Rock and Roll AZ Half Marathon RR + Wattie Ink Elite Team

So I was going to post two blogs but I figured I'd just do one long one -so sorry if this is waay overkill. Sunday was a good day. I pr'd in my third ever 1/2 marathon and ran 1:14:40. After enjoying some beverages at the beer garden, we started walking to go get some food with friends and that's when I find out that I was accepted on to the 2012 Wattie Ink Elite Triathlon Team. So needless to say - I drank my fair share that day and celebrated/topped off a great weekend. I'm really stoked to be a part of the team. We'll be getting a team kit and since K-Swiss is our title sponsor I'll be racing/training in their shoes for the 2012 season. Along with K-Swiss, they have a great line-up of sponsors that I'm excited to work with. It looks like there are some studs on the team, so I'll be sure to do my fair share of damage to the competition as we look forward to the new season. On that note, I "officially" started my season on Sunday and this is how it went down...

Waiting to board...
Since Amy and I were away from the kids last weekend, she decided to stay home with them and I was sent off solo. I ended up flying out Saturday morning just in time to get checked in at the EXPO and then head over to the local watering hole to watch the playoffs. One commitment I have made this season is to stay away from wheat/gluten and alcohol the week of a race. After trial and error I know that it doesn't settle well when I race hard. So I think the toughest thing I had to do over the weekend was to watch the amazing 49ers/Saints game in rowdy bars and just drink water! Fortunately I held strong, but it didn't make any difference for my buddy Eric. He was sick, drank some beers and whiskey to help "clear" his congestion and still ran 1:19 the next day in his first ever half. Rock. Star.

Race morning I woke myself up at 4:30am to eat half of a sweet potato, a Powerbar and a glass of water -then I went back to sleep for an hour. I've been listening to a lot of podcasts (with my long commute) one of them being Ben Greenfield and getting race day nutrition is more important than you think. There is usually a three hour window that you have to get in a meal -let it digest so that your glycogen stores are topped off and ready to go come start time. That's why (for most people) if you eat and then less than 2 hours later you workout/race hard - you can feel a little sluggish or may not have the most happy stomach. Well the plan worked for me and come race time, I felt good and ready to roll.

Relaxed and Ready to roll
After getting in a 1.5 mile warm up, some stretching and strides, I took in a gel 15 mins before the start just to get in a little caffeine boost to go along with the FLUID Performance I'd been sipping on. My legs felt a little off just because I've been putting in some pretty tough weeks both in volume and intensity. This race week was no exception, we didn't back off at all except the day before where I just put in an easy run. This was a "C" race for me and I was really curious how I would handle the load. The course was a deceiving long gradual (slight) uphill for pretty much 10 miles, then heading downhill 3 miles to the finish. It was a very weird feeling, because you knew you were putting in a harder effort then the splits suggested...Or maybe that was my fatigued legs! I lined up at the front, didn't recognize anyone and felt like I had a good shot of getting top 20. There were only like 5 elites in the race cause everyone else was in Houston.

The gun went off and as usual everyone sprinted out like it was a 5k and after a few miles people started finally settling back and being more realistic about their pace. I was very focused/determined to just knock out 5:40-45's all day long. I already knew I was going to have a good race after 2 miles. It felt so effortless and my mental game plan was unfolding just as I had visualized all week. Cheeks moving up and down, legs light, leaning forward, arms straight and a fierce mental mindset that I was going to go sub 1:15 today. 5k I went through in 17:40 (5:41 pace) and kinda just settled in with a pack of guys that were chatting away about where they were from, how old they were...etc. I didn't want in on that conversation so I left them for a bit (only to get passed by them later!). Before I knew it 10k came and I went through in 35:16 (5:40 pace) and we were all spread out by this point. I pretty much ran the second half of the race solo.

We made the only "real" climb of the day up to the 10 mile mark and I went through in 56:44 (5:40 pace) and I was knocking out the pace no problem. Then a little downhill came and that's when I decided (against my better judgement) to just let it go and try and hit 5:35's the rest of the way in and go for sub 1:14...Well mile 10 went 5:33 then 11 at 5:36, then wheels fell off. The dreaded cramps started slowly making their way into my legs. The one I felt most was my right hammy. All of the sudden I had to slow down about 20 secs per mile which put me right on the edge of cramping up. That's when I saw my buddy Irving and he told me I was in about 25th place. At this point I didn't have much left. I just fought my way through those last two miles and was glad to finish in 1:14:40. It was a 2min 20sec PR. I know 1:14 isn't THAT fast to you full time runners, but as a triathlete that puts in only 25 miles a week, I was super stoked for the time. The fact that I ran well with tired legs gets me pumped up to see what I can do in Oceanside come March 31st.

Finishing up in the Pain Cave!
As far as the cramping goes...Still trying to figure it out. I usually think when someone cramps it's mainly to do with lack of your mind wants to go faster then your body can handle. I think this had something to do with it, but I also chose not to take in anything during the half. no water, gels...nothing. I was locked into my pace and didn't want to disrupt it with any distractions. Plus the weather was absolutely perfect. Looking back on it, I probably should have taken in a gel, it might have saved me from the cramps. I ended up finishing 5th in my AG and 25th overall.

We ended up bar hopping, eating good food and talking about how fast we used to be. Isn't that what you do when you get old? The only difference is, I'm getting faster NOW and equipped with the right coach, the right team and the right support -I'm going to hit 2012 with a bang.

Thanks to Eric, Kim, Irving and Jamie for showing me around and being awesome hosts! Irving, thanks for letting me stay at the man pad!

Now for some pictures, thanks for reading!

Forward lean, arm swing...thanks Kloz :)
Finally looking relaxed...
The boys with PR's!
Dunno why my leg is shaped like that in this picture...
Finish line beer garden...serving "Ultra Sh*tty" beers
Finally, some good IPA, Cheers to 2012!


jameson said...

booyah! great race on tired legs... just what we wanted. we'll work on the cramping... i have some ideas.

Post a Comment