Monday, October 12, 2015

I Am…Iron Horse

I had a goal.  But then, isn’t that why you sign up for organized athletic/recreational events?
In 2013 I ran the Iron Horse Half Marathon in Midway, Kentucky as my first ever half marathon event.  My time was 2:14 and I felt pretty good about that.  My training had fallen apart in the last few weeks leading up to it and I ended up walking some.  I knew I had it in me to do a road half in less than two hours.  Two years later I’d not managed to do that, though I have run a trail half in 2:57 (which I felt pretty darn good about) and a couple of unsupported road halfs in the past year at or under my previous PR.
The distance no longer worries me.  This summer I’ve been running longer distances as I train for my first 50k trail race.  A road half seems pretty tame to me now.  I felt like a reasonable goal would be to shoot for a sub-two hour finish.  That was my only goal.
I know that I could have picked a more ambitious time.  But since my focus has been on getting to a 31 mile race distance I didn’t want to get too far off track shooting for a 13.1 speed record.  I figured with a little extra oomph I could crack a hundred and twenty minutes. 
I didn’t run the Iron Horse last year, but Mandy did.  I should have.  I think I would have done pretty well coming out of my Rugged Red “fitness.”  I was really jazzing on trailrunning at the time.  The thought of a road event just didn’t appeal to me.  Since that time I have realized that too much trailrunning (unless your name is Al Edwards) can be debilitating.  So I switched gears and started incorporating a lot more road miles into my regime.  Regiment.  Platoon.
Hard to get a clear photo while chasing a PR
I'm not going into a blow-by-blow of the race.  I did finish in less than two hours.  I bested my recent half marathon distance PR (2:08) by twelve and a half minutes.  That was an improvement of six minutes over my 2013 Iron Horse time. 
After doing the math I was unsure if I could maintain a low enough pace for the distance to pull it off.  I know myself.  When I was still running a sub-9:00/mi pace after 5k I was hopeful.  After 10k I felt like my chances were distinctly good.  I worried about cramps or mystery pains flaring up, but I stayed relatively pain free for the entire race.  Around mile 10 I felt a stitch growing in my side but it went away fairly quick.
My final average pace was 8:52/mi.  I don’t typically pull that off when I’m shooting for a 5k PR.  In fact, I came close to setting an adult PR.  I was a minute shy.  I did clock PRs for 10k, 15k, 10 mile, and 20k.  Oh, and half marathon.  My official chip time was 1:56:24.  It was mile nine before my pace dropped below 9:00/mi and that was the first long steady climb (gaining the most elevation of any mile on the course).  I only had three miles where my pace dropped slower than 9:00/mi.
Mandy and her mom went.  They signed up early when I did.  They both did it off the couch.  The normal crew from work didn’t make a showing.  There were only two of us this year.  I ran into an old friend and another guy I know.  They overtook me at about mile twelve.  I ran with them for a couple tenths of a mile and then let them go on.  Terry finished two minutes faster than me.  It was good to see him again.  He’s signed up for Yamacraw, but I think I’m going to bow out of that one.  It falls on my son’s thirteenth birthday.
Nothing stands between me and the Rough Trail 50k now.  I have a scheduled 26 mile run for this coming weekend and then there’s a tapering of distance until November 14th.  I really feel pretty good considering.  My knees are a bit ragged this morning.  I’m a little worn down.  But the only real pain I have is from an off-the-couch gym session on Saturday.  I did some bicep and tricep curls and worked my core, and my arms and abs are screaming still.  But that’s not from the Iron Horse.
I’ve got a lacing problem to sort out still.  On my most recent long training run I thought I had it fixed, but my left foot flared up during the run Sunday.  I tried to keep my laces loose enough, but loose enough that they don’t cause pain is so loose my shoes feel like they’re going to fall off.  I can’t have that on a tough trail run.
Gonna hit the running shop with my shoes one day this week.
Anyway, that’s the 2015 Iron Horse Half Marathon report.  I feel pretty darn good after throwing that down.  I was worried going into it.  I put it out in the world that I wanted a sub-two hour finish.  It took extreme focus to do it.  That’s not something I typically do well at. 

1 comment:

  1. It was a great day for the Iron Horse. A friend talked me into running this race again. I didn't train much at all. Finished right at 2:00 hours. I've ran much faster than this. Still had a great time and greatly enjoyed the race.