Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Getting Motivated

Lately, I have been on a lot of good runs:
On Private Lands Bridge Trail, Moscow Mountain

By the water tower, above Pullman

Running down the hill by the water tower (I love this picture...)

On Kamiak Butte

A fishing boat on Rock Lake

Power poles above Rock Lake

Picture perfect - Rock Lake, WA
But lately, I haven't been super-stoked to leave work early to get on the trails.  That is not to say that I am done running or anything like that; instead, it means that I need to find some more energy for it and renew my motivation for running and fitness as a whole. 

I've heard that the best way to motivate oneself is to sign up for races.  And I am doing that; I am running the Pullman Winter Ultra Series and a 5K on New Year's Eve.  I'm also planning to stay involved in my running club and keep hitting the trails (and pavement) after work most days.

I think I am also going to shake up my fitness routine a bit in hopes that it will help my energy and motivation.  Today I looked into the Zumba classes offered in my community, and I figure that taking one might be just what my fitness routine needs.  At the very least, I am going to show up for the first day of class and see if I am just way too far out of my element (I am not very coordinated and have no experience dancing).  It starts November 1.

Wish me luck.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kamiak Trail Series 2011

Every other Tuesday, from mid-April to the end of September, I participated in (and co-coordinated) the Kamiak Trail Series.  The website describes the event as follows: "The Kamiak Loop Time Trials is a fun, tough, bi-weekly trail racing series set above the beautiful Palouse of southeastern Washington and north-central Idaho. [...] We want to provide a venue for trail runners to get together for a fun, run-as-fast-as-you-can, midweek run on a beautiful and challenging 2.25 mile trail."

Every other week, we changed the direction of the loop; on the first day of the event (April 12), we ran the loop counterclockwise, which consisted of running up the more gradual side of the butte and then running down the (really) steep side.  And then the next week, we ran it clockwise and hiked up the steep side.

It is a very challenging course even though it is only 2.25 miles long!

At the beginning of the series, I got it in my head that I was going to shoot for a sub-30 minute loop by the end of the summer.  My goal was completely arbitrary, but I liked round numbers, and it didn't seem out of the question since a few of the regular participants were able to do the loop in under 20 minutes.  So, I got it in my head that I had to beat my time each week - no matter what.

Well... I learned a couple of important lessons in attempting to keep this deal with myself:

1) Setting goals creates good motivation for improvement.  I improved a lot by the end of the series.  I am glad that I pushed myself to improve, and I felt like I had a lot of support - from friends who enthusiastically asked me whether I beat my time.  Yay goals!  Yay friends!

2) Goals need to be realistic and somewhat flexible.  When I set my goal, I didn't do so for any other reason than I liked the number 30.  And on top of that, I didn't know that I would have two nasal surgeries and a long recovery.  These things should have been taken into consideration... because without flexibility, one might cry after a particular race - oh, like maybe on August 16 - because one did not beat her last time. :(

Here are my race times in each direction:

42:04 - April 12
36:41 - May 10
34:11 - June 7
33:25 - July 5
32:27 - August 30
31:57 - September 27

39:01 - April 26
35:02 - May 24
32:35 - June 21
31:42 - July 19
32:48 - August 16
32:56 - September 13

I had a great time running, enjoying the amazing views on Kamiak, and BBQing with friends after the race.  In a way, I am kind of sad that the Series is over for the year.  But on the other hand, it is kind of nice not to have as many running-related time commitments; between Beer Chasers every Wednesday, weekend races, the Beer Mile, the Pullman Winter Ultras, and daily runs, I'm feeling like I am stretched pretty thin.  I'd like a little more time to just sleep in and go fishin'. :)


Wild Moose Chase Trail Run

On September 24, I ran a 10K called the Wild Moose Chase Trail Run.  The race took place in the Mt. Spokane State Park and started at the Selkirk Lodge (a cross-country skiing lodge, which had running toilets! - a luxury for most races).

The race was fun, and the course was pretty difficult.... hmmm, what else can I say?... 

I suppose I don't have a whole lot to say about the race because the primary feeling that I had after the race was that I shouldn't have run it in the first place.  My nose is still giving me trouble, and because of it, I am not in the kind of shape that I could be.  I knew I wouldn't PR and the race cost $40, but I couldn't help myself and signed up the morning of the event "just because," I suppose.

I hiked and walked the uphills and ran the downhills, and tried to ignore my nose and focus on the beauty surrounding me.  (It really is a beautiful area.) 

 And at about an hour in, I came upon another runner that I ended up befriending.  His name was Branden, and he said he was in first place for the first two miles.  He was 16 years old, and apparently wasn't very well-practiced at pacing himself.

We chatted about girls and wrestling and cars for around two miles. :)  I encouraged him on the uphills - "We're almost to the top, Branden!" - and before either of us knew it, we were at the 6-mile marker.

We decided to run it in, and he came in a couple of seconds ahead of me.  I finished in 1:29:13.

I didn't go home with a jar of honey - the prize awarded to the top finishers in each event - but I did go home with a race bib to put in my scrapbook. 


Walk for the Warriors

I have fallen behind on my blogging, and every day I intend to write, but nothing gets written.  So, I figure that writing a little something about the events that I have participated in lately is better than writing extensive race reports "someday."  So, here we go:

On September 20, 2011, I participated in the Walk for the Warriors, a 14-mile course along the paved Chipman Trail in Eastern Washington.  The race started at 8:00 AM in Moscow, ID, and I have to admit that at 7:55, I had some mixed feelings about the event.

First, I was nervous about the 14 miles.  Fourteen miles is the second-farthest distance that I have ever run, and most of my long runs these days are only 5 or 6 miles.  A part of me worried about injury and/or embarrassment. 

Second, I was disappointed by the turnout.  The race was advertised on the radio, and when I found out what the event was raising money for - the Warrior's Promise Foundation - I figured that lots of people would attend, especially since the event was on the weekend of September 11.  However, there were only five or six people there total, and I think that all of them were a part of my Wednesday night running group, the Palouse Falls Beer Chasers. 

(Side note: I still think I might write a harshly-worded letter to all of the ROTC programs on both the WSU and UI campuses, scolding them for their absenteeism.  They should have been there, if you ask me...)

And third, I was pretty excited.  It is hard not to feel some adrenaline on the morning of a race, even when one knows she is going to do a lot of walking.

At 8:00, the race began, and I quickly determined that I needed to pace myself.  I had been casually planning to run 1/2 mile then walk 1/2 mile for 14 miles, and after running the first half mile at about a 8:30 pace, I decided to fully commit to that plan.  I simply could not keep that pace.

It turns out that my plan was a good one.  It was realistic given the distance of the event and the shape that I was in.  I felt good for nearly the whole run.  Around mile 10, I was feeling pretty tired, but I didn't have many options and decided to just keep plugging along.  And at mile 13, I had enough energy to entertain the idea of running the final mile.

In the end, I ended up walking about 6.5 miles and running 7.5.  I came in at 3:22:31.

I really hope the event attracts more people next year.  The volunteers were great, and it is for a good cause.  I'm glad I participated.