July 23, 2008: Here I go!
Okay! I'm heading out to Seattle tonight! I'll be running the Northwest Passage Ragnar Relay Friday afternoon-Saturday afternoon. My legs are something like 7.5 miles, 9.8 miles and 10 miles.
I'm starting to get pretty nervous, but I'm also pretty excited - I think it's going to be a blast. I'll be back on Monday!
July 17, 2008: Park Point and the evil Skyline Stretch
So, who's doing the Park Point 5 Miler tomorrow? I work until 7:30, so I'm out. Though, I think we all know about how the fates have decided that this race is not for me. Yeah. Maybe I'll be convinced to give it another go sometime - I hear it's at least a nice, fast course and I plan on focusing on shorter races next summer.
I have one week to the Northwest Passage Ragnar Relay! The leg distances have been adjusted several times but it looks like right now my legs are 7.5, 9.8 and 10.3 miles. Longer each leg. Huzzah. The first two legs will be at night/early morning, though, so that makes me happy. Much less likely to be hot, sunny and humid at 11 pm, right? We'll hope, anyway.
So the last part of my run yesterday morning was on Skyline from Haines to 27th and I've noticed that it's a really tough stretch for me. It seems to require a lot of concentration - I'm usually coming off from running down Haines (and down and down and down) and then turn onto Skyline (which starts going uphill at first), so it's an abrupt change of pace and stride. It's a section of road where I generally can't quite figure out if I'm going uphill or hanging out and going flat and because of the long downhill, my legs want to be going faster and everything just feels out of whack for that stretch which then makes it feel longer than it is. I think I was finally able to make everything happy yesterday, but it took a lot of concentration - no wonder that was such a rough stretch on my evil, evil 17 miler earlier this year. I'm hoping now that I've figured out what to do that it'll be better next time around. Anyone else run on this stretch, ever?
July 12, 2008: Deer River Wild Rice 5K
Three 5Ks in three weekends!
Well. About 10 pm last night, I figured out a way to get myself to Deer River with company. I really had been wanting to not be driving my own vehicle for the 3rd weekend in a row but decided to do it since that was the way to get up there, as long as I had company. So I got up at 4:45 this morning to head to the race! I blame this on my buddy Mike - we had been planning on doing this race and then I figured I couldn't make it and was feeling all guilty. I also wanted to head back and defend my title, not to mention that it's a very nicely run race, so everything together was enough to get me back over there.
First things first - I'm now the two time winner - huzzah!
The day was much cooler than last year, so a big plus already. Registration is still only $12, which is nice. The starting buses (it's a point to point course) left on time this year and they were packed full. They had 100-something racers, up from 60-something last year. Every seat had three people and the aisle was packed back to front with people standing.
Sadly, despite leaving on time at 10 to 8, we didn't start until 8:20. There seemed to be some mis-communication between the 10K, 5K and the finish line along with some walkie-talkies not working so were standing around a while. A little more frustrating than last year since we were all ready to go and just couldn't seem to let anyone know that. Eventually, the guy at the 5K start pulled out his cell phone and called up the start and we started by listening to the cell phone speakers.
The first two miles are on these back dirt roads. Luckily, it rained a ton last night but not this morning so the roads were about perfect. Not muddy (except if you cut some of the corners too close to the edge of the ditch) and not so soft that you have to follow whatever tire track there might be, like was needed in spots last year. The road was nice and packed down - huzzah! I was third overall last year but it quickly became apparent that that probably wasn't happening this year (I got 5th or 6th overall) since some younger and faster guys showed up this year. There was a high school girl right on my shoulder for maybe the first mile and she really pushed me since I had come here to win again, damnit! *grin* She faded off after a bit though and I was left chasing a guy a bit in front of me - I thought I was going to be able to get him but he seemed to speed up when I did so he always stayed about the same distance in front of me.
What I think I've decided is my biggest pet peeve with a race happened today, though. No mile markers! At least, none left standing. My mom overheard the guys radioing each other at the start and saying how they had to station someone at a turn that had been marked but the markers had blown down so I'm thinking that's what probably happened with the mile markers. I did catch a marker saying "1 mile to finish" so that was about all I really needed since I've done the race before. The first bit was sort of funny, though, since I was on the look for a marker and didn't see one and didn't see one and finally took a look at my watch when I was SURE we must have passed the mile marker already to see 9:00 so the first half of the race went rather quickly. It all felt very smooth and good, which was nice. I definitely felt like I was going faster then the clock said. It was windy out there, too. Mostly, it was nice and cooling but it was a little harder than necessary a few times. Luckily, I have plenty of practice running headlong into wind so it didn't bother me much aside from noting it was there. It might have eaten some time but I don't think too much.
There was a nice crowd at the finish, again - the type who claps excitedly for everyone coming in, which is fun. There was a discrepancy in the times, again, too. My watch said 21:00 but the official time said 20:29 which is STILL confusing me. I just can't figure out where those 31 seconds came from since the actual start wasn't confusing the way it was last year. There was a very clear "runners set" and a very clear start so I'm not sure what went on there.
Since it wasn't crazy hot like last year, they didn't have the fire hydrant opened up at the finish, which was sad. Big coolers of bottles of water and small Gatorades were right at the finish and I pretty quickey sucked one of each down. Everyone got a nice packet of wild rice again - very nice. The t-shirts are a good design again, too, but it looks like an iron on so I'm not sure how long it's going to last. I finished early enough to get a size small but they ran out - they're going to do a second printing, though, and send out to those who want a better size, which is nice.
I'm glad I did the trip, long as it is for just a 5K. I got to see a bunch of running buddies, see my parents again, defend my title and support a good race. I did take a nap when I got home though . . .
No race next weekend and then next weekend is the Ragnar. Long runs for tomorrow.
July 10, 2008: Why can't it stay a nice, dryer heat all summer?
Running's been feeling hard this week. My legs are heavy and slow feeling and I'd like to attribute it to the sudden appearance of some humidity in a so far nicely dry summer, though I'm not sure if that's the actual cause or not. So, to mix things up, I headed for a route I haven't done in a while. I haven't run across the Bong Bridge for well over a year - the last time (and first) I did it was last year in the winter. My first long-ish run training for Grandma's. Snowing. Windy. First time trying out those jelly beans so my stomach was a bit unsure. An iffy run all around. Let me tell you though, I do not recommend hitting the Bong Bridge in the winter. The wind is always blowing up the river, which is tough on hips and supporting muscles by the end of heading across and back. Especially when it's snowing and you don't have good footing. Not fun.
Today was pretty nice, though. It's about 2 miles just to get to the bridge and I was only going somewhere around 5 (when I need a relax day, I'll just head out for time and take a random route, thus hitting the bridge) so I didn't get a ton of the bridge, which is okay, since it's a lot of concrete and traffic. The worst part is all the traffic - it's not what you would call a nice quiet run, especially running close to 5 pm. The turn around made it worth it today, though. You get to head downhill, just enough to stretch out a bit and pick the pace up. Below you is water, in front of you is the beautiful, green, undeveloped hill and you can sort of tune out the cars whizzing by since you're nice and safe on the pedestrian (or, as I said when I was little peder-strain-ian) walkway and don't have to pay them any mind.
So I can't make it to the Deer River race to defend my title this Saturday! Well, I could probably drive there and back the same morning but I'm not sure that's a good idea. I do have all weekend off, but we headed that direction the last two weekends so it'll be nice to stay home. That's a good race, though, if you're okay with hot, so I highly recommend that other people go. I think Saturday will be a double long day for me, instead - maybe two 10 milers? I like how I don't really have it planned out yet. It'll be two weeks out from the Ragnar Relay. Holy shit, that's not a lot of time. This is me freaking out a little bit. I don't feel as prepared for this as it seems like I should be, though I think a lot of that has to do with me not following a strict training plan, which I like to do. Well, strict in the sense that everything is written down and planned ahead of time.
Related news - the Tour de France has started! I just started getting into it last year when the Vs channel randomly appeared on our non-cable lineup. So I know next to nothing about the race (and really about biking, too) but I really got into it anyway. I'm bummed because I'll be in Washington during the last weekend of the Tour. But that doesn't mean I can't follow it the other 20 days of the race, right? Hopefully, I won't be watching all 2 hours or so every day this time around, though. Since we don't magically have Vs anymore on the normal tv we have set up in the basement for movies, I can't watch while I stretch or lift, which is sad. We do have cable upstairs now, though, so I can catch it at other times.
And! The Olympics are coming up! Hmmm. We should have some sort of party somewhere to watch Kara Goucher run her races. Does Burrito Union play the Olympics on their tvs? I imagine the marathon will be on at 7 in the morning again so a marathon watching party might be out but they're bound to play the track events at reasonable times. Right? I imagine it's all scheduled out and easy to look up, but I'm heading to bed so I'll let you know what I find out later.
July 7, 2008: Hill City 3 Mile
The 4th of July is flooded with races! Did everyone hit a race somewhere? I've been working on the 4th the last few years, so it's been a while since I've had a chance to do a race. I've wanted to do the Ten Trillion Nanometer race in Nashwauk for a while cause I love the name and want the shirt :) but I did the Hill City 3 mile instead since my high school buddy (the one I talked about last entry) would be there and we needed to gang up on her dad and go get him. Sadly, she remembered that the Hill City race is one of his better ones and we didn't get him.
Last time I ran the Hill City race, they were still calling it a 5K. It's definitely shorter then that so it's now called a 3 mile. It's a great, fast, point to point course - the first mile is downhill, 2nd is flat or downhill and the last mile is through town with a couple slight uphills. There used to be a huge hill RIGHT at the finish and I was expecting that again so was surprised to turn the corner and find we were a block early and missing the hill. A bummer since I was timing my kick in for the hill but ah, well.
We (the standard we that applies when I'm near my parent's house - me, Kyle, parents and my sister (and my puppies!) this time) got to the start much later than I wanted - it was a lot longer of a drive than I remember. I had to stand in line for registration since they only have same-day sign up (let's just pretend that I hadn't just decided to head home a couple days previous and could have used pre-registration had it been there . . .) and by the time I got through the slow moving line, I only had time for a couple minutes of 'warmup'. It was reunion day - 5 of us from my old girl's high school team plus our coach and a couple runners from the guy's team. I bought these shiny new racing flats that I decided to try out on this race. It's still been feeling strange to line up for a race and to be in clunky trainers that I finally decided to spring for some lightweight racers. So I strapped those on and off we went.
I'm very proud to say that, while it was yucky hot, I don't think it affect my race at all. Huzzah! Actually, this whole weekend made me think that I'm getting good and acclimated to the yuck heat. More huzzah!
Not too much to say about the actual race, I guess. I wanted to start with my friend I talked about last entry, but she started with a guy friend of hers and thus started faster than I wanted. By the time paces settled out, we were going the same speed so I really should have just started a bit faster and gone with her. It's a fairly spectator friendly course and my parent's/Kyle/sister/puppies parked halfway through and cheered as I went by and then went on to the finish. It's always fun to have a cheering section part way through. The course has changed since the last time I ran in (aside from no more big hill) and we wove a lot more through town (which makes me wonder how short the course used to be) so I didn't have a clear idea of where I was at in terms of length to the finish. They did a good job with marking, though, with a big sign every mile, I just like to know when I start hitting 800-1000 meters left.
I came in third woman and 15th overall, with my friend ahead by 20 seconds and a crazy fast girl who's engaged to one of my old teammates won the race. I ran a 19:47, which makes me optimistic about breaking 20 minutes if I do some actual 5K training next summer instead of all this longer distance. There were medals for the top three in each age group. Of course, all three of us were in the same age group so I got a nice bronze medal. My dad has an engraving tool so I let him go to town on the back of it.
The t-shirts were a neat design. It's the 100th anniversary of the Hill City festivities (though only the 20-something of the actual race) so it's a neat shirt design. Again, with no ads! Sadly, I now remember that this race ALWAYS runs out of reasonable sizes and they only had oversized large or extra-large left by the time I go to registration. The awards announcer said something about having shirts mailed to those who didn't get one, so I send an email out to the race director and hopefully I'll get a size I can wear!
So a happy race. Despite my wants to do the Ten Trillion Nanometer, Hill City keeps drawing me back when I'm home for the 4th. Maybe next year. Well, actually hopefully not next year since I'm trying to get my family to come to Duluth and see what good fireworks look like :)