Monday, June 16, 2014

Heyburn State Park Trail Series #2

On Saturday I ran a five-mile race in Heyburn State Park.  It is the second race of the series, and I signed up since Scott and his brother, AJ, wanted to run the half marathon. 

I haven't been running at all lately; I'd like to blame the car accident I was in on June 2 (I am still experiencing back pain/discomfort) or the recent rain on the Palouse, but what it really comes down to is this: I don't want to run.  As far as exercise goes, I have found some success in my daily workouts on the elliptical machine.  Granted, I wish I could do my workouts outside and enjoy the sunny weather, but I do occasionally go biking on Chipman Trail with Scott, and I enjoy my Wednesday walks during Beer Chasers.  Also, soon Scott and I will be in Greece, walking and exploring new lands, and after that, I will get out on the trail and start my training for August's 12-hour race.  Until then, I'll elliptical and watch Breaking Bad.  I'm watching the finale of Season 4 tonight, and I am dying to know if Gus is going to kill Walt... but I digress.

I signed up for the race knowing that there was going to be an uphill.  After all, trail races aren't flat, and this wasn't my first rodeo.  So I wasn't scared.
Race Start

But I should have been.  The race started at 9:30, and by 9:35 I was dying!  My lungs burned, and I couldn't seem to catch my breath.  In the first 1.5 miles, I climbed over 1,500 feet.

On my way up the single-track trek to the top, I wish I could say that I had a positive outlook on the race, but if I said that, I would be lying.  I thought to myself, "Why did I spend $35 to hike to the top of this damn mountain.  That was dumb.  I am never gonna do this again.  I am no gifted hiker/runner.  Is that the top I see ahead?  Nope - just another false crest.  I'm gonna be here all day." 

The hike to the top was slow, but I kept going.  I never stopped to rest, and at some point I did reach the top.  While the views were not great (only because of the rain and clouds), the feeling of knowing that I didn't have to climb anymore was pretty dang sweet!

The rest of the race was fun.  I was sopping wet, my rain jacket completely soaked to my skin and my shoes actually making "squish" sounds at every foot-strike.  I ran the remainder of the course, my legs and lungs feeling cool and fresh.  I knew that my overall time was going to be slow because of the uphill, but I kind of impressed myself at the pace at which I was running the downhill.  But no one saw me; I was too far behind everyone else to impress them with my lightening-fast descent.

I crossed the finish line with a pace of just over 16:00/mile, and I didn't finish completely last.  That's something.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bloomsday 2014

Getting up for Bloomsday was hard this year.  The day before the race, I drove down to the Riggins Rodeo to spend the day with my dad and Susan, and I drove back the night before Bloomsday.  My alarm went off at 5:30; no one should be up at that time, in my humble opinion.

We got on the road by 6:15 so that we could get to Spokane, pick up our packets, and get Scott and the other second seeders to their corral by 8:15 or so.  Everything went as planned, and even the weather was looking up (it had rained early that morning, and I was hoping that my tank top and capri pants weren't too optimistic an outfit for the race). 

My race started sometime around 9:20, though I really don't know when; I wasn't carrying my watch or my phone, so I just followed the masses of orange bib-wearing runners in workout clothes and costumes (superheros, Raggedy Anne, and a banana, to name a few).

I ran the first 1.5 miles or so until the first minor hill.  I decided to walk it even though I wasn't tired; I figured that I hadn't done any running for a while, and there was no way that I would realistically run the whole thing.  I decided to be strategic: run the flats and downhills and walk the uphills and water stations. 

The race was mostly uneventful, other than being hit in the head with a beach ball after the first mile and running nearly side-by-side with a fireman in full uniform.  I have to admit, though, I kind of impressed myself by how fast I seemed to go, given my lack of running training.  I knew I wasn't close to my 11:18 pace (2011 PR for this course), but I knew that I was going significantly faster than I had last year (14:14/mile).  My near-daily elliptical machine training paid off in terms of cardio, and I completed the race without ever feeling truly out of breath or pained from side aches. 

Somewhere between Mile 6 and 7, I felt a little annoyed at how long that particular mile was.  I could have sworn that someone had moved the Mile 7 marker because I knew I had run much farther.  Unlucky for me, however, no one had stolen the sign; I came upon the marker and still had a half mile to go.

The last half mile wasn't fast, but I did have a little kick at the tiny downhill to the finish.  I crossed the finish line in 1:38:40, with a pace of 13:13/mile.  I finished in the top half of all 32 year-old females and over a minute faster per mile than last year.  I did ok. :)

After the race, a bunch of us from Beer Chasers met at No-Li Brewery to enjoy a meal and a beverage or two.  Unfortunately, it wasn't warm enough for us to sit outside, so I enjoyed my Cream Ale at an indoor table, with my jacket on, surrounded by fellow Bloomies.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Pullman Winter Ultra 12/14/13 & 01/11/14

I participated in both races again for the Pullman Winter Ultra in Pullman, WA.  This year, however, I ran the 25K in December and the 12.5K in January.  I am especially proud of the distance in January, and I'm proud that I survived the rain and wind in January without catching pneumonia or becoming hypothermic (as did some of the other racers).

The 25K in December was pleasant for the most part.  It was quite cold (35 degrees), and I did slip around a bit on the course (especially in the shadows, where the ice could not melt), but I enjoyed being out on the course, knowing that if I finished, I would get a PR.  I found that Lou Bega's "Mambo Number 5" is a wonderful song to jog to and that my ankle is at least 90% recovered, as it did not start feeling sore until well into my second lap.  All in all, I walked away with a PR, two gnarly blisters, and third place overall female.

The 12.5K in January was not much fun.  It was cold (40s) and wet and very, very windy.   In the first mile or so, I thought that I may do two laps; my legs were feeling good, and I felt like I had dressed appropriately for my speed and effort.  But soon thereafter the rain came, and my mind changed completely.  It rained so hard that my fleece mittens were completely soaked through in a matter of minutes.  My rain coat kept my body dry, but my feet squished water out the sides with every step.  I could feel my healing December blisters get new blisters inside my wet socks.

Worst, perhaps, was the wind.  The wind sprayed the rain into my eyes and, at certain sections of the course, kept me from jogging in a straight line.  The 40-50 mph gusts pushed me sideways.  I cursed under my breath and wondered why I had gotten out of my warm bed to run in such weather.  I finished with a time of 1:52:00, or a 14:25/mile pace.  I was glad to be done.  I felt for the runners still out on the course as I drove home with the heater on high.

Here are a few photos from the January race, though they simply cannot do the weather conditions justice.
Checking in and bundled up
Climbing the hill to Banyans

In a downpour, just past the bears
Just a few yards before finishing with Steffi Tietz
Good to remember, even in the rain and wind :)

Also, I signed up for Bloomsday again this year, and I am registered for the 12-hour Transcendence Race in Olympia too.  I don't have many races on my agenda, but the ones I do have actually mean something to me.  And I think that's what matters to me now in my running journey.