Race #72 – Alyce T. Guettler Hunger Run 5k – Rock Hill, SC – 02/06/10
After all of the miserable winter weather we’ve been having it was great to get in a race this week. With all of the ice and snow north of Charlotte, it was nice that this one was south of the border in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The forecast was a little iffy and it was cloudy and kind of misty but the 38-degree temperature almost felt pleasant after the bone-chilling days we’ve been having lately.
This is a small race but a good one. It begins at Dinkins Student Center on the campus of Winthrop University and winds its way mostly through some scenic outlying areas of the campus. It’s fairly flat other than a pretty decent hill in the last mile, but the hill peaks just about at the 3-mile mark, allowing for a nice fast finish over the last 1/10 of a mile if you have a little gas left.
The T-shirts are pretty plain and the trophies are coffee mugs, so nothing exciting there, but this year’s food was really good — homemade brownies, a variety of cookies, sandwiches (pimiento cheese and egg salad), bagels, soft drinks, water, and maybe some other things I missed. Once again I blew my diet but I’ll try to make up for it with a long run tomorrow.
For me personally, it was a great race. It wasn’t a PR — I actually ran a minute faster at the Santa Scramble a few months ago — but it was the first time I felt comfortable all the way through a race. I finished in 20:52 (6:44 pace), which was 1st in my age group and 12th overall in the race. I hope it’s not a placebo effect or some other delusion, and only time will tell if that’s the case, but the heart rate monitoring that I began recently seems to be paying off. I’ve only been doing heart rate training a few weeks so I’m still feeling my way around and experimenting with what works for me (since we’re all different). My Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is 176 according to the formula that works for most people. At least that’s the number I work with and it does seem to be right for me. I’ve found that I have a “cruising speed” that I reach at about 166 beats per minute. That’s about 94-95% of my MHR and that’s where I tried to keep it today. If I get much higher than that, say in the 169-170 range, I become exhausted quickly and have to slow down or walk, and that’s most likely what was happening when I used to take all of the walk breaks in races and wasn’t monitoring my heart rate. So now, instead of walking I just monitor my heart rate and if it starts going too high I slow down a little until I’m back to my normal comfortable speed. Alternatively, if I look at my monitor and I’ve dropped down to less than 165 I know I can give it a little boost and still be in a comfortable range. Supposedly, over time your heart becomes more efficient with this training and you run faster eventually with that same heart rate. I’ll have to wait and see how it works out over time, of course, but it feels right for me at this point.