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2017 ATT Marathon

I added the ATT Marathon to my race calendar pretty late – about a month before the race itself.  I added it as a “training race” (or a ‘C’ race) to prepare for the MST 50k three weeks out.  I’ve been mostly doing single track hilly/mountainous ultras for a while and feel like I’ve lost some speed at a more road like run, and figured I’d be doing a long training run that weekend anyway, so why not?

I met Sarah and David at Lowes in PBO at 5:30, and Sarah’s husband drove us over.   The race states to arrive by 5:30 even if you have a parking pass to guarantee a spot, but we arrived closer to 6.  There were still no issues parking.   It was a bit chilly (42F?) but I opted to leave the vest behind and just run with arm warmers, gloves, and a 200 weight icebreaker tee.  I also had a buff over my ears.  While it was a bit chilly walking to the start and checking in my post race bag, once in the starting corral it wasn’t bad — lots of heat with all the bodies!

My plan was to run out with Mark Manz who was to lead the 3:40 pace group for a mile or two or three, and then speed up and shoot for roughly an 8:00/mile pace avg.   But I didn’t see Mark there so I thought I’d jump in with the 3:35 group.  David was up ahead in the 3:30 group.  About 2 miles in, the 3:35 group was only 10s behind the 3:30 group, so I felt like the pacing was off.  I had come up on David and ran with him for a few.  Once we turned on to the ATT, it’s a slight downhill, and I knew it was time to pick it up.  I passed the 3:35 group and quickly decided to pass the 3:30 group too — I didn’t like being behind a group.

So then I was in no man’s land… I watched the 3:25 group up ahead, but didn’t really close the gap much at all.  Looking at my watch, I figured they were more in the 3:22-3:23 range and was content to just run my race.  There’s not a lot to write about for the middle portion of the race.  It’s like a T, so you go north and turn around, then south and turn around, and then back to the “trunk” of the T and back to the start/finish.  The two turn arounds let me see the various pace groups and other runners a couple times.

I held steady until the south turn around and was really feeling good.  But I recalled from the 2014 race that I imploded from mile 23-25 or so, with the every so slight 1-2% grade really wearing me down.  This time I thought if I could just get over that climb averaging under 8:00 for each of those miles, I’d be pretty happy.  I ended up doing 7:40 or so and it didn’t feel hard at all.

At that point I really picked it up a notch, and finally felt like I was working.  But with just a couple miles to go, now was the time, C race or not.  I knew I’d be under 3:20, and thought briefly I could even go for a PR (3:17).  But alas I had waited too long to have a shot at that!   I finished very strong in 3:18:44 on my watch and had a BQ by 6+ minutes.  I was very pleased with that!

Here’s the pace chart…  So much for 3:40 (8:25) to start!  But it never felt hard.

And the splits for the markers on the course…  Love the negative split and passing 40 runners in the last 10k!

Strava race analysis:

And final results:

Post race photos:

(David ran a 3:31 and was 2nd in the 60-64 age group!)

I’ll update here if I get any other photos from the race photographer…

 

 

Barcelona Day 2 

We slept in a bit and then I got out for a quick run along the beach. We then purchased a day pass for the hop on hop off bus.  Our first stop was for the Cementiri Est de Poblenou, and then lunch. 
TBC – these are in reverse order but I’ll fix later. 

After lunch we walked along the board walk back to the bus, then jumped on it to the Sagrada Familia – I’ll do that in it’s own blog post!  From there we went to Park Guell, walked up and up and saw some amazing views.  Then we had a bit of an aventure getting to Tibidabo.  The phone said it was a 28 minute walk, which would have been faster than going back to our bus stop to get to the next stop, so we started walking.  We realized it looked to be much further so we jumped in a taxi which took us a long long ways.  There really wasn’t much to do a Tibidabo so we took a bus — a super crowded bus down the mountain.  From there it was a “subway tram” ride down to a normal sub way station, and from there a few trains toget to our bus.  The bus ride in was quite long and we were the only two on the bus, sitting up top in the front from to try to stay warm.  We grabbed some food at a Mediterranean place on La Rumbla, then some dessert, and finally got back to the hotel. 


Beech Mountain Xterra 5k

On the day I started my 46 revolution around the sun, I was talked in to running the Beech Mountain Xterra 5k.  There was also a 15k, which is much more my kind of thing, but timing wise I just couldn’t make it work — we had to get off the mountain and get R1 off to camp.  Plus Lucho suggested a hard 5k would be better for me with where I am in my training right now.

I got quite the birthday present — the young gun that must have gotten 90-120s ahead of me missed a turn, and so while I thought I was running for 2nd place, I came in to the finish and was told I won the race overall!  Hardest 5k I’ve ever run (not that I run many, it’s been over two years since the last); slowest 5k (28:11) I’ve run at least in the last 25 years if not ever…  But I’ll take the win!  (It’s the 1st time I’ve ever won a race outright!)

 

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The data shows I was in the 5:15 range on the downhill….

The Pursuit of Happiness

This article on irunfar.com came across my reader today:

http://www.irunfar.com/2016/07/the-pursuit-of-happiness.html

And a couple of quotes really stood out to me, especially in light of my DNF at Bryce:

At some point, and I forget exactly how his comment came about, he said something along the lines of “isn’t this what it’s all about? The pursuit of happiness…not the race as such, that’s just an excuse to get together…it seems to me that what’s important is the shared experience…for better or for worse this is an incredible moment.”

And:

Ultimately, it is not about the race, how fast or slow we run, it is about the people and the shared experiences, and that togetherness is for me what makes running in the mountains so meaningful.

This holds true for me for Bryce…  I had a great time at Bryce, both the family and friend time before and after, but also the race.  Would I liked to have finished?  Of course, but that wasn’t what was most important about the experience.

AT & UT day 16: Walnut Canyon and Flagstaff

Today  we made the short trek from Flagstaff to Walnut Canyon National Monument, to see the Indian ruins, and then just hung around Flagstaff for dining and shopping…

This sign at the Walnut Canyon visitor center shows just how much more there is to explore in this area!  But tomorrow we fly home, so it will have to be another trip…