Race report: Al’s Run

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew A. 6 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #12516


    I believe I still have a couple of other races I haven't reported on. I still intend to write reports if people still care to read them. I'll start with my most recent race and the one that got some mention here, though.

    Going into the race, I wasn't totally sure what to expect. This year has gone much better than last year. However, I attempted to do a double peak for both the Stout alumni meet and Al's Run, only two weeks apart. In retrospect, I'm just not carrying enough fitness to do double peaks only two weeks apart anymore. I could get away with that with very good results in the past. It just doesn't work any more. So I was going into this race fit but flat. I just didn't have my sharpness that I had two weeks earlier. I figured, based on the summer of racing, I was in mid-28 shape in ideal conditions. Would I still be up to the task? I wasn't sure.

    I met with Double and Jamie at the Pettit and drove in. Apparently, I missed a couple of calls from Woody (sorry Woody) either meeting up with Double and Jamie or driving in. Fortunately, the calls were just to let me know he was at our meeting place, not that he was lost or wouldn't make it or any bad news like that. Next year, I'll keep my phone on me with the ringer at maximum volume the whole time.

    We found a good parking space maybe 1/4-1/2 mile from the starting line just off the course. We walked up to our meeting area and found Woody and met Laura, Woody's significant other. Cameron quickly showed up and we all got to chatting. It was great seeing the guys I haven't seen for years, catching up with everyone and meeting Laura, another great person and runner who we can hopefully add to the Team HillRunner.com roster next year.

    A little later, Ed showed up, we got a few team pictures (I'll try to get one and post it later), then headed out to the road as warmup time was nearing. We got a bit separated so I began warming up with Woody, Laura and Ed. As we were warming up, Corina from the PRO team came by and joined us for a block or so. It was great seeing her out there. Then, she peeled off as the team headed to my car to drop team gear. Shortly after, Ed and I split from Woody and Laura and did the rest of our warmup on our own. After we made our way back to the start line, it was great as it always is to see all the runners I see way too infrequently. I chatted with Rick Stefanovic and Jim Gross for a short time, I said hi to a few others and I completed my warmup with a few strides. As we were lining up, I ended up making my way next to Bango (the Milwaukee Bucks mascot). We gave each other a high five, then we traded a few elbows lining up, cross country style.

    At the gun, I realized that I got on the correct side of the road: the slow side. Bango took the lead on our side and a couple of other runners edged ahead of me. Bango called it a day at about 100 yards, the others crossed over to the other side where there was a swarm of runners getting out hard. Now, I was all alone in the lead on the left side of the median. That was kind of fun, even though I could see probably 100 runners ahead of me on the other side. Once we lost the median, I was probably around 50th place and moving up. The deeper I got into the first mile, though, the more I noticed both a slight headwind and the heat. Neither was a real problem in itself at that point but I could tell both were going to take something out of me.

    I cruised through the mile mark without hearing a split. Into mile 2, I held position through the eastbound part, then took the turn northbound. Going up a slight incline after the turn, I heard someone coming up behind me. Soon, George Ogutu was there on my shoulder. I decided I'd let him take the lead and hang with him for a while. He moved ahead and, immediately, Jim Gross was on my shoulder. I ran with George and Jim basically for a good portion of miles 2 and 3, each of us rotating into the lead at times as we felt good. I cruised through mile 2 in 11:57, slower than I was hoping for but not a disaster, especially given the warmth and the headwind we had been facing for the whole race to this point. Still, I wanted to get on track for something faster. We hit a slight decline and I leaned into it, moving back ahead of Jim and George. I wasn't trying to run away, just get a more honest pace going. It seemed to work to some extent, they both hung with me and we seemed to be going a bit faster. After a bit, Jim took the lead and we were again trading off.

    Nearing the end of mile 3, I was having a little trouble keeping up with Jim. George had fallen behind us Down the hill to the lakefront and the 3 mile mark, I used the downhill to pull even with Jim. That didn't last long, though. As soon as the downhill was over, he pulled away and I couldn't respond. 3 miles in 17:57. Not thrilled but I'm battling at least.

    I told Ed mile 4 is a good chance to move. It's a tough mile mentally and does a lot of damage to a lot of people. You can pass a lot of people here. I told him to count the number of people he passes in this mile. I decided to do the same. Even though Jim was getting away from me, there was another guy he was already passing who I thought I could get. It took a long time to pull him in but I eventually did. I then got one more before the 4 mile mark so, with nobody passing me, my net gain in mile 4 was 2 positions. Not outstanding but moving in the right direction.

    Shortly after the 4 mile mark, I heard someone behind me again. I tried to keep him behind me but I just couldn't. As he was moving up for the pass, I told myself I can at least go with. George then shot by me and I just couldn't go with. I just didn't have enough left to even attempt to maintain his pace. Not long after that, I heard someone else behind me. Again, I tried to keep him behind me but just couldn't. Next thing I know, Rick is going by me. Again, I tried to maintain contact but just didn't have anything left. I battled in, could barely even muster up a kick when I saw the finish line and crossed, knowing I gave it everything I had, in 29:48. Not what I was looking for going into the race but I knew I gave it everything I had and ran the best race I could have on that day.

    Team HillRunner.com had a good showing. Double came in 10 seconds behind me in 29:58. Cameron and Woody were almost equally close to each other, finishing in 30:56 and 31:11 respectively. Ed rounded out the team scoring in 32:19, which I believe was a PR. Jamie struggled in the heat but still finished in 34:38. All around, a good day in not ideal conditions.

    We were third team overall and first in the corporate division with a 2:34:12 time posted by our top 5 runners, for an average of 30:51. Second in our division was 2:43:59. The PRO team ended up in the community division, winning that division in 2:23:20, with the Marquette (MU) Running Club second in 2:25:39. These divisions still baffle me. Every time I talk with the Al's Run people, I'm told HillRunner.com belongs in the corporate division. I'd think PRO belongs in the same division as us but I'll take first in the division I'm consistently told to enter our team in.

    It was good catching up with the guys who could make it out to my place after the race and strategizing for next year. We once again have a title to defend!

  • #32629


    Very nice race report and good job racing.  Your advice on mile 4 I found to be spot on the year that I ran with the team.  I have a bit of guilt for not racing on the team this year but after a horrid 5k in early August I was in a “hating racing phase”  at the time of registration.

    I am curious about your racing plans for next year.  Do you plan to do the same line up or do you plan to  do some 1/2 marathon or 10 mile races? 

  • #32630


    Thanks Charlene. I know some people struggle with miles 2 and 3 but I've found you can get yourself through those miles. Mile 4 tends to be the one that mentally breaks people. If you focus on getting to the 3 mile mark in good position and attacking mile 4, you'll have a good race.

    No guilt. You also had a half the following weekend. Sometimes, it just doesn't work out. I think I'm the only one on the team who has run with the team every year. Double is a close second but he missed when they rescheduled to October.

    As for next year, I'm not sure. To be honest, I've never run a 10 mile race and wouldn't mind trying one. The problem I have with the longer races right now is I'm deep down a competitor and I've come to expect a certain level of competitiveness from myself. I just don't think I'm training right now adequately enough to race at the level I'd expect of myself in longer races and I'd end up with a bad experience. I just think I'd be more surviving a hard effort at the distance, not racing the way I know racing. Because of that, at this point, I don't see myself going longer than 10K next year. I'm not sure at this point if or when I'll plan to go longer again.

  • #32631


    Your a 10 miler waiting to happen Braaaaahhh!

  • #32632


    I would think that you would love a 10 miler.  They are long enough that the pace is not as painful as a 10k  but are also short enough that you can be much more aggressive with pacing and racing than a half marathon.  Recovery is much faster than a half.

    I understand your reasoning about wanting to be your competitive best when racing. It is a huge time, emotional, and energy commitment to train to race a  full marathon.  It is a commitment that I am unsure that I want to make.   

  • #32633


    Charlene the one thing I have learned the past couple years is the training does not have to consume me.  Not that it didn't or hasn't,
    but I find if I run around a platform of 200 miles a month I can perform well over a wide range of distances.  Most mileage is 9 – 10
    pace with 5-6 miles a week where I air it out 85-95% on two runs.  Sometimes it is 6 or better and other times it is 7.  I am pursuing
    the perfect schedule (who isn't) where I can go up to run ultras or drop down to run short.  I have said before the single most trying
    distance to race and train for is the marathon and I believe it.  More closely related to a 10k than any ultra in my book.  Most of us
    have our own way to train for the marathon and knows what it takes, but to me the hidden piece overlooked by many is the 10-14
    miler mid-week generally after a hard workout.  I do not force (usually) hard workouts much any longer because I still want to run
    the next day.  Easy running most of the time has not taken away my speed and I must believe this is true for most.  Anyone want to chime in?

  • #32634


    Good race Ryan!! Great report as always!! I still think that you can get back to the 27:25 in the  8k!

  • #32635


    I might have to find a 10 mile some time. It's tough when I think back to running 10 miles in sub-60 minutes without even thinking about it and now I'd be hard pressed to run 60 minutes in a 10 mile race but that's no different than once running 5 mile tempo runs in 28-29 minutes and now struggling to stay sub-30 at 8K.

    Thanks Cesar. I do still think there's a mid-27 8K in these legs, even if sub-27 is history. I'm not quite sure what it would take to get there but I'm going to see if I can find a few of those missing variables in the coming year and work my way closer.

  • #32636


    Double Your platform of around 200 miles a month and the mix of easy days with 2 hard days is very simular to my last cycle for my half.  I rarely run with others as I run my easy days so much slower than they do.  I can't understand how women with simular PRs to my own crank out 7:30s every single easy run when I can only handle 9s.  Even many area running friends run their long runs as fast if not faster than I do even though I am about 20 minutes faster for a half marathon.  But I very rarely have a hard workout fail and I think it is due to running my easy days so slow. 

    My main reluctance to commit to a marathon yet is that my biggest running weakness is my endurance and that is something that I am very patiently building.  I think it will still be a year or 2 til it is marathon ready.  When I was being coached by Ryan and averaging in the mid 60s per week running magic was happening.  I just have to be patient.  The other thing I worry about is that I will not enjoy running a marathon or the 20 mile training runs.  Sometimes I enjoy my 15 mile runs and other times I hate them.  I am hoping that as my endurance grows I will enjoy them more.

    Ryan,  I hope you will run the Syttende Mai 10 next year with me.  I think you would love the rolling hills. 

  • #32637


    That is a great race report.

    For me the day started out a bit hectic.  The family and I were running late getting to the race and I was trying my best not to let that get into my mind.  I quickly found our group and met some great runners that I have heard and read about but had not met before.  After some pictures and logistical discussion we headed out for our warm up. 

    I was feeling a bit off during the warm up but I was trying to convince myself that it was all in my mind and not real.  Thoughts I couldn't shake were that I really wanted a sub 30 but that was quite far from happening and that still bothered me a bit.  After the warm up I did some light stretching nothing much at all really and found a good starting spot slightly behind the elite corale.  There were a number of folks there that were not going to run the six to seven minute mile pace.  (One of my pet peeves.)  I made sure to stand to the side of them so I didn't get held back.

    At the gun, I took off at a pretty good pace.  I had my Garmin so I could hold to the race plan for the first four miles.  I was more or less on pace pretty easily for the first three miles and was steadily passing people.  I did notice that I had been into a moderate headwind and was feeling the heat.  It didn't seem that warm but I could tell it was sapping my strength.

    Like Ryan said – going into mile four I planned to reel in one runner at a time and keep myself moving up in the standings.  I could feel myself slowing a bit in that mile but I didn't get passed and I did pass three to four other runners.  With about a half mile to go I was passed by one runner and I told him “good race” he said the same and kept moving very well.  I was fighting hard to keep pace and was fearing a side cramp (which never came thank goodness.) 

    With a quarter mile to go I started giving whatever I had left trying to pass anyone that I could.  I got one person just after the final turn. With maybe 200 feet to go Ryan was yelling at me to dig deep and push hard which helped a lot and I pushed it.  I finished right alongside another runner – I may have edged him out at the last second but I am not sure.

    Since I knew my time goal was out the window I was hoping to make it into the top 100 runners.  I did accomplish that goal – I was 61st overall out of 3,061 runners and I was happy with that.  I was also 8th in my age group out of 135.  Our team won its division, even though I was a scoring member, so that was another success.

    I plan on being back next year with a vegence!  Look out people!

  • #32638


    Ed, did you forget to mention you ran a PR on a day that left quite a few people running less than they had hoped for? That was a very solid race. Now, get that consistency down and maybe, if things break just right, you can start seriously thinking sub-30 next year.

  • #32639


    That is true and it was a solid PR.  I was 25 seconds faster than last year and last year was a PR by 2:35!  Fairly good improvement with more to come.

  • #32640


    Great race report, Ryan.  Congrats to Team Hillrunner!  Good race for everyone.  And cograts Ed on the PR!

  • #32641


    Thanks Lighty.  To have improved 3 full minutes in an 8K in two years has been great.  Knowing that I have much more improvement to come is exciting.

  • #32642


    I know that continuous running week in and week out around 40-60 miles has a huge overall affect on running performance.  The engine just gets bigger, the body takes on the specifications needed to perform the task, and when the specific workout regiment comes…you are ready for it.  One thing which I miss out on is the mini race schedule I like to undertake for an event.  You just get the racer's edge.  You are battle ready.  I tend to rely on past racing experience which has merit, but grinding out a few quick ones really helps you understand or sharpen your basic racing instincts.  Your apt to make less mistakes. 

    I watch a fair amount of HS cross-country meets.  The same people near the front don't always beat the same people week to week.  As a runner you are always analyizing why this is.  Sometimes you know (hard workout week) and sometimes you don't.  Runs like Al's are similar.  We all finish and think about what might have worked better.  A mini race schedule helps in this regard. 

  • #32643

    Andrew A.

    Good race and good to read about it!

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