On July 12th, I ran the Half Marathon distance of the Zoom Quarry Lakes run in Fremont. Zoom Running Events (which is affiliated with Coastal Trail Runs) is a fantastic, local organizer and always puts on a quality event! The event had 5K, 10K and Half distance options and drew a field of 43, 59, and 96 respectively. Zoom’s events are smaller, but the quality is up there with the big events…and in some respects & IMHO, better! My first marathon was a Zoom event, so they have a special place in my runner’s heart.
The weather was great – about 59 at the start and no wind to speak of. It probably warmed up to the mid sixties/low seventies at the finish… Again, perfect!
The half marathon course was loop/pair of out-and-backs that took place in the Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation area and along the Alameda Creek Trail. It was a mix of crushed rock and paved trails that was nice and flat. As with all Zoom (and Coastal) events, course management and marking was great, though there was some confusion at the 4 mile mark and a few runners took a wrong turn. When I hit that point, a few of us scratched our heads, I pulled out my iPhone and checked the course map on their website, and we went straight – which was correct! Nice having connectivity on the course!
Volunteers for Zoom events and their aid stations are always excellent and Quarry Lakes was no different. The volunteers are friendly and encouraging and the snacks are great quality, with a good variety, and they never run out! The finish area had great food and drinks as well and offered a great environment to recover and chat with other runners. [I had to laugh at one point: I was running up to a guy who was wearing the same CEP compression sleeves AND the same color KT Tape and application on his outer knee. I joked about it when I passed him, though he eventually passed and finished ahead of me. We talked IT band, stretches, and foam rollers at the finish area!]
- Garmin time: 2:03:11 at an 9:25/mile pace.
- Official time: 2:03:07 at an 9:24/mile pace.
So, a week before the run, my doctor had given me the diagnosis for my knee issues I’d been having for a while. It turned out it wasn’t my knee – it was my IT band. In the week prior to Zoom Quarry Lakes, I had been researching how to address IT band syndrome, but had not really settled on anything. Even so, I knew I was running this event, mainly to keep my race-a-month streak going – which was at 20 months. The kicker and concerning part was that the previous Sunday, I had a totally sucky long run and DNF’d my workout…a first for me. I was nervous about Quarry Lakes, but determined to run.
My strategy was:
- Sticking with the Galloway RUN-WALK-RUN™ process that worked for me on the San Francisco Marathon – Second Half. By Quarry Lakes, though, I had modified the ratio to a 3:1 run/walk set-up. I found that the shorter run period lessened the discomfort I had. Even so, the previous Sunday’s DNF haunted me a bit…
- For the SF Half, I had switch to my cushy Hoka One One Stinson EVOs and wore them again for Quarry Lakes.
- I also used KT Tape again, using the outer knee application which also works for IT band issues.
- Finally, I simply decided that I was going to have a nice run, without being too concerned with time, and walk the IT band issues off if they appeared during the run. I purposely set no time goal for the run.
As we lined up, I placed myself in the middle of the pack. The 10K and half distances started at the same time, so I decided that I would forgo the 3:1 ratio for the first few miles to get ahead of the main group. At about the 15 minute mark, I went back to the 3:1 ratio and kept that up pretty much the rest of the run.
Things went pretty good and I did the “pass, get passed, then pass again” thing with the same group of people for most of the run. In fact, a woman came up to me at the finish line and asked what program or process I was following. We had been pacing closely (“pass, get passed, then pass again”), but at about the half-way mark, she tired and slowed considerably. I shared my current injury/situation and told about the RUN-WALK-RUN™ process. She seemed sold on it and I told her that, once I got past the stigma I placed on myself about walking, I was fine with it, saw the benefits, and ultimately results.
At about the 11 mile mark, my calves started cramping, so I walked a little more frequently, tweaking the run/walk ratio based on how they felt rather than the clock. My goal was to run flat out at the finish and it was all I could do to manage the cramping and not walk for the final quarter mile…but I ran!
Even with that hiccup, I still finished with a better time than I had in San Francisco – by one minute, eight seconds! BOOYAH!!
With my frustration (and nervousness) from the previous Sunday’s DNF and the fact that I wasn’t planning to run this full out, I modified my normal pre-race carb loading plan – OK, I basically bagged it! I did eat spaghetti the night before! I just wasn’t motivated… I did follow my usual race fueling plan (bagel at -3 hours, GU at -45 min, GU & salt tab at -15 minutes, and 21oz of GU Brew, an additional salt tab a 1:00:00, and GU Gels along the way [starting at mile 6 and then every 3].)
One thing that was a late add to the training program was using a foam roller on my IT band. OK, I only started using it the night before so I can’t attribute any sweeping success to it; but, the fact that I was able to run/walk 13.1 after DNFing six days earlier was encouraging. I am still new to the form roller, but people seem to think it works for ITBS…so I am trying it and early impressions are that it works.
- Bottom line: I finished with a smile and faster than my previous run – I count that a success.
- Post-race meal: Saturday is pancake day at my house (two orders for me from McDonald’s to be specific), and I was bummed that I would miss it that day. However, I actually finished in time to race homeward and meet my wife and mother-in-law for breakfast…even though I was a bit (as my wife put it) “stinky and sweaty.” I got to the restaurant, slouched down in the car and wiped down with a towel and a few Wrips, and changed in to the Zoom Quarry Lakes tech shirt I just earned…and enjoyed my Saturday-morning pancakes!
- Takeaways: The run/walk ratio thing works, but I do miss continuously running. The foam roller is my new friend…we’ll be spending some quality time together!
Training Journal – 7/25/13:
- Current plan: Mix of running and biking
- Today’s session: 8 mile run
- Comments: I did 8.13 miles of continuous running @ 8:26 avg pace [WHOOP, WHOOP!]