Double Bridge Run 15k Recap

This past weekend I had the opportunity to escape the cold and snow in Colorado and travel to Pensacola, Florida for the Double Bridge Run.  DBR is a 15k that starts in the city of Pensacola, crosses a bridge through the town of Gulf Breeze and finishes at Pensacola Beach.  Most of the course is flat, with two significant hills; a long on-ramp and a curved bridge.  As you can see from the course map, more than half of the course is on bridges where you can see both the sound and the Gulf of Mexico during parts of the race.  The race is also run at 7am when the sun is coming up.  Unfortunately it was mostly cloudy on Saturday, but it still made for a really unique racing atmosphere.

Coming off last Saturday’s USA Half-Marathon Championships in Houston, Texas I was feeling good and recovered.  I wanted to be “recovered” but I didn’t want to “not train” this week.  The big goal of the spring is #1 staying healthy, but #2 is (most likely) Grandma’s Marathon in mid-June.  These races callus the legs, are a great training stimulus, and simply fun since I love to compete.  I’m self-coached at the moment, but have been given great training advice by James Carney as well as an awesome meeting with Benji Durden two weeks ago.  Here is what I did in between the races.  Unfortunately, the weather was brutal in Boulder with ice and snow on Monday and temperatures below zero the vast majority of Mon-Wed, so all running Mon-Wed was indoors.

Saturday was the US Half-Marathon Championships (1:05:38), flew home that afternoon.

Sunday: Easy 9 miles averaging low 7min pace with Sunday run group, mostly Marc Bromberg who raced very well at the USA XC Championships in the Masters race.

Monday: AM 9 miles in 1:02:30 on treadmill. 3x2min @ 6min pace, 1min @ 5:27 pace thrown in, quick 10 sets of lifting upper body afterwards … PM:  treadmill 8 miles, 59 minutes easy easy

Tuesday: AM 12 miles total in Balch (CU’s 200m indoor track, big thanks to Coach Wetmore for letting us indoors when it was -5F outside). Did an hour steady – down to six minute pace – then 6×200 in 33-34 + jog down … PM: 8 miles, 60 minutes on treadmill (20 miles for the day!), pedestal and hip exercises afterwards.

Wednesday: AM Treadmill for 10 miles, 1:11:30.  Had to force myself to slow down I felt so good. Drills + quick and easy 10 minutes of light lifting … Late AM – Massage by Rob @ Peak Integrative Health (great sports massages for Boulder athletes!!) … PM: 5 miles super super easy 39 minutes

Thursday: AM – Fly to Pensacola Florida. PM: 9 miles in 1:02 with a 2k from 5.75-7miles in 5:10 avg pace.  Easy pick-ups thrown in before and drills after.

Friday: AM 5 miles easy with drills, skipping, and 6 fairly aggressive strides.

Saturday: 7AM: 3mi warm-up, drills + strides, 15k in 45:24, 4.1 miles cool-down. PM – fly back to Boulder, Late PM: easy 1.5 mile shakeout

Sunday was an 65 minutes to end the week with about 93 miles and a new 15k pr by 40 seconds!

Back to the important part of the week, the race!  I thought I’d have a shot to win with a time of 45:45-45:30 in a perfect race.  Mark Kenneally, a very talented runner from Ireland took the race out very fast.  I found a rhythm running low 4:50s and stayed on that pace the entire way.  There really is not much to say about the race because Mark ran an amazing 43:35 (which according to the mcmillan running calculator converts to a 1:02:30 half-marathon!!) and 3rd place was a few minutes behind me.  However, the race went much better than expected as I felt very strong and smooth the whole way.  My time was also a 40 second personal best and better than I thought I could have run.  On the steep uphill bridge at mile 8 I have never felt so strong.  When I called home to talk to my wonderful supportive parents afterwards I could not have been more excited about my future.  I’ve barely run any miles faster than 5 min pace since the marathon in early December yet I’m running personal bests over 15k averaging 4:52.25!!  This is going to be a very fun spring + 2011 year!

The Pensacola Double Bridge Run is definitely one of my favorite road races I’ve ever run.  The Pensacola Sports Association took excellent care of us, with special thanks to Charles Gheen and Jackie Brown!  The ran was perfectly organized, super fun, and a very friendly volunteer staff!  The views from Pensacola Beach were outstanding, the course was well thought out and just a pleasure to compete on.  I warmed up along the water front with big yachts and cooled down running on a trail next to the beach with sand dunes and the Gulf of Mexico in sight!  The race also came with a free pasta dinner the night before, an awards ceremony with a live band and blankets to all award winners (a much ‘cooler’ award  than a medal), and excellent post-race food.  I even enjoyed one McGuire’s Pale Ale on the beach to celebrate.  If anyone is looking for a race in February, I’m not sure there is a funner, more well organized, and better destination race in the country.  Thank you very much Pensacola!!

Hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed great successes!  A big congrats to good friend Brent Vaughn on his win at the USA Cross Country.  I trained with him the entire fall and there are not many guys more dedicated, determined, and friendly than Vaughn.  He’s going to have quite a run at the World Championships too!  Also – congrats to a lot of the guys I run with on Wednesdays and Sundays who competed for the Fleet Feet Racing Team at the USA Cross Country Master’s Championships.  They all ran tough and are such a positive group of guys!!  I hope that you enjoy I’m sharing more training information on the site and will continue to do so.  I’ll try to update the site with some more of my training and racing plans for the next few months!

Happy trails, Tyler

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