Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kilometers instead of miles

After finishing my recent cross country race I was feeling pretty burned out so I took it easy for a couple of weeks to unwind. When I started running again I felt like I needed to change something, but couldn't put my finger on it. I went out for an easy run and found after a few minutes that my Garmin was still measuring kilometers instead of miles, and realized this was exactly the kind of change I needed.

I've always measured my runs in miles; I don't know why, I guess because that's the system of measurement we use for everything else. But races are usually measured in kilometers, and my workouts have been increasingly focused on my races, so the metric system seems like a more natural fit.

Another nice thing about the change is that runs seem to go faster when my watch is chirping the splits each kilometer instead of each mile; it breaks the workouts into small increments, and you get more frequent feedback on pace. So for now I'm enjoying the fresh perspective.

Monday, November 3, 2014

USATF Cross Country

I took away two things from the 2014 USATF Utah Regional Cross Country Championship:

1. Cross Country is HARD!

2. Cross Country is definitely my favorite way to race.

I took out the first kilometer in 4:02, which was right around what I was shooting for. I was running hard but not all out, so I felt like I had some room to grow. But then kilometers 2, 3, and 4 had some hills. Quickly I was sucking air and trying not to panic. I had to slow down to about 4:20 per kilometer, but I told myself that it was OK to ease up, as long as I just kept going. The last half a kilometer or so was downhill so I was able to pick up the pace and have a strong finish.

The best thing about races is having other people to challenge you. During the middle portion I was hanging right behind these three guys that really helped pull me up the hills. And near the end a woman was coming up behind me, and I definitely wasn't about to get chicked, so I dug a little deeper to stay ahead of her.

My time was 21:59 (much slower than I had anticipated) but my Garmin said that the course was a little long, so my 5K time was actually closer to 21 minutes. It was fun, though, and definitely reminded me of my old XC days back in High School.

The race was a good indicator of where my fitness is at. My biggest asset right now is my leg strength; I've been lifting a lot in the last two months, and it definitely translated into a smooth, powerful stride. But my biggest liability was my lung capacity; 6:52 per mile on rolling hills was definitely as much air as I could move. I'll have to do some more long intervals to raise that threshold.

Thanks to my bro Court for taking these pics, and Marissa and Keaton for coming out to watch me run!