The Interval, 4/26/17

The tail end of the first wave, running up Congress Avenue.

About 21,000 people ran the 40th Capitol 10K on Sunday, with perfect spring weather.  I expect that people who ran the Austin Marathon or the 3M Half Marathon wished they could have traded weather with Cap10K.  The competitive wave started at 8am with the traditional run up Congress Avenue before circling the state capitol building and then heading west on 15th Street and another big hill.  From there, it was downhill to Enfield, then back towards Lady Bird Lake and the finishing miles on Cesar Chavez, the First Street bridge, and Riverside.

The main sponsor is the Austin American-Statesman.  Check their page for multiple articles, video and photos.

Without prize money it’s hard to see the course records of 29:24 for men and 33:43 for women being challenged.  Still, the winning times were quite fast.  The men’s race was a duel between Andrew Colley and Johnny Crain, both surprise entrants who traveled to Austin from North Carolina.  They ran together the whole race with Colley prevailing over Crain by just 2 seconds, in 30:30.  Raymond Joseph was third, in 30:59.  Kevin Kimbell was the masters winner in 34:52.  Full coverage from Brom Hoban of the Statesman.

The top 3 in the women’s race were all from the Austin area.  This race was a bit more spread out, with Jennifer Hall leading from the start to win in 36:44.  Kate Leugers was second, in 37:44, and Sarah Rimel third in 38:42.  The masters winner, and fourth place overall, was Desiree Berry, in 38:52.  Full coverage from Chris Bils of the Statesman.

Kate Leugers and Jonathon Garner on Cesar Chavez.

A few of the runners sent me their thoughts on the race:

Kate Leugers, second place, 37:44.  I asked her about race strategy.  Kate is moving to Provo for graduate school, we’ll miss her…

I didn’t set out to “race, race” the Cap 10k. Jonathan Garner and I had planned to run it together months ago. The only real plan that we had was to try for sub 39 (since I had run 39:1x last year). We were aiming to hit 6:15’s for the 6.2 miles. After the race, Steve Sisson told me that at mile 3 I was within shouting distance of Jen Hall, the eventual female winner. I didn’t see her the entire time. My intention had been to work with Jonathan, push ourselves, and have a good time – knowing that it was my last day in Austin. In hindsight, I wish we would have made some tactical race moves. We could have added in a few surges but we really just tried to maintain. The first mile was controlled – we started on 5:39 pace and mid way through congress we agreed to slow way down. I didn’t have a GPS watch on and, after the first mile I kept accidentally hitting my stop/start on my watch instead of the lap setting. I’d ask JG every now and then where we were at pace wise. Usually, running a race without a GPS watch lets me focus on racing bodies rather than a pace. In the end, we did exactly what we set out to do – sub 39 and have a fun time doin’ it. Of course, as a competitor, I wish I would have known how close I was to Jen. But, my fitness probably wouldn’t have allowed for a minute faster. But, I can dream, can’t I?

David Yin, 39:48, 6:25 pace.  His dad, wife, and daughter were in the race as well as many of his Austin High students.

Many of my friends and family took advantage of the unusually cool weather to run strong races. A few even PRed on a course that I think is hard to race because of the hills and the massive crowds. I had a disappointing race. I ran my slowest time since middle school.

Despite the poor performance, I enjoyed walking the course backwards to find my wife who was pushing our daughter in a stroller. Violet has participated in two Cap10Ks before she’s turned two. I got to high-five a number of my friends, students and cross country runners (most of the team finished far ahead of me). The best costumed group had to be the family that was completely decked out as clowns. The strollers were outfitted to look like clown cars to boot.

Carmen Ayala-Troncoso, first in the 55-59 age group, 42:24.  Carmen trains a group of fast 5K/10K runners.  She won Cap10K in 2003.

40th Anniversary! had to come back for that. My past experiences with Cap10K are back in early 2000’s when the question was “how fast can you go?”  This time around was a very different type of experience.  Thanks to the organization everything was enjoyable, well except that I didn’t remember how hard the course was, even with perfect weather. Looking forward to next year…Did I say that?

Scott McIntyre, third in the 55-59 age group, 42:02.  Scott trains with Carmen’s group.  His daughter Amanda also ran Cap10K.

I was talking to Carmen on Saturday morning about how I never raced anymore and she suggested I run the Cap10 …with no expectations. The goal being to reacquaint and feel good enough when it was over to WANT to race again. I was nervous. First mile was just under 7:00 with a gradual pick-up from there. Winded, but not dying. So, mission accomplished. I’m anxious to race again.

It was special for me that Amanda raced …and finished. She’s an artist, not an athlete. I think she’s been reluctant to run, probably avoiding expectations. I’ve never pushed; she’s always found her own way. Maybe this will be a start for her, or an end. I’m good either way.

Erik Stanley on Cesar Chavez.

Erik Stanley, fourth overall, 31:29.  Erik won Cap10K in 2015.  He is the founder and head coach at Trail Roots.

The weather at the Cap 10K was perfect. I had a great time seeing all of the local runners enjoying the race. Trail Roots had an awesome showing! I was hoping to have a shot at the win this year, but there were some great competitors in the field that ran a better race. I enjoyed running with my buddy JT Sullivan and seeing Raymond pushing the leaders. I would have loved to see a local Austin runner win, but that just means we have to work harder for next year! Up next, I am going to be training for the Leadville trail marathon followed by the Leadville trail 50 mile race this summer in Leadville, CO. We have a group of folks from Trail Roots heading up to the Rockies to do mountain training mid-June, which should be a blast!

Interesting News and Articles

The London marathon is usually good for fast times and the women’s race this year delivered.  Mary Keitany ran the second fastest women’s marathon ever, in 2:17:01.  The fastest is by Paula Radcliffe, 2:15:25, set in 2005.  Keitany had a pacer through about 2/3 of the race.  Radcliffe had male pacers throughout who were entered in the men’s race but paced Radcliffe.  Since then the major marathons have started the women’s race 15-30 minutes before the men’s race to avoid this issue.  Radcliffe’s 2005 run is still incredible. Coverage by Runner’s World.

Runner’s World took a closer look at the Nike shoe being used by all the top marathoners, including the Nike team that will attempt a sub-2 hour marathon in the next couple of weeks.

My running buddies brought up the topic of crewing for ultras the other day during a long run.  It’s a huge advantage to have a good crew.  I’ll try to write about it in the next couple of months.  Trail Runner Magazine has this basic crewing article.

Ever wonder about the mystery eyelet on your running shoes?  It’s for “lock lacing.”  I’ve used it with shoes that slip around my heel.  David Roche thinks we should use it for all trail shoes- from Trail Runner Magazine.

I heard this report on NPR this morning- marathons are becoming a big deal in China.

Upcoming Races

An embarrassment of riches for area trail runners this weekend.  On Saturday the Tejas Trails crew has the Pandora’s Box of Rocks event at Reveille Ranch, near Lake Buchanon.  There are 4 events from the Double Marathon down to 8 miles, all of which will climb the second largest granite dome in Texas (after Enchanted Rock).  Sunday brings the second race in the Rogue Trail Series, the Tangle, at Flat Creek Crossing near Pedernales Falls State Park.  I’ll be running the 10K, others will repeat that loop twice for 30K.

Local road racers should take a look at the 7th Annual Leander Lion 5K.  The course is flat and fast…

Boston Race Report

Matt Fletcher wrote a brief summary of his Boston ’17 race for last week.  He’s back with a full report:

Remembering my thoughts pre-race from The Interval, 4/6/17:

This last cycle before tapering for Boston, I was worried about being ready for a real breakout race in Boston, so Erik tweaked my plan and built some special road workouts for my long runs, where we incorporated some long MGP miles plus some sub-LT-pace miles to simulate Newton Hills at mile 16-20 on tired legs, and then keeping going to simulate the downhill to Boston, and another with the Run For The Water Scenic loop at mile 16-20 as well…

I’m feeling strong but in that mode of perpetually tired that is the hallmark of the peak of marathon training.  So I’m upon the Boston Marathon having trained my ass off, but still totally lacking data to support if I’m in 3:05 shape or 3:12 shape

I’ll need to summon every form of motivation I have to get my break-out race. I’m definitely going deep at Boston this year — it may hurt, but I don’t think I can handle another 3:15, so I’m committed to make it hurt.

I don’t know know if those reading those excerpts back then detected it, but underlying all this left-brained cover was my right brain wide-eyed with the greatest sense of pessimism I’ve ever had before a marathon.  It only got worse throughout the week as the weather forecast got warmer and my piriformis/obdurator starting acting up, threatening to compromise my glute making full power.

I had pace-plan temp tattoos pre-printed for a 3:10, 3:08, and a 3:05:50, the “good weather” PR plan, and Sunday night I talked to Coach Erik about the mile-by-mile pace plan (a solid plan, credit to Rogues Sisson and McLung for the race strategy podcast#14) and how I felt (pessimistic but arguably strong) and we agreed I’d come all this way and it wasn’t (yet) truly “bad weather”, so I put on the 3:05:50 tat.  There, it was done.  This is gonna hurt.

The weather forecast a week before was around 52 at start time with a tailwind and dry air.  It grew warmer and warmer with each passing day.  Monday early I got up and did my scripted 12 minute easy pre-race de-nerve, kick-start, run in Cambridge, and there was no breeze, it was mid-upper-60s and pretty humid still, the promise of dry air from the west un-delivered as yet.

Hopkinton wasn’t hot like last year, but it was warm, mid-60s and full sun, and still no breeze until shortly before Wave 1’s start but not the promised 15 mph tailwind.  I put on sunscreen on the right-hand side of my body to avoid the Boston sunburn and opted for the open-top visor to get the evaporation cooling out the top of my noggin, so lathered up my scalp with sunblock as well (still ended up with a tan (burn) line where my visor didn’t cover), and it also had the advantage that when I dumped water on my head I didn’t have a hat in the way.

At start time, 10:25am for us Wave 2’ers, it was full sun and downright warm and the light breeze was often just enough to make the air feel still around you.  Thankfully it was dry, however, so sweating did work to cool us, but those not experienced with extra salt intake would suffer dehydration slowdown and have a bad second half.  Patting myself on the back for eating 3 salt caps on the bus to super-hydrate, by the time I was already halfway to the start line I realized I’d left the other 5 caps on the bus… so my plan to counter the warm, dry air cramp-fest with good salt levels was ruined… good thing my pessimism knob goes to 11.

I kept that negativity mostly to myself and put on a good game face as I spent time with my ARC mates on the bus and the dozen I saw in athletes village, and ran into many of my Trail Roots peeps in the village and at the corrals.  It’s quite possible I saw as many running buddies between the bus and the start line at Boston as I usually see at the Austin Marathon!  It’s one of the pretty special things about Boston that makes it worth the trek and the cost!  Saw a few more as I entered my corral and looked for Mike Woo, and moved pretty far forward in c2 to give me a chance of hitting my target pace in the first mile with all the folks around me likely going off slower.

I didn’t see Mike until I think mile 4 or so when he came up behind me and told me he’d been watching me for 2 miles (creepy much, Mike?  😉 and reminded me to watch my tangents.  It was true, I’d been adding some meters by rounding corners too much, following my tactic to stay on the left side of the herd in order to catch as much of that back-left tailwind, which I’d miss if I were in the middle of said herd, and the left side water stops are always less crowded than those on the right.  The pace was feeling pretty easy and I was on plan by my Garmin which typically adds about 1/100th mile every mile compared to the course markers, so by mile 12 or so I was less than 30 secs behind the clock… decided to let it ride and hopefully make it up after Newton.  At one point it occurred to me this was feeling super easy ticking off 7:00-7:05 miles, so I even did a dumb test to see how long I could run just nose-breathing… about 40 seconds it turns out.  Sorry, but even Boston has periods of boredom some times!

Mike and I ran together through roughly mile marker 21, having him pull a little ahead on the Newton uphills and catching him again going hard on the downs between uphills (nod to Sisson/McLung — I really like that tactic).   I dropped Mike somewhere around 21/Heartbreak and on the downhill after I tried to keep it at 7s, but I think the heat was catching up with me, and it became clear that 3:05:50 wasn’t in the cards, but I did allow the thought to enter my mind that, maybe, just maybe I’ll have a good day… after having such a horrible attitude through mile 20.

I hung on pace 2 more miles but then from 24-26 I leaked about 20-30secs/mile, it was just too warm, and even willing to now make it hurt, I couldn’t get my legs to turn over.  Looking now at the data, I slowed from the 192-196 cadence most of the race (yes, I have short legs) down to 186-190 cadence which was enough to lose that speed.  I was, however, flying compared to many, it seems the heat/hydration/salt management was a factor for thousands, including many from Wave 1 I passed walking or trudging between Newton and the finish.  It was a 10-15 min slower race day for most, or worse if you didn’t adjust at the start it seems.

This year I remembered to take in the Citgo sign coming along Fenway (missed it last year, just forgot!) and passed the “1 Mile To Go” sign painted on the ground and tried to hit the gas, dig deep, make it hurt, do it for the Gipper, and make my mama proud all at once, and once I turned right on Hereford I found the 6’s and left on Boylston I had the expected Boston surreal out of body experience which was great for the first 400 meters as my body kept going, but then my salt caps on the bus, not in my blood, caught up to me and I got dual hammy cramps that nearly sent me to the ground!  I ended my out of body moment and the shock and desperation and awareness of 400 to go gave me a final boost letting me drop the pace another 15 sec/mile and the cramps backed off and I closed the final meters to finish in 3:08:58, and wobbled around the finish chute waiting for Mike… several Austin-ers recognized my Trail Roots singlet and said Hi in the finish chute!  Mike appeared about 2 mins later a 3:11:07, which is damn-respectable for a guy who’d been traipsing around Asia for work for the last few week, screwing up his Circadian rhythms, and interfering in his training.

As much as my race mojo eluded me in Nov and Jan, it was rockin’ in Boston!  My body actually worked Monday and all my training and OCD payed off, earning my non-downhill PR on a day where so many suffered.  It was “wicked hawd” for sure, but I promised to make it hurt and hurt it did, and it was worth it, and the beers afterwards were heaven-sent… once my stomach would accept them, anyway!  Took me an hour to get my stomach to agree to the nibbles I was trying to give it, but I think the beer really helped more than the Terra chips in the finisher bag.

Unquestionably, the highlight of the weekend was getting to share 15 miles of this hallowed course with Michael Woo, my road running mentor and friend, who encouraged me from the day I started running, who helped me dream of running Boston.  Running beside him was an experience I’ll treasure forever.
One last numbers geek-out for anyone still reading — the elites and winners were arguably 5-6 mins slower than entitlement, presumably weather-limited.  If you extrapolate that up to us 3 hour folk, that suggests that, after more than a year of crappy results and raceday struggles, I may actually have fitness to the 3 hours mark, so I’m now contemplating registering for St George to try for sub-3 in October.

Hey, I can dream.