Beethoven 15k Race Recap and Why Negative Splits Might Be The Thing For Me

I’m using the Hal Higdon Advanced II training plan to get ready for the Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon on March 22nd. My goal is to get a 3:43 or better and re-qualify for Boston and PR. I would LOVE to be able to get a sub-3:40, but since I started my training and speed late, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to crank that out. But I’m sure gonna try! On Hal’s schedule last week was a half marathon race. Since I didn’t see one that I could go to, I decided to switch weeks up and run the 15k and some bonus miles this weekend and did this week’s workout LAST weekend. I’m amazed at how the change in schedule has allowed me to miss some really crappy weather to run in, so yea me! Fist bump.

This was Friday night. It continued into Saturday. Yikes.

This was Friday night. It continued into Saturday. And I’m guessing the humidity was slightly closer to 100%.

I had Friday AND Saturday off this week, which was so awesome I almost felt guilty, then I looked ahead at the schedule and realized that no, I’ve got it coming. I knew a lot of people who were going to be at the race, so I was looking forward to it, and yet again, the downpours, wind, and crap had moved out of our area by race eve. The timing couldn’t have been better, as race morning was going to be cold but clear and sunny with little wind, if any. I LOVE to race in the cold. Not “freeze your face off” cold, but t-shirt, tights, and gloves cold.

I had a pretty hefty goal to run the 15k at 7:45’s, but it was more of a time trial so I could see where I was in pacing, speed ability, and endurance. I had nothing at stake and nothing to lose if it wasn’t going to work, but deep down, I had doubts. I know, shocker, isn’t it? Maybe it’s just so I wont be disappointed, maybe that’s my defense mechanism, but it’s getting old. The timing of the race was a little weird (9:00, which is late for me), and I did NOT want to run out of energy, so I ate a peanut butter sandwich before I left home, along with my typical small glass of orange juice. I grabbed a banana, granola bar, chomps, and two energy gels just to have. I have been very hungry lately, so wanted to be prepared!

I got there in plenty of time, picked up my packet, and had my 2 mile warm up to do. It felt like crap and turned into 1.6 miles. I wasn’t out of breath necessarily, but my stomach was bothering me a little bit, which it was when I got up, so that had nothing to do with my nutrition. But I felt like crap anyway.  “Oh well, SHIT!” was what I thought. Having a bad warm up before a race is nothing new. In fact, the day before Boston, my 20 minute run was one of the worst runs I’d had the entire training cycle. Heavy breathing, no energy. It. Was. Horrible. So I’m not all that upset when it happens anymore, but I was looking to adjust my goals. I thought, “let’s try negative splits”. I was thinking of that anyway, but decided to go ahead and start slow and go from there. I ate the chomps and granola bar, got new gum, and found some peeps to hang with.

I planned to run in my Adidas Boosts, but I was hesitant since they didn’t always feel like they fit right. I decided at the last minute to go ahead and wear them, and if they didn’t work, I’d know after the race.

It was race time. The guy said, “Ready, set, GO!!” and we were off. Whoahhhhh there and slow down red rocket. Pace started at 7:15, so I took the foot off the gas and backed it down. Strange. I felt pretty damn good! Breath was even, good crowd to run with, but I still wanted to go with negative splits. At the 3 mile mark, I was at 23 minutes. Hmmm, that’s an aggressive pace. I knew I had a super fast first .5 mile in there, but I was glad that I still felt good with a 7:40 pace overall. Ok, then, so it was time to KEEP that pace. Garmins are Garmins, so I tried to go more on feel than what the watch said. When I was getting more out of breath, I backed off a little. When I felt good, I surged a little. When I crossed the 6 mile mark, I was able to do the math and see that I was still on the 7:40 pace (I know it’s not calculus, but remember, when running, I can turn a 40k into 60 miles in my head). Silly me, this is what I get when my warm ups are bad, friggin awesome runs. Bring it on then! So here goes. You want to do negative splits? Do them then. You want to go back to Boston? Then do the work! Get yo ass movin’!

I have to say, that this was one of the most focused I’ve been during a race since before Boston. I don’t know what it was, but I had my music on loud and I just paid attention to the road in front of me. It was a good focus, and I was happy to have found it.  So with three miles to go, I pushed the gas a little. I saw women running in front of me, and I thought, “I’m comin’ for YOU”, and slowly, I picked off about four or five of them. I was definitely going faster this split, and I was amazed at how good it felt to feel good at the end of a race. THIS is why you negative split. I kept at it, didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to my Garmin, had to slow down on the wooden walkway that felt slick, but pushed myself. Soon, the end was near. I could hear someone behind me and once her shadow got close enough, I could tell it was a girl. Nooooo, don’t let her pass! The finish line came into view and it was RIGHT THERE. I gunned it as fast as I could. Then she flew by me. Shit. Well, the good thing is that I knew I couldn’t have done better right then. Maybe a little here and there, but I left it on the course, and I felt good. It was the second time that I’ve been passed right at the end during a 15k, and this was my second 15k. Damn. Both times, the ladies thanked me for keeping them going, so I guess I just do what I can to help other runners 🙂

I didn't do that. I was just happy that I tried really hard. Yeah. That's it. That's how I felt :)

I didn’t do that. I was just happy that I tried really hard. Yeah. That’s it. That’s how I felt 🙂

Finish time: 1:10:45 (give or take a few seconds, haven’t seen official results yet)

Pace: 7:36 based on that finish time

Since I’ve done another 15k, I was happy to get a pretty big PR this morning too! A FIVE FREAKING MINUTE PR!

1st in Age Group 40-44 – Who whoo!!! I won shit!!!!!

A Medal AND a Coffee Mug? Awesome.

A Medal AND a Coffee Mug? Awesome.

As for the Boosts? I’m feelin’ some major Boost love going on. They were friggin’ perfect.

I love them so much they're on the table.

I love them so much they’re on the table.

I’ve been planning to negative split in the marathon. Based on my little race today, it just makes me want to try it more. It feels good to finish strong, to have gas in the tank, to push when you’re tired, and to BE ABLE to push when you’re tired. It feels good to hold back, to conserve energy. It’s also cool to pass people too. Another thing I learned AGAIN is to push hard when tired, which is a first cousin to negative splits. I’ve done this before, but I have a tendency to let the fatigue take over and slow down. I had to focus, be determined, and know that I have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s all mental training for the marathon.

I’ve got a big week coming up, lots of miles to put in and two swim sessions to fit in. No other races are scheduled prior to the marathon, but I’d like to tackle a 5k next month. We’ll see. I’m also in full force with planning some sort of middle school running program. I’m a little overwhelmed with how to go about doing it, but I’ve met and am talking to lots of different people to help come up with a program. If anything, I’d like to bring the new and improved Middle School Stride program to every middle school in the county. The kids need it.

What did you do this weekend? Scoop snow? Race? Long run? Nothing?

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Categories: 15k race, hal higdon training plan, marathon training, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Beethoven 15k Race Recap and Why Negative Splits Might Be The Thing For Me

  1. Nice work on the #podium finish!! YOU ROCK!! I did run 13.4 miles with my girl yesterday morning at sun up. This morning I rode 2:15:00 while it was a freezing rain/snow mix. I’m ready for spring 😉

    • Thanks! 13.4…can’t imagine the conditions but I assume it was similar to brrrrrrr…. I’ll wish you a nice early spring, how’s that?! Great job on your workouts this weekend and hope you’re feeling ok!

  2. Love it! You rocked!

  3. My friend ran the Wrightsville Beach Marathon race last year and really liked it, he ran the full and won (he won Charleston Half last Saturday down here). Also my coach ran the half there last year and said it was a great half as well, but I am doing All American so it doesn’t work out for me to do it. I heard it’s a great course and very fast, you had a great 15K today so I bet you’ll do really well in your marathon! Even if you are late on the schedule it looks like you have a solid base and you’ve got quite a few weeks to catch up.

    • I ran the 16 mile as part of a relay last year, my first year here, and really enjoyed it. And I would not have seen your friend since I was waaaaaaayyy behind the winners! That’s cool!
      Thanks for your kind words. I think many of us worry about our progress since there’s really no way to accurately measure your progress in marathon training except to run a marathon. It’s typical for me, but all I can and should do is trust my training, prepare the way I know I need to with nutrition, and pray for good weather! Best of luck for your race too. Checking out your blog!

  4. AWESOME JOB!! You KILLED that race!! Congratulations on that huge PR! I totally understand your Boost love. I have yet to race in mine, but this just makes me more excited to at some point. 🙂
    I am so excited for your marathon. You’re going to own it!

  5. bob nugent

    thanks for the race recap. it was a good race, still cant understand why john belushi was on the finisher medals….and t-shirt.

    fyi – when i ran for nike and did their high altitude physiology testing on athletes, we used a predictive model for marathon times. the formula we used for a marathon to predict your time was this: triple your 15k time.

    it is exteeemely accurate – we based it off of extensive data, go back and do a retrospective of your times and you can see how true it is. if your marathon time lags behind the formula, it is a sign that you need more long runs, and learn to burn fat as a fuel for muscular work..

    congrats on your p.r.

    bob nugent

    • John Belushi, that’s funny. I can’t figure out who he looks like, but close to a sorry old chap who got stuck in the middle of a science experiment. Oh, John Belushi is perfect 🙂
      Tripling my 15k time would be a pretty aggressive pace for me and I don’t plan to go quite that fast. As based on what I CAN do? I’m sure it is pretty accurate. Interesting tool. I’ve got three 20 milers to go and they all have 10 milers the day before, plus I have two days of speed/tempo/intervals/hills every week. It’s a good, solid plan. I’m just hoping everything comes together on race day – that’s always my issue!! Weather, virus, and bad nutrition (I’ve fixed that for sure) have plagued me so I’m ready for this to be MY marathon!
      Thanks again for your feedback, makes me feel confident!

  6. Connie

    Awesome, Kelli!!!!! You really booked it. So happy it went that well!!

  7. That is awesome! Congrats! Negative split racing is always so much better! I don’t always do it, but when I do, I always feel so much better. I do love the start of a race when everyone is going battnuts and sprinting all over – I’m like, “I’ll see you in a little bit when I pass your ass”
    My weekend was good too, spent mostly recovering from the Key West trip and race!

  8. Woo hoo! Negative splits are the best. I’m so freaking impressed with your pace. Congrats on the well-deserved AG win. And I love the f-you passing graphic.

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