Sunday, January 15, 2006

Museum of Aviation 1/2 Marathon

Yesterday was my first race using the Pose method. Seven friends (which is a huge crowd for my small, rural county) and I drove to Robins Air Force Base to run the Museum of Aviation Half Marathon. I didn't really race, I stayed with a friend, Jamie, at an 8 min/mi pace for the first 10 miles or so. It was windy and pretty cool (about 42 degrees), but the course was very flat. The course is essentially one lap around the base on the exterior patrol road. Jamie and I had an interesting conversation while running the first several miles as we talked with Jim Marshall, our local congressman. He had a good race and we enjoyed speaking with him about all things running.

At mile 8 or 9, my calves started to noticably fatigue. The longest Pose run I'd done was 8 miles, so I was in uncharted territory. At about mile 10, we crested a small hill (one of the few rises on the flat course that could even be termed a hill). Jamie slowed for a drink, and I kept my pace. My calves were so fatigued, that I felt I would not be able to accelerate if I slowed to wait for Jamie to catch up, so I kept going. After another 1/4 mile or so, I gave up on the Pose method for the day. I was happy I'd made it almost 11 miles using it, but could not sustain it.

That's when in interesting thing happend. I guess I began to use some fresh muscles when I changed back to heel striking, or maybe I was just using muscles differently. Whatever the case, it felt like I'd just reclined in a Lazy-boy lounger! My pace shot to about 7 min/mile and I felt very fresh physically and mentally. I finished the race at about a 7 min/mi pace at 1:42:56 and felt quite fresh at the end. Congressman Marshall had pulled away from Jamie and I at about mile 6, but I caught him right before the finish. He probably shaved 30 seconds off my time as I used him for a carrott during the last mile.

Even if unintentionally, I guess I found a new strategy by starting with Pose and finishing with my old-faithful heel-strike when the Pose tank was empty. Whether that will be a long-term strategy, I don't know -- probably not -- but it worked yesterday.

Everyone else in our group, Jamie, Adam, David, Betty Jean, Suzanne, Pam, Cristina had good races also -- there were several PRs in the group. Even though I didn't race the course, I learned a lot about my new stride, had a very good early-season training day, and had a great time!