Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Harborview 8k Race Recap (Steelhead Build: Week 6)

My 2017 race season kicked off on Saturday night at the inaugural Harborview 8k in Port Washington.  Obviously my focus this year is on multisport racing, not road racing, but this race was a) a night race b) a hard to find distance c) a distance I haven't raced in 5 years and d) associated with a Pirate Festival, so...why not!?!?

Mr. R&R and I got to Port Washington a bit early so we'd have time to find parking, pick up our packets, and scope out the Pirate Festival.  Walking from the car to packet pick up I was boiling to death, but as soon as we walked out onto the pier it was freezing!  I've lived close to Lake Michigan my entire life and I'm no stranger to hearing 'cooler temperatures near the lake' but this was something else.  Pick up was a breeze and right next to Wisconsin's only tall ship, the Dennis Sullivan. 

We walked through the Pirate Festival (lots of cosplay), checked out the ginormous fish swimming in the harbor (did not make me want to swim in Lake Michigan), and sized up the competition! 

Mr. R&R and I went back to the car to drop off our sweats and grab our race belts and let me tell you - I did not want to walk back onto the pier where it was cold and windy!

There was only about 20 minutes to go until gun time, but it was a cold wait.  I occupied myself by trotting after Mr. R&R doing a warm up jog, strides, and stretching.  Finally, the announcer called us onto the pier.  The pier (on the right side of the picture above) was really narrow, so I seeded myself a little farther forward than I normally would have in hopes of getting a clean start.

The count down came.  5...4...3...2...1...GO!  And we were off.  I knew from the beginning that I was going to get passed a ton in the beginning, but at least I didn't spend the first 1/4 mile trying to dodge around people.  As soon as I hit the end of the pier it was like someone opened an oven door.  The wall of heat was insane. We took a couple of quick turns and I found myself running right through the Pirate Festival!  I focused on taking even breaths, controlling my pace, and high five-ing little kids as I ran past.  After the festival there was a short stretch of flat road followed by a massive, ugly hill.  I dropped to a power walk to lower my heart rate  before remembering that I had some goals for this race and picked it back up.

My race goals were simple:

#1 The Nearly Foolproof Goal: Beat my 8k time from 2012 (50:07).  To do this, all I had to do was maintain a 10:04/mile pace or faster.  I was 99.999% sure this was possible even if everything went to hell.

#2 The Probable Goal: Finish in under 50 minutes (pace of 10:03/mile or faster).

#3 The Stretch Goal: Finish in under 48 minutes (pace of 9:51/mile or faster).

Coming back down the monster hill, I hit Mile 1 in 9:19.  This was encouraging since I still 3.97 miles to go and since I tend to slow down as the miles pass I was banking time.

We turned onto the Ozaukee Interurban trail and a subtle downhill. Mile 2 clicked by in 9:27 - still way ahead of plan!  I was pleasantly inside my own head until some random girl came up behind me blasting music on her phone - without headphones!  There were definitely some WTF thoughts running through my head at that point. I briefly considered saying something to the effect of "Dude, did it ever occur to you that not everyone enjoys listening to slow country tunes as much as you do?" I really thought about saying something when she started singing!  I realized that all this irritation was actually sucking energy from me and that was something I couldn't afford, so I focused on tuning it out and getting back inside my head - and it worked.  My pace started falling again.

Just after we turned off the Interurban Trail there was another water station (again with no water and a few boiling hot cups of blue Gatorade) and the Mile 3 marker!  I was absolutely amazed to see 9:04 on my watch.  I started having thoughts of what was possible.  My watch was set to show current pace, distance, and average pace for the entire run and I was seeing an average far below even my stretch goal. Of course, then shit got real.  Mile 4 was a whole lot of uphill climbs and my pace went to crap since I took a couple of walk breaks up the hills.  I hit the Mile 4 marker in 10:08.  Ugh.

Fortunately, what goes up must come down. As soon as I topped that last hill there was a long, beautiful stretch of downhill.  I just let go and let my legs and gravity do their thing. My pace for that stretch ranged between 7:30-8:22/mile.  It was awesome!  After that it was a quick turn over a lighted bridge and a wall of cool air hit me as I turned back out toward the water.  There was less than half a mile left and I was pacing in the 8's.  It was starting to hurt, but there was no way I was letting up now.  I took the final turn toward home, saw Mr. R&R, and started sprinting for the line.

I crossed the finish line in 46:08 - eclipsing my 5 year old PR by 3 minutes and 59 seconds! 

I may be looking down, but I liked what I saw!

Going into this race, I knew that setting a new PR was almost a given as long as I didn't blow up completely, but what actually happened surprised the hell out of me.  I guess all this tri training is paying dividends a little early!

Time: 46:08 (9:17/mile pace)
Overall Place: 182/582
Gender Place: 89/413
Age Group Place: 19/83 (F35-39)

Up next: Elkhart Lake Sprint Triathlon on June 10th.

Week 6 Stats:
Swim:    1,986 yards (1.13 miles) - all open water
Bike:      41.5 miles
Run:        8.27 miles
Strength: 1 session (30 minutes)

Total Time:       5 hours, 39 minutes
Total Distance: 50.90 miles

Cumulative Distance: 1020.52 miles - about the distance from Milwaukee to Orlando, Florida.  Say hi to Mickey for me!

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