TCM - Loony Challenge Year 2

Goals for year 2: I had no idea what to expect this year.  It's been a solid year of heart rate training.  But as soon as I got to racing season I was all "how do I set goals for this?!?"  Should my goals be based on pace?  Heart rate?  A mix of both?  I knew I badly wanted to go sub-2hrs in the 10 mile, but I had no idea if that was realistic or not.  I had no idea what I wanted for the 10K and the 5K.

Packet Pickup: Olive volunteered in packet pick up and reported there were some issues.  TCM mails out some pretty sweet Runner Guides well ahead of the race.  Among other things, it shows my bib number for the 10 Mile race.  Since I am a genius, I left it at home.  When I got to Packet Pickup I had to go to the "find my number" table, showed my ID and told the helpful volunteer I'd registered for Loony Challenge.  She printed off two slips for me, one with my Saturday events number and one with my Sunday events number.  I went to the two different tables and collected my things.  Olive was at Saturday events packet pick up and reports that most Loony runners only knew their 10 Mile bib number from having their guide mailed to them.  I reviewed and nothing I was sent ahead of time had my bib number for Saturday events.  I guess forgetting to write down my bib numbers saved me time in the end.
Goal: Find Olive.  Thank all the volunteers I saw.
Outcome: Done
Bonus Goal: Get a new race belt.
Outcome: Also done.  I wore it for all three races and I was tremendously happy with it.

This year,  I found myself wishing I'd written down what I wore last year.  I was having a hard time with the logistics. 
Outfit - Day 1:
Skora PhaseX (blue - yes, I have more than one pair of these shoes); Injinji Socks; Saucony Running Tights (full length, not lined), Short sleeve technical shirt and long sleeve technical shirt.  New race belt.  Sunglasses for part of the race.  Temps around 40* for the start of the 10K, slightly warmer for the 5K but I was still freezing my tail off.

TC 10K: I went easy up the first hill and about 500 people passed me in the first quarter mile. I passed many of them back later so it was all good.  I had a very hard time at the beginning of this race.  It was partly nerves and partly standing in the corral and not being able to warm up properly, and partly literally being cold.  My shoes are very thin and my socks were thin, and my feet felt like ice cubes for a solid mile.
Goal: Be back in time for the 5K
Outcome: Done
Bonus Goal: Run under a 12:00/mile pace
Outcome: 11:19/mile, that really shocked me

TC 5K: I'd warmed up after the 10K, but I got really cold again, waiting for the 5K to start.  Olive did not run this year with me and that made me sad. I started off heading back up this stupid hill again, happy that I got turn around much sooner in this race than the first one.  This race was packed with kids.  No matter how high up I seed myself, they're always there.  I think TCM needs to have the kind of corrals that were in the Flying Pig's 5K last year because that worked really well.  The end of this race was really tough.  I kept running and feeling like, I cannot kick.  What is the deal?!?  And then I checked my run data and saw how fast my final mile was, and felt much better about myself.
Goal: Finish
Outcome: Done
Bonus Goal: Another sub 12:00/mile pace would be nice
Outcome: 11:19/mile.  Weird right?

Day 2 Outfit:
Skora Phase X shoes; Smart Wool Running socks with high cuffs; Fleece lined tights; Smart wool long sleeve shirt; "Liz shirt" over top.  On Summit Ave I ran with a guy who'd been racing for years, and when people were all "go Liz" he's like "I'm going to do that to my shirt next year".   Temps around 40* for the start.

TCM 10 Mile: I was really looking forward to another crack at this course, hopefully routed correctly this time.  I found myself back in Corral 4 again.  I wonder what it takes to move to Corral 3. The day before, the strategy that worked was for me to feel my body going hard and strong.  Hard, but not hurting. Since I was surprised and pleased by the outcomes of both the 10K and the 5K I decided it was quite a sound strategy and went with it. 
Early on I was quite frustrated.  There is a huge bottle neck in this course where the runners go through a narrow tunnel.  It happens just before Mile 1 so the runners are still fairly bunched up.  This year, the bottle neck was so bad I had to walk and got almost completely stopped.  WTF?!?  This was not an issue last year.
My goal for the hills in the middle miles of the course was to challenge myself but also to stay within myself.  These were comparatively slower miles, but I was pleased when I saw how things worked out.
On Summit Ave I met this dude who was a race walker straight up walking an 11:30 mile, or so he told me.  I made it my mission in life to stay with him, since he'd walk me right into my own goal of going sub-2hrs.  We talked and it made that part of the course go really quickly. He also kept me challenged and focused on the up hills in that section.  He dropped me in the last mile on the flats but I almost totally caught him back on the down hill.
Goal: Sub 2 hrs
Outcome: 1:55:52, 11:36/mile pace.

The Finisher Area: beyond insane.  (There was a significant stretch of spectating area between the Cathedral and the finish line that was reserved this year for a protest.  Typically it is filled with spectators and runners who've already finished.)  Olive had race credentials so she came in there to meet me after I grabbed my medal and food.  Bag check was super fast but finisher t shirts had lines that stretched back to bag check.  Olive stood in line for my shirt while I changed.  I was going to try to connect with another friend who was race walking, but things were so cramped in there we just made a run for it. 

Marathon: On the way home, Olive and I decided we wanted to cheer for the marathon runners.  We found our way to about mile 14 on the course.  We'd only been there a few minutes when the 5:00:00 pace group came by.  We made sure we stayed for the 5:30:00 pace group.  These are my people.  And then we stayed after.  I was really surprised how many people were behind the 5:30:00 pacer at mile 14.  About three people looked good and strong and like they knew what they were doing.  Everyone else looked like they were suffering.  Hard.  Olive and I went for Donuts and watched a bit.  Finally Olive was like "I don't want to watch anymore." 

Loony Challenge: I'm glad I did it a second year.  I don't know if I'll do it again next year because of the timing of another race I want to try. If I don't do it again next year, I'm going to volunteer with Olive so I get Race Official Credentials and Clothing.  No joke.
Goal: Go faster than last year
Outcome: Mission completely accomplished

Suggestions for next year:
  • Corrals for the 5K and the 10K - look at how Flying Pig does them because it actually works
  • Two bag check bags, one for Saturday and one for Sunday - mine always rips the first day
  • Last year, Loony Challenge and Summit Challenge people had back tags. Not this year.  Any chance of bringing them back?

What I liked:
  • The Volunteers: No race is complete without volunteers.  Thank you! 
  • The Expo: I thought it was really good this year. 
  • Get the 10K and 5K medals after both races are done.  Thank you!  Flying Pig didn't do it that way this year and it severely annoyed me.
  • One bib for 10K and 5K.  Again, thank you for simplifying the logistics of my race life.
  • Corporate Team Challenge: My employer participates in the 10K, 5K and Marathon corporate team challenge.  That means on Saturday we got a special tent with a special changing area and our own potties.  The tent was heated.