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Leesburg 20k - Hills, Hills, Hills

Posted Aug 08 2010 5:20pm
This morning was the Leesburg 20k , which Coach George picked as our next " team " race.  I had originally planned on running the 10k, but after the disastrous experience at Rockville , I was afraid of the typical Leesburg 10k/20k super hot weather!  

Turns out I had nothing to fear, my car's thermometer read 64 as I drove to the race start.  It was a beautiful day for a run!  My goal for the race, since I hadn't tapered and Philadelphia Half is about 5 weeks away, is to get in my long run of 14 miles and try to turn the 2nd half into an equivalent marathon pace effort.

I knew some of the girls I was starting with have been putting in lots and lots of long runs for their training runs and this little 20k was going to be easy for them.  Since I ran a mile warmup with Jessica , the race was going to be just 1/2 mile shy of my longest run.  I was pretty focused on not looking at my watch and getting sucked into running it as a race, since I was unprepared and untapered and really just wanted to run comfortably.  

We went out and I definitely felt comfortable, my marathoning teammates were more comfortable at a faster pace, so they quickly dropped me, but I really wanted to keep it easy until the 2nd half.  I think I did a pretty good job, with the first 5 miles in the 8 minute range.  

They had changed the course since the last time I had run it and while it still had a steady incline the first half, followed by a steady decline the second, the race had some pretty tough rolling hills thrown in here and there.

Around mile 6, I started to try to pick it up.  I was a little worried that I should wait for the turnaround, but I felt pretty good, so I went with it.  I really had no idea what kind of pace I was doing.  I was trying to lap my watch at every mile marker, I may have clicked at the wrong marker at one point, but just based on my time for that one split, it seems a little off and maybe my teammate Jessica was right, the course was short.  

After the turnaround I really focused on going with the flow and just comfortably pushing it.  I felt I was running strong and I was pleased with that.  I had caught up with two of my teammates and tried to stay with them up what I thought was the last big uphill.  I then tried to stay focused on keeping good strong pace, I didn't look at my watch I was just going by feel.

I did a pretty good job keeping it together, but around mile 10, we started creeping up another hill, a really long uphill.  I tried to keep it together, but I found myself losing momentum.  My teammate Maria came gliding by and I tried to grab some of her momentum to help me up that hill.  It helped for a bit, (I  kept up enough to pose for the above pic) but as I looked around the next turn and saw more of the hill, I slowed down the rest of the hill and she took off.  Even after the course leveled out, I couldn't get my momentum back.

My overall time wound up being 1:33:12, which was good enough for 3rd in my age group and 2:20 PR.  I have to say with the exception of that last hill, I really thought that the hill workouts helped me out big time. Now I have to work on getting more endurance so I will able to finish strong at Philly.   I have 5 weeks to go, so I need to get it on.

For the most part, my teammates had some awesome times, PR's and just great training runs.  It's always fun to run and cheer everyone on during the race!  It's going to be really exciting once the marathon season begins and we get to see the fruits of their labor.

I'm not typically a fan of posting my split times or training times, as I think it has positive and negative effects and everyone runs differently.  BUT, I did want to share with my teammates who were concerned about the course being short what my garmin showed and see if they had similar readouts, my mile 7 is clearly short, not just distance but the time is way too fast for  lap, I was thinking I may have clicked the 10k marker in error?  But none of the other markers make up that time/distance.

I am also including the elevation readout so that you can see that my humongous hill at the end was only humongous in my mind.

Hope everyone got some great runs in this weekend and took advantage of this weather, as it looks like it's going to get hot as hell again!  Happy running's!
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