Predictions for the TC Loony Challenge

>> Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This post is structured like this (with the first one being the longest):

I. Goal Times
II. Recent Training
III. Course
IV. Clothing
V. Taper

I. Goal Times:

There are so many variables, but here's my most "realistic" (and slightly optimistic) guess:

Saturday, 7:30 am, TC 10K: 38:xx
Saturday, 9:00 am, TC 5K: 19:xx

Combined 10K and 5K time: 57:30
(for example: 38:30 and 19:00)

Sunday, 7:00 am, TC 10 Mile: 1:03:xx

Total time: 2:01:00

OK, so where do I begin with all the different variables and how this can all go out the window in no time? I really have no idea how to run the first 2 races on Saturday. How much do I leave "in the tank?" These numbers are hard to predict when starting 3 races within 24 hours of each other.

My initial plan was to run the 10K a bit easier, race the 5K a bit harder, and then just do what I could do for the 10 Mile. But that was my ego talking - I didn't want to see a super slow 5K result. Then as Thomas obviously pointed out when I interviewed him (he was last year's "Loony Challenge" winner), we can "make up" the most time in the 10 Mile. If I were to try to get a minute faster in the 5K, that'd maybe cost me 2 minutes in the 10 Mile the next day (and a lot more suffering). So my 5K time would look nicer, but my overall time would be worse. Bad idea.

Here's what I'll be thinking about during the 10K and 5K: Thomas mentioned feeling better than he thought he would during the 10 Mile the next day. So how much CAN I push during the 10K and 5K? Just yesterday, I ran into speedy Jenny Wilcox - you might remember her as the "soccer mom" who had a throw-down with me at the Mosquito Man duathlon 4 years ago:

Jenny and I after our race. (HERE'S the awesome race report.)

Anyway, Jenny's done a "weekend of races" like this too (I think she did a half marathon followed by a marathon the next day), and she said that she didn't feel nearly as bad as she thought she would during the marathon. So WHAT'S THE PERFECT BALANCE OF "SPEED" and "EASY ENOUGH TO FEEL GOOD TOMORROW" WHEN DOING A WEEKEND OF RACES LIKE THIS? Who knows. That's the problem. As I told Jenny, "During the race, I could feel nice and easy with a 37:00 10K, or I could feel like I'm over-doing it by trying to keep it under 40:00."

II. Recent Training:

In all of my recent 10-11.5 mile runs, my "race pace" 5-6 miles near the middle have been ran at 6:12 to 6:20 pace (AVERAGE pace for those miles - I can't keep EVERY mile between 6:12 and 6:20). Being that was the middle of a long run, I should hopefully be able to run my 10K just a bit faster than that and NOT feel dead. Right? A 38:30 10K is 6:11 pace, a 19:00 5K is 6:07 pace, and a 1:03:30 10 Mile is 6:21 pace. I THINK that all sounds do-able based on my last 2 months of training. Maybe the 10K will have to be a bit slower, and maybe the 10 Mile will start to really hurt and slow up a bit too. But it's something to shoot for.

And 3 weeks ago was the biggest week of running (36.19 miles) since August of 2013!

(I got a bad sacral/hip injury in September of 2013 and was working my way back until a bad ankle sprain in April. I really just felt like I started "training" again in August.) Those 4 runs during that week were a long run, a descending tempo run, a easy run, and another long run. Because of that big week, I backed off a bit the next week, and then raced the Treadman Duathlon that weekend.

III. Course:

Both of Saturday's races start with a not-so-fun uphill, but then we get to enjoy that downhill on our way to the finish (as I'll be trying NOT to sprint too hard!):

10K elevation chart: big climb, flat near the middle of the "out" and "back,"
with a little climb at the middle over Ayd Mill Road.

5K elevation chart: big climb and then rollers.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the 10 Mile on Sunday has a few extra hills this year. And then we have the same final downhill mile to the finish. "Does the downhill help?" you ask? Well, in 2011, I ran the TC 10 in 1:01:20 (6:08 pace), and my final mile was FASTER than my 5K PR pace! It was a 5:27. OK, I maybe saved a little too much for that kick...

IV. Clothing:

I hope to have a wardrobe change on Saturday between the races so I can race in both my "Tutti Frutti" shorts and my "Pinky and the Brain" shorts:

Both at the Gear West Duathlon (different years).

But Sunday's outfit for the 10 Mile is set. Here's a photo from each of the 3 times I've ran the TC 10, and I think it's pretty easy to guess what I'll be wearing this year:

2009, 2010 (the 59:05 year), and 2011.


V. Taper:

Last Wednesday was my last long, hard run. Friday I did a nasty middle-distance run, and Sunday I did an easy run with some 2 minute pick-ups. Today I'll be heading out with Charlie for about 6 easy miles with the stroller.

I did my last PT leg workout last week, and now they're resting up. Yesterday, I did my last good core workout. I'll be doing some strength work leading up to the race, but now it's all easy stuff. I mentioned it a few weeks ago: I canNOT rest up too much leading up to this big weekend.

The BIGGEST mistake I think I could easily make this weekend is racing the 10K too hard. I cannot afford to put myself through too much pain and then have heavy legs for the rest of the weekend just to shave a minute off the first race.

The second biggest mistake would be not recovering properly (between the back-to-back 10K and 5K, and during the rest of the day before the 10 Mile on Sunday). Tim pointed out that was a major issue of his last year when I interviewed him about it, and Coach Liz stressed the importance of that too (in the same interview).

Bottom line: if I manage to break 2:00:00, that would be amazing! And on the other side, I really hope I can keep it under 2:05:00. That's a pretty small window from "AMAZING" to "OH CRAP," so we'll see what happens. Keep an eye on my twitter account for weekend updates! (It's also embedded here on the sidebar of my blog.) This should be good...


Shinianen 8:32 AM, September 30, 2014  

Good luck! And, a unicorn will be watching for you around mile 8 / TC Running Company music area!!

Steve Stenzel 8:36 AM, September 30, 2014  

I'll look for the unicorn!! Snap a pic if you can as I run past! :)

Evan Roberts 9:21 AM, September 30, 2014  

Is that the same white minivan in the background in two of the 10 mile photos?

Steve Stenzel 2:27 PM, September 30, 2014  

Oh God, Evan... it might be!

(t looks like it could be the same year in those photos, but I'm wearing different shoes, so I promise they are a year apart.)

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