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!

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