Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chinese New Year 5K

Chinese New Year 5K
Papago Park
Phoenix, Arizona
Mileage - 3.1
Time - 16:13
Pace - 5:13
Place - 1st Overall

I had another scheduled time trial before the Phoenix marathon to zero in on my pace and leg speed turnover, and this was the only 5K in town. My goal time was 16:30 with an average pace of 5:20 per mile.  I came across the finish line slightly under this as I believe the course was short, possibly only 3.0 miles. My watch actually said 16:08 so there may be some discrepancy there. This 5K felt more like a cross country course than anything. Rolling hills, mixed terrain, ninety-degree turns, you name it.  I'm not going to hold the time to heart, it just felt good to dial in further.

My good friend Yolanda was in town from, well, whatever city she currently resides in. Anyways, she ran a good race and finished second female overall. She was pretty pumped about that! Perhaps the most excited of all was her mom that finished her second race to date and ran faster than the previous 5K back in January. Well done ladies! 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lost Dutchman 10K - 2015

Lost Dutchman Marathon, Half & 10K

Prospector Park
Apache Junction, AZ
Mileage - 6.2
Time - 34:30
Pace - 5:34
Place - 1st Overall

All I remember about the 2012 Lost Dutchman marathon was grinding out the last few miles of rolling hills. Yet I was excited to run the 10K, which is ironic because it covers the last 3.1 miles of the marathon in an out-and-back style. Why would I put myself through that again? Oh how time forgets. Looking back, the reason I had such a hard time at that time was lack of preparation. Too little base mileage.

These days I am much more dialed in, focused and relaxed while racing. So much so that I was within 2 seconds of my target time. My experience with this event has definitely turned around for the better, not just because I took home the win, because the course is actually fun if you make a mental game out of running those ups and downs. Not only that, staring down the road at the Superstition Mountains has to be one of the best views of any race in the country. Prospector Park is gorgeous and the perfect place for a mid-sized running event.  Thanks for a great race Lost Dutchman Marathon!

Prospector Park, looking East at the Superstitions

Monday, February 2, 2015

Xterra McDowell Mountain 2015

Xterra McDowell Mountain 15M
McDowell Mountain Regional Park
Fountain Hills, Arizona
Mileage - 15
Time - 1:34:02
AEG - 1,160ft
Place - 3rd Overall

Third time's a charm for the win, right? Not even close. For starters, I've been under the weather for most of January so it didn't come as a surprise when I was sucking wind running uphill. Outside of that, I just finished the interval phase of my marathon schedule and my legs are pretty taxed. Let's not take away from the performance of the overall winner and runner up, those guys put down times I'm not sure I could even contend with, even at 100 percent.

There's something that really draws me to this race, which is why I've run it three times in the past five years. I like the distance, course layout, smooth surface for desert standards, the fast finish, beautiful scenery and the post race fun and prizes Xterra dishes out. The two biggest takeaways from this event were my improvements in leg speed turnover and staying mentally tough enough to run hard while suffering through those early miles. Besides the first minute or two I ran this race completely solo, something I've become used to in the marathon, and I attribute that ability to stay focused to training alone without music or distractions.

A big thanks goes out to Shannon Linder for continuing to put on a great race and all the volunteers taking time out of their Superbowl Sunday to help. Now its time to sharpen up for the Phoenix Marathon in less than four weeks.

An unusually foggy morning in the desert. 

A beautiful sunrise would soon follow.