SoFitCity 10k (9/26)
The pain in a shorter race is amplified and screams for the body to slow down. The pain in an ultra comes on slowly, and then screams for the body to jump off a cliff…
The first nine weeks of marathon training have been interesting, to say the least. Starting this post on a flight back from Baltimore, I just finished talking to a buddy Jeremiah about how training was going. “Sporadic” is the only word I can muster, as workouts have literally been all over the place. Fortunately, I’ve been able to complete every workout thus far without any injuries or significant issues. Unfortunately, my expectations for quality workouts have been far from reality.
Tempo’s, intervals, ladders, lactate thresholds, progressions…
Damn, whatever happened to just running a lot in the mountains???
Thought about pasting the training plan for the past few weeks, but didn’t want to bore you to death in the first three paragraphs of this post. Provided below is a snapshot of a typical training week:
Monday – Easy/Recovery run; 10ish miles, up to 1,000ft vert; strides
Tuesday (AM) Track/Intervals (6 mile repeats, 3/2/1, 3×2 mile, 2x5k, etc.); 10-12 miles, flat
(PM) Gym workout; 1.25-1.5hrs
Wednesday Easy/Recovery run; 10ish miles, up to 1,000ft vert; strides
Thursday Easy/Recovery run; 10ish miles, up to 1,000ft vert or day off, if needed; strides
Friday (AM) Tempo run; 10-16 miles total, 6-12 miles at marathon-ish pace, flat
(PM) Gym workout; 1.25-1.5hrs
Saturday Easy, Long run; 20-24 miles, last three miles hard on occasion, up to 1,000ft vert
Sunday Easy/Recovery run; 10-15 miles, up to 1,000ft vert; strides
Weekly Totals: 70-90 miles; up to 5,000ft vert; two strength training sessions
Maybe I’m getting old, maybe it’s the constant pounding on pavement or maybe I’m just a big puss, but I’ve required much more sleep and have not felt 100% for most workouts throughout this training block. Welcome to marathon training…
Since Thomas or I have no idea what pace I should be running and since I don’t have any PR’s on the roads, it’s been a bit difficult to attach target times to workouts. We discussed a loose marathon goal of 2:45, but it would likely change due to how my body reacted to training. Thomas thought a 10k race or time trial would be a good early indicator of fitness, and give us a base to build workout times off.
Finally cashing in on their 2014 Xmas present, Alejandra and I traveled up to the Bay to take my Dad and Kris to an A’s game. Looking at the training calendar, the 10k time trial/race fell on the same day as the game. Assuming a time trial was imminent, I did one last quick internet search for a 9/26 road race in the Bay Area, and the SoFitCity 10k popped up.
Vacaville is about 30 minutes from Pinole, the race started at 8am and we had planned to leave for the game at 11:00am. I planned on arriving an hour early to leave ample time for checking in, a long warmup and a chance to check out some of the course.
Not checking the exact location of the start but knowing the address, I assumed my impeccable navigation skills would lead me right to the check in. If you believe the abovementioned sentence, you’ve obviously never rode or ran much with me. I got lost… driving in circles around the Vacaville Mall, thankfully there was a cop who was setting up cones. He pointed me in the general vicinity of the start/finish and thankfully I found my way into the party.
Vacaville’s SoFitCity event is a celebration of health and wellness, with food trucks, a main stage for music and festivities, and a random assortment of vendors (Jamba Juice, Kaiser Permanente, the local fire station and some guy slanging tasers and stun guns). Being Vacaville, the taser salesman was the least surprising of the group.
After checking in and before heading out for a quick warmup, I glanced over to the main stage and dancing around to some pretty gangster beats, was what could only be described as an extremely weird mix of Tina Turner from Mad Max, wearing Janet Jackson’s super bowl wardrobe “malfunction” outfit, bouncing around on a pair of Oscar Pistorious’ “legs.” I hustled off as quickly as possible to warmup.
After a quick warmup and some strides, I made my way back towards the creepy lady on the main stage. Thankfully, the runners were all leaving the check in area to head down to the start. I tucked in with the herd and made my way over to the starting line.
A nice volunteer rounded up the group and gave some last minute race instructions. He also asked that the 10k runners start at the front of the starting line, and the 5k runners start several feet behind. Without a staggered start and without a timing mat at the starting line, I wondered if they would botch finish times for the 5k runners. Someone from the crowd shouted out my exact thoughts, and the volunteer said not to worry about it. Pretty sure this race wasn’t attracting elite athletes and wasn’t worrying too much about being USATF certified, so I didn’t say anything and got ready to run.
With absolutely no idea of a goal time, Thomas thought that a 5:50 pace wouldn’t be too difficult to start with and hopefully try to maintain. As we took off and clipped off the first mile, we came through right at 5:50. There was a group of 4-5 runners in front of me, with a random assortment of runners that I was with that looked to have started a wee bit too fast. Sucking wind and sounding like death is approaching isn’t the spot you want to be in after mile 1.
We came through the second mile a bit faster than the first, and most of the runners that went out too fast had started to fade. There were several racers moving well in front of me, along with a guy wearing a nor cal racing team jersey, so I assumed this wasn’t his first rodeo and probably a good guy to stick with. We ran together through mile three, eventually passing the group in front of us and I felt relatively good, so decided to push a bit into mile four. We had separated from the rest of the runners and I assumed we’d battle it out over the last couple of miles.
After passing mile four, I had a small lead on the racing team jersey guy but wasn’t sure if he was waiting to reel me in over the last two. Mile four has a relatively significant climb for a short road race, so I tried to keep a 5:50 pace, but definitely fell back heading into the last mile. A multitude of 5k walkers had also entered the course at the start of this climb, so we had to unfortunately dodge a lot of people, trying to stay within the cones. The cop on the motorcycle leading the race thankfully didn’t bust my chops too much as I stayed a few steps outside the cones.
Fortunately, the last mile is all downhill or flat, but unfortunately we had run right into the heart of the 5k walkers. Running without running into this group was getting dodgy and I was a bit too tired to say, “excuse me” every three seconds. Thankfully there were no accidents and we made our way back into the mall parking lot. Taking a quick glance behind me, I couldn’t see the racing jersey guy, so I was thankful we wouldn’t have to sprint it out to the finish.
Coming through the chute in 37ish minutes on a longer than 10k course, the overall time was ok, but I felt confident having something left in the tank. A 37 minute 10k is definitely not fast, compared to collegiate, post collegiate or good high school runners, but thankfully I’m not training to race 10k’s. My lack of speed was definitely apparent and a weakness that needs some serious focus, but I left the SoFitCity race and that crazy Tina Turnerish lady happy feeling strong throughout the race.