Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Presidents Cup 5k

After running about 6.5 in the morning with Enzo, I decided to go to the President's Cup 5k.  It was a tough decision. I still feel a little weak and sluggish.  I texted Sidney from the parking lot whining that I am not so sure I am happy paying $30 to do something poorly.  

The weather was nice.   The course was fast.  The field was huge.  If anything I would get a little speed work in.  My best 5k of 2011 was 6:47 pace way back in February.  Since I haven't come near that time since, I am starting to question whether that course was short.  I did feel fast that day and I did push hard.  I also raced a great 50k the following week and only a few weeks later I started taking the medication that damaged my liver, so maybe I have just been struggling from that?  Or maybe the course was short?  Whatever the reason, I have NOT put in the work for a fast 5k, so I didn't expect one.

Well, I promised myself a few weeks ago that I would push the pace for as long as I could in these short runs.  Last 5k, I got to about 12 minutes before things got hard.  This time I got to about 14 minutes, but that put me just barely past the 2 mile mark, so I was happy.  Maybe next 5k, I can feel strong through 16? 

In mile 3, I felt the fatigue setting in.  My breathing was hard and this is where I saw Ross, a fellow asthma sufferer struggling.  I was able to catch him.  Ross is great because he responds so well to encouragement.... or maybe he will do whatever he can to not get beat by a girl... either way, whenever I see him hurting I feel his pain.   I always make point to try to get him to just stay with me.  He knows I have asthma to and I know he knows I understand.   In fact, he met me at mile 3 of a 10k about 3 years ago as he passed me while I wheezing and he asked if I was ok.  I huffed out "Asthma... " and from then on when he sees me in a race he will say "There's Asthma!"... Ross and I go back and forth in races, but for the most part he is a faster runner than me so I know something is wrong if I catch him.

The last two times this happened, Ross was able to let me pass him and then suddenly find the drive to get it together and blow past me.  I was happy for him, although I must admit I do try to stay with him hoping to be able to pass him by the end. :)   Last night that was not possible.

By the end of the race, I saw that clock was still reading 21... and knew if I kicked hard I could finish before  it changed to 22...  I finished in 21:58, 4th in AG, 40the female out of over 500 and 300th place of about 1345 runners.  This is only 6 seconds faster than my last run.  I am happy to see that 21, though even thought this is still about 1:30 slower than my best ever 5k. 

I still have a lot of work to do. 

The year is young.  :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

My brother's first youtube... his 40 lb Striped Bass off the surf.


so cool!

Running For The Hansons: Book Review and Giveaway


Please check out Chasing Atlanta.  There is a wonderful Book Review and related book giveaway happening there.   I love Brooks products and just got a new shipment of shorts and tops today! I also run only in brooks shoes and truly appreciate the Hanson method of training it's athletes.   I look forward to reading this book!

Monday, June 13, 2011

American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Team Awesome's attempt to be Awesome washed away by the weather.

On June 11, the ACS was scheduled to put on an Relay for Life at the park where I run short loops with Enzo.  I decided to sign up and hoped to be able to run for 8-10 hours of the night logging maybe 40 miles total.  In a normal 12 hour run, I could potentially see over 60 miles, but this was for fun and for fundraising, so 40 was my goal.

Last year I did this as a fundraiser and as a way to celebrate my 5 years being cancer free.  This year I decided to make a tradition of it an celebrate 6 years. Rather than just ask people to donate cash, I invited people to come join me.  To join the team it is a $10 donation to the ACS.  Since the park has a .8 mile loop and the walkers would only be on part of that loop, it is a good park to run as part of the relay.  In contrast, ACS relays are often on tracks, so runners are not able to find the room to run freely.  It is a walking event, so by running through crowds of walkers, people may get frustrated.   However, here in Woodbridge, we can walk through the walk part of the loop and when the walkers turn left through the field, the runners can head off on the "big" loop to run as fast as we want. 

Johnny arrived at 5-ish to check thing out.  He planned to hang out with me all night. 

I arrived next with Enzo.  I figured he would get to spend sometime getting used to crowds and my parents were coming for a few hours, so they could take him home when they left.  It took about 10 minutes for Enzo to be ejected from the event.  Apparently no dogs are allowed at the Relay even thought the park is dog friendly.  I did see some dogs later in the night, so I suspect just no crazy dogs are allowed.

My parents arrived next and we able to take Enzo home.  Martin showed up ready to run a few laps.   Alanna was next, then Robin M, who drove about 2.5 hours from PA for the chance to run all night.   Meredith made it as well as Rebecca. Both did a few laps.

After Alanna and I walked the survivors lap, we decided to start running at 7:40 p.m.   We did about 2 laps before Robin arrived and then we stopped to help her set up.  We would run a lap, then stop to be social with our friends and family.  By 10 pm the Rain started to come and Tamra had just arrived.

We did a few laps with Tamra and by 11 pm, the Event organizers had advised us that we are all leaving due to the impending T-storms.   We packed up our gear, but Johnny and I planned to just run alone all night even  if the event staff left.  But the park was going to be locked and they requested that we not stay... so we complied and went home. 

On my ride home, all 4 miles, the weather shifted and the rain stopped. However, Alanna reported that just a few miles away she was hit hard with down pours and Thunder/Lightning.  So it is all for the best.

I did find another event next weekend, so if all goes well I may call a do-over and see if I can run all night in Galloway.

Oh and for the record, I ran 15 laps... 12 miles instead of 12 hours. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Princeton 10k

So last Monday, Memorial Day, I raced a double 10k/5k.  Both felt incredibly hard.  The course didn't seem too tough,  I was just tired.  It was hot.

I haven't been feeling great which is likely due to some minor health related stuff. I could not expect to run fast, since I had not run fast in a while. To me racing fast is kind of like that expression about money (It takes money to make money). I cant seem to run to fast unless I have run fast.  So without speedwork, what can I expect?   My 10k on Monday was a tough one and I cruised in at 47:10 (ugh... this was 2 minutes slower than the last 10k I raced in April, b/f I started the new medicine that I feel slowed me down).   I had high hopes for the 5k that started 30 minutes later, but that was no better at 23:40.

Today just felt different.  The weather was nicer. It was very cool and not very humid.  However, the course may have been hillier, but I didn't think it was too bad..  All I know is I LOVE a track finish and I couldn't wait to get there. 

I started behind Mark who ran about a 43 minute 10k on Monday.  It seemed wrong to start out ahead of him. :)   Martin got a great start and I spent about 1 mile trying to catch up to him without working to hard.  The course was a nice mixture of ups and downs. 

The first half seemed to be more down than up.  Mile 1 was 7:08, Mile 2 was 7:12,  Mile 3 was 7: 16 and my 5k split was 22:26.  I felt good and wondered if I could see a 44 on the clock today.

The second half seemed to be a bit more up (or maybe I was just getting tired).  Mile 4 (7:26) and Mile 5 (7:32) were not the best.  The temperature started warming up a bit and my wheezing got bad, but I felt ok.  An EMT started hovering.  I pretended like I was winning and was running with the lead bike. :)  He asked me if I was ok, and I explained that I have asthma.  He did not trust that I was ok and stayed near me until just before Mile 6 (7:16)

During the second half of this race I had a song stuck in my head.  Without fail whenever a song plays in my head, I know I am having a good race.  Today's song was Rolling in the Deep by Adele.  During this last mile, the refrain repeated in my mind and I picked off all those I could catch.  I moved up the ranks of females passing about 4 women and setting my sight on one more for the track lap.

We entered the track and I picked up the pace.  So did the woman ahead of me.  However, I just LOVE the track and I knew I could blast past her in a 200 meter dash.  However she started kicking.  I wanted to be ahead of her by the curve, so I could hug the inside and force her to take the outside to pass me by, but I just couldn't catch her.  This means I needed to take the outside and with 100 meters to go, that is just what I did.  I gave everything I had, took the one extra place and ran that last .2 was 1:17 (6:24 pace).

I finished in 45:10, 8th female and 1 in my AG.

I have run faster 10k's as splits in other races when in my best shape.  However, I am happy with this effort and was very pleased to see a 2 minute drop off my 10k in 6 days!  Ironically, I was exactly 1 second slower than my fastest 10k this year which is a good place to be after taking a medication that had some serious but reversible side-effects.

After the race, Liz (who came to cheer), Martin (my racing buddy) and I all went for breakfast in Princeton.

What a great run!   I love a good runner's high :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Running with Enzo

I think there are few things more rewarding than running for hours through the woods with your dog trotting effortless and joyfully at your side.

Although most of today's run involved Enzo keeping the leash taunt as he lead the way and set the pace, by mile 6 we had finally agreed that 8:45 -9 minutes per mile was a nice pace.  For the first time ever he was able to run WITH me, at my side, with slack leash.

I could sense his joy to just run.  Anything slower than 8:05 pace is a trot and he does so with tail wagging and with confidence.  He was lightly panting even with temperatures well into the 70's, but he had no interest in jumping in the river like he does when he is too hot.  Today was different than other runs because the tow path was pretty much empty except for us.  No cars, people, or other dogs to distress him.  He was truly relaxed today.

He ran, with me, at my side (for part of the run), and it was beautiful.  10.5 total miles on a dirt tow path in the shade of the trees with our route bounded by a river on one side and a canal on the other. We had no choice. There was nothing else to do but run or swim.  Enzo did both.  I just ran.