Filtering by Tag: Richmond

This was no dream

Disclaimer: Race 13.1 provided me a race entry for the 10K at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, May 9. No other compensation was provided. All thoughts are my own. 

After 10+ years of racing, I think I'm pretty lucky to have never taken a wrong turn on a course or be confused about where to go. Those are things that have happened only in my weird dreams about running. 

This past Saturday, though, was no dream. Shortly after mile 5 and at a second turnaround point for the 10K of Race 13.1's event in Richmond, there was a ton of confusion. Do I take the path to the left or right? There was neither anyone there to tell us which way to go, nor were there arrows on the nearby sign. There were no markings on the course either at that spot. 

I've seen this happen to so many other runners over the years. I thought for sure that if it ever happened to me that I'd be extremely pissed. I felt ... I don't know. Indifferent. I was mad that the confusion killed any decent momentum that I had. It was supposed to be a race to be a test of where I was physically, but after that I didn't care. 

I ended up taking a right when I think I should have taken a left. I didn't go far, though, and then took the left. I then turned around at the point that looked like the right place to turn around. 

I was nearly a quarter-mile over a 10K on my watch; some people doing the 10K ran an extra mile or so. I don't know if anyone in the half marathon took any wrong turns. 

Despite the confusion on the course, Race 13.1 staff handled things well. A one-time mistake didn't ruin things for me surprisingly. For a relatively new race series, I'm looking forward to more of their races and seeing what happens.

Ready for a marathon?

Two years ago, I was nearing the end of a great marathon training cycle. Things were going well during a transition back to Richmond with a new job. Looking at three of the four other marathons I've done, I was always in a pretty good place with about a month and a half to go before the race. 

The races, though, all fell a bit flat. Three years ago I was extremely satisfied with my Baltimore Marathon result, but still left something to be desired as I fell off my goal pace. That said, during the training, things were going very well. 

As I look back at 10 years of running -- my first race was 10 years ago this month -- I've been exploring my highs and lows, figuring out what really drives me and what I enjoy doing the most. 

For nearly two years, I've said I was done with marathons for a while. It was a lot of work to pour into training for one day and fall short. It's like saving money for a new toy only to get to the cash register to realize someone stole all your money. 

Many of the moments I've enjoyed with running (especially when training for a marathon) actually haven't been with racing; it's been with the preparation. The summer of 2010 (which ended with an unfortunate injury) was filled with me documenting my training well and going on a journey on Twitter with others. I captured moments like this ...

... and just enjoyed myself and the moments that came with the mileage. 

In the past two months, I have gone from a very nice high with running that lasted about six months to coming back to a low. I got so indecisive with signing up for races that I simply let the opportunity for doing a half marathon this fall come and go. 

I've said before that I have to hit lows to enjoy the highs. I didn't enjoy my high enough earlier this year to build on that momentum. The fact that I realize and understand all this about myself is important. 

It's not too late to end the year on a high note. I have two J&A Races that I will sign up for and discuss in another post. I can easily set realistic PR-type goals to help set the stage for a very wide open 2015.

And that wide open 2015 has to have a marathon in it. I don't know which one yet or what time of the year, nor do I ask for any help in searching for an event. I don't want any influence yet.

The important thing is that I'm mentally ready to train. I have to be physically ready, too. Then I need my brain and body to work together. I just need a little more time to get there ... 


4 PRs for the 4 miler

After 10 years of racing, I thought I was done with interesting patterns. This week, though, I realized a unique possible occurrence in a rare evening race -- a PR every time I've raced 4 miles. 

It's not anything crazy though -- my very first race was 4 miles in 2004 when I ran the Virginia 4 Miler in Lynchburg in 34 minutes flat. A year later I knocked 13 seconds off that time in the same event. 

Then came a 3-year gap before I raced the Moonlight 4 Miler in Richmond, knocking off 58 seconds off my PR in my first-ever evening race

Fast forward 2,187 days and I finally raced another 4-mile event -- again the Moonlight 4 Miler, but on a much different course. 

When I signed up earlier this week I knew this should be a PR. Even though I'm not in the racing shape I'd like to be in, surely I could go out and break an 8-minute mile pace and keep this 4-miler PR streak alive. 

Thursday evening turned out to be a great night for racing with cooler than average temperatures. I ran an evenly paced race and brought home a PR in 31:27, a full 1:22 faster than 6 years ago.

Similar to my feelings in May with getting a new 8K PR, I'm not getting myself too excited about this performance as I'm way off other regular-raced PRs. It is nice, though, to dust off old records and do different events as I ponder "what's next?" for bigger goals.  

I need a backup for my backup

A few weeks ago, I had in mind that July 26 would be the day my 5K PR went down after falling short on July 4. That didn't quite happen as I've had a pretty mediocre three weeks of running, much of that due to a shoulder (technically bicep) injury that's impacted everything I do. 

I'm not sure what exactly caused my shoulder issues, but it had been bugging me for a while. I finally went to my chiropractor at the beginning of last week to discover it was my bicep that's strained. I kind of kicked myself for not going sooner thinking that time would magically heal me. 

It's not that I haven't been running -- I've just held off on longer runs as I do some work on my shoulder. I've also missed out on quality runs as I haven't felt like pushing myself because of the shoulder and, inexcusably, because of the heat and humidity. 

I pretty much decided a week or so that I wasn't going to do Saturday's race, the Pony Pasture 5K by the James River. If it's not going to be a PR effort when that's my big goal right now, what's the point? Then I thought about what that would sound like if I actually gave that advice to someone else. 

Kinda silly, really. 

On Friday evening I texted my friend Josh to see if he wanted to do a day-of sign-up for the race. For $15, that's pretty reasonable to run with a few hundred people, get enough post-race food to be a good breakfast and still get a T-shirt if there were extras ... so we went. 

I ran the race about like I thought I would ... started a bit fast, had a great pace not quite at PR pace, then backed down at the end because, quite simply, I can't hold a fast pace right now. There's nothing to sugar coat there. 

I came home in 22:58 on a nice out-and-back flat course I'm not overly excited about being slower than on July 4 and still more than a minute off my PR, but I am happy that in what's become a pretty bad summer of running that I can run a sub 23-minute 5K.

On another positive note, I was 5 seconds faster on this course from 2 years ago. 

This week I'm planning to sit down and come up with a tentative plan for the final 1/3 of the year to get me back to better running, solid goals, weight loss and more. 

I'm not happy with my state of running, but I'm also not overly frustrated. I just need to focus.