Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Ironically, I put more pressure on myself to achieve my Birthday Challenge PR than I do for nearly all races. That helps get my training up to speed and consistent. It also helps me focus on the goal rather than trying to peak for a training race. The Spokane Half Marathon was a training race, but important for range. All the yard work has left me with a strained lower back and strained inner thigh. With this being a major training element, I couldn’t opt out of it in favor of more recovery time.
This gives a pretty good perspective of the yard, but especially the deck. It's over 10 feet above the water. The clear view railing isn't in yet, but the view is still great. Instead of having a cliff, we have a great deck where an unusable section of yard once was. We've also moved boulders and dirt around for a usable place under the deck. The path on the right is pretty steep and will be an even grade from beginning to end and covered with a red rubber brick. That's the final project I have for next spring to have it ready for the summer.
My goal for the race was simply to get a hard 13.1. That made seeing Evan Sims a relief. He’s a sub 42 in Bloomsday, which I haven’t run for years. Although I’ve edged him out twice this year, by 4 and 3 seconds respectively, he’s made me suffer greatly. My hope was to get more of the same.
The house is well above the water, giving a good birds eye view of the yard. We used to have to be careful to not slip and fall on the steep terrain covered in rocks and weeds that would not die. Now there are cool looking paths along what looks like a mountain stream. That item on the Trex Deck is a 6hp Fastlane. It allegedly can simulate a 57 second 100m pace, which is faster than I can go. We'll hook that up next spring. We're still working on finding the right water heater that will allow us to swim in the bottom pond during the spring and fall and possibly capable of being turned up enough to be like a hot tub.
We started out too fast. Seeing a 5:27 on the GPS, I slowed down right away. I can’t run that fast when 100%, so I won’t try it in heavy training with a couple minor injuries. Two other guys were running with Evan and gradually pulling away until a turn. Lucky for me, they weren’t running the tangents well, which helped me catch back up. After a couple miles, we dropped one guy and I was able to stick to Evan and the other guy. This mystery runner looked very comfortable, but didn’t look like a fast guy. I thought he’d fade, but it didn’t matter. The first few miles, I found myself annoyed at the unusual frequency spectators would cheer “Run Forest” or some variation of that. Some spectators just aren’t enough of a fan to know how to cheer.
I'm not sure if it's just a guy thing, but I'm pretty pleased that the fire pit can crank out flames that get six to seven feet tall at times. That's too much for sitting around the fire, so it's good we can adjust it lower. I've discovered that it's fun to take pictures of fire. It changes so often and unpredictably that some are really cool.
Just after mile three, mystery runner pulled ahead and Evan went with him. It was too rich for my blood, so I let them go, sticking to what I could handle. Later, he appeared to comfortably pull away rather quickly. It was completely unexpected since I didn’t think he’d be able to hang with that pace. Pulling away looked like a bold and unwise move. He continued to pull away from Evan faster than Evan from me. At the marathon/half-marathon split, he was about 1:30 ahead and out of sight and Evan was about :35 ahead. A moment later, the lead motorcycle sped past, followed shortly after by the lead biker. They took place in front of Evan and I knew they led the leader off course. I looked back and saw him coming up behind us. Trying to take advantage of the opportunity, I picked it up with a shot at coming in first, but well before I could eat up Evan’s lead, he went cruising comfortably past. He quickly caught Evan and was soon out of sight.
We have a stone bridge over the water. It's green, orange, brown, grey, etc. It ties together the stone pathways at the top of the stone steps between a boulder corridor. This is just the top of the three-tier stairway, which takes you to the middle of the four falls. It's not visible from here, but to the left, we have a rock wall that extends the side of the yard and levels it out. This Thursday they'll hydro seed, which will make the sprinkler system usable. The trees are on an auto-drip timer.
Heading up Doomsday, the 10th mile, I decided to go conservative to save energy. My plan was to attack at the top with a little over three miles to go. I was losing a little ground, but got it back after Evan nearly broad-sided a van that turned in front of him. He had to slow to a walk and go around the van at the aid station at the top of the hill. I was probably more upset than he was, especially after that same van appeared to be turning out right in front of me. I wouldn’t have been as nice as I get pretty hostile when people put me in danger when nearly running me over.
This is the awesome crew from Alderwood Landscaping. I have to say that I'm very picky because I wanted something very specific for triathlon training. They had never built a water feature made for a Fastlane or designed a yard around triathlon-specific use. Skyler, Kevin, John and Jeff are standing on the stone bridge above the tallest fall, which is 3 feet. The three others are 2'4". At first I thought I was paying a heavy premium for high end landscaping, but in the end I feel like I got a really great deal.
At the top of the hill, I was down 27 seconds and began my attack. A mile later, I was still down 21 seconds. It appeared that he was going to win this battle, but I fought on. At mile 12, I was still down 17 seconds. Either he picked it up or my attack was about as useful as a rubber crutch. Convincing myself that I could run one hard mile, I dropped the hammer and surprised myself by catching him in about a half mile. After he surged a couple times, I settled into his pace rather than risking a melt down. When I was sure the course wouldn’t take an unexpected course-lengthening detour, I surged for the finish. I managed to edged him out by 3 second with a 1:19:03 (6:01.78/mile). It’s not a great time, but the course it tough and I got what I needed from the race. It would have been nice if it wasn’t 27 degrees at the start and not much warmer at the finish. It doesn’t take long in those temperatures for a sweaty person to cool off and nearly freeze.
The yard isn't done in this picture, but it gives a great perspective compared to the original photo I have before they started, which is below on another post. The deck on the house has since been changed to include stairs to the yard, which used to be accessible only from the driveway or basement door.
As it turns out, the winner was named Forest, which explains the Forest cheering. After some chatting after the race and some searching on Yahoo, I discovered that he’s a 13:45 5K runner and has apparently run a sub 29 10K. No wonder he had such an easy time destroying Evan and me. My guess is that he used our 5:45 pace for the first three miles to warm up. Despite losing about 2 minutes by going off course, he still beat us by over 4 minutes at the end. My bet is that he can run a lot faster than he did. The winning time for the marathon was 2:42:30 by Sean Meissner. I didn’t want to lose training time from a marathon, so it was a relief to see that it would have taken a hard effort to win. Josh Hadway won the 5-miler with a 26:34. He was 4 seconds behind Evan at Bloomsday, but if the 5-miler was accurate, he’s faster than both of us right now. I also discovered that Sheena and I have the same birthday.