Monday, May 18, 2020

McKirdy Mile #2

Two weeks ago, I ran the first McKirdy Mile (of four) in and around Horner Park in 5:36. In that attempt, I went out way too fast in the first quarter mile (5:15 mile pace) and paid for it on the next three as I had so slow down (5:43 average mile pace).

In the ensuing two weeks, I really didn't up my training load, but since I went out too fast last time, I thought with a slower first quarter mile and gradually increasing my speed thereafter, I should be able to run a few seconds faster using strategy alone.

I've decided to try and race on Saturday using Sunday as a backup. Probably a good thing to do going forward, since that way I leave myself a spare day if I'm not feeling it or the weather is bad. It's also nice having a backup day in case something comes up unexpectedly on Saturday. If I wait until Sunday and something comes up unexpectedly on Sunday then I'm out of luck.

Anyway, the weather was good on Saturday with temps around 65. When I woke up, I did a two miler really slowly to loosen up/shakeout. Then I rested for a few hours and at around 11:30am jogged over to Horner Park for race #2. Initially, I was going to run from south to north along Horner Park's western edge on the sidwalk along North California Avenue. I was timing the lights at Irving Park Rd and California Ave. (so I could hit the intersection when it turned green), when I suddenly noticed that there was a slight wind coming out of the north. It wasn't a strong wind, but it was enough for me to question why I wouldn't want to have that wind as a tailwind instead of a headwind. So, I walked a mile north so I could run with the breeze to my back. 

After a 15 minute walk along Horner Park and across Montrose Avenue, I arrived at a spot just far enough away that I was able to see the traffic lights at Montrose and California. That way I could time out my start, so that when I ran up to the intersection the lights would be green.

Starting point for McKirdy #2.
This time starting north and heading south

I rested a bit, and let the lights cycle a couple more times and when the lights turned red, I took off!

The Race:
Mile 0.25:  I started out quickly (once again) and glancing down at my watch I once again saw a 5:05 pace. I knew that I needed to slow, and I did a better job at doing this than last time. I crossed Montrose Avenue, just as the light turned green (i.e. perfectly) and was now running along Horner Park. I felt good and felt good about how much I had slowed down. Looks like I'm getting better at pacing, but not perfect as this was my fastest quarter. 1:22 (5:15/mile pace).

Mile 0.50: Suddenly I felt a pain in my right hamstring. I was wearing racing flats which I never run in except to race. I guess somehow I overstretched my hammy by my sudden and quick start in "new" shoes, I slowed down so I could get a sense of just how bad of shape my leg was. 1:26 (5:36/mile pace).

Mile 0.75: I figured I was already halfway through and though my right leg felt uncomfortable, I sensed it wasn't a bad injury so I just kept hauling. The pedestrian light at the intersection of Irving Park Rd and California Avenue was counting down 15, 14, 13, 12... as I approached. Would I make it in time? 1:26 (5:52/mile pace).

My McKirdy Mile #2

Mile 1.0: As the traffic light flashed 5, 4, 3..., I burst across the street and made it to the other side of Irving Park Road with no time to spare. This surge may have taken a little out of me and I still had a quarter mile to go. There were a couple of people ahead of me so I dropped down off of the sidewalk and onto California Ave hugging the shoulder. A final burst of speed and I was done! 1:25 (5:43/mile).

Official Finish Time: 5:39
Official Pace: 5:39/mile
Garmin Pace: 5:39/mile
1/2 mile splits: 2:48 and 2:51
Place AG: 8th out of 41 (as of Sunday night)

Relaxing Post Race

Although I was three seconds slower than two weeks ago, my splits were more even. Instead of a nine second swing between my fastest and slowest quarter, this time it was only four seconds. I had a three second positive split this time, vs. a 10 second positive split for Mckirdy #1. Who knows why I was slower for this race, although a lot of it may have been being slightly hobbled mentally by pulling the hammy mid-race and perhaps I subconsciously leaned towards preservation rather than extending myself. As for strategy, my first quarter was still my fastest, when it should have been my slowest. Maybe a slower start will also help keep my legs healthy for the entire race? Oh well, I have two more chances to get it right. Think negative splits for #3!

McKirdy Mile Race Pace Comparison
"Living life a quarter mile at a time"

Race #1
Race #2
Race #3
Race #4

Post Race:

Again, it's virtual race so just a walk home. Womp!

Next Up:

McKirdy Mile #3 on 5/3