This weekend began by meeting up with the neighbors at Paul’s new restaurant on Main Street, Joes. While they have more elegant seating up front, we sat at the picnic tables in the bar area. Good menu and I have no doubt this place will do well. Especially when the rooftop opens up. Very enjoyable evening although I didn’t need all those beers before a big run the following morning.
Still, I feel fine this morning. Good enough to line up near the starting line for today’s Boulder Distance Classic 15K. I must be getting cocky – I haven’t lined up this close to the start in decades. The elites show up in force today and it’s pretty cool to be standing next to them. I know this will make me start out faster than normal and I’m good with that. My plan is to push a 10K and then cool down the remaining miles. I originally was going to warmup the first mile and then run 6 miles hard, but I change my mind after lining up to go out fast from the start. The first plan would be easier on my body, but this plan will better simulate the Bolder Boulder 10K.
Today’s workout is to see how close to a 7 minute pace I can hold for 6 miles. I’ll coast in the final 3 miles for a cool down. The weather is unbelievable given all the snow we’ve had lately. It must be about 60° at the start of the race. I’m wearing blue Nike Dry-Fit shorts and the short-sleeve Brooks running T-shirt that came with the registration packet. The shirt is an unattractive green and doesn’t match well with my blue shorts, orange socks and orange hat, but I like wearing the race gear when I can. I’m comfortable standing at the start with the single short sleeve shirt.
I know I’m running way fast the first mile. I’m breathing hard. Still, I’m surprised when my Garmin reports a 6:40 pace. I am happy to know now that I can run a 6:40 mile, but this is not an ideal time to discover such speed with 8 miles remaining. I know immediately this is a mistake and I’m going to suffer. I was hoping to run close to 7 minutes, and certainly not under 7:00. I’d have been good with 7:10 or 7:15.
I debate slowing down significantly on mile two in order to recover but decide I might as well simulate the conditions of that hill in mile two of the Bolder Boulder. I’m seriously winded and focus on my form. I try for a 7:20 to average my pace out to 7 even. Mile two comes in at 7:18. Okay. I might be able to salvage this thing.
My legs are heavy though and I’m deep in oxygen debt. Shoot, even my arms are heavy. I try to hang on but feel my pace slowing down. The 3rd mile comes in at 7:29 and I think to myself it would be great if I could hold a 7:30 pace for another three miles. That is close to what I believe to be my lactate threshold. It’s hard though to maintain my lactate threshold when I’ve already significantly exceeded it. The 4th mile comes in at 7:39. Not too far off. My breathing finally calms down in the 4th mile which gives me confidence. Technically I just have two more miles to worry about since I’m only trying to run hard for a 10K.
I run the 5th mile in 7:52 and my 6th mile in 7:53. Nice consistency but this is disappointing. I felt like I was running faster but my legs were spent. I’m simply not able to fully recover from that fast start. Good lesson I guess. I think what I’ll do in the Bolder Boulder is start near the back of my wave. I’ll leverage the crowd of runners to throttle my speed. My best hope for running a 10K under 44 or 45 minutes is to run a steady pace each mile. Ideally I’ll run my first two miles in a 7:10 or 7:15 pace. It does help knowing I can start off faster, but I also know how such a fast start will contribute to an overall slower time.
I maintain my speed for about a half mile after the 6th mile. I finally slow down to a cool down pace after hitting the sizable hill around 6.5 miles. I expect to slow down to an 8.5 mile pace but run mile 7 in 8:03, mile 8 in 8:14, and the final mile in 8:25. A number of runners kick past me. I can tell several of the guys are in my age division but I don’t care. I’m done racing. I appreciate that the final half mile is downhill, but I still coast in. My legs are toast.
My final time is 1:13 which is a good 4 to 5 minutes slower than I would have run if I’d simply maintained my typical pace. That’s fine, I wasn’t racing but rather running a very specific workout in preparation for the Bolder Boulder. I now know I can start out well under a 7 minute pace. And I also know not to do that. That hurts.
Most runners in this event were stoked about the weather. This event has a history of cold and snow. The best part for me is the huge turnout from my neighborhood. It was a rocking celebration in the beer garden afterward. Keith finished shortly behind me so I was able to turn around and get some pics of him finishing. That’s Keith up top. Then Jabe in the beer garden and Steve and Jen in this final pic. The food was incredible too; hard to believe given the affordable entry fee. And no limits to the beer.
Everyone made me feel good by complimenting my running blog. And I met Beth who writes a running blog I read occasionally called Shut Up and Run. That title describes her blog fairly well. I got compliments on my weight too. Everyone seems to think I’m losing weight. I have maybe a bit but I think it’s my face that is finally starting to thin. And really, I’m partial to my fatter face because I think it takes better pictures. I wouldn’t mind losing my double chin but it’s not diminishing on par with my thinning face. Life is cruel that way.
I spent the rest of the day celebrating Ellie’s birthday. She had a good day. I’m totally spent. I hope to run some super long distance tomorrow – at least 15 miles. My focus is turning past the Bolder Boulder to the Steamboat Spring Marathon on June 2nd. Time for mileage to trump my speed workouts.