Monday, January 31, 2011

The Wall 30K in New Orleans

Well it seems Sunday, Jan. 30th, did not come with ideal racing conditions for many of us in the South.   It was not ideal for the Houston Marathon, and it was not ideal for The Wall 30k in New Orleans.  The temperature was ok (much colder would have been nice), but the humidity was out in typical Southern Style.  
 Start of The Wall 10k and 30k
My friend Wanda finishing the 10k.  
She will be running the Mardi Gras Marathon.  She is focused on a BQ race in Feb.  Go Wanda!
You may recall, I mentioned a few months ago, that I have given up my quest to race well when the humidity is high.  This has been a GREAT thing for me to do.  Now instead of heading to a race, unrealistically, thinking "I am superwoman, I can overcome."  Now, I am attempting to adjust my prerace pace, to a more realistic goal for the weather of the day.  This has been a GREAT thing for my racing.  For years, I felt like it was giving up to do this, so stubbornly, I started races with unrealistic goals, only to go out too fast for the day, being disappointed over and over and over again.  Also, by going out too fast, it made for a horrible race, most days.  Go out too fast, suffer, suffer, suffer, struggle to finish, finish with a slow, really slow time.  
Now, I adjust my time 15 seconds per mile, if the humidity is strong.  This allows me to hold an even pace for the whole race, I feel better, and I end up finishing the race with a better time than I would if I go out too fast, try to hold on, and end up falling WAY off the pace, the last half of the race.  
Early in the week, prior to the race, I was thinking I would attempt 8:30 pace for The Wall 30k (18.6 miles).  As the weather predictions deteriorated through the week, Sat. night, I ended up deciding on 8:45 pace.   Such a great thing for me to do.  I ended up averaging 8:41.  It was still hard to finish, but not nearly as bad as going out too fast and suffering through the rest of the race.  It's also a great feeling to finish the day with a quality long run, sticking with the plan, instead being disappointed with the results (once again).  
What is it about humidity that makes you feel so "beat up" after a race.  My recovery is totally different after racing in humid conditions.  Even with the adjusted pace, as I finished the race and started walking, yikes, feeling rough. Finally, took an ice bath later in the evening and felt so much better.  On the rare occasion that I race in COLD,  low humidity conditions, I feel so much better, post race.  Would love the science for dummies version of why this happens, please share if you know.

Jen and I went to the race together.  She has a great race report hereShe took some pics along the way.  I totally agree with her report, not a very scenic race, but a great way for me to get a quality long run in with other runners.  
The Data:
Mon Jan 25 - 9 miles @ 9:24 avg pace, weights, planks, push ups, abs
Tues. - 9 miles - 3 mile w/u, 6 x bent creek hill, 2 mile c/d
Wed. - 5 miles @ 9:24 avg pace, weights, core work, planks
Thurs. - 5.5 miles am w/ Kelly P. Hill repeats behind anatomies
3.5 miles pm on treadmill - 10:30 pace
Fri - yoga @ the yoga room, 4 miles pm
Sat. - 2 miles jog, and 10 min walk
Sun - 19 miles - .4 mile w/u, The Wall 30k (18.6 miles) - 2:42:10 unofficial. 8:41 avg pace. Happy with that, with the humidity of the day.
57 miles this week, .5 mile walk, 1 yoga class, 2 days weights.
This week will be a "step-back week" for a little recovery time.
What I'm doing right?
*when the race conditions are BAD, I am adjusting my race goal, prior to the race.
*getting 8-9 hours of sleep most nights.
*taking a "step back" week after 3 weeks of increasing my mileage and intensity.


misszippy said...

Ginny--So smart of you to adjust and reestablish goals in humid conditions! And do take a recovery week. Way to go!

Joanne said...

You had a good run. It's smart to adjust with the conditions. I don't know how you do it running in humid weather.
I've got a 10K coming up this weekend and I SO want to beat my time from last year but I've been amazingly slow this winter. I think your post helped me put things in perspective.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

i must say that we were lucky with the weather in Miami, it was the best the ING has ever seen. Kudos on the 18 miler in the humidity I know it kills! Your schedule looks like fun...i'm starting to think about ramping up :)


Great race!! It's awesome that you know your body so well that you can adjust as needed - I need to learn how to do this! :) Sounds like you had an awesome run, despite the humidity. Enjoy the recovery this week!

Tri-James said...

It is all about cooling. Your body can not cool itself efficiently in the humidity. Therefore your heart rate has to increase to circulate more blood near the surface of your skin - but that doesn't work very well in the humidity.

It is a vicious circle. There is less blood to pump oxygen to your muscles and more heat.

Congrats on "The Wall" - it is a tough race.

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Great finishing time! Great words of advice for humid races. Thanks for the encouragement on my blog!

Meg said...

That's just like you, Ginny. Make some lemonade with those lemons. I don't think I've ever run in the humidity so I'm not sure what it's like but it sounds tiring. Good idea to make some pace adjustments.
I'm trying to sleep a ton as well. It seems to be helping my healing and running....good job!

Jim ... 50after40 said...

Great run - I agree, as much as I don't like the weather right now, it's certainly easier to recover than in the summer humidity.

Christine said...

Great weekly mileage! You ran more last week than I did all January LOL Awesome!!!

Chris K said...

Well look whose becoming quite the wise running sage. I think you and Jen should move to San Diego and run with Meg and me along the coast where it's 75 and never humid.

Jennifer said...

Ha! I'm with Cris.

Such a great positive attitude Ginny. Now you know why I go to races with you. Your good vibes rub off and make my day better!

Terri said...

I think your thinking its spot on in setting realistic expectations for race day conditions. I mean what fun is there if every race is a disappointment?!?! Such great advice on humid running.

Jenn said...

Good job adjusting those goals! Totally sucks to feel disheartened when things are out of your control and you don't adjust for them! Great job on the race-glad it was fun AND you met your goal!! I just cannot run in humidity...

I so wish I could get 8-9 hours of sleep! My brain does not want to sleep....I'm on a step back week here too. I'm trying to do that this time around. I think it's good for my body but also refreshing for my mind although at times it stresses me out. You run similar mileage to me a lot of the time!

Hope you have a great week:)

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

@Amanda - unbelievable...better weather in Miami than up here. go figure....happy for you though

@Mel - I've been running for many years and I'm just now "getting it" hopefully you learn at a quicker pace than I do.

@James - thanks for the info. - it bugs me

@Meg - you need to head our way....a new endurance challenge for you. Wow...NEVER...that is awesome

@Christine - I've been called crazy more than once and even by

@Chris - I would love it, now I need to talk the hubby into it, and we will start SAVING NOW...cost of living is a little different there. :)

@Jen - pack your bags and thanks - love your attitude and passion too.

@Terri - sounds like you dealt with the humidity just fine...maybe my body can learn :)

@Jenn - my hubby has the same problem with sleep, he says he can't turn his mind off :(
Stick with that step-back - yep - it definitely helps my mind as much as my body - I think it's just a smart thing to do.

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

@Joanne - good luck with the 10k.

Jill said...

Dear Ginny,
Please move to Colorado, we have no humidity.
Love, Jill


Nice job, are leaning so much about yourself and your abilities in the conditions given to you and that makes you one of the few smart ones .. well done!!

HappyTrails said...

Seems like the adjustments worked out just fine - that is still a great pace, especially under those conditions!

lindsay said...

Yay for you! It does take a lot of running maturity to accept a new racing strategy when the weather (or something else) isn't cooperating. I would think the heat/dampness exhausts the body more than non-humid weather. I'm no science major. I skidded thru college with Geology as my lab science requirement...

lizzie lee said...

It is amazing what 15 seconds to our pace can make. Also, how wonderful to know how your body will behave if you do not adapt. Great job. I am very used to humid conditions (but cold, Seattle), and recently raced in AZ and it was fantastic. Temperatures there were 15 degrees higher than what I am used to, but humidity was 40% so it was a gift.

Great post, and BTW I love the 30K distance...

Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

:) I definitely saw you at The Wall! That humidity kind of came out of nowhere, didn't it? All those cold days then BAM, shorts weather. Ah, New Orleans! Great race and congratulations on beating your goal pace.

Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

Yes, I'm running Mardi Gras (the full). I'll look for you - do you know what coral you're in? We might be starting together.