Sunday, March 8, 2009

PR-ing Like a Kitten

Another race, another personal best. On Saturday I ran a little local 3-mile (not 5K) race. I'd run it on a different course in 2007, when I had been "serious" about running for about 8 months at that point. I'd wanted to run under 20:00, and I ran 19:46, finishing 3rd in my age group. This year, I wanted to run under 18:30. Yeah, that's a lot more ambitious.

The weather completely cooperated for a change as the temps broke 50 and the sun was out. The roads were pretty messy and muddy thanks to all the melting snow, but it was a trade-off I was very willing to make. I got a ride from a running buddy so that I could run the 5 miles home after the race. I trotted out the dazzling new lightweight racing shoes, the Nike LunaRacers:

Although I'm not a Nike fan in general, the buzz on this shoe made me check my moral qualms at the door and try them out. While I don't see myself running a marathon in them (I need more support), they are a dream combination of cushioning at an incomprehensibly low weight, likely to get me through up to a 10K. For comparison, bear in mind that my "light" training/racing shoes weigh in at about 9.5 ounces. The LunaRacers? 5.5 (yes, five and a half) ounces. When you think about the energy required to lift one's foot over the course of a race, that's a major difference. And when I put them on yesterday for the second time ever (and first time in a race), I just felt faster right away.

Here's the overview of the day:

  • 2-mile warm-up in my Asics GT-2140, with 2 100-meter strides thrown in
  • Change into LunaRacers and shed warm-up layer, running in shorts and singlet
  • Run the 3-mile race
  • Run the majority of the course a second time
  • Run home
  • Day's total was a little under 13 miles

The race was a wonderful experience for me. The miles went by like this:

  1. Started out WAY too fast (getting sucked into a low-5:00/mile pace by the track and XC kids), so slowed myself down by the half-mile point; Mile #1 - 5:48 (which is a new mile PR for me); average HR = 173
  2. Second mile was into the wind, with two small hills and a 4 tight turns; the eventual female winner passed me, ending up beating me by about 10 seconds; split - 6:19; average HR 180, with a max of 184
  3. At this point, I was trying to keep my head together; I was running with a fellow running club team member whom I've never beaten in a race, and was ahead of two other teammates whom I'd seen at the start, but who had not passed me; with about 0.25 left, the guy running with me seemed to let up, and I finished about 7 seconds ahead of him (though I would have preferred that it come to a kick to make it more exciting); split - 6:04; average HR 179

Gun time = 18:23; my time, 18:21. Finished 15th overall; 2nd in my age group (lost by 30 seconds, so there's plenty of work left to do).

Yes, I'm ecstatic about running a mile PR in a race and still holding on for a respectable result. A number of my running club mates commented about their "surprise" at seeing my time. No one came out to accuse me of doping or anything, but I wonder if that's far behind. Seriously, after feeling like I was in a bit of a rut, it's been very gratifying to set a PR in every race I've run going back to Chicago 2008 (a disappointing result, but still a marathon PR). That would be new bests in the marathon, half-marathon (twice), the 4-mile and the 3-mile (I suppose I could claim a 40-mile PR, but that seems a bit ridiculous, even for me). It seems like running is finally starting to show me some of the love I've shown it during the past couple of years.

I plan to bump my mileage up to the mid-50's this week, with nothing fast unless and until I feel like I've really recovered from Saturday's effort. I'm NOT going to be stupid and greedy this time around. No, seriously. I mean it! Next week will be a conveniently forced cutback week, as we're going on a family vacation, with 2 almost-full driving days and the need not to disappear for hours at a time. I'll try to work around the travel schedule and put up 45+ miles, then ramp it up to 60 after that.

So far, so good. I just hope I can keep the engine PuRing through May 17th (and beyond).



Preston said...

Great job on the PR. Cool about the shoes, those sound pretty light!

Joe said...

Awesome job on the PR! I'd be curious to know how you felt the hill sprints that you have been doing a la Hudson influenced your run, if at all. Or, if it was just the shoes =)

Ron Abramson said...

Thanks, guys. Hard to say about any single element of training, but hill sprints clearly are helping my strength, which was a key in being able to hang on through the end of the race. -ESG

Billy said...

Great job again Ron. S-s-smokin' time and mile splits!