Thursday, September 15, 2011

Prefontaine 10K (goal race) Preview

It's just a 10k. Right?

It's not normal for me to be this anxious before a race. I have several questions in my mind and I am trying very hard to quiet the noise..

This might surprise you (or maybe not), but I haven't ever trained for a 10K, (or a 5K, or a half marathon). This marks the first time. Yes, I have raced those distances, but not with a solid plan that led up to that race. My method was to run a certain baseline mileage, maybe do day or two of tempo or fartlek each week, and take a day or two off before a race and seeing what happened.

So, my reason for doing this training period was based on curiosity-- to see what I could accomplish if I trained specifically for the distance. I have a funny feeling I will still be left with bunches of questions after Saturday's race, though.

 I am hoping that the energy of racing on the roads that Steve Prefontaine ran, with so many other people (including many high school cross country teams), will inspire me to dig deep-
deeper than ever before in a race--

because I picked a tricky course for a final exam.

This blogger's post on the race last year provided me with some helpful Garmin course profile info:

I hope it's not as scary as it looks: 160ft gain in about a mile, and about 120ft in mile 2- but there is downhill too! Oh yeah...and mile 4.

Just for comparison, the Butte to Butte 10K only had one big hill:  250ft  gain in the first mile- then all downhill and flat.

OK. So it's not a perfect course. But it will provide a chance to recover between hills, right?

Ten weeks of training for this race should help.      I hope.

I didn't follow my plan exactly. I did execute the quality days to the best of my abilities and hit my max planned mileage 65 MPW +/-,  though it ended up being sooner than planned. Some days were good, some fell a little under my goals. Most of my easy paced running was done at 20-30 secs slower than my current Vdot lists.

My most recent speed workout was Tuesday night:
  • 4x1200 Threshold pace (goal 6:41 pace) with 2 minute recovery run,  
  • 4x200 Repetition pace (goal 42 secs)
I had the wind at my back going uphill and in my face going downhill.
What I ran was:
  • Warm up at 8:53 for 1.5 miles
  • 4x 1200 Threshold   6:28 & 6:37 (uphill/tailwind), 6:43, 6:48 (mostly downhill/ headwind) 2 minute easy run recovery between each
  • 4x200 Repetition  42, 41, 43, 42 with 1.5-2 minute recoveries 
  • Total: 6.58 miles
Wednesday I ran under 4 miles, easy, and I plan to run one more 3 mile (or less) run either today or Friday.

A few questions I have right now are:
  • Did I start reducing mileage soon enough?
  • How strong should I attack the hills? Still not sure here.
  • If not sub 40 on this hard course- can I still PR?
  • Can I distract myself from this race, take my negative thoughts captive, and turn them into positive thinking? I admit I am struggling with this. I really hope that God will just quiet my heart and give me some peace regarding this race and other events surrounding this week.
  • Will I be brave enough to wear the skirt Amanda sent me? Or will I even remember to pack it?  (I forgot to pack another skirt for my July race.)
  • What will be waiting for me at the post office today?? :D
A few positive things to focus on:
  • In this training cycle I have learned a LOT about myself as a runner. I know now that high mileage is good, but a lot of quality work (speed days) makes it very hard to maintain high mileage & longer runs. I stayed with my mileage goals, but learned to reduce my long run in favor of quality work.
  • I have had some excellent training days, and despite not running my easy paces at goal, most of my speed work was at goal, or very close (both faster and slower).
  • During the 10 weeks I did something I haven't done during a cycle before- raced- and set new personal records both times. (Scandia Run 10K and Eugene Celebration Mile)
Eugene Celebration Mile in August
    • Noteworthy stuff: I was able train hard and make it 10 weeks without getting injured!! That, in itself, will keep me with Jack Daniels formula.
    • I will get to run this race with friends - Ronda, Danny, and a high school-aged neighbor!! (and hundreds of other cross country team members).
    • It will most likely be perfect race weather, (60's F), so long as it's not windy. 
    • I have some really awesome support  (bloggers, facebook friends, high school friends, and family, especially my husband and parents) who support my insanity habits. YOUR encouragement has meant the world to me. I honestly don't think I would have ran my last race without some of that encouragement. Thank you!!! I am Blessed!

      If you see a midget, dressed as an old man, running around the slot machines at the Mill Casino, it just might be my oldest trying to win Mama a trip to Boston!


      1. Ok, you know I think you are going to PR, and that you are not only talented but also hard working.
        About your questions...
        Tapering - you will be fine, no need for much taper, I think, for a 10K since it is short. The longer the race, the longer the taper.
        Hills - I would have a planned per mile pace. First mile is all up, second is all down. For me, with that level of steepness, the difference would be close to one minute between the 2. In my race over the weekend, I went down the hills @ 6:30, and up @ 7:30. So if you want 6:30 average pace, maybe go 7 up hill and 6 downhill? Ultimately, you do what works for you. I happen to suck on hills and be really fast and comfortable on the downhills. Regardless, I think you do need a strategy to pace yourself on this course.
        Sub 40 no question, on any course, with good pacing!
        How about accepting that it is normal to feel some anxiety? You invested a lot in the race. If you were not anxious, I'd be worried. The anxiety=adrenaline, and it will help you run faster. You've done the work, you are controlling anything you can control, lets hope the "chance" element will be on your side. No matter what happens, you still are a kick a$$ runner in my book (but you will go sub 40).
        Hm, we need a pic with that skirt! Brave enough, hell yes!!!
        Post, not sure about this one.

        OK< this is the longest comment ever. Am I turning into Jenn? ha!

        Good luck Raina! I will be thinking about you! Run hard!

      2. Wow what Ana said! Do wear the skirt, I love wearing skirts when racing. They make me feel faster! Good luck and kick some booty. I will be thinking of you this weekend and looking forward to your race recap. You are my hero for going for a sub 40 (seriously) and I aspire to be that fast too!

      3. You are SO ready for this race! You are going to race nothing short of FAST FAST FAST!!!!!! You have it in you and you scare me you're so good ;-) Seriously...
        you ARE my running hero...and probably a few other type of heroes thrown in there as well. Great job on your training. Let it all loose now!

      4. I'm sooo mad because I wrote a super long and thoughtful comment that took me like 10 minutes and blogger wouldn't post it and I lost it. :( :(

      5. I guess I'll try again but I have very little time as I am dashing out the door to soccer practice. Love what AM says here. As always, so wise and thoughtful. And yes, a good Jenn that! You have some great thoughts and reflections here Raina. Like AM said, those nerves are a good thing. If you you use them and don't let them use you. I always had too many and let them destroy me. INstead of having these questions and thoughts and then moving on after sitting with them for awhile, I let them eat me up and I obsessed too much. But I'm certain you will have the perfect mix of nerves and "Go get it" mindset. You've learned so much about yourself and I'm so excited for you. Thinking of you a ton! You will rock that skirt too...if you decide to wear it! Those money buns will make you fly! Money buns for a money girl! Also, it is sometimes scary to put yourself out there so much...sometimes easier for me to keep my goals to myself but not always as affective. PUtting it out there and sharing it with people that love and support me is always good for helping me hold myself to it. Okay, I'm rambling and trying desperately to remember the things that I said to you earlier that were on topic and now it has been 20 minutes and I should probably go back and reread your post so that this makes sense again. It was a good comment and Relevant too....the first time. Now it is just a bunch of mental vomit here. Sorry.
        But know that I had good intentions and Love you and am so proud to have you in my life! Wear your cape and fly down those hills girl! You've got this! enjoy being fast and using this gift that God has blessed you with!

      6. oh gee....that does look like a hard course but you are strong. I was taught to charge up those hills and USE the downhill as recovery...relax and allow your body to carry itself down. FAST. I think you will still be okay, you are amazing and I can't wait to read about it! you are a force to be reckoned with Raina!! xxx

      7. I cannot wait for this one, I think you're gonna kill it! You've prepped and you're ready. I love what AM said above. Good luck!

      8. You'll be awesome - I'm kinda like you, since I train for marathons all year around, I never specifically train for the shorter races. I just show up and run them. Sounds like you're ready for this one - I'm looking forward to the report.

      9. Oh and I love the positive things you list about your training! Some things to celebrate for sure. This has been such a great round of training Raina! Oh, and yeah, my comment above...totally doesn't make sense after I reread it. The only reason I was mentioning the "putting the goal out there thing" is because sometimes that is part of what makes me nervous...the pressure of knowing that so many know my goal...pressure to perform. But Not so much anymore. Anyway, like I said, my first comment was way better!

      10. Great training! Good Luck. Hope God clears your head and you can race clear headed and strong!

      11. Ahhh! So I've read this about 10 times but haven't had time to ensure my comment would be longer than AM's until now-ha!

        OK-first of all, the elevation of that course. Geez woman-you surely don't take the easy way out!!! I love hills but I'm still learning how to actually pace and run them properly. Nicole's comment good. I've always seemed to run a much faster pace on downhills but I keep that mindset that I'm using them as recovery!! In Boston, every downhill, I almost viewed as rest. I relaxed and just tried to carry myself down and YES, doing this did equate to fast when analyzing my data later. The uphills in the course will be tough but I think the mental breakup may actually be a blessing and WOOHOO mile 4!

        I agree anxiety is normal. Like you said, you haven't really ever trained for a race like this!! It's easier to race not specifically trained mentally sometimes as you have an "out" in your mind for a poor performance. You've poured A LOT into this, you expect a great deal out of yourself-therefore slightly anxious. Love AM's comment about anxiety and adrenaline-TRUE!

        I will say here I admire you IMMENSELY. You have worked SO hard this training cycle. Analyzed and adapted your training to do what YOU feel with be BEST for YOU. I'm impressed you kept your easy place slower since this felt right and I'm SO impressed by the quality of your key workouts. Man, I've enjoyed stalking you:)

        I believe without a doubt you are sub 40. NO doubt at all, regardless of what you run.

        OK-I will email now but I love this post and the breakdown of it. I hope the dang post office gets it's butt in gear:)

        Best of luck to you Raina. Man, would I ever love to be there.....

      12. As you all ready know - I am a fan of yours. So, that being said - Attack the hills at a 5sec faster pace than your avg. At the beginning of mile 4 will be your moment of truth...... I LOVE hills. You know all about the proper cadence, foot strike, upper body movements and the lean going uphill -- just need to execute.

        Good luck and looking forward to you RR/PR.

      13. I know you are going to do really awesome! You have never fully trained for smaller races and you always do amazing.. I have a feeling many of your questions will be answered! Be careful on the hills.. that is how I think I messed up my knee.. running down hills too hard

      14. Seeing as this is my first time repeating a race, and it was my Garmin data that you saw, I thought I could come here and give last minute advice .... BUT how about I one up myself .... and I will give you the advice that was given to me .....

        bye Pre's sister! (Oh yeah, that's how I roll!) ;) She says: Remember that race is all up and down hills. Don't go out too fast or you will be sucking wind for the rest of the 10k and you want to enjoy the run even as tough as it is. Let your legs settle into the race.I think the weather will be in your favor. Not too hot.

        So there you have it! I see bright things in our future tomorrow!

      15. Oh my gosh - typo in the above comment. Just like I pointed out I was wearing the same shirt the other day, I will now point out that I know I wrote "bye" instead of "by".

      16. Good luck in the race, that is awesome that you are doing the Pre classic, Pre was a legend.

        That is a tough elevation chart, not sure how it compares to previous 10K race you with with the huge hill at the beginning, maybe it will be about the same in terms of hardness?

        Not sure how fast to run up or down the hills, but I guess I would try to be powering the downhills for sure. On the uphills try to not redline yourself too much. I guess I run races based on heartrate a lot, so I try to keep the same heartrate a lot of the time regardless if I'm going up or downhill. I know other people don't like to do this, but it helps keep me in check so I don't go too fast.

        I think you are overthinking it about tapering your miles, I wouldn't worry at all about that.

        It will be tough to go sub 40, I think you will get right around your PR, if not just below it. Good luck!

      17. I am sure you will run a very good 10 km despite that path with downhill and uphill. The training was appropriate and you are ready, the PR is possible.
        Pre is a myth in Italy too.
        Good luck.

      18. Hope your race went well today. I think I'd probably be a bit nervous at the start of a race linked to the great Steve Prefontaine, but well and truly inspired when the gun went off. Steve is one of my all time heroes and one of his quotes hangs on my wall. Here it is:
        "Some people create with words, or with music, or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run.

        I like to make people stop and say, I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.’

        It’s more than just a race, it’s style, it’s doing something better than anyone else.
        It’s being creative".
        Steve Prefontain
        Good luck!

      19. Wow, that looks like some rock-solid training! My last 10k involved no real "training" whatsoever and I became even more of a believer in the legitimacy of race-specific training....I guess my naivete of racing just 4 years thought I could just will a certain time in;)

        Hope it goes/went as well as you had hoped!


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