Monday, April 25, 2011

Seaport River Run 2011

I ran the Seaport River Run on Saturday morning.  Here are the highlights:

  • The sun was shining, and the race didn't have a 6 AM start.  Woo hoo!
  • My first couple of miles were at about a 10-minute pace, so I knew that I had a good chance of getting a PR (since my pace needed only be faster than an 11:55).  I thought, "Even if I have a couple of slow miles today, I still might beat my previous record."
  • My new Brooks T7s were light on my feet, and my legs felt well rested since I didn't run while in Boston or New York.  
  • I was feeling under the weather, so my lungs were my biggest enemy; I felt like I couldn't get a full breath of air, and my occasional coughing fits slowed me down. 
  • Around mile 5 my feet started feeling like they were developing some blisters, but they didn't hurt me too bad.  I decided to run the last 1.2 miles as fast and as strong as possible.
  • I breezed by two or three runners in the final few yards of the race.  I like finishing my races with a sprint.
  • I got a frosty beer at the finish line and a jet boat ride back to my car... and all for a $10 registration fee.  Nice.

I came in at 1:08:58, which is an 11:06 pace.  I feel pretty good about that time and look forward to my next race on Sunday.  I just hope this cough subsides a bit; I'd like to be healthy for Bloomsday.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Two Races, Two Days, One PR

I ran the Twilight 5K in Lewiston, ID on Friday night.  It was great.

A few minutes before 7:00 PM, we put our race numbers on, removed our jackets, and lined up on the paved path next to river.  The sun was going down, but it still shone on the water and illuminated the just-budding trees, reminding me that Spring is on its way.

I watched as other runners warmed their bare arms, fiddled with their iPods, and stretched their muscles.

The gun went off soon after, and the race began.  I didn't actually start running, though; because I had a timing chip on my shoe, I figured that I would cross a timing mat to officially start my time.  So, I walked for about ten seconds and realized only once I got to the starting line that there was no mat.  Bummer. 

I began running and knew from the get-go that my legs were feeling pretty good.  I have been increasing my miles for Bloomsday and for my next half marathon (in June), and while they have been pretty tired, they have also been getting stronger.  I felt that strength, the cool air on my face, the beauty of the river and Idaho, and the excitement of the runners around me.  It felt good, and I waved to my cameraman. :)
What a dork! :)
My first two miles were great.  I was running under a ten-minute pace (which is fast for me), and I heard the "go-ahead-and-walk" devil on my shoulder less than usual.  I wondered at Mile 2 if I would get a PR.  The sun set around me, and I distinctly remember smiling at the fact that I was running a race on my Friday night.

With about 3/4-mile to go, my legs started to feel tired.  I was sweating pretty good, and the distance between me and the older fellow that I was trying to keep up with was increasing.  Without feeling discouraged, I reminded myself that I had less than a mile to go.

(I have to isert a side note here.  When I run, I tend to think of things in terms of distances I know - "I only have a 5K left" or "Only one more mile to go."  I also have shorter distances memorized.  At this particular point in the race, I remembered one of my most-run trails - the railroad tracks by the local Jack in the Box.  And this was super-useful.  I thought to myself, "I only have the distance from the underpass to the parking lot left.  I have run that a million times."  And that was all that it took to remind me that this distance and the feelings in my legs were nothing new.  I was going to finish strong!)

With .35 miles to go, I did something that I can't believe I did - I started sprinting.  In my experience, that is too far to sprint.  But, I looked at my Garmin and saw that I was close to record time for a 5K; I had to try to beat my best time.  I kicked it into gear and ran.

I really did feel like I was going as fast as this picture indicates.
I passed three people on the final stretch, and I crossed the finish line in 30:53 - my best 5K time to date. :)

(Special thanks to John McMurtrey for taking these pictures!)


The next morning I awoke to the knowledge that I was going to run another race - this time a 5-miler, and I would be both a participant and a co-organizer of the event.  The race's rules were simple - run five 1-mile laps, and take a card from the deck upon the completion of each loop; the best hand at the end of five loops/miles wins.

Pre-race chatting/keeping warm
The race started at 11:00 AM, and I have to say that it was really cool to see how many participants we got to come out and run.  Despite the chilly wind, we were all smiles as we started the race.

Not long after the start, it was clear that I wasn't going to be running the whole five miles; the race took us up Roundtop and up the hill to the water tower.  I wasn't too concerned about my hiking plan, as there was a fellow hiker/runner out there who was more than happy to join me for our friendly five-mile race.

John McMurtrey and I showing the trail who's boss. :)

Feeling good
This was John's first race, and he was awesome!  We came in at 1:11:25, which isn't bad for the course.  More important, however, is the fact that we had a lot of fun running, walking, hiking, and talking.

After the race, we compared cards, and I was surprised that my two kings didn't even get me into the top 3.  Rose Keller won with three aces.  Congrats, Rose!

All in all, a great couple of days in my running life.
(Special thanks to Shirley Cornelius for taking these pictures!)