Sunday, October 17, 2010

Midway Race for Education 10k race report

I repeated my normal pre-race meal of gnocchi, green beans, and toasted sourdough bread before the Midway Race for Education 10k on October 9th.

I was up at 5:30am, had breakfast, got ready, and hit the road at 6:50am. Midway is about 40 minutes away, and I wanted to get to the race site around 7:45 to pick up my packet and be ready for the 8:30am race start. It was about 39 degrees that morning, so I didn't want to have too much standing around time.

I made my way to Midway, which is nestled right in between Lexington, Versailles and Frankfort. It is an awesome little town! I've heard great things about it, but never been. It is a great little place with a cute downtown that is filled with local restraunts, cafes, shops and art galleries. There is a place called Darlin' Jeans Apple Cobbler Cafe and that is where the packet pick-up was located. I hear they have amazing cobbler! Chad was out of town and couldn't go to the race, but I think he would really love the town. We are planning on going out to Midway to have lunch and pick up my race packet the Saturday before the IronHorse half-marathon, which is in Midway. I will probably make my way to Darlin' Jeans, too.

So it was pretty cold that morning, but it warmed up and was a perfect clear morning for a race. I think there were around 200 or 300 people racing the 5k and 10k. The race started in downtown Midway and went through town and then out into horse farm country. It was a nice out and back course that was pretty flat for the first part, got hilly near the turnaround, and then flattened out again near the finish. I was really hoping for a sub 55 finish, but I ended up finishing in 55:06. The only bad thing about the race is that there was a pretty narrow finish line, and so as I was finishing running the 10k there were also groups of people who were finishing walking the 5k so it was a little congested there at the end. Overall it was a great race and I wish that I would have done it the past few years. The race packet was great and came with a long sleeved t-shirt, a water bottle, cereal samples and Larabar samples.

When I got back from the race I relaxed outside and read the November issue of Runner's World while Emma played in the backyard. It was a perfect morning/afternoon - and it was my birthday, too! Chad got home from Atlanta around 4:30 and then we went to dinner at my favorite mexican place, La Hacienda, then we went to see Secretariat. If you haven't seen Secretariat yet, it is a must see!

A lot of it was filmed in Lexington and Louisville, so it was really cool to recognize a lot of the locations. Spindletop Hall (which is basically UK's country club) was in the film, and that is where I did the Markey Race for Women's Cancer triathlon this summer. Keeneland was used for all of the Belmont scenes, and (obviously) Churchill Downs was used for the Kentucky Derby scenes.

It is a fantastic story of triumph of the human (and equine!) spirit. That is something about horse racing that I have really come to appreciate during our time in Kentucky - the stories of dedication and determination and perserverance that the owners, trainers, and jockeys put into these thoroughbred horses is pretty incredible. In honor of Secretariat, I will leave you with some horse-related pictures from our time here in Kentucky!

Dan the Bluegrass Man at the Old Friends horse farm
Georgetown, KY

Me petting a horse's nose at the Kentucky Horse Park
Georgetown, KY

Chad and Emma at the Mutt Strutt at Keeneland
Lexington, KY

Emma and me at Keeneland
Lexington, KY

The Barbaro statue at the Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby Museum
Louisville, KY

The famous Twin Spires at Churchill Downs
Louisville, KY

Monday, October 4, 2010

RJ Corman Duathlon Race Report

On Friday evening I had a pre-race dinner of whole wheat gnocchi with marinara sauce, toasted sourdough bread and green beans. It was a good meal! I went to bed around 9:00pm and slept soundly until my alarm went off at 5:30am.

I got up at 5:30am and had a bowl of Cheerios with a banana, and a cup of coffee. I woke up Chad around 6:15 - I was so happy that he was able to come to the race! We finished getting ready and left the house around 6:50, getting to the race site about 6:55. Yep - it was only 5 minutes away! That was really nice. It was freezing outside. Not quite 32 degrees, but 45! It was very chilly. I was dressed in layers and moving around a lot, so it wasn't too bad. And it did warm up a good bit once the sun came out.

After dropping off my bike and bag in transition, I picked up my chip and got body marked. The race was held at the RJ Corman Railroad company property, which is extremely nice. RJ Corman is a big runner and cyclist, so he has his whole property (which is huge) paved with running and biking trails. He hosts a lot of 5ks on his properties, but this was the first duathlon.

There was a duathlon and a 5k going on that morning, and we all gathered at the starting line around 8:00am. I think there were about 100 duathlon participants and 100 5k runners, but I'm not 100% sure on the totals. The men's duathlon started first, then three minutes later the women started, and then a few minutes later the general 5k started.

The women's field was pretty small, so it was tempting to want to take off and be near the front of the small pack. But 1) I am not that fast and 2) there was no way I could maintain that pace for even 5k without burning out. I tried to stay nice and steady during the first 5k, and I was shooting for a 9:00/9:15 pace. I felt good and finished the first 5k in 25:35, an 8:15 pace. Whoops! A little fast, but I felt good at the end. I wore my tri shorts, a t-shirt, a long sleeve tech tee, and gloves. I really warmed up during the run, and I took the gloves off for the last mile of the 5k.

The transition area was about a quarter mile from the start and finish of the 5k, so I crossed the finish line and kept going right on through to transition. Once there, I decided to keep my long sleeve shirt on but ditch the gloves. I pulled on my sunglasses, helmet, and bike shoes and headed out on the bike course. The bike course is steep, hilly and pretty fun. I was really excited about this race because I know the majority of this bike course pretty intimately. I've been riding these roads for two years now, and the duathlon course covered a lot of my regular riding routes. The course also featured some great riding on RJ Corman's property, including riding the length of his private air strip! I was hoping to finish the bike course in 1 hour, and I pulled in at 1:00:17...pretty close. The whole pack was pretty spread out, so most of my ride was alone. I really liked that - I hate when courses get congested and a lot of drafting occurs. My legs were hurting when I got off the bike, but I knew I had one more 5k in me. As I was running out of T2 Chad saw me and said "oh, you look tired!" Well, thanks! It was pretty funny though. As I was heading back down to the 5k start I took off my long sleeve shirt and tossed it on the ground for Chad to pick up like 10 seconds later. I didn't think anything of it, but after the race Chad told me I almost got DQ'd for doing that! I couldn't believe it! He said the volunteers saw me do it and almost reported me for getting "off course assistance". I know abandonment is a USAT rule (littering on the course), but I didn't know that you can't hand an article of clothing to a spectator. Now I know! Luckily I didn't get DQ'd.

The last 5k was a steady shuffle. I felt like I was on the course all by myself - it was like a ghost town out there! The 5k course is one big loop, and towards the end I started to catch up to some guys but they were still a good bit ahead of me. My goal was 2 hours, and I finished right at 1:59:34:30, so I was pleased. I think I could have raced smarter and trained better for this race, but this was my first duathlon and I had a great time. I do think that duathlons are much harder than triathlons! The swim in a tri is a great warm up and doesn't tax the legs quite like a 5k does. Overall, it was a beautiful day and a great race!

Here are some race details, and some pictures!
  • Total time: 1:59:34:30
  • 3rd place in 25-29 age group
  • Run 1: 25:35 (8:15/mile)
  • T1: 3:33
  • Bike: 1:00:17
  • T2: 2:43
  • Run 2: 27:23 (8:50/mile)
Time to get up, sleepy heads!

Our extra bedroom doubles as a staging ground for my races

He was being sassy here, but he really did have a good time!

Ready to start (#107)

It was a true shotgun start.

Coming in on the bike

Heading out of T2, exhaling!

Bringing it on home

Trying to pick it up at the end (that's Chad in the black jacket)

The fantastic volunteers handed me Gatorade at the finish

I ran into some friends who ran the 5k!
Some of these pictures are from Tammy's (#426) Facebook album.
She set a PR and got 3rd in her age group in the 5k-awesome job, Tammy!!

25-29 age group winners - I got 3rd!
The lady on the right is the President of RJ Corman Railroad Group.