Sunday, December 17, 2006

30K PR

I finally broke through the half-marathon distance barrier, completing the ARR 30K Desert Classic this morning in 2:33:46 (according to my watch). I had a 17 miler with 14 miles @ MP scheduled for this morning, so a small 30K was just the ticket I needed to actually keep up a MP run for 14 miles since I know I just don’t have the internal fortitude to run that far at 8:30/mi (my MP) on my own. Somehow I also managed to come in 2nd for my age group.

The race started at 8:00 AM and I got to the registration area around 7:40; plenty of time to fret about my “race” strategy. The temperature wasn’t all that cold, probably around 42F, but the wind was blowing at 10-15 MPH out of the west. The course is an out and back heading west first and rising 350’ slowly throughout most of the outbound leg. Through last year, this race had always been a 10K/30K combo; however, this year the Arizona Road Racers dropped the 10K and added a 30K relay race. The relay was run as a series of 5K out-and-back legs on the first 1.55 miles of the 30K course; so once we got out past the 2 mile marker, it was just folks running the 30K.

My game plan was to warm up at 9:00-9:10 pace through mile 3, pick up the pace to 8:30-8:35 through the turn around point; increase the pace to 8:25-8:30 on the down hill through mile 17 and kick in the last 1.6 miles

I almost executed this plan. Shortly after the gun went off, a fellow racer, David, caught up with me and we got talking about running, training, kids, etc. Although he is a few years younger than me and a much better runner, he stuck with me all the way up the hill. I kept the pace around 9:00 for the first two miles per plan, but took it down to the 8:30 range on mile 3 instead of waiting for mile 4. We kept up this pace all the way out; however, my new friend’s right calf muscle started cramping as we approach the turn point.

Immediately after turning the corner, you would have thought we had entered Nirvana. The wind was now at our backs and the road was distinctly down hill. I pushed the pace down under 8:20 per plan on mile 10 (ok .. faster than plan), but David started struggling, so I slowed back to 8:30 on mile 11 to give his calves a chance to loosen up. Unfortunately, things only got worse so he told me to go on to give him a chance to walk it off.

Feeling pretty good, I pulled the pace down to the 8:10 range for miles 12, 13 and 14 and started closing in on the next runner in front of me. Once I was out past 14 miles, I completely tossed my race plan and started a game of “chase down that runner”. Mile 15 passed by under 8:00 and Mile 16 near 7:45. I was closing in on and catching runners who were sticking to their race plans and running a nice consistent race. One runner, about my age, I passed was thoroughly irritated with my cheerful “how are you doing?” as I blew by him and let out a frustrated “shit” in reply. Some people evidently weren’t enjoying the race.

I ran mile 17 under 7:30 and threw caution to the wind with only 1.6 miles to go. By this time, I was back on the course used for the 30K relay and was shocked to see more runners than I could count. I just couldn’t believe I was ahead of any of the relay teams. Of course, this vastly increased the number of people I had to chase. I pushed mile 18 down to 7:10 and started my sprint for the finish, improving the pace over the last 0.6 miles down to 7:02. Yes, I know 7:02 isn’t anywhere near 8:30; but what’s a runner to do? It made sense at the time and sure was a lot of fun.

The best part of the morning was finally being able to meet Carmen (photo follows). She has run in several large races with me but we have never been able to find each other. This wasn’t a problem this morning. As you would expect, she is as nice in person as she is on her blog. She ran a very good race, finishing under 3:30. She was looking strong at the finish and considering this was the first time she had every run 18 miles non-stop, it was just an amazing performance.
Hope your weekend went well.


Mon: Rest day
Tue: 8.0 miles, easy, 9:00/mi avg pace
Wed: 9.9 miles w/5x1000m @6:47/mi
Thr: Rest Day
Fri: 12.0 miles, easy, 8:49/mi avg pace
Sat: 5.3 miles, recovery, 9:07/mi avg pace
Sun: 18.6 miles, 30K race, 8:15/mi avg pace

Total Mileage for the week: 53.9 miles

The Start Line. Although everyone is bundled up in this picture, the course was actually very comfortable. I wore my usual no-sleave top and shorts.

Mile 1 heading out around the north side of the White Tank Mountains west of Phoenix.

Carmen running strong at the 18 mile mark! The guy in the distance is completely gassed.

Carmen and me after the race. Hard to believe that Carmen had just finished a 30K seconds earlier.


Ann Ewbank said...

way to go Phil and Carmen!

You both look great!

Mike said...

Talk about a modest race report! Way to go Phil, and what a run to have in the bank en route to the marathon next month. Congrats on the age group award and the STRONG second half. You are fit, my friend. Keep on coming up and don't go over the edge in the next month

Anne said...

I wish my race reports all had such a happy ending like yours. Wonderful job, Phil! You're gonna tear up the Carlsbad course next month.

BAPP said...

Nice report and great job. I could hear the thunk when you threw down the hammer at the end of the race.

tb1 said...

Running in the "Freaking" Sun Phil.
You are the man. Great race. You are in shape. I am really happy for you.

Bob Gentile said...

wow Great Race Phil, an awesome increased pace at the end!!

umm the tag line under your blog title may need to be updated a bit after this event :-)

Thomas said...

What a result, mate. You're way too modest. Are you absolutely sure David is a much better runner than you? He might have been, but you've clearly jumped a level or two in the last few months.

The way you finished so strongly after 18 miles tells me that you're set for a great marathon.

Deene said...

Congrats on the PR! thanks for sharing your wonderful race report.

Feminist Runner said...

AWESOME! I love how you threw that 2nd in the age group thing in like it was nothing and you don't work your ass off.
Many congrats, Phil!

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Great job, Phil! All those workouts chasing wild animals is really paying off.

Michele said...

Awesome job, Mr. Speedy!! Congrats.
Nice looking hardware.

stephruns said...

feels like you were flying through this race! congrats!

Javamom said...

Congrats on your great time!! I enjoyed reading your report!

Ewen said...

Beautifully run Phil - just like Steve Spence in Tokyo! The 2nd place medal is a nice bonus.

The photos remind me of the views in south-west Arizona.

olga said...

Wow! That was great effort and fantastic race! And your 1000m repetas leave me salivating! Congrats on placing too:) Icing on a cake.

Nicole said...

Nice job and congrats on the PR!

Ginger Breadman said...

Great race! I love the comment from the runner you past in the last part of the race.

Love2Run said...

Great job Phil. Do I smell a BQ in the works? Carlsbad watch out!

angies pink fuzzy said...

woo hoo!!!!!

Darrell said...

Phil, congrats on the AG hardware. The pics make it look like a perfect day for a run.

StumbleGuy said...

Phil, a fantastic race - all that training really paying off. well done.