Friday, March 29, 2013

Tour de Pain Extreme: 3 Races, 24 hours-Part 1 the 10K

The Tour De Pain Extreme, put on by Jacksonville’s largest running store, 1st Place Sports, pits the runner in a three race series: a 10k at 7pm on a Friday night, a Half Marathon at 7am Saturday Morning, and a 5k at 6pm Saturday night. Result are compiled and awards are handed out based upon the combined finishing times. After skipping the inaugural event last year, I jumped right into this year’s contest. For part two go here.

Forms on the left, bases the right.
The 10k:
State of Mind: Pleasant. 
Shoes: Skora Forms

First off, this race was my first 10k. I’ve run numerous 5k races, both registered and bandit style since my high school cross country days, a handful of 15k’s, five half marathons, and five marathons, but until this race never a 10k. This fact made me nervous. I kept asking myself what pace I should run while also taking into account that a half marathon would follow the next morning. Thus I vacillated between two plans: run it all out or run it as a controlled tempo. I decided to let the race itself dictate the plan, and thus in a rather strange twist of fate, I went in without a plan. Anyone that knows me knows that not having a plan makes me angry. I set my projected pace at 7:05, splitting the difference.
            I also went into the race without knowing the course. I figured I had run some or all of it—all
Around the 5k mark.
three races were being staged from downtown Jacksonville, and over the years I had run a bunch of races and just as many training runs down there. In the end, had I viewed the course, I would have opted for the tempo plan. That said, I went out in 6:24, more of a 5k pace, but something at my current fitness level, in the midst of track training with my athletes but maintaining longer millage on weekends and not track days, I should have been able to hold roughly this pace but no slower than a 6:45. Things felt good, there was no lactic build up, the pace felt solid. Then mile two came. Mile two was the Main Street Bridge, a modest 35 foot hill over .32 miles—I live in Florida, this climb is a lot for us. I attacked it just to see how I felt. Had this been cross country season I would be hitting this bridge at least one day a week, but I hadn’t touched it since the fall. Mile two came in at 6:53. Not bad, my energy level was high, I could still see the leaders and was hanging in the second pack. I had to make a decision, push or run with self-control.
            In the end I picked tempo. Going over the main street bridge meant that we would return to the other side of the river via the Acosta Bridge, a .31 mile expanse that climbs roughly 85-90 feet. With this knowledge in mind, I let off a little, treated the race as a long workout with the hopes of running a more complete half marathon to make up any lost time. This is not say I didn’t race. I was running a race, people would be passed, effort would be exerted, but the tank wouldn’t be fully emptied. Do I regret this decision? Slightly, but then again, PR or not, I often question my races.
At the finish. Corkscrew below.
            The Acosta was the beast that it was, the breaker of packs. I found myself mostly alone after this bridge—too fast to be caught by the group behind me, not quite able to get those in front. I pushed through, hitting a 7:32. I dropped back down for mile 4, running a 7:07 on a mostly mile. I picked a couple of people off, thanked some of the police officers as I ran by. Mile 5 took us over another man made hill, an on ramp to another bridge that can dump you off quick, before flattening out and heading toward a spectacular last 1.2 miles, run right along the St. John’s River. Heading into the last 1.2 I hit a 7:20, and aimed to drop down for the closing mile.
           My state of mind was great, I checked my form in reflective windows, passed up the water stops, and enjoyed gliding past a competitor who was grunting in pain with each step. Another man made hill, a really quick climb of about 40 feet, before a dreaded corkscrew down ramp that takes you straight down in a spinning fashion a quick kick home. Mile 6, corkscrew and all hit at an even 7:09, before kicking in a 1:44 .2.
            The race was smooth despite being run in the concrete jungle. One down, two to go. Side note, I tried out ENERGYbits before the race, took 15 tabs of the Spirulina based supplement, something I have taken from other brands before, but I will go into that later.

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