Saturday, March 5, 2011

Coach, Will You Lecture Me?

This past Tuesday, we (coach's team) had our 2-mile time trial. It is pretty much 'a race' every first Tuesday of the month that permits coach to measure progress. My expectations were to clock 17:00 minutes. I clocked 17:44 for a 8:52 min/mile pace. I will not blame it on the muddy track, or on the intimidating 5:30 min/mile runners that yelled "left" for me to move to the outside lanes, for them to pass me on the inside lane. I credited to me not being able to run 8:30 min/mile. Not big deal. First time trial.

On Thursday, I went for a 5-miler with running partner Monica. We ran at 10:15 min/mile average in a course where I was able to chew a most horrendous hill. Two weeks ago, the hill chewed me.  I thank Monica for this run. If not for her, I would not leave the comfort of my home on a dark, windy and cold night. If not for her, after chewing the hill, I would've stopped and asked for a ride. After our awesome run, we talked about our upcoming long run on the weekend. We both had the same plan: 11 miles with 6 miles at race pace. What my race pace was going to be, I wasn't sure, but for a 4:45 marathon it would be around 10:50 pace. Monica said, "no way. You just did easy a 10:15. Shoot for 10:30. If you don't do 10:30 I would be disappointed".

OK, 10:30 it is.

Saturday came along and I drove again 100 miles up North, border with Canada, for a race; Run for a honeywagon (yes, as fancy as it sounds!!!). My strategy was  to run 2-3 miles as a warm-up at 10:50ish and then drop to 10:30 for 6-miles. The rest would be run at a leisured pace. Ready, set, go.

From a fast start, it normally takes me a quarter / half mile to set up the pace. Half mile arrived and I was going at 9:40, tried to slow down, but my body simply couldn't do it. Second mile same thing. Body was very comfortable at that pace. At mile 2.75 I decided to change the strategy. To split the race in two 10K with a mile of recovery in between, being the first 10K the one ran at race pace. When I finished mile 6 at 59:54, pretty much a 10 min/mile, I couldn't be happier. Monica, you haven't been disappointed!

My body didn't let me stop at mile 6, and I kept the same pace. Mile 7. 1:10:14, still ~10:00 min/mile. Then I stopped for water, GU chomps and to slow down. I took it easy for miles 8 and 9 as coach was whispering in my ear: You don't race!

At mile 9 I see this guy that had the same bright yellow Seattle Marathon 2007 shirt that I was wearing. He goes: Hey! my shirt partner... We talked for a while and at mile 10 I checked my watch and told him and his runner partner: Good bye, I have a PR in my pocket. I felt strong as Hulk and knowing myself, I was sure that nothing could be in my way for the 3 miles left. We turned South and then THE wind surprised me. Headwind. What could go wrong? Yellow-shirt-guy running partner reached me, and told me: you're gonna get it, right? She was running at a good pace, and I asked if she didn't mind if I piggyback on her. Of course not. I stuck with her. With wind and all, we were running at a good pace. She told me that she would speed off to turnaround at mile 13 to come back for her running partner - the yellow-shirt-guy. At mile 12 I gave her thanks, and she left. My last mile is often the best, but I was not planning on forcing it to her pace. The PR was a sure thing. I couldn't believe how strong I felt. At mile 13 'gonna fly now'. I sprinted at 7:50 and crossed the finish line at 2:14:15 (10:15 pace), a PR by 4 minutes.

I gotta thank Coach and Monica for this. Though it's my achievement, they were behind it. I felt good, strong, my breathing was in harmony, my legs were never tired and I didn't suffer, but I "may" have raced the race... Coach, Will You Lecture Me?

Co-worker Pablo Cabrera who clocked 1:35

Running blessings: After the race, met sister-in-law, her husband, grandkid and her beautiful daughter who ran a 1:57 race getting a PR by 8 minutes.

Bellingham Bay

With sister-in-law Linda. We had a wonderful time catching up.

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