Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hotty Toddy!

Ole Miss fans have a lot to cheer about ... Hotty Toddy, Gosh Almighty! The Rebels beat Florida in Gainesville yesterday. Yes, that's the same Ole Miss team Vanderbilt beat last weekend in Oxford. Florida and Georgia both have one loss, while Tennessee is going nowhere fast (0-2 in the SEC). VU's game Saturday with Auburn just went from huge to ginormous, as our daughter would say.

I felt like singing Hotty Toddy after yesterday's 12-mile Team in Training run. Before the start at Grassland Elementary, Coach Stephne said we should take it slow, but I had other ideas. Three weeks from the big day in San Francisco, I decided to simulate the race as best I could. That meant no stops or hanging around water stations. My goal was to post a 9:20/mile pace at the turnaround and see if I could negative split.

Things went very well the first six miles. Suprisingly, no one joined me as I settled on a 9:15 pace. Today wasn't social day for me, so I stayed in my own world. My only "stop" on the out portion was 20 seconds long at the 3.4-mile mark (the Moran Road-Old Natchez intersection) to refill my Gatorade bottle. Fresh off my first energy gel, I reached the Montpier subdivision after a cruise along the Harpeth River on Old Natchez. Average pace: 9:17/mile.

At the 6.5-mile mark, I saw Stephne, Lisa and Sara. A mile ahead of some good runners, I asked myself, "Is this too fast?" Stephne asked how I was doing, and I said, "Good!" Pressing on, I caught some of my teammates who were running 10. We knuckled Barack-Michelle style. Soon after, I hit the only serious hill of the run at 8.5. Could I hold this? My Garmin said average pace was 9:20 as I refueled again for 20 seconds.

At 9.5, discomfort arrived and I started slowing slightly. I also flashed a rash under my right armpit from the rubbing of my sleeveless t-shirt. At 10.6, I had to stop to remove my shirt, took a deep breath and swigged plenty of Gatorade. To the sounds of "You're So Vain" in my head, I ran shirtless (impressing no one) the last 1.5 miles, much of it uphill. I returned to Grassland spent in 1:54:27, a 9:32/mile pace. Total mileage for the week: 33.5. Total training mileage since June: 385.

I'm pleased with the effort. The only disappointment was not to negative split. The sun beat down pretty good the last four miles, which was a factor. It wasn't hot, but it wasn't cool either, except at the beginning of the run. My takeaway is I need to get to Mile Six in San Francisco at a slightly slower pace, probably in the 9:25 range, conquer the big hill at that point and then see if I can get it on. Realistic goal for San Francisco looks like a 2:02-2:04, but we'll see what happens. No race is ever the same or what you expect ... that I know after six half marathons.

The weekend ends with the kids' cross country run on a warm day and Dori returns after a weekend in Charlotte with her friend Garrett.

New link on cord blood donation is now in the Links section.

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