Augusta Bond Brook 5k Trail Race Series August 11, 18, 25, September 1, 8, and 15 2011


August 11, race number one:

I like a good bargain. The fee for this series, six races for $25, can not be beat. Yesterday I ran the first of the six races. It was brutal. The course map from my Garmin does not give much detail:

The course is over new skiing, biking, and running paths the “Augusta Trails” organization is building. The aerial view is pretty cool:

This is the most dangerous course I have run. Down hills were scary. When running down, I was looking forward to uphills. Until one arrived.

I was happy with mile one: 7:32. My goal pace was 7:30. Mile two went by in 8:12.  Mile three 9:24.  After getting past the three mile mark it usually takes me 35 to 45 seconds to finish a 5k. This race is not normal. It took 70 seconds. Total time 26:19. It will be an interesting series.

Reading this over sounds like I may not have had too much fun. On the contrary. It was a blast,  and am looking forward to the next one.

The elevation, heart rate, and pace graphs:

I hope to work harder in future races, getting rid of the dips in the heart rate line.

I probably went out too fast. I think if I ran 20 to 30 seconds slower in mile one, my end time would also be 20 to 30 seconds slower. Those last hills…

Nice race photos here.

Next race is next week when I run this one again.

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August 18, race number two:

I had high hopes the second race would be faster than the first one. Before the first race my week had gone like this: Saturday 5K race in 21:16. Monday 10.27 miles with this workout: 5 X 1K;4:21;1:00 then 4X40 second striders. Thursday first Bond Brook 5K.

The Sunday before the second of this six race series I ran10 miles during my weekly interval workout, 5X1k;4:14;1:00 4 X 40 second striders. Tuesday I did 8 X 20 second striders during an easy four miler. Thursday the second Bond Brook 5K.

I thought the week leading up to the second race was easier than the first race. Also,  I knew the course better, this being the second time through. Those were the reasons I thought I would get a better time.

In the first race, I only held back a little during mile one. It has many very steep and very long down hills. I covered mile one in the first race in 7:31, mostly trying to keep up with myself, and not going head over heels down a hill.  I thought a better strategy would be to hold back even more, saving for the horrible up hill last mile.  I was 11 seconds slower, finishing mile one of the second race in 7:42.

I felt good starting mile two at both races. Down hills do that for you. The second mile is mostly up hill. By the end of it I was not feeling good. However, I was reeling week one’s time in. August 11 mile two went by in 8:12. August 18 mile two – 8:03. At the end of mile two the times were 15:44 (week 1) and 15:46 (week 2.) Only two seconds behind.

I knew I was close to my previous time. I was feeling bad due to running mostly uphill over the last mile, but thought I had a chance to finish faster than last week. I dug in and went for it at the start of mile three. However, by the end of the mile I felt worse than I did after finishing the mile during the first race. I am proud and happy to report the following times at the end the third mile: first race three mile time – 9:24; this race – 9:19. First race total time after mile three: 25:09; this race : 25:05. Four seconds ahead!

Too bad the race didn’t end then. It took 70 seconds to go from the end of mile three to the finish during week one. Total time 26:19. In the second race the final stretch went by in 74 seconds. Crap, I lost the four seconds. Well, I guess it is not that bad. Maybe it is sort of funny.  I finished week one and week two both with a time of 26:19.

The elevation, heart rate, and pace graphs:

Comparing the heart rate graphs, I think race number two shows a better effort. It didn’t dip as much, meaning I did not ease up. I think that is what it means. The average heart for this race was 178. The highest I got it to was 188. Last weeks numbers were 172 average /183 maximum. Then again, maybe race one was better – same time with less effort.

At first glance I thought race #2’s pace graph was awful compared to race #1.  However, the scale confused me. The first race had five minute pace increments, and peaked at 20 minutes per mile. The second race’s chart had two minute increments, peaking at 16 minutes per mile.  The fastest pace during the first race was faster than the second. Same with slowest pace – the slowest pace during the first race was slower than the second.  The average was the same.

Nice photos here and here.

Next week’s goal will be to go faster from the end of mile three to the finish.

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August 25, race number three:

Due to rain that may have caused slippery conditions, I decided to pass. Plan to race next week.

_____________________________________________

September 1, race number four (my third due to skipping race number three:)

This series is turning into an interesting experiment: What pacing strategy will result in the fastest time? The first race was sort of a “control” race. I had no idea I was in an experiment, and had no clue what pace I could maintain. I went into the race with 7:30 as the goal pace. The first mile in the first race was 7:32, so I gave it a short. I did not know how steep the hills were going to be. The first (and the second) race pace ended up being 8:26, one minute per mile slower than I thought I would be.

The second race’s strategy was to hold back during the mostly down hill mile one, and then race hard the rest of the mostly up hill course. The strategy worked over mile one, two, and three.  Mile one of the second race has been the slowest of the three opening miles: 7:42. However, I was able to make up the time, being four seconds ahead of the first race after the third mile. As described in the other race report, I lost the four seconds over the last .11 miles in the second race, finishing with the same time as the first race.

The strategy for this race, my third, was to apply what I learned in the first two races. It worked! Race one and two finished in 26:19. Race number three’s time: 25:54. Woo Woo!

Here is what I learned in race number one, described by a quote from the first race report: “I think if I ran 20 to 30 seconds slower in mile one, my end time would also be 20 to 30 seconds slower.” With that in mind, I did not hold back (much) in mile one. During the race I thought I was more aggressive going down the mile one hills than in previous races. However, the time of the first mile was the same as race one: 7:32. I was hoping for 7:20 to 7:25. Oh well, it was faster than the first mile of the second race’s 7:42.

Here is the quote from the second race report describing what I learned in that race: “go faster from the end of mile three to the finish.” In order to accomplish that goal, I cheated. In this race, over mile two and three I aggressively ran down hills, but up hills I did not attack. Most of mile two and three were up hill. I ran hard, but my pace slowed significantly, falling behind the first two race times:

Mile

Race 1

Race 2

Race 3

Mile

Total

Mile

Total

Mile

Total

1

7:32

7:32

7:42

7:42

7:32

7:32

2

8:12

15:44

8:03

15:45

8:24

15:56

3

9:25

25:09

9:19

25:04

9:33

25:29

At the end of mile three I had a lot left in the tank, but I was 20 or 25 seconds behind the first two races. I sprinted to the finish line in 26 seconds! The explanation point is because it took me 70 seconds in race one, and 74 seconds in race two to cover the distance. The strategy, “do not worry about going too fast in mile one, and hold back over miles two and three to have a strong finishing kick,” worked. Race one and two times were 26:19. Race three’s time was 25 seconds faster: 25:54

But now, the rest of the story: My garmin reported 3.13 miles for the first race, and 3.11 miles for the second race. 26:19 divided by 3.12 (the average) is how I came up with the 8:26 pace for the first two races. The garmin only had 3.05 miles for race number three. 25:54 divided by 3.05 is 8:30 pace, four seconds per mile slower than the first two races! I hate it when the numbers do that to me.

Here are the courses. Have fun finding the differences between the pictures:

This week’s course, race number four, though it is my third race:Here is the second week course:Here is the first week course:

The elevation, heart rate, and pace graphs:

The heart rate line over the last couple miles shows I eased up. The increase at the end tells the story of my strong finishing kick.  My average heart rate was 176, and the highest I got it was 185.  The average/maximum from race two was 178 / 188.  Race one: 172 /183.

I did not race last week, but after a one mile warmup, I ran a four mile tempo run, followed by a one mile cool down. Here is the heart rate / elevation graph of that run:

I think it is interesting. All my tempo runs look that – lots of ups and downs in the heart rate line, from mile one to five. I am able to keep my heart rate up during races better than tempo runs.

The pace line shows my strategy: down hills the line dips showing an increase speed. Uphills show the slow downs.

Race results here. Race photos here.

Next race is next week when I run this one again, getting the necessary four races so I can legally say I finished the series. I think I will start out at 8:30 pace, and see what I can do.  My theory: the heart rate average will be low, but maybe my pace will be faster. I feel like laughing like an evil scientist for some reason….

_____________________________________________

September 8, race number five:

Due to work, I did not make it. At 12:05PM was told I was working until 8:00PM due to power outages in New York. Bummer, and a long work day. Will make it next week for the last one in the series.

_____________________________________________

September 15, race number six (my fourth due to skipping race number three and five:)

I felt I was set up to have a great race. I was in a step back week, so did not run a long run slash interval workout the Sunday before the race as normal. A couple days before the race, I did a “marathon pace” four miler. It was a quality pace that I felt primed me to run even harder on race day, but did not take much out of me. Unfortunately, I did not make it to the race I was set up to do so well in. It was last weeks race where work asked me to stay late.

This week, I was not so well set up. I am not in a cut back week. The Sunday before the race I ran the long run slash interval workout. The interval part went great. However, after the intervals were over, at the 7.68 mile mark, I felt pain/discomfort under my left knee cap. I immediately stopped running because of the strangeness of the feeling. I recall reading about runners complaining about sore knees, but have not had the problem before.

After a tenth of a mile or so of bewildered walking, I started jogging again, making it back home. Up hill was when the pain came. Flat or down hills were fine. The next day I did 40 minutes on the rebounder – cross training. I did not run Tuesday. I usually run every day. Wednesday I did another 40 minutes on the rebounder. The knee has not improved, but has not gotten worse.

Between 3PM and 4PM on race day I took two ibuprofen pills to help ease the pain. In the future I think taking them three to four hours before the race would be better than two to three hours. During my warmup mile, around 5PM, I still felt the knee pain. By the time the race started at 6PM, the drugs just started doing the job. The rest of the night my knee felt good thanks to the ibuprofen wonder drug. Later I googled “runner knee pain” and found a post that suggested taking ibuprofen after running, but never before. I wonder why?

To top it all off it was a rainy day. The week before the weather was perfect, I was well rested, and in no pain. This week was a wet day, and I may be starting what could be a long time to heal injury. However, the requirement to get into the final standings of the series was to run four of the six races, and I had only run three of them. That was the reason I ran this hilly, crazy course on a rainy day with a gimpy knee. Probably not too bright.

I did not run as hard as I had in the three previous races. The first mile is a down hill stretch I know pretty well. The previous races I covered the mile in 7:30 to 7:40. This one took 8:16. I was holding back.

An unfortunate thing for the race directors was the damage Hurricane Irene did. It caused a change in the course. I kind of liked it though, letting me see different parts of the Bond Brook Recreational area. The second and third mile of this race was different than the first three races I made it to. The course went over a “single track” instead of a “double track.” Not having too much experience running over such ground slowed me down. Mile two went by in 8:44, slower than the 8:00 to 8:30 mile twos in previous runs.

I am happy to say mile three of this race was the fastest mile three of any race in the series. Not that I was setting any records. My previous mile threes were 9:25, 9:19, and 9:33.  This will probably be the only time I will be happy to report that in a 5K race my mile three time was 9:09.

The final stretch, my garmin measured .13 miles, went by in 51 seconds. Total time 27:00. The results can be found here.

I thought/hoped this race series was getting me in great shape. It was over root-sprouting, rock-sticking-out-of-ground terrain.  The course was used in winter for cross country skiers, and designed to have fairly steep hills, which I felt was making me strong as I ran over them with a lot of effort, even though the pace was not that fast. I did not think that the flip side of the series getting me into great shape would be that it may cause an injury. It is too early to draw a conclusion. I enjoyed the series, but may put it in the marathon category. I did one of those, but will not do it again.

Here are the useful to me graphs and maps:

The previous courses had cut back to include more hills. This one was more circular, avoiding some hills. Always a good thing in a race.

The heart rate line looks more like a tempo run effort than a race. It had some dips where I was not pushing. I am ok with the effort.

No big surprises with pace chart.

I have to schedule races in October, November, and December to complete the “run once a month 2011 goal.” I am in the home stretch. Thanks for reading.

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About mainrun

I like to read, run, and watch tv.
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