Sunday, March 15, 2009

Winter Park Road Race 2009 - Race Report

"Finishing the WPRR"

Ok, before I begin let me get this off my chest.

This finish line picture makes me look fat! Next time the Amphipod belt goes UNDER the t-shirt.

Ok, now that I got that out of the way, I can continue to the race report...

Short version:
Goal: Under 1:10 - enjoy the race
Stretch goal: 1:05 (and still enjoy the race)
Actual: 1:05:10 with a negative split, no less! And - I did enjoy the race!

Longer version:

The WPRR is a favorite local race for a few reasons. It is a 10K distance (there aren't many local races at that distance) and it is held in beautiful Winter Park, Florida - where you run through some beautiful neighborhoods around some quaint lakes, by some very expensive homes, and thankfully, under lots of shade provided by the large oak trees that dominate the route. Since the race is held in March, the weather is usually ideal.

This is also the first race I try training for after running the Disney Marathon. At least, that has been the plan for the past 2 years - but this year, like last year, things didn't work out as hoped. Last year I couldn't get the workouts in for my 10K training. This year, in addition to working full time, I started graduate school. That, combined with moving the race up 2 weeks earlier, made it impossible to properly train for a PR. I decided to run the race for "fun" since my husband was running and my older daughter was signing up for the 2 mile race.

And this year, the t-shirts ROCK. Wicking t-shirts with different men and women styles!

First up, the 2 mile race. My 13 year old running partner and I had been running on and off for a few weeks. She was ready to run 2 miles! It was still a bit dark at 7 am when her race started.

Daughter finishing the Winter Park Road Race 2 Miler

She finished her race in 23:34. What a great job!!! After she finished, we had about 5 minutes to get set for the 10K start at 7:30 am.

My husband and I lined up behind the 10 min/mile area - toward the back. Finally, the familiar air horn sounded and we were off. My husband ran with me for about a half mile before he took off ahead of me at his pace. I then settled into my own rhythm for the race.

I passed mile 1 at 10:28, AHR = 144 bpm (according to my Garmin data) - I was happy with that pace. I wanted to stay under an 11 min/mi and I hadn't gone out too fast. I decided not to take walking breaks but would try to walk either at the mile marks or during the water stops. I felt pretty good after 1 mile so I just kept going.

Mile 2 was in 10:29, AHR = 160 bpm.. I was keeping a steady pace. And there was a water stop between mile 1 and 2 where I walked through just to drink the water - then continued on the run. I was still feeling pretty comfortable.

Mile 3 was in 10:20, AHR = 166 bpm - a tad faster than the first two miles. Probably because there were no water stops between mile 2 and 3. A few observations and thoughts while running: 1) I was passing people who seemed way out of breath for so early in the race. I was feeling their pain! I was still relaxed and running comfortably but on tempo. 2) It was pretty warm...and I was extremely thankful for the trees. 3) I had a good strategy for the "hills". There are a few areas where the course goes up and down hill, although nothing like my San Diego run. For the up hills I just shortened the stride and kept the turnover up. For the down hills I relaxed and let gravity take me down.

Mile 4 was in 10:26, AHR = 170 bpm. There was 1 water stop where I also took a Clif Shot. I was still maintaining my pace from the beginning. I was really enjoying the view along the route this year and checking out the homes along the way with amazement. The houses were older but large and very nicely done - but way beyond my means :-)

Mile 5 was in 10:27, AHR = 169 bpm. Consistency! I felt like I was slowing down so I spent time focusing on keeping my pace up. It was in the 4-5 mile time period where my heart rate began to get "up there". Since my Mile 4 AHR was 170 bpm during mile 5 I shortened my stride and took it easy... I realized during this race that I wasn't being passed the entire time...but that in the last couple of miles I was keeping up or passing other folks. As I ran along and passed one runner, I heard my name from was Cheryl, a running friend I knew through Maddy who I have met at a number of races including Disney's Goofy this past year. I ran with her and we chatted a bit. She told me that she had injured her hip doing Goofy and was just getting back into racing. I asked if she was running San Diego with Maddy and she told me she was training for the Seattle Marathon in June. She told me not to worry about waiting for her - so I said goodbye and pressed for a strong finish.

Mile 6 was in 10:01, AHR = 174 bpm. I sped up a bit since I knew I was in my last mile. I recognized the area and knew that we were close. As I made the last turn before running down Park Avenue on the final stretch, there were a couple of Track Shack folks cheering the runners on. As I was running by I heard one of them yell, "Hey, I know you, I know you, you are Christina!" I looked back and waved and she waved at me, then waved me to go on and finish.

I started to pick up my pace for the final part. I spotted my husband and girls about .1 from the finish - cheering me on. I looked at my watch and realized I was close to my 1:05 stretch goal so I used what gas I had left to go for a strong finish. I focused on relaxing and turnover...AHR = 182 bpm

And then, I was finished! I had run a good race. I set a steady pace, enjoyed the race, and even hit my goal time of 1:05:10, AHR = 165 bpm, MHR = 187 bpm.

And the biggest surprise? I had run a negative split! I ran the first 3 miles in 31:07 and the second 3 miles in 30:54 (with the last bit in 3 min per Garmin). I think I ran the best race I have ever run - going out just right, pacing just right and very consistently, and finishing well. I was spent at the end - but the right amount of "spent" for a race.

How did hubby do? He ran a 10K PR time of 59:06.


Maddy said...

Fantastic job Chris!

Just as I suspected, I was wishing I had just registered and run.

It sounds like you had a great time! And you had fun! That was the point!

ShirleyPerly said...

CONGRATS on your race!! And to Jim and your daughter too!

Great to see you all before the race. I wanted to hang around until you finished but had to leave to get to my bike workout before it warmed up even more. Glad you all ran so well!

Rural Runner E said...

Fist, I need to get something off my chest: you look are running and finishing a race.
Great Job.

Second, congrats to your daughter as well.

Irish Blue said...

Nice job for the whole family! I can never do negative splits...very good pacing.