Sunday, July 31, 2011

Race Report: Blood, Sweat and Beers

This morning, John and I went to Auburn to do our first trail race- Blood, Sweat and Beers. We did the short course, which was 5.9 miles. We decided that for our first trail race, without really training for the race, we would not be too ambitious.

Despite our stated lack of ambition, we did check out the results from last year, as well as the course elevation profile, yesterday to make a race plan. I noticed that the top five in my age group last year (20-29 for this race), came in under 1:01. At over ten minutes a mile, I figured maybe I could come in in the top five, though I wasn't betting on it because I didn't know how big the difference would be between trail and road. I decided not to be disappointed if I didn't place.

John's age group is much more competitive than mine-a good portion of the top ten in every race we do is his age group. He knows that no matter how well he does, he isn't 130 pounds and on a racing team, so he probably won't finish in the top 3 or even 5. But he did want to finish in the top ten if he could.

We decided not to run together, because he would be better at the uphills than me, and I wasn't as concerned with my finish. So I saw John run off about 200 yards after the start, when I decided not to push too hard. The first half mile or so was downhill on fire roads, then straight uphill on single track trail. I was a bit winded through this section, after having tried to keep up with John at the start.

Suddenly, there was a switchback with someone posted to tell people to take small steps. It was straight downhill, windy single track, with one edge too close to the edge of the trail for comfort (a wrong step and they might need a helicopter to get you home). I tried to reel it in a bit and not coast down, since any loss of footing or difficulty stopping when needed would be dangerous. I think I held my breath, because at the bottom of the hill- at the first aid station- I had a huge cramp in my side. I walked for a minute, then started running again.

The next mile was fine, then we started a long series of long uphill stretches. The inclines were so steep that no one ran up them. I did my best to run until I was winded and my legs wanted to give out, then I would walk to catch my breath.

Photo credit: Flickr User kittyz202
At about three and a half or so miles, we came to an uphill marked "Cardiac Bypass Hill." I ran about half of this section of the course.

After this section, we got another aid station, a bit of relief from the hills, then right back to uphills again.

I thought we were close to the finish, and got out of one trail and onto the fire road again. I thought I'd make it in under an hour, and possibly place. My Garmin read 5.33, but a marker on the road said 5, so I got a little disheartened. Plus, I quickly noticed that the fire road was straight uphill. So I ran, then walked, then ran.

At this point, I thought I had no chance of coming in under an hour, and I was bummed. But at least I would finish strong.

And then, I heard the announcer, and realized how close the finish was. I rounded the corner back toward the park, and ran in.

Chip Time 56.25.7
Avg Pace 9:34/Mile
Age Group Place FIRST (of 40) in F 20-29
Overall Place 36 (of 371)

Man, am I excited about this finish! The next person in my age group was a full six minutes behind me. Six minutes!

John did a great job as well, smoking me by four minutes.
Chip Time 52.29.4
Avg Pace 8:54/Mile
Age Group Place 9 of 54
Overall Place 19 of 371

After we both caught our breath, we went over and got our beer from Hoppy Brewing. Yum! It was just what we needed. The barbeque was fantastic as well. We walked around, had out two beers each, ate, and then started home...

But not before I collected my award.

Weekly Summary

I made it to 500 miles for the year. Now I have to start on 500 more (with five months to do it).

Miles this week: 16
Miles in 2011: 500

Friday, July 29, 2011

Not as Quick Five

John and I did five miles last night just as it was getting dark. It was too hot before dark, but the first mile of the route we take isn't well-lit and has no shoulder or sidewalk, so it needs to be a bit light out to do it.

I was a little whiny and we went a bit slower than I did by myself earlier in the week. I really need to get a handle on why I can't run as fast with John- even if he wants to- as I can by myself. It certainly is weird, and annoying.

I am officially 6 miles away from 500 for the year!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quick Five

I have to get back into more frequent updates, to motivate myself and remind myself of my goals, so here goes...

I went for a quick five mile run this morning, after bagging the run in favor of beer and cupcakes last night.I ran alone, and I ended up going faster than I usually do with John. I guess misery loves company, because I am much more likely to feel tired and run more slowly when someone is there to listen to me, rather than speeding up wo get the run done on my own. This bodes well for training, since I need to start picking up the pace.

Speaking of pace, I'm on pace to complete my 500th mile this year by Sunday. I'm at 489 after this morning, so I have 11 to go, including the 5.7 of the race this Sunday (which I will count as 6, since I'll warm up at least the extra 0.3). So I have one more five-miler to go...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekly Summary

I took it easy this week, but I'm nearing an exciting milestone... 500 miles this year. I want to make this mark by the end of the month, and that goal will keep me busy this week!

Miles this week: 17
Miles in 2011: 484

My plan to reach 500, counting backward from next Sunday, is:
Tuesday: Run 5
Thursday: Run 5
Friday: Run an easy 3
Sunday: Race 5.7 in Blood, Sweat and Beers 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Several Weekly Summaries

I guess I forgot to update this page before I went to a seven day training out of town. I did leave on a Sunday, so I guess that is when I missed the boat. I had no time to update while away, and have been slammed this week as well. At least I ran while I was away...

Miles two weeks ago: 22
Miles in 2011: 447 

Miles last week (while away): 20
Miles in 2011: 467

I haven't been on the ball this week, but did manage one run and two cross training workouts. I will run tomorrow and Sunday, though. Check back soon for a timely weekly update.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Running alone

Of course, after bragging a few days ago about how great it is to have John run with me all the time, we can't seem to find time to run together this week. Next week I'll be at a conference and we'll be running alone again. Rats.

Last night, he wanted to do a tempo run, and my legs were sore from the workout I did before running on Monday. He did two miles in under 15 minutes, in the dark, with a few stops for cars. Go John! I walked the dogs...

This morning, I ran five around the neighborhood (46 minutes- not bad, but not great), and he went to the gym. He plans to run tomorrow, when I'll be at work early and at spin after work. Friday I'll run, but he has morning gym planned.

Oh well. At least we have the weekend!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Weekly Summary

Every run I went on this week, John went with me. He has gotten more into running with his new workout program, and it has been great. Sometimes, I'm not super motivated in the morning. I'll go slow, or not at all, or cut my miles short. When he runs with me, I don't get away with any of that. He usually does less milage than I would on my own, but that is okay for this pre-marathon training phase. I should take it a bit easy this month leading up to my fall schedule.

We ran twice during the week together, and went out Saturday and Sunday, too. Saturday, we went to How and ran an easy six. John hadn't been to that part of the Parkway before, so it was nice to take him out there. It was very busy! Sunday, we did four with the Fleet Feet group. I'm embarrassed to say that we were the first to come back. It was hot out, and we were planning on running three days in a row (today included), so we decided to take it easy.

We skipped the Free 4th of July 5-Miler this morning. It is too hot out. We're going tonight instead.

Miles this week: 17 
Miles in 2011: 425 
...and John is almost to 200, which is great, too!