It’s always a good sign to PR, and I am happy to report 2 new records for me in swim and run disciplines this past weekend – first in the swim with a 1000 yard pool TT of 14:22 and second in the run with a half marathon of 1:15:17.
1000 Yard Pool Swim TT
Friday evening was my second attempt at a 1000 yard TT after losing count from being jostled, swimming around too many people my first go around. I had the entire lane to myself and decided to swim using my tempo trainer for pacing with a cadence of 78. I figured this would keep me dead even however I kept notice of the clock and found myself going out in 1:18, 7:04 through the half way mark, and even picking up the cadence significantly for the last 200 yards finishing with a time of 14:22. I know very little about swimming but this increase in cadence and decrease in speed seems to suggest a stroke inefficiency (as I get tired I get less efficient). I know I compensate by relying on my engine to muscle through the water from how poorly I compare with pulling and kicking sets however I feel it’s a good sign that when I finally get my form down I’ll be where I need to be.
Regardless, looking back to where I was this time last year I am significantly faster which I attribute to all the great work done through Tower26 thanks to Gerry Rodriguez. Forcing me out of my comfort zone every day, creating a desire to be faster and even making swimming fun has been a much welcomed change and I am excited to see how it will pay off come race day.
Surf City Half Marathon
This race had me excited and nervous. Excited because I knew I had a shot at a 7 year standing record set back in my Cross Country days at UB, but nervous because it had been a while since taking a race seriously and dealing with the stress it creates. I practiced decent pre-race nutritional protocol and was able to get ok sleep despite getting woken up by a phone call the night before, which kept me restless for hours (Future note: Airplane mode pre-race). The thing that made this race interesting is that I haven’t been running much at all recently, 4 hours max per week compared to the 10 hours+ I was doing in college. I knew I could run fast, I just didn’t know if it would last.
The morning of and getting to the starting line I felt pretty crappy – tired, running nose, achy legs, etc, which I’ve come to learn is a good sign as this is how I have felt at all my best races. I didn’t think I would know anyone there but while heading to my coral bumped into an old teammate from UB track, Carrie, and my first QT2 coach, Michelle, which was a very welcomed surprise. Before the gun went off the announcer said there were 16,000 people racing which let me know that there would be many people going out too fast but also some that could hang. The plan was to start off comfortable, hold back in the middle four just a little and give whatever I had left for the final five, 5:50ish at the start and then targeting 5:40 until either picking it up or just holding on. I had foolishly told some people who asked what I was gunning for 1:14 so I was hoping to be sub 1:15 (5:43/mile).
The gun went off and I was instantly 50 people back. Within a mile or two 15 had taken off, 25 had fallen back and I was mixed into a pile of 10 runners all holding steady at 5:40/mile. The pace felt a little fast for what it was but the group made it seem easier. It was conversational enough to say a couple jokes from time to time but not easily. The course drink was something weird I had never heard of so I decided to wear a hydration belt with two concentrated bottles of Perform to drink with water. This turned out to be a BIG mistake!! I lost the first bottle within a mile and the belt ended up chafing my waist, very painfully and creating horrible marks. The group stuck together until we caught up to the Marathon where we had to begin weaving in and out of runners. I was next to the lead girl at this point so there were two bikes which I figured were there to support her however all they did was ride aimlessly 20 yards ahead. I even ran up to one and asked if they could help us out but the effort was futile.
When we got onto PCH the group of 10 was now 4, in addition to me it was two guys and the lead girl. I mentioned to stay smooth and steady. We were hitting 5:40’s +/- a second or two on every single split (I had my Garmin set to each half mile), the pace was the same but the effort was getting harder and harder. By mile 7 it had become just me and one other runner. Mile 8 was the turn around and with that came a slight head wind. The racer I was working with and I each took turns breaking the wind as we reeled in runner after runner. The last couple miles seemed like a dead sprint but the pace stayed pretty much the same, except for the effects of the wind and some slight hills. By the last mile I was all alone so I might have backed off a little despite running a final split of 5:20 heading into the shoot for a time of 1:15:17 (10th place). I was hoping it might have ended up being a race at the end with the guy I ran shoulder to shoulder with for 12.5 miles but my legs were thankful this wasn’t the case.
All together it was a solid start to the season. Consistent pace, increasing effort, painful end like any good race. Vinny projected 5:45-5:48, which is a pretty narrow window, still he got it right (5:45 according to the clock, 5:43 Garmin). I am happy but not satisfied with the outcome. I had two fellow Tower26ers run 1:13 and a 2:36 marathon that morning and although I know I’m not a Pro I’d really like to get up there a little closer to them. Next up is the LA marathon in one month. I know I am capable of running fast but I don’t know if I can go the distance, having fallen short in 5 out of 6 attempts in the past. Should be an interesting test.
How am I doing??
I have always compared myself to others and my best where as my coach has emphasized the importance of weighing results against performances from similar periods in past training cycles. This time last year, almost the same weekend, I competed in the Lockport Y10 10 miler and swam a 800TT. Here is a comparison from my performance then to now –
My run pace may have increased a little but keep in mind the race was 5k shorter. The big difference is in my swim, a 10% improvement and 25% farther distance!