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Monday, April 11, 2011

Social Running (Race Report)

This past Sunday was the longest run I had to do in my half marathon training. The run was 16 miles. I have a love hate relationship with the long run. Sometimes they go really well and they are relaxing and sometimes it is just a really long painful couple of hours. This run however fell as part of the puma series. The race was a 10k (6miles) and the long run required 10 miles easy and 6 miles at half marathon goal pace. So I decided to show up early and bang out a few miles and then use the race as my harder effort.

In the morning I had nothing but a banana to eat, as I had eaten a lot before I went to bed. I find eating little in the morning has had a positive effect on my running. I stared out running the 3 mile loop at the park at a nice relaxed pace. I ended up running beside a friendly, very fit looking Asian fellow. The beauty of not running with headphones is that I was aware and enjoying the moment. We started to chat he was doing 22 miles that day! Last year he qualified for Boston, he said he usually runs 2 marathons a year. He was interested in triathlon and asked how we train for all three. I said its always 2 a day and told him how the fitness in each of the sports is somewhat transferable.

I then moved on to the second lap feeling good I had some power bar after the first 3 miles. On this lap I met up with an older runner that I knew was fast. He is well over 50 and can still crank out 5 k times in the 17's. He was very friendly and is one more person to talk to at running events.

I managed to complete a little over 6 miles before the race started. I was happy with that. My goal for the race was just to run even 6:50 mile pace. Little did I know I was in for a surprise. I started out a little to fast of course due to the race atmosphere and the slight downhill of the course, but was able to settle into a rythem. I was drafting off anyone in front of me to conserve energy. Then my competitive edge sparked up as I saw a kid that was maybe 10 in front of me. So I worked my way up there and eventually pasted him. I gave words of encouragement to others who looked to be struggling because I know what thats like, and I was really grateful I was having a great day. After the first 5 k I grabbed a water and a power gel. My first lap split to my surprise was a 20:49 averaging a 6:39 pace. In the second lap I led most of the way paying back to some of the people I sucked on for the first lap. My pace was way under what I was aiming for I was averaging about 6:40 a mile feeling very relaxed. At the finish I pulled a guy all the way into his PR and that felt pretty good. I had a total finish time of 41:58 Which was a total suprise to me I was not expecting that at all.

After the race I cooled down with a 3 mile easy run bringing me to my 16 miles. And I have to say it was absolutly painless. It was nice to run this Sunday and really enjoy the social aspect of running and the sense of community. I felt included as part of a group. It was a very nice way to spend a Sunday.

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