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Monday, December 5, 2011

Back in to the racing circuit

Competed (or should I say Completed") in four races so far. The first race was a 5k that I focused on heart rate. Goal was to keep heart rate between 85% and 93% of max. Took a walk break every time HR would reach 93% and would walk it down to 85% (about 30 seconds). All told, I think there were about five or six total breaks. Even though my focus was on HR, I was hoping to run under 33 minutes. Needless to say, I was very happy with the 32:24 time. Had lots of family on hand to run with; grand daughter Lexi, grand nephew Gavin, son in law Brad, niece Lizzie and cousin Bobby. I think everyone was afraid I was going to croak and didn't want to miss the excitement.

Second race was the Ichabod 1 Mile. With the shorter distance, my goal was to run the whole race without stopping to walk. The family deserted me this time, but I still had my friend Jenny Romano to run with. It worked out great because we are both about the same level. I maintained a 92-93% heart rate throughout the race and with about 200 yards to go, Jenny encouraged me to pick up the pace for the stretch. Had enough left in the tank for a good kick and crossed the finish line at 9:44 (was hoping for 9:33) and pushed the heart rate up to 98% of max. Although I didn't hit my 9:33 goal, I was pleased with the run because I made it the whole distance without stopping to walk.

Tom's Reindeer Run: Laurel, MD Since last race, I had been gradually building up my endurance and didn't want to go a whole month in between races, so while visiting my sister for Thanksgiving, I found a 5K in Laurel, MD. Ran with grand-daughter Lexi and told her before the pace that I wanted to go out slow (about 10:00 per mile pace) for the first two miles and leave something in the tank for the last 1.1 mile. Should have checked out this course ahead of time because it started off with the first half mile almost all down hill. Reached the 1 mile mark at 9:05 and the two mile mark at 18:55. Way faster than I wanted and with the last half of mile two being a long steep incline, I was exhausted. I did make it to the mile 2 mark without stopping to walk so I was pleased with that. Required 3 walk breaks during the last mile and finished at 33:18 (almost a minute slower than my first 5k)

12th Annual Lakewood Reindeer 5k: It was a sunny but cold Saturday but excellent running weather for December. Earlier in the week I had a training run that started with a non stop run of 2.4 miles. I was hopeful of going at least 2.75 miles so that I would be on target to complete a full 5k in the final race of the year next week. Again had my trusty Lexi to run with me and just before the two mile mark I could tell she was struggling. Her breathing was labored and she asked if we could walk. I encouraged her to breath deep and fight through it. When we reached the 2.5 mile mark, I felt I could make it all the way to the finish line. Lexi was able to recover from her difficulty and with about 100 yards to go I gave her the green light for a final push. It was too soon for me to sprint so she was able to pass about 10 runners and put about 25 yards between us. With 50 yards to go, I kicked it in and was able to cross the finish line 2 seconds behind her with a PR of 32:19. Although the PR was nice, I was most pleased with the consistent heart rate. Heart rate stayed at 88% for almost the entire race and my mile splits were pretty consistent too with 10:02, 10:22 and 10:37 splits.

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