Saturday, February 14, 2009

Run the Reagan

Run the Reagan was somewhat uneventful. I woke up this morning to the sounds of rain falling. I knew I would run the race either way but would prefer a light rain as opposed to the downpour I heard. Luckily the rain passed rather quickly. I live just around the corner and had picked up my number already so felt blessed to be able to leave the house around 7:15 as opposed to some of the bigger races that require crazy departure times.

This race is run on a local highway that is blocked off to traffic for the day. It is a low key event, not huge numbers of runners as compared to the ING or Peachtree and LOTS of things for significant others with kids to do while waiting for their runners to cross the finish line. There are 4 races in all - a half-marathon, 10k, 5k and one mile fun run.

I love that the race is not too crowded. I got out of my car at 7:40 and made a short walk from the Tar-jay parking lot to the porta-potties. At 7:52 at the front of the line... 7:55 making a fast walk to the start line and still have a couple of minutes to chat up fellow runners before the start. How great is that? I am not certain how many runners were participating in the half, the numbers were from 1 to 600 but am not sure they actually had that many. I was 433 so I suppose it is possible.

The challenge for me during this race was to keep my heart rate in zones 1-3. Even though it is a "race" my FLU challenge for the coveted points is to stay out of zone 4 (they can check your heart rate monitor so they will know...). Knowing this, I treated this as a training run with my 500+ friends. Based on my experience at Stone Mountain, I knew keeping out of zone four would be a challenge. For the most part, I found that I had to slow down to a snail's pace on the uphills and then could make up time on the downhills as my heart rate tends to fall on the downhill slopes.

I will say, I will be glad after tomorrow when this zone challenge is over as it is very difficult to hold back. On the flip side, I did feel like I had a lot of energy at the end of the race which I would assume is from keeping the pace down. I am not certain of my time but think I was running around 10:30 minute miles - normally I am in the 9:15 minute range. The last four miles are a slow steady uphill so had to fight to stay in zone 3 (I would not allow myself to stop and walk, I am hard on myself that way). At the end I just gave up and ran my normal pace for the last mile. In retrospect, that was so stupid. If I was going to give up on the challenge at the end then why not just run the whole race at my normal pace? Oh well :) We are given a 3% grace period on total calories burned in zone 4 as compared to the other zones so I should still make it. I only ran one mile which would be around 100 calories.

The race course itself isn't all that scenic. It is a highway after all, which I did think it was cool to run on the highway with no cars in sight. It is just an out and back with water stops and not much else. Don't get me wrong, it was a challenging, well planned run and all, I just like to have distractions along the way. A few marching bands or cheerleaders or interesting scenery. Perhaps if I didn't take this particular Parkway every single day of my life to work and the gym it would not seem so familiar. For you locals, to give you some perspective on the distance, the race was from the end of the Parkway at 124, past Hwy 29, almost to Pleasant Hill where the Parkway ends.

It started raining lightly several miles into the race and was misty all the way to the end. For some reason, I had decided not to wear a hat and am not sure what I was thinking so I was pretty much a wet, wind blown rat by the time I got to the end. I only wish I had a photo to show you of how glorious I looked (or not) :) Since I do not have a picture of my glorious bird's nest hairdo post-race, I will insert a pic of the medal. I really like the design..

Fun morning, fun race. Another training run in the books! Tomorrow, I have a bike workout followed by strength training and then I am going to try and see Confessions of a Shopaholic. I LOVE the series of books, I hope the movie is just as funny!


H said...

Sorry, I just ran across your blog looking for others who ran the Reagan... what is this heart rate challenge thing? Have you had your true max tested? Just curious!

Lindsay said...

way to try to stay in your zones! it's hard enough to run a race as just a training run, let alone to be worrying about hr!! glad you had fun!

Lora Abernathy said...

Hey! Just came across your blog. I'm doing a Half-Ironman this year, too, and - as it turns out - on the same day as you. I'm up here in Ohio and this'll be my second season of tris. I look forward to reading about your journey. Good for you!

- Lora

ShirleyPerly said...

How fortunate to live to conveniently close to a race!

Good job trying to manage your HR zones. During a race I don't know if I could do that. Then again Z4 would put me at 180+ beats so I probably wouldn't want to be there too long.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and best of luck to you on your half iron training!

Mary Elizabeth (MErider) said...

Hi Karen, I've been remiss and catching up with your blog this morning. Thanks for The Daily Plate link! And congrats on this race. I'm never good at tracking my HR and should. It really does improve output.