Like every year this past Superbowl Sunday I lined-up with 500 or so crazy runners to do the Lehigh Valley Superbowl 10k road race. The race is held in beautiful Lehigh Valley Parkway, but due to snow and ice cover on the trail the race is run in the neighborhood above the parkway. And that means hilly course. This year the race organizers needed to make last minute change because parts of the regular route were still covered with packed snow and ice. The last minute change added two pretty good hills to the course in mile 1 and mile 5 (on the way back).
Last year I finished in the top 60 and ran the distance in little over 43 minutes. This year with much better weather, extra two hills and significant patches of snow and ice I clocked in just below 44 minutes. The course was more challenging because even tough I finished about a minute slower than last year I moved up in the overall ranking to 41st place out of some 475 participants. This year the top 100 finishers got a nice black Brooks cap. I'm sure to sport it when the weather gets better.
I'm happy with the race results even though originally I was aiming to better my last years time and hoped to keep 6:55 pace. At first I was little disappointed with the result, but then I had chance to look at the run log in detail (course profile, my HR and cadence). I was quite pleased with what I saw. Compared to last year I slowed down by about 7 seconds per mile, my average cadence was very nice 94 (thanks to Newtons I wore) and most importantly my average HR was 10 beats lower than last year.
Little explanation why that is. Last year I was doing weekly VO2max work leading up to the race - for 12 weeks to be exact. The VO2max work is now completely absent from my schedule so far as I am still in the beginning of base and focus on other limiters (like muscular endurance and technique). Being only few seconds slower and keeping HR significantly lower makes me look with promise to the rest of the season. Especially to time when Craig puts some speed work to the training mix as we approach the key races. This season I aim not to peak in February or March, but rather keep the peaking for the key races in July and November. I have full trust in Craig keeping me from messing up my season by early peaks (like I have done last year).
In case you were interested in the run log - here it is as a screen shot from Training Peaks - click on the graph to see interactive log on TP.com site.
I have met at the race with fellow Endurance Multisport athlete Leah and we did part of the warm-up together. We did chat after a race for a bit, but then Leah got little chilly (I hope she warmed up in her car on the way home). I also had a great chat with Craig after the race as we were waiting for the results (no love for me - I was way down in my AG somewhere between 6th and 8th place). But I may be adding some TT bike races to my season if they fit with the key races. Still need to look at how they are scheduled and which ones I can fit in considering family commitments and my key races for 09.