Hi! My name is Ken. I'm going to periodically write about running, writing, and a number of other topics. Please feel free to read my posts and provide your comments. If you have a question about any topic, leave a message and I'll try to help you get the information you're looking for. Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Simulating Race Conditions

Several posts ago, I mentioned my intention to run the Woodstock Memorial Day 10K.  Also, I said that this race was a difficult one because the last .9 miles goes 425 feet uphill. I've heard that the last hill has made people actually cry, not a good selling point for the race organizers. However, the first five miles are either downhill or flat so that's better. I grew up on top of a small mountain in Eastern Connecticut so what better place to look to simulate this course. It's close to where I live now and I know the area extremely well. I contemplated driving out to the race course yesterday though, but it's over 45 minutes away and in unfamiliar territory too.
With a somewhat rainy forecast for the morning in mind, I headed out to my old stomping grounds. It was only slightly drizzling when I parked my car and starting stretching. I planned to do two loops of a 2.5 mile course, which had 1.6 miles of downhill/flat running followed by a .9 mile long hill, up 320 feet. 
I started out at a nice steady pace and  was only out for about five minutes when the sky opened up. My shoes got immediately soaked and I had to avoid almost flash flood conditions as I tackled the first loop. I hit the 1.6 mile mark at 12:40, 7:55 pace. That was okay given the conditions and the fact that I wanted to run the first loop conservatively to see how I felt. Then I started the hill. The rain was still coming down fairly hard, but at least it had let up a little. I kept up a nice pace, leaning forward into the hill, as I pumped my arms back and forth. About a quarter of the way up, there are power lines that run perpendicular to the road. Many times growing up, I would see deer running along this area and across the road. I didn't see any deer today though. I crested the hill at the 2.5 mile mark at 21:49. I had covered the hill at a pace slightly slower than a 9:00 pace.    Not too bad, I thought, as I rounded the corner and started the second loop.
A quarter mile down the road, I pulled my arms out of my soaked tee shirt so that it was now just dangling from my neck. At the 4.0 mile mark, a car just in front of me splashed through a puddle and it sent water flying sixty feet in all directions. I was spared from this tidal wave because I hadn't reached that spot yet. As the person drove by, I couldn't help but smile and wave. It really didn't matter if I had gotten splashed though because I was already drenched. 

My smile turned serious shortly thereafter as I neared the hill for the second time. The rain had almost stopped, but there was a river of water running down the hill, which made it difficult for me to run along the side of the road.  I again started up the hill with a determined attitude. I wanted to at least do the second loop at the same speed if not faster. My feet did feel like I had ankle weights on though, which didn't help much. Let me be honest with you, I decided that I liked this hill or so I kept telling myself. I'm told that if you say something enough times, you start to believe it, even if it's not necessarily true. When I had almost reached the finish, I picked up my pace and worked to the finish. I hit my watch and stopped to catch my breath. After several seconds, I looked to see my time, which read  43:36. Wait a minute here. My first leg was run in 21:49. My math revealed that I had run the second loop in 21:47, a 2 second negative split. I can live with that.

Time with tell if this training will actually help me in the race. I plan on trying to do the same thing next Sunday except I might try to do the loop three times at a slightly faster pace. But who knows. Maybe I'll actually go out and run the actual course if I can find the time.


  1. This sounds like a great way to prepare for the grueling hill at the end of your race. Great job!

  2. Hey Vanessa,

    I'm still feeling the effects of that double loop today. I did get in a 5 mile run though and the leg stiffness seems to have been relieved. That's good. Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Talk about determination! All the rain and puddles would have sent me running straight back to my car long before I completed the course. Nice job!


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