Monday, December 5, 2011

December's Half

I got to have a little fun on friday.  Mile repeats kind of fun.  Actually mile repeats suck; I prefer short intervals over that mess.  But it got the job done, my speedwork was in for the week.  I also had a great conference call and got some good work milestones hit.  Friday was great.  And when "great" is the low point of the weekend you're doing something right.

Saturday was college football's conference championships and the FCS playoff second round games.  It was a scheduled rest day, and it still didn't feel right not going out for a long bike ride.  But I took my rest as prescribed, and enjoyed as much football as the kids would allow.  The biggest disappointment had to be Appalachian State losing to the University of Maine in the playoffs.  But watching Clemson beat up Virginia Tech like they did earlier this season was priceless!  And the Wisconsin win over Michigan State was absolutely incredible!  You just know the guy who ran into the kicker has got to be suicidal today.  I mean, here's what he gets to tell his grandkids now:

Grandkids, did you guys know I got to play in the first ever Big Ten Championship game?  We were playing against Wisconsin, down by 5 with about a minute 45 left in the game.  Our defense plays it stiff, and the Badgers have to punt.  It's a nice kick, but my buddy Steve (or whoever that was) fields it clean and makes a beautiful return before getting pushed out of bounds at the three yard line!  Plenty close and plenty of time for us to score the winning touchdown.

But you know what I did?  I ran into the kicker.  The penalty gave the Badgers a first down, and they took a knee enough times to run out the clock so we lost the game.  The next day they took away my belt and shoelaces, and that's why I only wear loafers today.

OMG.  As much as I enjoy a Wisconsin victory, I feel so bad for that guy.  Also as much as I like watching LSU play and didn't think anybody could hang with them at all this year, it was nice to see Georgia put up a fight for the first half.  I was pulling for the Dawgs hard in that one, but LSU just turned it up in the second half and made the victory look easy.  Just like Clemson did.  Number 5 Va Tech is tough, nobody roughs them up like that.  But the Tiger offense was working, and the defense was on point.  That was a beautiful game for Tiger fans.

Speaking of "DO WORK, SON", I got December's half marathon knocked out on sunday.  More than just knocked out, I crushed it. First we actually got up in time to go to church.  The kids went to the children's part of the service, but didn't go downstairs with the other kids.  What happens when you unleash an Evil Genius in the sanctuary?  She turns into a Holy Terror.  At least she was a quiet Holy Terror.  It certainly could have been worse.  But between the constant movement, crying, jumping, and destruction the service turned into more "babysitting in the third pew" than worship.  Needless to say, I was a bit tense.

Came home, had some lunch, and the weekend long run is only scheduled for 12 miles on sunday.  I thought it seemed like as good a time as any to get December's half out of the way.  And with plenty of built up tension I wanted it to be fast.  So I had a plan.  After lunch settled I got all of my stuff together and went to the gym.  They always look at me funny when I come in there with more than one water bottle, I don't know why.

I warmed up on the bike for just a few minutes.  Then found the closest available treadmill to the Panthers game on the TV.  I got on a few minutes before halftime.  Since I was already warm, I put the speed directly up to an 8.0.  Then, I just left it there.  That's a flat 7:30 pace.

At the beginning of the year when I started getting faster, I set this as a super secret goal.  I did lots of tempo runs of 3-6 miles at an 8.0 speed with the hopes of increasing my long run pace up that high.  In July's half I almost got there, but backed out after 11.5 miles.  This time my plan was solid and I nailed it.

The first few miles went by like clockwork.  I didn't even break a sweat in mile 1.  I took Gu's at 5k, 10k, and 10 miles, all without slowing down at all.  Turns out, two water bottles wasn't really enough (one had Accelerade) because the 10 mile gel was really dry.  I could tell I was already dehydrated.

But the first 8 miles or so was completely effortless.  When I started running dry about mile 8.7, I knew it was going to be a tough finish.  Mile 10 I took the last gel, mile 12 I finished off the accelerade and by mile 13.0 I was dry.  So of course then I sped up for the last 0.1 sprint to the finish, and completed my half in 1:37:54.  Breaking 1:38 is insane, I did not expect to ever be that fast.  That's 10 minutes faster than my race PR in Myrtle Beach this year!  Totally bananas. 

So I'm finishing my half marathon every month challenge with the fastest one to date.  It was a great challenge, and if you think you can stay in shape for the whole year then you should try doing it for 2012. 

I can't wait to read some race reports from big marathons this weekend, be it CIM or Las Vegas!  Hope you raced well.


Unknown said...

wow. your HM every month is off to a GREAT start.

Tryon Running Club said...

Great idea! I need some goals/inspiration...

Katie said...

WHOOP! nice job! and mile repeats are the WORST.

Alisa said...

I love your half marathon a month! While I'm no where near that right now, still rehabing my foot, I would love to get back to a place where that would be possible.

Also, damn buddy you're so fast. You need to take those legs out in a race that doesn't have a swim or bike attached and let them fly.

Michele said...

Wow, John. Just. Wow.


Michele said...

By the way, I keep forgetting to mention a possible solution for the "driving to the gym and stinking up the car" dilemma you mentioned in your IM run-up. I have a seat cover that I got at Raleigh Running. While it's not very breathable (meaning it makes me overly warm when I'm just driving at times other than after a workout), it is removable and machine washable. It works really well for handling the sweat and odor. I can't remember the exact name, but it's designed for athletes and comes in different covers, at about $25. Well worth the money.

Caratunk Girl said...

You are really kicking off your HM a month!! That is awesome, and I love the idea of setting a goal such as that.

What I hate. Yes. HATE. Are mile repeats. They make me cry. BUT they do make you stronger and faster.

Wes said...

nice work speedster. I really think running on the treadmill is harder than running outside. no opportunity to adust your pace. well done!

Unknown said...

That's freaking fast John... I'm super impressed!!!

We of course watched the Big Ten Championship game and I thought the same thing you did about that poor guy that was dumb enough to rough the kicker. He'll never live that down and will always be known as the guy that screwed MS over in the first title game! :) I really do feel bad for him... but hello, DUMB mistake!

Unknown said...

Your babysitting in church sounds a lot like what I had to do at the Hal Higdon lecture. The kids would stand up, sit down, turn around and ask me a question, stand up, sit down, walk around.... Ugh! We had to leave half way through. My nerves were shot.

Someday I will do mile repeats and I am certain I will not like it.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Holy. Cannasta. Wow. Color me impressed! I am pretty sure I will never run a sub-1:38 half! You are amazing!