Sunday, April 28, 2013

Race Report: Trolley Run 4 Miler

Today I completed my fourth running of the Trolley Run 4 Mile race that benefits the Children Center for the Visually Impaired.  My PR for this race occurred in 2011 when I went 26:51.  Last year I took a step back and completed it in 27:54.  My training hadn't been as consistent last year and I was still working off some extra weight from my time in Bangkok.

This year I didn't have any expectations. I just wanted to see where I was from a running standpoint.  I knew a PR was a great possibility, but just wasn't sure by how much.  This race landed at the end of the fourth week of my ironman training program but I didn't spend any time on speed work until this past week.

It wasn't until DaneT suggested 26:00 a few days prior that I thought it was worth trying.  My plan was now set.  I was going to shoot for a 6:50 - 7:00 first mile, which has the only real uphill, and then 6:20s to the rest of the way.  Naturally, I haven't done any runs under 7 minute pace in over a month but I knew I was capable, just didn't know by how much or for how long.

TKB and I left the house around 6:10am and stopped at Starbucks for some high octane hydration.  Once parked at the Plaza, I waited outside of Blanc Burgers for my ride to the start line.  The race has a bunch of busses that will take people from the finish line to the start line but Dane and Karie suggested we carpool to the start and then I would take them to their car after the race.  TKB finished her sleep in the backseat of the truck instead since she was going to wait for us at the finish line.  The commute to the start line always feels like it takes too long consider it's only a four mile race.

Once we parked, we hopped out of the car and did some pre-race stretches.  Ok, DaneT and Karie did stretches while I watched.  Dane is... how do you say... FAST.  So he has quite the ritual.  I sort of tried a few of the stretching techniques hoping to not look like I'm mocking him.  I'm just glad I didn't hurt anything.

We continued the warm up with a jog to the port-a-poties.  On the way I saw some more friends (Danny) and family (Mykie!).

I guess it makes sense that there are "Oh Sh!t" handles in the port-a-pot.
After I got out, I had lost DaneT and Karie, so I just headed over to the start line.  As in years past, this race uses "waves" to release runners.  To be in the "red" or first wave, you have to be able to run a 7:30 pace.    I lined up right around the middle of the red wave hoping that maybe I was with the people who ran 7:00 minute pace so I could pace myself easier for the first mile.

A few minutes after the wheelchair races, we were off!  It felt good to be in a race again!

My immediate focus was to NOT GO OUT FAST.  Naturally I looked down at my watch, which was showing me 6:11 pace, and I just assumed it was off.  Maybe it was tracking off of my footpod, which isn't as accurate.  Either way, I slowed down as much as I could even with a major feeling of doubt in my watch's accuracy.

Mile 1: 6:36

Yeah, a bit faster than I expected but I was feeling pretty good considering the few uphills we had to contend with.

During Mile 2 I just tried to keep the pace since I didn't have to do too much catching up with that faster mile and I didn't want to blow out too soon.

Mile 2: 6:36


Entering mile 3 I usually start thinking that I have 13 minutes left of pain but that nice thing was my legs weren't screaming because of the beating.  My cardio felt strong, even though I had started breathing hard.  I started the fishing game.  For some reason I decided to shoot for people in green as my fish (or are they my bait?).  This helped keep my mind focused away from any pain that is appearing.

Mile 3: 6:24

I like seeing this!  

I had changed my watch to the virtual pacer, which I had set to 6:30 pace.  The virtual pacer function shows how far ahead/behind you are from a target pace.  I was 8 seconds off the mark!  Now I did realize that with this race that's a large amount to make up.

In the last mile I just kept picking off greenies.  There was one guy in particular that I was chasing down.  He was wearing a Midwest Triathlon Coaching shirt and green calf sleeves.  The sleeves made me realized that in previous Trolley Runs my calf and thigh muscles would be aching by now, but not at all.  I just kept pushing the turnover and trying to speed it up.  I did catch the green calf sleeves guy and we ran pretty much side by side to the end.  Before you know it we turn left onto Ward Parkway and I just pushed it as hard as I could.

Mile 4: 6:26

Fantastic!  Granted, these splits were based on my Garmin's auto-splits and not based on the actual mile markers of the race, this meant I actually had .02 miles to go.  Those .02 miles took 6 seconds to traverse.

Even though when I stopped my watch, I had actually caught up with the virtual pacer, matching a 6:30 pace but I used that extra .02 miles to do it.

Official Finish: 26:08 / 6:32 pace
Overall: 162 out of 2910
Age Group: 26 out of 407

I meandered through the finish chute where I caught up with coworkers and discussed our race.  After a while, I went back to the start line to catchup with TKB and Dane to watch the rest of our crew (Karie, Lauren, and Joe VI) finish.

They always have good post-race grub here too.

I am very pleased with this.  While I missed Dane's goal for me by 8 seconds, I feel great about it. I can tell that all my conditioning during the offseason and the last four weeks of ironman training have helped.  My legs felt strong the whole time and my cardio was doing just as well.  I could definitely benefit from some actual speedwork, so I plan to start incorporating that in one or two workouts from now on.  Now that it's getting warmer and school is almost out, I can start returning to the high school track.

Post-race Bloody Mary at Urban Table.

DaneT right in the middle.  He's flying in for a 22:35 finish.  I'm hoping his speed is contagious.

Me in orange!  Yeah, I actually moved over to this side of the street because I knew TKB would be here.

The green calf sleeve dude is a few steps ahead of me though.

Joe and Lauren didn't get the memo on what side of the street to be on.  Karie is in there somewhere.

Joe VI in orange, Lauren in yellow,  and there's Karie in Blue!

DaneT's awesome socks.

Today's Crew: Me, Lauren, Joe VI, Karie, DaneT

No comment needed.

We overbooked the flight back to the start line.  Joe VI is in the way-way back.

Karie is always so fast, she's blurry in every picture.

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