Today was the 38th Forks XV (15K, 9.32 mi), held at Chenango Forks high school near Binghamton, NY. This was my second A race of the year, following the January Freeze 10K series. My goal time was 1:12:?? or about 7:45 average pace.
Training: I followed the Half Marathon plan from Bob Glover's The Competitive Runner's Handbook, using a base 10K pace of 7:30 (check out my training log and program at Google Docs). This was my P.R. pace goal for the January Freezes; the best I did was a new PR of 47:22 (7:37 pace). I figured that this would be a good pace to stick with since I was seeing regular improvement. I trained 180 miles for this race and have only skipped a few workouts since January. I did all but one of my speed workouts and missed one long run.
Course: USATF has the course certification posted here (the piece of NY Rt. 12 shown is about 6 miles north of Binghamton). The course looks simple enough - basically one big loop - but it's known to be hilly; there are major hills near mile 2, 6.5 and 8 (killer!). Having run the Vestal XX, this one seems pretty easy.
Weather and Clothing: Cold (about 34F) and breezy for the end of March, but this race is always a weather crap-shoot. Base layers were long pants, long sleeve top and windbreaker. The fleece headband came off rather quickly, but gloves stayed on until about half way. Wore my Saucony Cheatin' Shoes today.
Race: This race was basically uneventful! I settled into a comfortable pace by Mile 2 and was hitting around 7:40. Check out my mile splits at Garmin Connect (missed Mile 7 because I was getting water). The miles passed quickly and easily and I paced myself by my breathing, mostly 3-3 for the first 5 miles, then 2-2 for the rest. The finish was probably breathing 2-1 but it's hard to stay coordinated when you're running that hard. I was doing some time checks around Mile 7 and thought 1:12 was still a good goal. When I crossed the line with the clock reading 1:11:__ I knew I had CRUSHED IT FOR A NEW P.R.!
I still cannot figure out how other people pace themselves -- I passed people nearly the whole race (maybe 35 total) and seemed to keep a fairly steady pace. The hills were really not a problem, either, and I passed people by grinding up and flying down. Wind gusts near the start, Mile 7 and the finish were worse than the hills. Thanks to runner Bob K., who pulled me the last mile which we did in about 7:10. He was NOT about to let me get in front of him!
Spectator Report: You've got two hands -- clap 'em.
Injury Report: My left posterior tibial tendinitis had flared up over the last month and the whole area has been pretty tender and crunchy. I've been rolling and icing it, and the pain was almost gone by this morning. The less-supportive Saucony's were very comfortable, and I don't think the PTT is going to flare up at all. Otherwise, no significant strains to speak of - the abs and legs feel mostly fine. (Should I have run harder?)
Time and Place: My time - 1:11:09; official time 1:11:13, 67/249 (top 27% - best place ever??), 8/15 in M30-39.
Other Race Predictions: I use the McMillan Running Calculator to predict race performances. This race predicts a 5K in 22:06, 10K in 45:55 and Marathon in 3:35:28. I seem to do better at longer distances. I am now certain that I can break 4 hours in the marathon if I can just stay healthy. For those of you who missed the announcement, I registered for the 2011 Wineglass Marathon on October 2.
Other News: Volunteering on December 31, 2010 satisfied my requirement for TCRC's Grand Prix. Based on my best five races, I was the ninth and last qualifier in the Male Open class. I believe I win a mug.