Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How NOT to run a 10k, Cherry Blossom 10k, Branch Brook Park, Belleville, NJ. 4/6/14

"Cherry Blossom"
Stained Glass by Lettieri
Original Art by Quinn
Sunday was the Cherry Blossom 10k in Belleville, NJ.  This race took place in Branch Brook Park.

This race, this park, brings up some significant feelings for me.  When I was 9 years old, my father almost died there. I always wonder where exactly.  He is alive and well now, but back then he was working as a police officer. He was shot while trying to apprehend a car thief.  I remember my mom, being no-nonsense sometimes, telling me in the morning, "Time to get up. Your father's been shot. He is ok. Go to school. I will take you to see him later." He was very lucky. Two bullets. Point blank. Criminal trying to shoot him in the head.  He got his arm up in time. One bullet hit his wrist bone and somehow ricocheted up and out the top. The second bullet simply stopped dead in it's tracks, lodged in his arm.  What are the chances?  So every time I run at this park, I remember that morning and then sitting all day in school, not being able to concentrate on anything else but when I will get to see my dad.  It is hard to believe that was almost 30 years ago.

Recently, my friend and training partner Dave Lettieri has posted some art online.  In the spirit of the Cherry Blossom theme, I wanted to share my favorite stained glass creation made by him.  He has been turning artwork submission made by children into stained glass keepsakes. This one is my favorites, most likely because it looks like it is made with candy. This piece is called Cherry Blossom. It is a stained glass replication of a drawing created by Quinn, age 6, who also happens to be the son of Rick and Jennifer McNulty, the RD's NJ Trail Series. Visit Lettieri Glass to see his amazing work.  As soon as I signed up for the Cherry Blossom 10k, I knew I wanted to use the race as an excuse to share this picture, since I really do love it.

Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled programming. Racing...

So this race would have been a wicked success in perfect pacing… had I run the splits in reverse.  :) Unfortunately this was not what happened and instead I present to you the picture of a perfect crash and burn!

I wish I could blame the course, but the truth is this was primarily uphill on the way out and then downhill on the way back.  It rolled through out so there were some inclines to deal with both ways.  The only real obnoxious part of this race was that the wind kicked up on the way back and I am not good at holding my pace in wind.  But even the wind wasn't too bad.

The reality is I showed up tired.  I ran a triple training run on Saturday. The first run was 11.2 miles with Lettieri, where we ran the first half easy and then crushed the return - at paces ending in the low 7's.  I generally do not train that fast before a race, but this race was not a goal race and I need to work a little harder right now.  After that 11.2, I drove to another park where I met a new client to train with. We ran a lovely 4 mile run together, sorting out all the details of our future work together.  THEN as soon as I got home,  Enzo started begging me to take him out.  He was right.  It was a gorgeous day and the pup needs his miles, so off we went for about 3.5 more.  I ended up with close to 18 for the day, but I feel like all the starts and stops made those 18 mile extra exhausting.

In addition to showing up tired, I am still carrying extra weight. And despite "the Guy in Blue" (from a prior race report) running up behind me, and commenting that I don't look like I am carrying any extra pounds  (LOL, you are lucky I like you "Guy In Blue") I still know I am and I feel it.  But I am not too concerned because training is getting better and I am already seeing a small drop in my Body Fat.

I started tracking all the lovely lies, I mean data, my new GoWise Scale provides.  I don't believe a word it says but I am tracking it anyway.  According to my scale I weigh 120.4 lbs, I am 20.4% body fat, I am comprised of 57.6% water, I am 33.6% muscle, and I have 10.4 lbs of bone.   When I add up all the percentages and pounds, that adds up to 144 lbs.  I am sure the BF%. the Hydration%, and the muscle% a have some overlap, but I still would like to think that I am carrying less than 24 lbs of body fat.  But this gives me hope.  Imagine how fast I could be if I lost just a few of those useless pounds?  Since I am barely  5' 2", 120 pounds is clearly not my ideal racing weight.  I am going to try to lose a few pounds of body fat in the next few months and see what happens.

For now, this is what a 10k looks like when I am racing heavy:

Here is a link to the start (video taken by Ben Teixeira): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UHKfxs2N2k&feature=youtu.be 

I have to say the weather was absolutely gorgeous.  It was chilly at packet pick up, but by the time the race started, I was down to a sports bra and shorts.  I had already got rid of my arm sleeves and regretting wearing the calf sleeves.

We start going uphill and I recall getting lulled into a false sense of security as I looked at my watch, notice the pace was mid-6 minutes per mile and thought, "This really doesn't fell bad… I can't go faster and hold this, but this is not killing me."  Lies… all Lies… :) M1 - 6:36

Maybe this was because I had not raced a 10k in a while and I forgot what I am doing.  6:36 on an uphill start is clearly too fast for me right now.  But man is it funny how it doesn't ever feel too fast when you have only covered .5 of the first mile.

I tried to settle down in mile 2, hoping to run under 6:50 for the day and knowing that the steepest hills were to come in mile 2.5-3.5.  I tried to remind myself that this race is set up for a negative split, with more downhill in the second half than in the first.  But the truth is, the course is just rolling so we do have hills in the second half as well, just not as steep as what we see in mile 3.  M2 - 6:45

The worst of the course is here, as we go up to a bizarre, double-coned turn around where everyone but Jim O took the first cone, with Jim taking the second, further cone.  Why put two cones (appearing to possibly create a lane that runners need to run between or possibly demarcating which side runners should stay on before running around the second cone???).  Next time it would be very helpful to simply place a course marshall there to give instruction.  Jim gets extra credit.  He said he new the course and that the second cone was it.  Personally, I followed the crowd assuming Jim was just a lunatic ;).  It was only a matter of feet, but still it would be nice to know what the cones were suppose to mean?   M3 - 6:58

As Jim comes back past me, getting a little crap from others for running "too far", he made me laugh when he called out "Yeah, I am going to stop in the Church next." :)   Jim had a great run out there and I wish I had the pep to try to stay with him.  But today was not my day.   After the final significant uphill section and the last turn around, we got what could have been a blazing fast descent if I had anything in my legs at all.  I was toast and just happy to hold my pace.  M4. 6:58

The last two miles were not terrible, but all I can remember thinking is "Wind… Ugh." It was as if I just petered out and ran out of Umph… Two miles to go and I just wanted to be done.  My legs felt heavy and in general I was just tired.  I did what I could to hold my position.  I had nothing to dig into today for any thing resembling a kick except for what I mustered up in the last .23… M5 7:11, M6 7:10, and Last .23 1:26 (6:22 pace).

Last .2.  photo by Ben Teixeira

So not my best race, but I am still happy.  I ran hard the day before. I showed up tired.  I ran 31 miles last Sunday.  I started track work this week. And still managed to get a sub-7 minute 10k done.   I have no complaints.

Time: 43:03 (6:55)
Place: 12th OA Female
AG: 2nd 

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