Sunday, June 2, 2013

Dam to Dam

3rd race of the season was upon me before I knew it.  Dam to Dam, America's largest (and possibly only) 20k was yesterday.  I hadn't had a particularly good couple of weeks of training leading up to it so I really didn't know what to expect.

The day always starts early for this race. Had to make the drive to Des Moines and then catch the shuttle up to the race start. Barely had time to use the restroom before the start. For the second year in a row I had to do a little warm up jog along the outside of the corral to make it to the front. Made it with a minute or two to spare and chatted with a couple of friends of mine about race strategy before the gun went off.

So all week leading up to the race I had debated on how I was going to approach pacing. I hadn't recovered real well from the relay race 3 weeks ago and my legs this week still weren't feeling particularly well. While out on a short run Thursday I had the idea that it would be beneficial to just go out at marathon pace (7:00 miles) and consider it more of a training run. All of that changed as I got to the Dam in the morning along with the other 7000 runners. The competitive spirit kind of takes over and decided to go out hard and see how the legs held up as the miles ticked by.

So when the gun went off I was hauling ass at a pace I felt would be sustainable if the legs decided to come around today. The first few miles are always nice as there are some decent downhill portions so I was able to keep the pace under 6:35 for the first four miles. By the end of the fifth mile I could already tell that I was slowing a bit. A PR was probably not in the cards so I dialed it back to a 7:00 pace and ran comfortably for the next few miles. Hit the halfway mark at 41:50something which was pretty close to my 10k time from last year.

When the climbs came on the second half I slowed the pace even more. A lot of people were passing me, which usually bugs the crap out of me, but I kept telling myself that the legs would appreciate it later next week. Despite the slower pace I was still feeling pretty tired by the end and ready to be done. With about a mile left I brought the pace back down to a sub-7 level to see if I could hold that till the end. I did and it was a nice mental victory to bring it in strong on tired legs. I wish I would have noticed the clock time when I crossed because apparently my timing chip didn't register. I'm not in the official results anywhere. Probably a good thing I didn't PR because not having an official record of it would drive me nuts.  Had to use the garmin as my "official" time and the placings below are based off that.

Time: 1:26:36
Pace: 6:58 min/mile
Overall place: 206/7087
Age Group Place: 44/673

So only a couple of minutes slower than last year's effort.  I really can't complain considering how I changed my strategy mid race.  It was a good workout on a beautiful morning and there was still free beer at the finish line so all was good.  Hopefully the legs bounce back this week.  I've got a 10k next Saturday and would like a legitimate shot at PRing that one.

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