Monday, February 25, 2013

Cadron Trail Run 2013

Well I was back for a third year for the Cadron Trail run at Cadron Settlement Park just outside Conway.  The race is a 4.2 mile or so trail run using an outer loop within the Cadron Trail run.  Each loop is 2.1 or so.  I say or so, because it's a trail run and the distances don't always seem to correlate.  However, the previous two years the distance was around 4.1 miles.

As with every race, I am hoping for a PR!  The week leading up to the race was a normal training with no tapering before the race.  With the 15k the last weekend and now the trail run, my legs were sure to be screaming by the end. My times from 2010 and 2011 were 34:31 and 31:57 respectively. 

The morning started off cooler than expected.  The race didn't start till 10am, but the clouds stayed around and it was in the mid 30s.  It makes for great running weather, you just have to stay warm before the start.  Since, I've run this course numerous times, I knew the key was to stay in control the first lap and increase the pace on the second.  We all line up for the start at the entrance to the park and the gun goes off and 33 people are out running!  Video is below.

The key I've found to trail running is that even if you want to start off slower.  It can be good to get out front that way you are behind people that could be slower than you.  Most of the Cadron Trail run is on single track which can make it hard to pass.
Just starting out
After getting off the pavement, its time to go up hill for the first mile.  I was able to establish a good position and held my pace pretty well.  After the first mile, you head back downhill quickly into sections that go from flat, to uphill slightly, before finally heading into a section of fast rollers.  This final section before you start the second lap is hard on the legs.  You quickly go uphill followed by a quick downhill which we do 4 times before starting your second lap. 

By this time, I had two people in front on me and was going to make the pass before the second lap began.
Starting second lap/Two people to pass
I made the pass just before the uphill started, but by then my legs were really screaming.  I knew I was in for a tough second lap.  I was able to put some distance between the last two people I passed, but still could not see anyone in front of me.  The second lap was pretty lonely.  I was running as hard as I could, but still not able to see anyone.  My pace was also slowing as I headed towards the finish.  Finally, I was able to see someone, but I knew it was too late to catch them.  I ran quickly towards the finish and crossed line about 17 seconds behind. 

I was able to finish the race in 31:44 which ended up being a PR for this race.  I was a nice surprise!  I finished 7/33 OA and 2nd in my age group.  It was again a great run put on by DLT Events and will hopefully be back next year.

Monday, February 11, 2013

River Trail 15k 2013

Here’s the recap of race #2 in a series of three weekend races, The River Trail 15k!

The River Trail 15k took place on Feb. 2nd.  This was my 5th year to participate in this race.  I would call this one of my go to races for the year.  I like the distance since it can be completed in just over an hour and allows to pretty much go all out with maybe a little pacing strategy in mind.  This is also one of the first races of the year, so it gives you a good chance to measure your current fitness through the winter.  The race also lines up well with the Little Rock marathon and half which takes place the first weekend of March. 

The River Trail 15k takes place at the Burns Park Soccer complex in North Little Rock.  The race is a fairly flat race that uses the river trail and a small sections of roads in Burns Park.  The weather for the race was looking excellent as the day started.  The forecast was calling for temps in the mid-40s and clear sunny skies!  As I arrived at the race site, there were some scattered clouds, but it was clearing quickly.  My goal for the race was to average 7:15-7:20 per mile pace.  I was hoping to beat my PR from last year of 1:09:21.  Below are my previous results:

2009 – 1:17:40, 2010 – 1:10:14, 2011 – 1:11:38, 2012 – 1:09:21.

The race starts on the road next to the soccer complex parking lot.  I lined up just a couple rows behind the front.  My first thought for the beginning of the race was to control my pace early, so that I could push the pace towards the end of the race.  The first two miles of the race run along the road, before hitting the river trail.  I was able to hit mile one at a pace of 7:07 a little faster than I would have liked, but I was feeling good. 
Heading out - thanks Arkansas Outside for Pics

Along the trail - thanks Arkansas outside for the pics
 Mile two is still flat and by then I’ve settled into a pace I was looking for at 7:16 for that mile.  Miles 2-6 were as follows 7:16, 7:16, 7:13, 7:17, and 7:16.  My strategy was that once I hit the 6 mile mark, I would feel where I’m at and hopefully push the pace over the last 3.3 miles.  I was feeling good and the short uphill and back towards the finish.  This part of the course is overall downhill, so it gave me the chance to increase my pace which able to hit the 7:12 for mile 7.  Mile 8 does have an uphill portion before the last part.  I didn’t quite hit my pace for this finishing this mile in about 7:22.  Looking at my watch with about 2 miles to go, I knew I could finish in around 1:08.  Now’s the time to start to run!  My legs are feeling tired, but I’ve got great control of my breathing and HR, so I know I can finish strong.  I’m able to finish mile 9 in about 7:03.  As we approach the finish with about .25 mile left, there is a man reading out the time.  I reach him around 1:05:xx.  I can make this under 1:08 maybe?  Increase the pace goes through my head, push to the finish. I can now see the finish.  The clock is ticking towards 1:08, I see 1:07:5x counting, run faster!  I reach the line at 1:08:02!  A new PR, but so close to under 1:08!

What a great way to finish the race and a great race overall.  I was able get 61st overall out of 465 racers.  The most surprising part was that I finished 12th in my AG!  There were a lot of fast racers out there on this day that’s for sure.  Last year, I was able to finish 6th in my age group as a comparison. 

Takeaways from the race were as follows:

1.       I felt my pace throughout felt really good.  I didn’t do a full taper for this race.  I race 16 miles through 3 runs during the week with my Thursday run being pretty fast. 

2.       My training for the half is going pretty well based on the results for this race.  Over the next couple of weeks, I need to focus on race pace execution. My goal is under 1:40 which I’m clearly there now, and I’m right on the 1:35 goal that I have for the race.  I felt that I could have held this pace for another 4 miles if I had to.

3.       Even a after the race and the next day, my legs felt pretty good.  The increased frequency of running for this half marathon training has really helped with the recovery.

Well there’s my report from the 2013 River Trail 15k!  Up next – Cadron Trail Run Feb 9th!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Adventures in Brewing

Tried to post this from my phone last night, but the text didn't come through. 
I started a new challenge today. I attempted to produce my own beer. I've always wanted to try and today I took that chance!

I came up with my own recipe after looking around online. It is amazing all the different ways to produce beer and the ingredients. There are online softwares that will help predict your beer in terms of alcohol content, bitterness, and color.

I started with 4lbs of Amber DME, 1lb of crystal/caramel 40l, 1 oz Columbus hops, and 1 oz Cascade hops. I added the 1oz of Columbus hops at the start of the boil and then add .33 oz of Cacade every 15 minutes until 0 minutes left out of 60. 

I now have about 3 weeks to see how my finished product turns out!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Scout Trail Run - Race Update #1

This is a first of a series of race updates that I've particpated in over the past couple of weekends.  My first race of the year was at the Scout Trail Run on Jan. 26th.  This was followed by River Trail 15k on Feb 2nd, and finally the Cadron Trail Run which will take place this weekend (Feb 9th).

The Scout Trail run took place on Jan 26th at Burns Park Park in North Little Rock. The distance for the race was 3.75 miles. The weather for the race was looking really good for a run.  The temperatures were supposed to be in the low 50s to mid 40s at race time (10am)!  It was nice to not worry about getting up early for a race.  Going into this race, I've had more run training over the past couple of months than I've ever completed before.  I wasn't sure how this race would turn out.  I took it easy during the week because I felt a cold or some other sickness coming on, so the 4 days previous I had no workouts. 

The race started off by the Log Cabin next to the BMX track.  The first part of the run takes you on pavement for about 500 yards before entering the Scout Trail.  I started off wanting to pace myself.  I know the trail decently from mountain biking out there on a few occassions recently.  I know the terrian is rolling with a shorter climb about 2 miles into the run.  After getting on the trail, the crowd thinned out pretty quickly.  I made a couple of passes, but my mile 2 I didn't have any behind really and just one other person in front of me.  I was able to get right up to him and was following him for the next 3/4 of mile.  The pace I was running was feeling pretty good and wanted to wait until about mile 3 before I made the pass and picked up the pace.  However, what I would come to find out that the race was about to end a little sooner than expected.  The race was supposed to come off the trail and onto pavement.  I was thinking that we would get back onto the trail for final 3/4 of mile.  As, we got on the pavement near the campgrounds, the guy in front of me starts to pick up the pace more.  I was thinking still got 3/4 of mile left, so I'm good.  As we get pack onto trail, I start to hear the annoucer and people cheering and I look at my watch and only see 2.88 miles, no way this coming to an end!  Sure enough, just up ahead was the finish.  I make my short final push to the finish and finish the race in 22:38 and a final distance of 2.98 miles. 

The finish was good enough for 13 Overall out of 55 racers.  I finished third in my age group. A couple of takeaways for this race would be since the race was only supposed to be 3.75 miles. I should have pushed the pace a little harder in the beginning.  Also, you should always know the course.  Had I realized that we were coming into the finish, I wouldn't have let the guy in front go.  I talked to him after the race and he asked, "you didn't know that the finish was up ahead did you?"  Nope! 

DLT events still put on a great event here and I am looking forward to the Cadron Trail Run on Feb. 9th. 

For the first race of the year, I was happy with the results especially since I didn't know how it would go after feeling under the weather the previoius few days. With the River Trail 15k coming up the next weekend, I was preparing for a PR if possible!