Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pullman Winter Ultra Series 2011-2012

This is the second year that I have co-directed this group run, and it was definitely a success. Last year's first race only had eight runners and grew to twenty-two by the end of the winter. This year we had forty participants on the December run and forty-four in January! It was pretty cool seeing so many people who wanted to get together and run on a Saturday morning - not for medals or t-shirts but for the fun of it.

Last year my best time for the 7.75-mile loop was 1:37:48. This year I beat my time by 48 seconds, which I am pleased with since I have not been training. Before the race I thought I would just walk most of the loop, but after my first couple of 11-minute miles, I thought that I might have a record in me, so I ran harder than I planned. Of course, I still walked up the hill by Schweitzer and the hill by the golf course, because, sheesh, those hills feel bigger and steeper than they look.

This weekend was also going to be my first 25K, or two 7.75-mile loops. I wasn't feeling 100%, so I decided that I would be okay with not attempting my first 25K if I beat my December time. Thankfully, I came in at 1:35:36, which is a 12:20 pace. (And my RunKeeper app said that I ran 7.82 miles at a 12:13 pace, which is even cooler...especially since I had to wait at the light to cross the Moscow/Pullman highway.)

I was pleased by my time and amazed at how strong my legs felt (even though my body felt achy and fevered). I hope to be motivated to run my first 25K in 2012.


Monday, January 9, 2012

New Year's Eve 5K

How come I seem to have so much trouble getting to races on time?

On the morning of the last day of 2011, I felt really laid back. My friends signed up for a marathon that morning, and just to be a joiner (and to get another state crossed off my race list), I was going to run the 5K. Their race started at 8 AM, and I was under the impression that mine did not start until 9:30. So, as they got ready for their race, I casually took pictures, wandered around, and planned when the best time would be for me to find a little spot on the grass, eat my banana, drink my 5-hour energy, and play a little Scrabble on my iPhone before my race. I knew I had plenty of time to eat, recreate, use the restroom, and check all of my bags (and those of my companions) at the bag-check tent. At 7:55, or so, they got into their corrals, and I, again, played photographer.
I'm not exactly sure what I did for the next 20 minutes or so, but I distinctly remember hearing the following message over the loud speaker: "Final call for the 5K! All racers should be at the starting line. We will begin in 2 minutes!"


My heart started pounding, and I frantically stripped down to my capris and short-sleeved shirt. I threw my earmuffs, scarf, jacket, and sweat pants into a plastic grocery bag and searched for my race number.

"One minute warning for the 5K!"

EEK! I didn't have time to fill out any name tags for the bag check, and I am sure I looked like a crazy person as I threw my bags down by the tent and blurted out something about being late and that my name was Annie. I sprinted to the starting line just as the gun went off.

In the first quarter mile, I managed to put my race number on, even though I had lost one of my safety pins in the shuffle. I ran without my iPod or my Garmin or my RunKeeper app (they were in the grocery bag), and I distinctly remember thinking 1) I hope no one steals the bags, and 2) this is not the first time that I nearly missed a race. :)

The race itself was fine. It was a flat course that made its way around a park in one direction, and then we turned around and ran back to the starting line. I figured that I was running at about an 11 or 12-minute pace, which I was happy enough with since I spent nearly all of my Christmas break eating and not running.

I ended up finishing the race in 33:46, which is a 10:49 pace. Looking back, I bet I could have run faster, but I am actually pretty happy that I started when I was supposed to - in spite of everything - and that nothing was stolen from my bags. :) Good, funny day.