Thursday, March 20, 2014

Looking for Another PR this Weekend

This Saturday marks the third and final installment in the Triple Crown of Running with the Papa John's 10 Miler.

This race is always a bit tougher than the Anthem 5K and Rodes City Run 10K because a) the distance, and b) the hills through Iroquois Park.

Since I didn't really have a plan for the 10K two weeks ago, I thought I should at least look back at this race from the last two years to see where I might struggle, and use that to create an action plan for race day.

The Course

The race starts on Southern Parkway just a couple blocks away from Central Avenue. It's basically a lollipop course -- heading down Southern Parkway, looping Iroquois park, then heading back up Southern Parkway -- except the finish is about a mile past where the start line was (turn right onto Central and cross the dreaded overpass, then left onto Floyd, and finally left into the stadium).

Tough Spots

Iroquois is obviously the toughest part of the course. From around mile 3 to about mile 6, you're climbing. Actually, it's a lot of up and down, but somehow you only seem to notice the ups.

The craziest part is that you feel like you climb for close to three miles, but as you leave the park you only seem to descend for about a quarter of a mile!

Here's what my Garmin picked up as the elevation profile for the last two years. I'm not sure how they're so different!



The end of the race is actually pretty tricky, too. Right after mile 9 you cross an overpass that's no joke. So you think you're done with the hills in Iroquois and you really step it up as you make your way back up Southern Parkway, only to find yourself with nothing left in the tank to take on this beast:

The real salt in the wound is that once you make it over this hill and you're excited that the finish is "right around the corner," you've still got a good half-mile until the actual finish line.

I made the mistake of going all-out on the backside of the overpass the first year, only to find myself crashing before I even stepped foot in the stadium.

And of all races, you definitely want to finish strong for this one because a) not only are you running on the field with everyone watching from the stands, but b) they also show you on the big screen.

Game Plan

This year, I'm going to try to stick to the plan I had when I set my current PR back in 2012 -- start off easy, hold back through the park, then pick up the pace for the last 2/5 or so.


What? You hate fractions? Well sorry, but it's less than 1/2 and more than 1/3!

Actually, I pretty much did the same thing last year, only slower.


So my current PR is 1:26:04, set back in 2012 when everything seemed to be clicking for me.

I know I can beat it.

The question is by how much?

1:26:04 is an average pace of 8:36/mile.

So far this year, I've been able to average under 8:00 for both races (considerably faster than I was back in 2012):

Anthem 5K 24:14 (7:49/mile) 23:12 (7:27/mile)
Rodes City Run 10K 51:53 (8:22/mile) 49:00 (7:53/mile)
Papa John's 10 Miler 1:26:04 (8:36/mile) ???

If I keep up with my current trend of averaging about 30 seconds per mile better, I'll come in somewhere around the 1:21:30 and 1:22:30 mark.

But why stop there?

Once again, I noticed that I'm pretty close to Kara from It's a Dog Lick Baby World's PR. She set a 7 MINUTE PR in the pouring rain, literally running through puddles!

To beat her this time, I'd have to come in under 1:20:18, which is around a 7:53/mile pace (yeah, that's how fast I ran the 10K, although I was hungover for that one).

I guess we'll just see how it goes.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!!


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