Saturday, June 16, 2012

BARC Pay Your Dues 5K Race Report

Early in the week, I ditched the idea of traveling to San Antonio to participate in the Carrabba's Classic Half Marathon. Not that I couldn't have benefitted from running another warm weather half (well make that scorching), but I just wasn't ready to make the drive. Plus there was some other news in the early part of the week that also squelched those plans.

So an event that I haven't had a chance to do came into clear view: the Bay Area Running Club (BARC) Pay Your Dues 5K at Sylvan Rodriguez Park in Clear Lake City.

BARC is one of three clubs that I have a membership, including the Houston Area Road Runners Association (HARRA) and The Woodlands Running Club (TWRC). When I started to get involved in the running community, Jay Lee and Veronica Hoge were two of many individuals - and BARC members -- that welcomed me and treated me well.

To show my support, I became a member of the Bay Area Running Club a few years ago.

My original plan was to get up and run two miles with Leeann Rosser and Mary Carter from TWRC, run the two miles back and then get up and drive to Clear Lake City.

However, after an hour on the stationary bike at the gym from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., I didn't get to bed until 2:30 a.m. and then I couldn't get to sleep until around 4 a.m. I dropped those plans, but I still got up at 6:10 a.m., showered, grabbed something to eat and then headed quickly to the south side of the greater Houston area for the second straight Saturday.

The Pay Your Dues 5K was one that you had to predict your time -- and then not wear any type of timing device. The course was a sweet one much like Run The Woodlands 5K -- completely off any road, but also a simple out and back. BARC, with their partnership with the Clear Lake Fitness Club, manned a water stop at about the 1.1-mile mark on the way out. A very, very nice setup.

I had predicted earlier in the week, when I filled in my registration form, a 31:42 time.

I ran the 10K in Texas City at a 10:17 pace the Saturday before; therefore, I thought that I could carve a little bit off of that and went with the prediction that I did.

However, I ran pretty comfortably and posted a 31:19 -- still a long ways off of a could weather 28-minute 5K PR, but I'm starting to run - and race - my way back into some semblance of shape.

The 23-second separation gave me a top 20 finish out of about 40-50 runners and earned me a BARC water bottle.

The one thing that makes BARC such a great club is its people. This is one club without any prima donas from a personality standpoint -- and that, I think, is why I feel like I fit in so well.

When I got there, Alfonso Torres and Jay Lee (On The Run co-owner) were working the registration table. In no time, I saw race director extraordinaire Robby Sabban and Joe Carey, the new HARRA president. And then the hit parade of people included Stephen Milford, Ben Harvie, Robert Lott, Guy Rozas, Vicki Davis and so many more. Even though I don't get the opportunity to attend many club socials, BARC - and Clear Lake Fitness Club for that matter -- really, really treat people how they want to be treated.

This morning was well worth the drive, my time and effort. Hopefully, this year's BARC Pub Crawl will work into my schedule.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sylvan Beach Duathlon Race Report

I think the one thing that I walked away from today's Sylvan Beach Duathlon is that there is a group of people out there in our sports that could care less about how you do.

They're genuinely glad that you're there.

Other than the people today, I find that I actually enjoy the duathlon - for something different.

That is, well, other than the first mile off the bike on a warm day.

Today there were 17 more finishers than last year (96 to 79), and while I'm not concerned about it, I slipped a little bit from 2:24:16 a year ago to 2:29:38 today.

Almost exactly the same on the bike, but a little slower on the run. Probably up a couple of pounds since the same time last year, but not too much.

The bottom line, though, is that I had fun. Can't beat that, especially since I couldn't quite beat today's heat.

I actually thought last year was hotter, but I was 53:54 in the last five-mile section last year compared to 58:47 today.

Then again, I probably didn't run 95 minutes on Friday and a 10K on Saturday a year ago.

I took a page from Rocky Raccoon earlier this year and took two S-caps before the race and another two as I exited T-2. Therefore, no cramping whatsoever.

Oh, the drafting penalty. Seriously. Me? Riding a Cannondale road bike, with the original pedals and with my running shoes. Drafting?

It was in the first three to four miles of the 30-kilometer bike course. There was a woman in front of me, but I didn't think that I was that close for that long (which is what the official said).

Actually, I had started to make the pass and moved to the left to start going around her and had another rider come up on the side of me and kind of thwart that move. And right as that happened, the official came up on the left and I could see her writing my number down.

Oh well, an extra three sentences for this report!

Two-mile run was 20:30.68 - my 10K pace exactly from yesterday.

T1 and T2 - 1:11:06 and 1:39.13 - a little better than last year. Was deliberate. There was nobody for me to beat.

30-kilometer bike was 1:07:32. It was less belabored than last year and I didn't look at my watch until after we crossed 146 to head back to Sylvan Beach on Fairmont Parkway.

The five miles on the run looked like this: 11:38.36, 11:25.21, 10:59.06, 12:36.50 and 12:06.81. I thought that three might have been short as there were multiple markings for it - and four long, but therein lies that runner mentality.

It was my fourth duathlon ever - and the second year in a row for Sylvan Beach. Love the events that Kevin and Jana Landry put on and, of course, I look forward to finish line announcing their Galveston Mardi Gras Marathon in January 2013 after a year's absence while I attempted the Rocky Raccoon 100 last February.

I used the words "low key" and "no frills" in a Facebook commment, but that would imply less quality.  And that's certainly not the case.

They just put on good races -- for the sake of good racing.  And that's a great thing.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Making Some Progress

While I have professionally enjoyed the challenges of the year-long assignment in California that I'm three weeks away from wrapping up, it - as well as some other issues in my life - have really sapped my motivation to run and workout regularly.

1/ 7/12 - Mississippi Blues Marathon (Jackson, MS) - 5:38:12
1/15/12 - Chevron Houston Marathon (Houston, TX) - 5:42:37

When I finished my seventh Houston Marathon, I was physically broken down. I swore off marathons, but with two weeks until the gun went off in Huntsville State Park I figured that it wouldn't have been wise to waste a $100 entry fee.

2/ 2/12 - Rocky Raccoon 100 (Huntsville, TX) - 52-54 miles; DNF

I made a pretty good effort at #RR100, especially given that I didn't run a step between January 15 and February 2. I could have gotten to 80 and missed the 24-hour cutoff, but that really wouldn't have proven anything. It was best to save it for another day.

4/21/12 - Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz (Olathe, KS) - 5:54:49
4/28/12 - Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon (Louisville, KY) - DNF

I thought that I could just turn it on like I have in the past and put down a back-to-back and get to state no. 27. Well, no. 26 happened, and technically it was better than starting from scratch last summer when I went plus-6 in Kona, but it wasn't really satisfying.

Greenville, South Carolina last October and getting back under 5 hours? THAT was satisfying.

In Louisville, I was emotionally beat down (personal and family), hit the marathon/half marathon split at mile 9 and decide to walk it to mile 12.5 and straight to the car -- and subsequently, the hotel.

5/12/12 - El Chupacabra de Houston 10K (New Caney, TX) - 1:16:58

I needed to make another effort to overcome some personal hurdles and this was a start. I knew that a couple of friends were going to be there so I went just to socialize with them because I knew that they would provide a pick-me-up. It worked a little bit.

The trail wasn't that challenging, but I wasn't there yet. Certainly trail races are going to be a little bit slower, but I didn't expect it to be THAT much.

5/26/12 - Astros Race for the Pennant 5K (Houston, TX) - 38:50.3 (with Waverly)

Waverly and I had signed up for this a couple of weeks before and it was just for the two of us to do something. I had started to come out of this "personal fog" that I had been in, but most importantly I just enjoyed running - and spending time - with my daughter.

5/28/12 - Patriot Half Marathon (Rockwall, TX) - 2:35:23

Heat. Hills. Well, rollers. And a little bit of a long drive on short sleep. I figure that all of those will pay off in some way down the road a little bit. Long way from a cool weather 2:08:45 PR, but it is a benchmark for improvement throughout 2012.

6/ 2/12 - Heights 5K (Houston, TX) - 32:31.7 (10:29/M)

Boy o boy, this was a wakeup call. It has been a long, long time since I've seen a 32-minute 5K, but that was the impetus this past week to start to push a little bit -- and knowing that I was also going to be doing a duathlon on Sunday.

6/ 9/12 - Funfest By The Bay 10K (Texas City, TX) - 1:03:55.6 (10:19/M)

My 10K PR is 58-and low change. Long, long time ago. As you can see, I'm more focused on working on events instead of working on my running as well as I do the former. But it isn't life and death. When I pass away, there isn't going to be anybody that is going to remember how many marathons that I finished or what my times were. Of course, they're going to remember who I was as a person.

Actually, for where I'm at right now (and for running 45 minutes Friday morning in California and another 50 minutes last evening here in town), this was actually pretty good. Notice the 10-second per mile improvement over double the distance. Plus, from the one marked turnaround, I passed four more runners than those who passed me.

So, we'll see where things will go from here. In the meantime, I'm just going to try to have some fun - and as one runner said today, "Work on getting their mojo back".

And, here's the tentative marathon schedule for the fall:

9/1/12 - Marquette (Michigan) Marathon
9/23/12 - Jackson Hole (Wyoming) Marathon
10/7/12 - Towpath (Ohio) Marathon
10/28/12 - Cape Cod (Massachusetts) Marathon
11/17/12 - Mesquite (Nevada) Marathon
12/8/12 - Rehoboth Beach (Delaware) Marathon
1/13/13 - Chevron Houston Marathon

Thanks for reading.