Saturday, December 10, 2011

Trials Simulation Success at Kiawah

Goal:
13.1 Miles to Simulate the first 13.1 Miles of the Trials (1:18:30-1:19:30)

Actual:
2.5 mile warmup
13.1 Mile Race at 1:18:49, 3rd Place, $250
Splits:
01 - 604
02 - 609
03 - 607
04 - 603
05 - 602
06 - 605 - 39:55 (halfway)
07 - 609 (turnaround)
08 - 600
09 - 554
10 - 554
11 - 554
12 - 553
13 - 552
.1 - :39  - 38:54 (2nd half)
2.5 mile cool down for 18 miles

What's a better way to go into a race knowing that your ferritin level is now a 25?  I found out the results of my ferritin test on Friday afternoon - my strict regimen of iron supplementation and spinach paid off big time.  As soon as I read the results, I told myself:  You're back; no more excuses.   I wanted (and needed) to run a solid simulation run in the half for my own mental sanity.

As I noted in my blog last week, the plan was to run with Aaron for 5-8 miles, to stay relaxed, and to have as much fun as possible.  Of course, the main goal was to execute the same race plan I'd like to execute at the Trials, practice my fueling strategy, and check my fitness level so that I can set a realistic time goal.

After a good night's rest at the Kasa de Kahn in Charleston, Aaron, Mike, Jason, and I made our way to the Elite tent at the Kiawah Golf Resort, less than 25 meters from the Start Line.  The Elite Coordinator, Beth, was kind enough to invite my entourage into the tent, so I was fortunate to spend some time preparing with Jason Martin.  All the pre-race rituals went along as planned, although I will note that it took me literally 8 different tries to finally get the tightness of my shoe strings exactly right.

At the Start, I spotted Aaron and situated myself in front of him and on the side of the women marathoners.  I wanted to make sure that I didn't go out too fast, so I was in the second row of the elites.  The gun went off and Aaron let out his standard tribal howling sound to pump up the crowd.  I just smiled, knowing that I'll never have that type of personality to exhibit so publicly.

Within the first 800 meters, Lat Purser found us and situated himself in our little group.  Over the course of the next 8 miles, I effortlessly maintained a pace just above 6:00 minutes, talking with Aaron and Lat some, and just enjoying the scenery.  I took a Honey Stinger at mile 5 with some water to wash it down.  BY mile 8, Lat or I dropped the pace to 6:00 and Aaron let us know that he needed to drop back since he still had 18 miles left in the full.  We said our farewells, and Lat and I took off.

We picked up the next 5 miles all between 554-552.  Around mile 9,  I thanked Lat for running with me, curiously wondering why he was even hanging back with me at all.  He informed me that he had been sick the entire week and so running with us sounded a lot more fun than gutting out 13.1 miles solo.  The selfish part of me is happy that he got sick, because it meant that I had a running buddy for the entire race.

Lat ran right beside me the entire way, reported the mile splits, and encouraged me when I was hurting in the last mile.  He prevented me from running off course when I was too busy focusing on drinking water during mile 10.  He even stayed with me in the final straightway when I'm sure he was itching to just blast away from me with his sub-5 speed.

In reflection, I am extremely happy with how this race worked out for me.  I finished with a 3-second PR in the half and I felt really strong in the end.  I finished the second half of the race today over 1 minute faster than the first half.   My fueling strategy worked out quite well and I didn't have any GI issues before, during, or after the race.  I accomplished everything that I wanted to out of this race, and am excited to finish off the next three weeks of training before heading into taper mode.  All in all, I am confident that I can go into the Trials and start out at 610 pace and drop it from there to hopefully negative split.

I am very grateful for Lat and Aaron's company throughout the race, for Mike's generosity in offering us free lodging, and for the Elite Coordinator for granting me entry into the race.  It was a great experience to simulate the trials on a closed course with the same bottles that I'll use in Houston.

3 comments:

mrn said...

awesome run! i'm so proud of you--not only of how you performed in the race, but also how you maintained your focus and positivity even when things weren't going so well in recent weeks. you should have no doubts about being mentally and physically ready to perform your best a month from now. i just hope i'm able to match you stride for stride! can't wait!

countrysprout said...

Can't wait to see you ladies in January! Great read, Caitlin - the way you rocketed through that last half is inspiring to us old-timers in the midpack! Next time we see you, you will not only be faster, you will also be a year older. Cali calls!

Mike Kahn said...

Way to work on the weekend. Lots of fun. Dominate next month!

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