Back in early Spring I did some volunteering and as a result got a free race entry to the Classic 10K (This years results). I pr'd my 10K time in it last year (43:20), this year I treated the race as a measuring stick of where I am in my fitness. Despite not doing any specific training for it I went into it with a plan to hopefully pull off a new pr.
I had recovered well from the Barr Trail Mountain race the Sunday before and didn't adjust any training runs during the week - my goal race is the Pikes Peak Marathon - the Classic 10K would serve as a tempo run / measuring stick run.
Saturday morning dawned with cloud cover and humidity nearing 90% - not what we are used to here in Colorado. Needless to say - a very sweaty run was on tap.
My race went well - almost exactly to my plan, which was to start slower and each mile increase my average pace by 5 seconds. So, first mile was 7:14. 2nd mile 14:10. Mile 3 exactly 21 minutes. From there I managed to maintain on or thereabouts the 7 min mile average through the last 1/2 mile - when I put my head down and pushed to try to beat my goal time. I was really just hanging on for the last 3 miles - I am not built to run 7 or sub 7 minute miles. But I pulled it off.
Success - albeit by only 10 seconds, but still a new pr of 43:10.
And then there is the reality of the marathon now less than 4 weeks away. Recently on the race homepage they have put up a video covering the Ascent from 2010. Then it rolls into a video from last years marathon - goosebump worthy viewing (at least for me).
So, with a few more weeks of tough training runs before a taper time I am really looking forward to - I set out this morning to do an Ascent. I loaded up with my Camelback - more water than I thought I would need for the run, but it ended up being just enough.
One of my favorite things to do is to be on Pikes Peak to watch the sun come over the horizon. This morning was just as beautiful as always. However as the sun was coming up I was already walking. The extra weight of the water was weighing me down and I was tired, resorting to walking before even getting to the top of the W's. I managed to keep moving, trying to walk / hike / jog, but I was struggling. I got to Barr Camp finally and it was quite depressing to see 2:05 had already passed - way, way slower than I wanted and not giving me much hope for an Ascent time quicker than when I had done it 2 weeks ago (4:11 then).
I had been drinking my water though and eating steadily on the way - plus I was carrying a new (to me in the past couple of months) hydration product called Skratch (which has a nice and down to earth u tube ad). So as I shuffled through Barr Camp I wasn't feeling great - but I still had feeling in my extremities, so I shuffled forward.
2 weeks prior I had struggled a lot from here on up - taking almost 2 hours 10 minutes to get from Barr Camp to the Summit. Today, I surprised myself and did it just under 2 hours. Pleased with a total time just under 4:05. With that somewhat success, I almost fed myself donuts from the Summit house. But I didn't - instead refueling with some better food and beverage - then I let the altitude get to me and decided - "eh, why not run back down instead of hitch-hiking". So I did. I took my time, not wanting to trash my legs too badly and especially not wanting to take a tumble.
Made it down in a bit under 2:25 for a total time just under 6:30, totaling 26 miles and 7800+ feet of elevation gain. I did stop my watch at the Summit for 10 minutes and then back in Manitou to get myself an ice-cream from Matt Carpenters Frozen Custard Store. I restarted my watch for the final 1/5 of a mile as I delightfully inhaled the frozen goodness, walking back to my car.
So, all in all a good couple of runs, but like I mentioned earlier in this post - my body is weary with training. It's good and necessary though and runs like today's should pay off on race day I hope. Still not sure what kind of effort and time for the race I am capable and able to pull off - so that is why I have several more tough training runs to do - in hopes of being as best prepared as possible on race day.