So my final little pre-WS speed work race, the Dirty 1/2, was Sunday. I was definitely pleased with my race. Although I had mega miles in my legs from my recent road trip, I went to the Dirty 1/2 to run a course p.r. Last year I ran 1:24:11, so I just wanted to get a 1:23. I wasn't disappointed.
The first 5 1/2 miles are uphill and I usually take my time getting into it in this race. However, this year I made it a point to get after it quicker and go out harder, so not to be left behind the guys I usually run with in Bend-area races. I hit the first flat mile in 6:11 feeling nice and relaxed. Then when the uphill started, Mike Olson passed me like last year, but this year I went with him. We got into a good groove, catching up to Michael Dennis and youngster Parker Bennett (16 yrs) from the Sister High School XC team just after mile 3. The 4 of us had a good little train going until a.s. 2 at 5.5 miles. Parker and I surged, Michael fell back a bit, and Mike had to walk through the a.s. to drink some water to get rid of a cramp.
Back on the single track heading downhill, Parker and I picked up the pace, running comfortably hard (although as my heartrate monitor later told me, perhaps a bit harder than comfortably). I noticed Mike and Michael were running together again, slowly reeling us in. Mike eventually went around at mile 8, putting in a bit of a surge. He tried to get me to go with him, but I didn't want to bring it too hard quite yet.
Mike, Parker, and I reached mile 9 in 56:20 and I yelled to Mike that it was going to hurt if he was going to get his sub-1:20. We pushed on through 10 in 62:15, where Mike cramped bad and really fell of the pace. Parker and I really slowed up the hill in the 11th mile, at 6:45, the slowest of the day for us. Parker was happily surprised, however, to hear 1:09:00 at mile 11, as it was still was faster than he had ever run for the Dirty 1/2.
With about just under 2 miles to go, I told Parker to go for it. He had run a 4:09 1500 meters at the state track meet 3 weeks earlier, so he obviously has more leg speed than me. He was relectant, though, saying he didn't want to beat me after pacing off of me for most of the race. I told him I was the coach and that's what the coach wanted him to do. So he eventually passed and I tried to hang with him, but to no avail.
Parker flew up the hill in the 13th mile, while I was holding on just to maintain my pace. At the final downhill past the outhouse, I noticed Parker closing in fast on local stud Damon Kluck. Damon hung on for 5th in 1:21:53, Parker ran an incredible 1:21:54 for 6th (did I mention he's only a junior!? and when he was a 7th grader, he ran 1:33:28 at the Dirty!), and I happily cruised in for 7th in 1:22:13. Although I really slowed down the last 5k, I'm happy with my time and definitely my place. Anytime I can crack the top-10 at the Dirty, it's a good day.
To see how much I was actually pushing myself, I wore my heart rate monitor. Well, I definitely pushed myself. I averaged 184, and got a max of 192! Hm, when I went through the Lactate / VO2 Max test (i.e., pain test) at COCC a few years ago, my max was only 190. Sweet!
Yesterday I was definitely a bit on the sore side, mainly my quads, and today I'm feeling pretty good again, just a bit tired. I was very stoked to have recovered from my recent big miles enough to have run a Dirty 1/2 p.r. This tells me I'm fit. I'll add in another rest day this week (2 total), probably a short tempo-ish run on Thursday, and I think I will have a pretty darn good taper going in to Western States.