Thursday, November 28, 2013

Race report - 2 for 1

Yes you read it correctly.  This is a two for one.

On Saturday November 23rd, I took part in the 3rd annual Annapolis Half Marathon.  I have run this race since its inception and I must say that they have definitely made some strides.  To give some background, the first year was riddled with issues.  First off the traffic was horrible as they had major issues with the parking and getting that organized, we did start late but not too late (Virginia Wine Country half).  Also, they did not have any mile markers because the person in charge of putting them out hurt himself, he broke his foot or ankle I think, and was taken to the hospital with the keys to the truck which had the mile makers stored in it.  This made the course short by about a half mile.   Anyway, year two saw some improvements in the course layout and was in fact the correct distance. They still had some traffic issues but it was a little better.
Well bring on year three.  Traffic was extremely smooth. No real issues there. We were able to drive right in and park very quickly.  One big difference this year was it was very cold and very windy, but you cannot put that on the race organizers.  Anyway, I went into this race without a well-executed training plan.  I had gotten sick and lost about 3 weeks of training, not to mention that I started feeling some pain and tightness in my left calf.  There were thoughts in my head about not running as I know how hilly Annapolis is and I did not want to injure myself any further, but I started to rest my legs, ice my calf, use compression and elevate when I could.  I was also using “The Stick” to massage both my legs. 
All of the above seemed to help, because come race day my legs felt good, not great mind you, but good.  Now for the race, I was wearing Zensah calf sleeves, shorts, Tee shirt, arm warmers and baseball style hat.  I was a little chilly but I knew that once I got moving that I would be warm enough.  It was a bit of a windy day but the temps were up in the 40s so it was not too bad.  I went into this race with the mindset that I was not going to race it.  I was just going to try to maintain a solid pace. 
Well within the first 5 miles I was between a 9:30 and a 9:50 pace.  Then came the trek over the bridge.  There is where the course gets hilly. My pace went down to between 10:20 and 10:45 pace for the rest of the race.  They changed the course, again, for this race.  It’s hard to explain, but being that Annapolis is not that big of a city there were a lot of turns and the course double backed on itself in a couple of places. This year they added a 10k and I think they might have waited a year or two more to do that.  All was fine as far as support on the course except for the last two aid stations.  They ran out of water.  The half was capped a 4,000 runners and the 10k was capped at 1500 runners.   Other than them running out of water I thought that the race went well.  I know that I was very pleased with my performance especially with how my training went the last 3 – 4 weeks leading up to the race.  I do plan on doing this race again next year. Last year I ran this race in 1:56, this year I was not going to get near that and I knew that going in.  I finished in 2:15.  I was very happy with my performance due to my training.  Oh and I got my name announced as I crossed the finish line.  Bonus.

Now for race report number 2.
on Sunday I ran in the Columbia Turkey chase 10k. I also ran this race last year. Columbia is not as hilly as Annapolis.  With that said, this course was not flat.  More like rolling hills.  Now I will say that when I first signed up for this race it was not the day after Annapolis.  It was actually the weekend before Annapolis.  It was changed after I signed up, and while I believe I might have had the option to opt out I decided not to.  Again, I almost decided to back out of both races but decided to go slow and not to race the race.  
Now I was watching the weather and knew it was going to be cold and windy and it was.  I originally had on a cold gear turtle neck and my long sleeve plodder shirt. I put on a "throw away" sweat shirt and went out for a warm up run.  I was cold.  I took off the sweat shirt and was really cold.  I decided to swap out the plodder shirt and then put on the sweatshirt and then put the plodder shirt back on.  
Anyway, I was still a little cold but figured it should be good enough it I keep moving, and that was the plan.  This is an out an back course with plenty of aid stations. With the rolling hills it makes it a fast course as well.  There really is not much to say about this event. Last year I ran a 53:42.  this year I took it easy and ran a 1:02.  Very happy with my time and performance. I hope to do this race next year but honestly not sure what I am going to do if it is the same weekend as Annapolis half.