blue, other timed runners wore red, untimed and fun runners wore white. I had a blue bib. I couldn't find anyone I trained with or any other friends, so I just chilled and meditated on the race I wanted to run. I warmed up prior to entering the pen. I train with music but never race with music because I like to hear the rhythm of my feet, the crowd noise and it helps me focus on my body. I like to visualize my race.

3. For those people who have not been to Austin, it is very hilly here. We have places with great views (The Oasis really does have the best sunset in Central Texas) but it makes running here challenging. I live in the northwest hills section of Austin, by the Green Belt on top of a big hill, so I run a lot of hills. That being said, this course is very hilly, sweeping through downtown and west Austin. Check out the elevation map.

4. Mile 1 is up the gradual hill of Congress Avenue, right toward the Capital Dome. The trick for me is not to go out to fast, don't let the adrenaline and the racers pull me faster than I want to go. especially since there is a hill after making the right from Congress to East 11th Street. My legs felt good and I got into my stride. My watch is not really good with splits so I'm not sure what the time is. Since my watch doesn't track mileage, I don't like to look for mile marker signs. It distracts me from focusing on my running.

5. Making the turn onto East 11th was were I saw the 1st casualties of the "too fast 1st mile". The hill on East 11th up to the left turn onto San Jacinto is short but pretty steep. One thing I always suggest is the run the course if you can. My training group ran the course 2 times so I knew the hill was coming and I adjusted.

6. Once on San Jacinto, there is a short, steep downhill. I try to keep my stride consistent and not over step and let gravity pull me from my stride. I like to run easy. I like my heart beat to be averaging in the 160s. My goal in training is to get my mile ideal mile time at the effort that keeps my heart rate in the 160s.

7. From San Jacinto the course turns left and heads west down 15th Street. This is hilly and about 2 miles. To me, this is make and break goal time stretch of the race. I felt good going over the hills past the cross-streets of Lavaca and Guadalupe. The uphill traveling west on 15th street, passing the cross-streets of San Antonio, Nueces and Rio Grande, is gradual then peaks at West Street. When I reached West Street, I looked back at the view of runners. The sea of colors, the flow of people was great. Then I headed downhill and ran toward West Austin

8. I headed up the continuing hill as West 15th Street became Enfield (crossing Windsor, Lorrain, Marshall, Murray, Lynn, Pease, Woodlawn,Hartford and Wethersfield). I realized I was not going to make my goal time of somewhere in the 51 minute range. That would require to me to run an 8:13 to 8:22 mile. I was slower than that. My legs were getting tired because of the hills. I stopped for water only once so far. Since it was not too hot, my hydration was solid.

9. The rest of the race was ok, though I know I was slower than I wanted to be. From Enfield, the course turns left and heads south on Winsted. This is another steady hill that can bite you. I used this stretch to adjust my stride and keep my pace. This is where the power of my legs can in handy. I have strong quads and glutes, so I muscled my way through this part. At the end of Winsted was Mile 4. Left on Veterans, traveling east, running past Austin High School on Stephen F. Austin. This is my least favorite part of the course. Right when you hit a wall, the scenery is kinda drab. I grab water for the second and last time. This was gut check time. Time to push through whatever walls I had for myself.

10. Mile 5, 6 and the .2 were hard yet gratifying. Most of mile 5 was on Cesar Chavez heading east. The course runs parallel with the Townlake Hike and Bike Trail, so this is familiar territory. I drive this road almost every day and again, it is sneaky hilly. My quads wanted some mercy, so I dug deep with my arms to push my legs, like pistons. I was breathing heavy. I was trying to figure out where to start my sprint. The course made the right onto the South First Street bridge and I was still bidding my time. right before the right turn on Riverside, I started to haul ass. I sprint in a controlled burst. I get my legs and arms pumping in rhythm. The screams and cheers of people are totally cool and really got me jacked. I couldn't tell what my time was officially but it was around 55:00 which is about a 8:50 mile. At least I hope so. Overall, this was a good race for me. It is my 1st race since I finished my MBA last May.

Preparation Recap:

My training was good. I really have to work to get into shape because I am about 10lbs heavier than my marathon weight. When I started training, I was about 20lbs heavier. My ideal running weight, at least I think, is about 155lbs. I am going to continue to train and I plan to do a half marathon in the fall. I want to hit my goal weight by my birthday, June 30. My recoveries we good. I really concentrated on eating the right food at the right time. I also make it a monthly expense now to get massages. That helps tremendously. My shoes are lighter, (Mizuno Wave Elixer III) and I know I don't like wearing regular running shorts for racing. I like racing tights. I know I want to upgrade my watch to record pace and I want to do some more lifting so I can get stronger.

Overall I am pleased with my effort today and I am pumped to maintain this activity. I will get back to swimming and I want to do a triathlon soon. Between music and sports, I need to rob a bank to finance all this stuff.