Tilden Tough Ten 2011
I was not sure what to expect coming into this race, since I had taken a two week break, followed by a ramp up to quite high mileage in the previous weeks. This had not been long enough to build much of a base, so a course PR over last year’s 80 minutes might be difficult. Still, it would give me something to roughly gauge my current fitness.
Conditions were cool with some wind and intermittent rain, but fortunately it was not raining as we got ready for the start. With 300 runners on a not-very-wide paved trail, the sub-8:00 pace runners stepped up to the start first, followed by the rest. I found myself near the front with Christine and Debra, two masters runners who are fast on the trails(pretty good on the roads too). We needed to make up time on the paved section because the trail would be muddy and slow. Mile 1 was mostly downhill and took 7:01. One of the bends revealed a glorious view across the Bay. It looked to be raining quite hard over by Sausalito and the Golden Gate, so we could likely be expecting to be getting wet soon.
Mile 2: 7:29, more the sort of average we would need. I was still in close company with D. and C, feeling comfortable so far.
Mile 3: 7:27, some wind here on the more exposed areas, the rain was only an occasional sprinkling.
Mile 4: 7:49, A big down, then uphill in this mile, with a strong headwind and heavy rain. I’m surprised I ran it as fast as I did. Too fast perhaps. Debra was a short way ahead, Christine just behind.
Mile 5: 8:23. The muddy trail. The downhills were sufficiently steep and muddy to require slowing down. I passed Debra at this point while running on the grass for better traction. There were some cows on the trail coming towards us, one at a run. There was enough room to pass by them, fortunately.
Mile 6: 10:40. The uphill return. I walked the two steep uphills like most other people. We encountered the cows again, this time going in the same direction, two of them were running but they left the trail when it widened out. They mooed at us as we went by.
Mile 7: 7:49. Back on the pavement, I felt a little done in and should have run this mile faster. Debra came by on the downhill, and Christine soon after. At the moment things looked to be on track to equal or beat last year’s time, but the wind was picking up and mostly ahead, so the rest of the return leg was going to be hard work.
Mile 8: 8:25. Lots of uphill into the wind here.
Mile 9: 7:46. More sheltered and pushing hard. I passed Christine again on the steep uphill at the end of this mile. Debra seemed to be too far ahead to catch. I was passing a few other people though.
Mile 10: 7:43. Gently uphill, but well sheltered from the wind here. I closed on Debra a bit, but did not catch her. 1:20:49 finish (chip time). So A little slower than last year’s 1:20:00 but satisfactory. The difference was mostly the wind, I think. The performance slump of Kaiser and Napa seems to be over, and it’s time for some more aerobic building.
Archive for May, 2011
Tilden Tough Ten 2011
You would have thought that a race in San Francisco named after a cartoon character would be something like a mini Bay to Breakers, with a large party contingent and people in fancy dress. In fact it’s a runners race, with a small number of contestants and quite a talented field due to it being a USATF series event. But first a small sidebar on what I have been up to lately.
I felt that I was seriously off my game in my run-up to Napa, and ran that race some minutes slower than I felt I should. The symptom were consistent with over-training, although there may have been a dietary deficiency or infection involved. How should not-very-specific problem be approached? I took a cue from Flo of Girl In Motion who saw good results after taking a two week break from running, and did that. On coming back, I endeavoured to introduce more hill running and form drills into the mix, but did not follow a strict plan for the time being. I was running a somewhat lower mileage than I normally do during marathon cycles, and generally took care.
I also took a trip with Cathi to London, where she did some musical work (teaching and a couple of gigs) and we caught up with some of my family. I also watched the London marathon from the kerbside, about 900 meters from the finish. It was interesting to compare the elites with the also-rans. They seem to float along with little expenditure of effort compared to the rest of us ground-pounders. They don’t even seem to be going that fast, thanks to the apparent ease of motion. This does not come across well in photographs but is very apparent when you see it. Here’s Emmanuel Mutai on his way to a course record after he had demolished the opposition with a string of 4:3x miles. He looked pretty relaxed.
And so after a few weeks of lowish mileage, here I was on a start line in Golden Gate Park with a pretty fast bunch of runners, aware that this training reboot would now be tested, even though I had not done any race-specific workouts beyond some 5K-pace pickups during the week. I had put my Garmin into metric mode with kilometer splits, figuring that I would get a useful number that way, and a 20-minute 5K is 4:00 pace, which is a nice refernce point. I would like to run a sub-20 but that could not realistically be expected today. If I looked down and saw 3:xx I should slow down. There were no chips in this race, but I managed to cross the start line within 2-3 seconds of the gun.
The tactic for moderating the initial pace was only partly successful, since I ran the first Km in 3:49. Still, not as outrageously fast as I sometimes commence these things. That was on flat ground along JFK avenue Sometime during the next split we swing toward Stowe lake and went uphill. 4:21 (7:01 pace). Oof! I need to work on my uphill speed! Same story on the rolling track around the lake: 4:20, then we swung back towards the finish: 4:06, 4:07 which was encouraging. I had been running in a cluster of runners all the way (mostly 20-something women from the Impala team for some reason) so had not been able to run the tangents properly. That would account for some of the 80 extra meters that the Garmin measured at 3:55 pace. It was necessary to put on the brakes just short of the line as the finish chute was backed up. Official time 21:04. That is 21 seconds away from my PR which is not too terrible given the course and my shortage of recent miles. On track I think.
Shortly after this I came down with the ‘flu, spending some groggy days around the house. and in bed. I was cheered by a timely arrival from Napa. So now “Get marathon plaque” can be crossed off the to-do list.