Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bastille Day 8K

I've been a busy boy over the last few days.  Thursday, July 10th was my annual company summer outing.  It was also the date of the Bastille Day 8K.  I would of written a race recap earlier, except I took off Friday morning and headed up to Wisconsin to run yet another race on Saturday morning.  That's right, 2 races that started about 36 hours apart.

I had entertained some thoughts of pushing myself for the 8K to see where my current fitness level was, but also knew that it would be foolish to race all out given that it was the start of 4 races in 11 days.  I definitely didn't spend my day acting like I had a race. Our outing was at Arlington International Horse Track and involved a lunch buffet and open bar.  You better believe I had seconds plus dessert.  I also had a couple beers because that's what the Wurst runners do.  My race was to be fueled by pulled pork, buffalo wings, cookies, and Heineken.

I then got stuck in traffic for 2 hours on the way home, even though I left at 3PM.  Seriously?!?  This still gave me an hour to chill before I had to head out since the race started about a 10 minute walk from my apartment.  Jennifer had texted me saying she was still too sick to run, but was going to see me off anyways.  I met up with her and her mom and chilled for a bit and I tried to work the knot out of my calf that had been bugging me for a few days.  Soon it was time to head to the corrals.

Instead of racing I had decided to run with a nice and even, but hard effort.  It wasn't going to be all out, but I wouldn't collapse at the finish line.  The horn went off and I got sucked in with the speedsters up front.  I stopped displaying the pace on my way, opting for the heart rate instead so I had no idea how fast I was going until I uploaded by data after the race.  About a half mile or so into the race I had to pull myself back a bit since my heart rate was spiking, and with good reason as I had run around a 6:30 pace up until that point which is way below my 5K PR pace.  I soon recovered and steadied myself and ran with a fairly even effort the rest of the way.  My heart rate was barely moving from 172 BPM.  I finally pushed the pace a little at the end, but no where near what I had done at the beginning of the race.  I didn't need to, I had broken my previous PR by 54 seconds and was content with how I did.  I didn't need to gun things and risk pulling a hammy or something to knock a few more seconds off.

Even though I ran with an even effort, except for the start and finish, my pacing was a little uneven which I guess can be expected.  I got lulled into slowing down when I latched onto a runner in mile 3 who was slowly losing steam.  I realized this and finally passed her, but it cost some time.  My lap pacings were: 7:09, 7:17, 7:42, 7:27,7:12 for a cumulative time of 36:36, besting my previous time of 37:32 set last year at Bastille Day.

It's always nice to have an unexpectedly good performance.  It means that my training so far is paying off and hopefully will mean large gains when I run the Chicago Marathon.  I'm fully invested in the heart rate training and racing now as it seems to really be making a difference.  It is a lot easier to gauge performance by effort (heart rate) than blindly following a prescribed pace.


  1. Congrats on the PR and wise move by watching your heart rate during races.

    1. I can certainly tell the difference by pacing according to HR. I was more relaxed and ran faster without over striding.

  2. Way to go Eric! Congrats!! I've never done this race before but would like to since 8k races tend to be fun. Well, I've only done the Shamrock Shuffle and well that is always fun.

    I definitely need to get into the heart rate training. I've heard so much about it and the advantages of it.

    1. Bastille Day tends to be a decent race. Not quite the same excitement as Shamrock Shuffle, but still fun.

      The heart rate training has been going great for me. It allows me to monitor my effort better so I can make sure I'm running appropriately and getting the most out of my training.