Saturday, March 24, 2012

ARR South Mountain 20K Classic Race Report

I ran this race last year knowing that there would be hills, but when I actually encountered them out on the course, it deflated me a bit. I had no strategy for hills and no expectation for having a fun successful race. I finished in 2:12 and change, not too bad at the time. This year, I had expectations to beat that time, and possibly come in sub-2:00.

I got a 2:00:05 on the chip time, and sub 2:00 on my Garmin --Personal Record!

The Boring Runner had advised me to survive the hills as best as I could and attack the downhills to get time back in the bank. The course goes by mentally quick, and the out and back route makes it seem like it's going by even quicker. I was at mile 8 before I really started yearning for finish line, and after mile 9, it eases up a lot. If you aren't familiar with the San Juan South Mountain route, it looks like this
So, up a bit, down down down, then up a bit, then all of it in reverse. The nice part is that you finish on a downhill for about 2 miles, so you get to come through the chute looking good. Last year, the downhills were in the 9:30 range. This year, there were some miles in the 8's, and not so many super slow miles.
Splits were (numbers in parenthesis are the splits from last year):
9:23 (9:40)
10:10 (11:00)
9:38 (10:26)
8:39 (9:20)
8:28 (9:28)
9:32 (10:09)
10:19 (10:59)
10:47 (11:43)
11:43 ouch (12:09)
10:44 (12:15)
8:58 (9:40)
9:10 (9:59)
9:08 final segment (9:16)

A big improvement over last year. I've lost about 18 pounds since Jan. 1 on a sweets-free diet, and have also logged  many more miles per week on average. Last March, I ran 4 times total (including the race) for a total of 30 miles. This March, I have logged almost 90 miles in 15 runs so far, and this will be my first ever +100 mile month.

This event was designed to be a litmus test for the Pasadena 1/2 Marathon in May. My main 2012 running goal is to break 2:00 in the half marathon distance. The Pasadena course hills look like this:

A relatively benign set of hills in the first half of the race, then a monster uphill moving away from the Rose Bowl, and a nice downhill finish. If you have been reading this blog lately, you know that my mind is centering around hills and how to improve on them. Almost all of my runs are on flat roads around here, so when I have to run on real elevated routes, I get a big dose of "I told you so's" from one of my alter egos.
Come on in loonies! Plenty of room in here!
A big thanks to Arizona Road Racers for another well-organized event. As much as I didn't want to face the hills again, this was fun, and I will be back next year to record a time that has "1" as the first number.


RunningLaur said...

Great work at the race, Jeff! You're definitely improving, and I can't wait to see you break that 2:00 half barrier!!
I bet if you finish your long runs heading up towards Camelback (to some of those fancy neighborhoods) it'd be a good simulation for Pasadena's course. Hills on tired legs will be good practice!

Mandi Runs said...

Great race! You rocked it!!