Wednesday, December 31, 2008

McDonald Forest 15K

I've been running seriously for 6 years now, and the McDonald Forest 15K is the only race I've run every year. My performance has improved fairly steadily each year, except in 2004 when I nearly missed the race...the conditions were pretty bad too...very muddy. But even after racing this course 6 times, I'd still say I don't know exactly how to run this race.

2003 - 1:12:39 - Tonya's friends from grad school told me about the race...I had just run the Portland Marathon, my first marathon, earlier in the month. I obviously had a good experience because I've been back every year since.
2004 - 1:18:27 - Almost missed it...actually, probably should have skipped it, but I had already signed up. I had some trouble making it home from Boston...the Red Sox had just won their first World Series in 86 years and I decided I wanted to go see the victory parade! It was amazing! I was supposed to get home Saturday night, but I missed my connection to Portland in Chicago...the closest I could get to Portland that night was Seattle. I remember being pretty desparate to make it back in time for the race, so I flew into Seattle, rented a car, drove from Seattle to the Portland airport...that is a LONG drive, returned the rental car, picked up my car, and drove home...I got home about 4:00 AM. Needless to say, I was not in any shape to run a race.

video

video

2005 - 1:10:42 - Not a memorable year, I guess....
2006 - 1:09:20 - Got the Pain Train hooked....
2007 - 1:05:40 - Got my 5-year mug...thanks to Steve Storm for the pictures.



2008 - 1:04:32 - I was pretty excited about the race this year...I had some good 10Ks earlier in the month and it was shaping up to be a nice day with good trail conditions. I started off well behind the lead pack and was shocked when I hit the first mile in 5:48! I eased up a little in the next two miles before the big climb began. This was where I started to feel a little off...I think I might have hurt myself a little by running about 20 miles on the Friday before the race...I didn't feel like I had that spring in my step. Once the big climbs were out of the way, it was time for the sick downhill...if the mile markers were correct, I ran 4:40 for mile 8...I felt very much out of control. I ended up having a pretty good race...bettered my time from last year by over a minute...but I came away thinking I could still run the course faster. The question was, what parts did I need to work on.

Well, it just so happened that Sean Meissner had a great race that day and he posted his splits...so I thought I would do a comparison with my splits. It became pretty obvious I need to work on the Mile 5/6/7 split...I was losing almost a minute per mile on average to Sean here, and about 30 seconds per mile on average during the rest of the race. Great race, Sean...thanks for showing me how it's done!

Mile 1 - 5:48 --- 5:26 --- 0:22
Mile 2 - 6:24 --- 6:01 --- 0:23
Mile 3 - 6:34 --- 5:56 --- 0:38
Mile 4 - 7:08 --- 6:30 --- 0:38
Mile 5/6 - 17:53 --- 16:02 --- 1:51
Mile 7 - 6:59 --- 6:02 --- 0:57
Mile 8 - 4:40 --- 4:32 --- 0:08
Mile 9 - 7:37 --- 7:01 --- 0:36
Finish - 1:04:32 --- 58:50