Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fall Classic Fun Run (aka Halloween 5K)

It's kind of amusing that an inaugural run at a pretty brand new YMCA branch is called "Fall Classic." But I guess that's more PC than "Halloween" 5K!

Still, today is Halloween, so I (and quite a few others) ran in costume! My mom had the camera, and I wish she'd taken pictures of some of the other costumed runners. But she did take tons of pictures of me (most of which I am entirely--or mostly--in the frame), and lots of pictures of my sister's baby Eva too.

Gretchen and Todd and Eva didn't quite get there in time for the race, but they did pass me and honk as I was finishing up the last half mile. They did get to breakfast afterwards. :)

I had no goals or expectations for today, but I was pretty happy to finish with a time of 23:55, which is only about 5 seconds off my PR (from Eugene). The final distance was a little over, 3.14, so I was probably running about the same pace as Eugene anyway.

The run was at Lake Tye park in Monroe, which has a 1.6 mile running path around the lake. So the 5K went around the lake and then on for about three quarters of a mile, then back to finish at the starting point. I warmed up and got a little mileage in by doing a couple of loops around the lake beforehand, a little over four miles total. Then I went back to the car, put my costume on, and we headed to the starting area!

It was a dark and stormy day.... (but we never got rained on!)

Just before the National Anthem--my dad called my name and I turned for a photo.
A little bit of a photography error--although rather arty for a running picture!
The first and third-place overall women winners are in this picture with me. At the front, in the long-sleeved white shirt, is Gael, who is Scottish and works at the Everett YMCA. The woman front of me doing a leg stretch was third. She finished about 30 seconds ahead of me (I was fourth female, #20 overall).
Waiting, waiting, waiting....
Oops, another arty shot!
On the run. You'd think from all of the photos of me in action that there were no other runners in this race!

I'm pretty sure this is near the end....
I stopped running the minute I crossed the finish line.
My parents, Todd (my sister's husband) and baby Eva.
Eva is dressed as a polar bear.

Laughing for her mommy.
Posting my picture and finish time to Facebook! Sadly, I have to wear granny glasses to see small print when I have my contacts in (I borrowed my mom's).
Modeling the ladybug costume.

Collecting my ribbon for first in my age group! Technically I was second, but the person ahead of me placed in overall female winners, so didn't get an age group ribbon.
Yep, a blue ribbon!
Eva at our post-race breakfast at the Cabbage Patch.
Full of scones and veggie scramble.
Outside the Cabbage Patch--nice autumn decor!
Overall results: 23:55, 7:37 pace. Splits 7:24, 7:51, 7:41, and the last .14 at 7:08 pace.

Now it's time to finish tidying up before the trick-or-treaters start coming, put out my candy, and start thinking about making dinner...a delicious chicken and pumpkin stew!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What a difference a day made

Twenty-four little hours (or forty-eight)... brought the sun and the flowers (or at least a nice sunrise)... where there used to be rain.

Yep, today was a much better day than Monday. It was still dark when I went out at 6:15 a.m., of course, and probably a little colder (upper 40's), but the puddles had dried up and my jacket kept me comfortably warm.

And I felt good. So good, in fact, that I was surprised to see my warm-up miles were as slow as they turned out to be. The first was a little funky anyway, as I had a Garmin satellite issue and I think my time for the first "mile" (10:48!) was actually for 1.05 miles (which would make the mile pace about 10:30, a little more realistic—I'm perfectly capable of a 10:48 mile, of course, I just didn't feel that sluggish at all). The rest of my warm-up, a total of about 3.5 miles, was slightly under a 10-minute pace.

So that brought me to the track for Wednesday speedwork. I had originally planned to do some quarter-mile intervals, but looking at one of my training plans last night, I saw that it called for 7 x 800 intervals. That sounded like a fairly good idea, and in my last round of 800's (half-miles), I'm pretty sure I did six, so seven was the appropriate number anyway.

It was still too dark to see much of anything, so I decided just to run the first few repeats without trying to check the time on my Garmin. After each 800/880/half mile I hit the lap button then jogged about 90 seconds back to the start. I didn't want to spend too long on recovery in case I ran out of time and had to cut the workout short (don't want to do that!).

I had no concept of what kind of a pace I was doing. It felt good, not too difficult, which could have meant I was going fast (5K pace) or that I wasn't working hard enough (10K pace)! I didn't feel any trace of soreness or tiredness leftover from Sunday's 20-miler.

After about three intervals there was enough daylight that I could make out the numbers on the watch after I stopped running, if I held my wrist just so and tilted it toward a streetlight. I was pretty startled, though pleased, to see a time of 3:47 for the half mile! That was at the fast end of the 5K pace spectrum for me.

Near the end of lap 5 I looked eastward as I was running on the west side of the track and saw the beautiful pink sunrise. After I finished that lap I jogged back to the side of the track to take the picture that is at the top of this post.

I was also wondering, by that time, if perhaps the reason my times were so good could be that I was stopping short of a full half mile. I was concerned enough to check the Garmin history to make sure my half miles weren't shorter...and they weren't. Each one so far was exactly .50, so I was relieved that I hadn't made a mistake in my stopping point. (Ironically, my final two half-miles were .49 each, so I did stop just a few feet too soon with them. Doesn't really matter, of course, pace is pace. And 800 meters is .497 miles, so I was probably closer to a true 800 in those two, anyway.)

I am quite pleased that my pace got progressively faster throughout the workout—my first 800 was the slowest and my final one was fairly significantly the fastest. Here are the numbers....

1 - 3:56.07 for .50 mile - 7:53 pace
2 - 3:51.82 for .50 mile - 7:47 pace
3 - 3:47.19 for .50 mile - 7:34 pace
4 - 3:46.28 for .49 mile - 7:38 pace
5 - 3:45.68 for .50 mile - 7:34 pace
6 - 3:43.65 for .49 mile - 7:33 pace
7 - 3:43.07 for .49 mile - 7:31 pace

TOTAL (including warm-up and recovery jogs) - 8.27 miles - 1:14:32 - 9:00 average pace.

And finally, for your listening pleasure, someone who says it all much more nicely than me....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Running in the rain. Not. A. Fan.

That was my Facebook status update yesterday morning after doing 7.27 miles in the cold, drenching rain. Although as I posted it at 9:39 a.m., my FB friends probably thought I was going running then, when the rain was much lighter (maybe even just showers), and didn't realize the true downpour I had faced between 6:30 and 7:45 a.m.!*

A day later, I've pretty much recovered from the drama of it all, but man-oh-man was it a hard morning yesterday. For the day after a 20-mile run, my legs weren't bad at all, considering. I've had tireder** legs the day after a much shorter run than that. And my final average pace of 10:03 is not at all out of line for a Monday recovery run.

But I got a taste of winter weather yesterday and I did not like it. Our typical bad winter weather is not snow and ice, but this type of cold rain, which is far more unpleasant to run in. It was dark, of course, and didn't even really get light by the time I finished. Street lights make it possible to see, but I cannot avoid every puddle, and I'm sure I splashed ankle deep at least half a dozen times--the last time one block from home as I was finishing up. Despite my new RoadRunner wind and rain jacket, I was soaked to the skin by the time I got home. I could barely peel my clothes off to take a shower. Even after I took a hot shower (which was sublime), I was shivering with chills again after I got out.

Luckily for me, despite our local reputation for rain, heavy rainfalls do not really occur that often and it seems like my morning runs often occur between rain spells. So I don't think this kind of run will be a regular occurrence, I hope I hope. It does make me think about the Seattle Half Marathon on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which I signed up for on a whim. Late November weather in Washington is, of course, variable. I pray that we do not get a day like yesterday for that run (or for Thanksgiving weekend in general, really).

Because I was zipped up into my "rain" jacket, and because it was dark out, and because it was a Monday recovery run, I didn't bother to look at my Garmin at all, except when I stopped for the bathroom. The curious thing (when I did check my time) was that my time was a minute over a 10-minute average pace each time. At four miles it was 41 minutes. At six miles it was 61 minutes. Maybe if I'd run an extra mile or two, I would have whittled away that extra minute to knock my average pace below ten minute miles. On the other hand, I did not have time to spare for an extra mile or two and so I was stuck with my seven and a quarter miles.

Splits: 10:45, 10:17, 9:59, 10:06, 9:55, 9:30, and .27 mile at 9:42 pace. Total time 1:13:08, average pace 10:03.

*Of course, they may not have seen it at all, thanks to Facebook's new News Feed format, since only the updates with the most comments get displayed, making Facebook a true popularity contest, just like high school. Thanks, Facebook! (Of course I may possibly be oversimplifying this, but I find it confusing to see someone's post from yesterday afternoon at the top of my page, just because she's had lots of comments and "likes," while not seeing someone else's, or my own, trivial post from ten minutes ago! Oh yeah, and get this. The one at the top actually doesn't have the most comments and likes, but it is an update about how happy my friend is that her Facebook is working again. Weird.)

**I'm sure the proper term is "more tired," but that just doesn't have the right ring to it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mission accomplished. Plus one mile.

Yesterday my super-secret goal was to do a 19-mile long run, and I am happy to say I did it. I actually ended up running 20 by the time I was done (though it took running up and down the block to bump it up the final tenth).

I was rather concerned that I would be running in the rain, since the week's forecast had been for rainy and dry weather on alternating days (the rainy ones were, of course, my running days), and as Saturday had been dry, rain was certainly in store for Sunday. But I did hear an updated forecast on Saturday night, which suggested that the rain wouldn't come until later in the afternoon, so I had some hope to cling to!

And sure enough, on Sunday morning the skies were grey, but there was no precipitation in the air. There was even enough hint of a break in the clouds that I packed sunglasses into my waist pack (but never needed to use them). Since I didn't expect rain, I decided not to wear my rain jacket (which, I can assure you, does not keep out real rain), but did wear a hot pink running jacket so I would be more visible to cars.

Since I was going long, I stuck two fueling options in my pocket, a packet of Sports Beans and a tube of SweetTarts green apple, and filled my water bottle with Nuun.* I left around 9:30 a.m., which was early enough to call morning, but late enough in the day to allow a little sleeping in (till about 8:00), and make sure it was fully daylight out. Breakfast was coffee and a piece of pear cake (maybe a questionable choice because of my stomach difficulties over the past few days, but I don't think the cake exacerbated things, and it is so good!).

I promised not to talk about potty things, so I'll just say that I took an Immodium before I left, and it worked. After seven miles.

So, nineteen miles in Marysville...that's a long ways! I pretty much planned to take the route I have done in the past for a long run, just adding some on the end as needed. I decided, though, after the first seven miles, to change it a little, by continuing north for another mile or so, then doubling back before going down to Sunnyside, and finish up the mileage by doing loops around the outside of Jennings Park as needed.

The hardest part of the route (well, before the last few miles) was that extra bit before I turned back. This is where I encounter my longest, steepest hills, and there is no shoulder, and the road turns sharply so I can't see oncoming cars and they can't see me. All in all, it is a frustrating segment. However, on my way back I got to go back down that long hill!

I know that my pace for long runs is probably too fast. (Probably? It's too fast.) My average pace for the whole distance was 9:32, and most of the individual miles were in the 9:30 range; a few of them slower but a number faster as well. I can say that I am not trying to run at this pace, I am just not preventing myself. And as any runner knows, it's hard to look a gift pace in the mouth.

But I am definitely planning on doing at least one long run at a significantly slower pace, no faster than 10-minute miles (maybe slower), so that I can make the run longer in time as well as distance.

My half marathon distance split was 2:04:38 (which was almost the same, just a little faster than on my long run two weeks ago). I started to wish I was done a little sooner this time, though—probably starting after mile 12! That would concern me a little more had I not managed to continue to keep my pace up. So I guess that is one good thing about the too-fast pace. Actually, I suspect that part of the reason I kept the pace up was because I knew (or my legs knew) that faster would finish sooner!

I suspect that part of the reason the run was a little bit harder than it should have been was because I have been feeling a little bit under the weather for the past few days (see previous posts), though I have not been actually sick. Anything under fifteen miles really should not be hard for me (crazy as that sounds). I have done so many runs that were twelve to fifteen miles long. That is definitely my base. All these longer runs are explorations into new territory.

I had not gotten into my fuel yet, by the half marathon point, because I felt shaky enough in the gut to not really want to put anything in me. But around fourteen or fifteen miles I decided to break into the Sports Beans, and I ate about 2/3 of the packet, washed down with some water from the water fountain at Jennings Park (should make a note, this is a good place to refill my water bottle too).

The rest of the run was all game playing, to trick myself into keeping going and not dwelling on how much further I had to go (fourteen miles and I still have five left? Sheesh!). I kept calculating and recalculating how many times I had to go around Jennings to make the distance (without going too far). I finally settled on two complete loops (which took me to 17.5 miles), and the remaining distance would be made up by my return trip.

Of course I got into the landmark game. At first it was just running to the next turn (which was quite a distance), but in the last few miles it was mailbox to mailbox, tree to tree, etc. And by these last few miles my body was starting to talk to me. And it was not saying anything good. There was a lot of profanity involved. My legs were getting heavier and it was work to make them continue running.

But amazingly, my pace did not suffer significantly in these more difficult miles! Excluding my "bonus" mile and the final official mile (which was downhill and faster), my times for miles 16-18 were 9:27, 9:37, and 9:33 (this was the uphill one). Mile 19 was 9:19. (Wow, is that a coincidence or what?)

Somewhere in those last few miles I finished the package of Sports Beans (I think it was my reward for getting to my final turnaround point, and the top of a hill). Then I "flew" back down the hill. (My tiredness was a factor; normally I would be sub-nine going down the hill without even trying.)

And there I was. Nineteen miles done...but I was still nowhere I needed to be. My usual practice in Marysville is to finish at Safeway Starbucks then walk back, but I didn't fancy adding even the extra walk and I really didn't feel like a latte. I would have gotten a Vivanno (a good post run fuel and reward), but again, there was that extra .7 mile walk I would be facing.

So I decided to go directly to Rod's house (still almost a mile away). I thought I would run as far as 47th and Grove, then walk the rest of the way. But when I saw that I was already to 19.67 miles by that point, I decided to suck it up and finish the 20 miles. I walked across the two street at the intersection, then picked up the pace again. Since I was still a little under at the end, I jogged down the block and back again until I saw Garmin click over to 20.00. The end. (That final mile, by the way, dropped to 9:48. Apparently I was already in rest/recovery mode).

My final splits for the whole. 20. miles:

1 - 9:57
2 - 9:26
3 - 9:26
4 - 9:32
5 - 9:23
6 - 9:13
7 - 9:30
8 - 9:40
9 - 10:03 (this was up the steep hill for the first 3/4; the last 1/4 was downhill, otherwise the split would have been much slower!)
10 - 9:07
11 - 9:26
12 - 9:29
13 - 9:22
14 - 9:52 (uphill or just tired? don't know)
15 - 9:28
16 - 9:27
17 - 9:37
18 - 9:33
19 - 9:19
20 - 9:48

Total: 20.00 miles, 3:10:52, 9:32 average pace.

When I was done, I was DONE. I ate a banana and mixed up another bottle of Nuun to drink. I really wanted to lie down for a while but I took a shower and Rod made a hearty lunch with fish, white beans, and a brown & wild rice blend. I ate a pile of rice. Then I had to go take care of my parents' cats (they're out of town), so rest was still on hold.

Finally at home I laid on my bed and watched two episodes of Brothers and Sisters on my DVR before having dinner a delicious turkey sandwich and the rest of my Kabocha Squash Soup. And for dessert...

I was going to finish by writing about my very sucky run in the rain this morning, but I'm out of time so I'll have to do a short post later on.

*I've been carrying Nuun instead of plain water on all my runs, even though it certainly isn't as important this time of year as it would have been during the summer. But almost all of my runs are over eight miles, so I figure it can't hurt to get a little electrolyte replacement in me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

TIART—Why I race

This week’s Take It and Run Thursday is hosted by MCM Mama, and she wants to know, “Why do you race?”

Before I launch into my reply, I should mention that it actually is Thursday (night) that I am writing this, but there is something wrong with blogger tonight and I cannot open a new post, or much of anything else in blogger. So I’m writing now and hoping that things will be fixed on Friday so I can post properly. (Ed. Comment: too tired to finish on Thursday night, too busy to finish on Friday or Saturday, now hoping to finish and possibly even post on Sunday night! But maybe Monday.)

Okay then. I am happy to respond to a topic suggested by MCM Mama, because I feel like we have a kind of bloggy bond…our race and running paces are very similar, and I feel like we could enjoy running together if we didn’t live on opposite sides of the country and, you know, not actually know each other at all.

I had been running for quite a while before it ever occurred to me to sign up for a race. In fact, to go back even further (many, many decades), I ran for fun and exercise (well, for exercise, anyway) back in high school and college, in off and on spells, but the idea of signing up for something as competitive as a 5K horrified me. (I had a friend who once expressed interest in it, but I rejected the concept soundly!)

After all, I didn’t even run in track or cross country. That, too, would never occur to me, because I was not a fast runner, and only fast runners did track. I am still not a fast runner, but nowadays a 9-minute pace, which was pathetic back in 9th grade, is suddenly quite reasonable for a 44-year-old person (not even just a 44-year-old female), and when I run faster than that, I am, suddenly, almost competitive!

But I’ve jumped ahead of myself.

Back in the spring of 2006 I had been treadmill running for about a year, and had just ventured into outside running on a trip to England. I thought I would go back to the treadmill when I got home (and I did), but that June I happened to pick up a flier for the Race for the Cure 5K at Starbucks one day.

It seems so simple and silly now, but it was a BIG decision back then to do something as momentous as sign up for a formal 5K race. But I had an irresistible urge to participate in a running event that was bigger and more formal and organized than my morning treadmill run. I even made an effort to collect donations and ended up raising more than $500.

In many ways that first Race for the Cure was my favorite of the ones (Races for the Cure) I’ve done. As I’ve become more race-sophisticated I have been frustrated by the crowds, the walkers that crowd the front of the pack, and the way the race has turned into a fun run more than a formal race. First they dropped the official timing (though there is a clock), then stopped assigning bib numbers (really, they just handed them out randomly). But not to complain—I did enough of that in my posts about the runs.

But back then it was all fun and new to me. I had no idea how fast or slow I would run, but I felt safe lining up with the 10-minute mile crowd (back then they had pace signs, something soon abandoned). When I finished the race I was shocked and delighted to see my time was under 30 minutes—far better than I dreamed. Things changed for me right there. That race was the last time I would run a race without caring about my pace!

I was hooked. Soon I signed up for the Yankee Doodle Dash 10K on July 4, then another 5K on my birthday in August, a 10K in September, and the Jingle Bell Run 5K in December. And by December I was making plans to run the Whidbey Island Half Marathon the following April!

My racing addiction was picking up tempo. In 2007 I ran two half marathons, two 15K’s, and a bunch of 5 and 10K’s. In 2008, I ran six half marathons, plus all the rest! And a couple of 8K’s and one 12K. 2008 was really my biggest year as far as volume.

But you know what? Until sometime in mid-2008, I never worried about PR’s. I wanted to do well, I wanted to run fast, I wanted to win an occasional age-group ribbon in the small local races. But I never expected that each race would, or could, be faster than the one before it. Sure, I was disappointed if I was unexpectedly slower than I wanted to be. But I was satisfied with a typical pace of 8:30-8:45 in short and medium distance runs, and around 9:00 (give or take a few seconds) in the longer runs.*

So why, if my standards were so “low,” did I keep signing up for so many races?

Well, first, I still ran a lot faster in a race than I could just on my own. Something about the competition and adrenaline, you know? So races were an opportunity to push myself in a way I usually could not, or did not.** Races are really the ultimate, best tempo runs.

Second, I do love the race atmosphere. Being surrounded by runners, who are such happy, buzzy people! Even my mother, who does not run (and barely manages to take pictures of me running), likes a race crowd.

Third, I do it for the shirt. I am only joking a little. The race shirt is a tangible, usable, commemorative of the race, and proof! I wear some of mine to the Y (even the cotton ones), and the nicer technical shirts I use for running. I’ll admit I have too many cotton shirts, and some are now stored away as mementos. I like noticing other people in shirts from the races they’ve run, especially if they’re ones that I did too! I am generally too shy to strike up a conversation though.

And I do it for the bling (a bit). I like getting the medal at the end of half marathons (wish they always had them) and the ribbons in my age group awards. I don’t really have anywhere to put them, or at least I haven’t designated a spot, so I let my parents keep them and they have them on a shelf in the living room. It’s a little bit of fun for them because my sister and I never did anything to get ribbons and trophies when we were young!

Finally, I like the way it makes me feel when I sprint across the finish line. Triumphant! Even if I haven’t PR’d, or won (obviously), or placed in my age group. I’ve finished a race, and that’s a victory!

*15K and Half Marathons.
**It’s still true. Even though my speed work and tempo runs have made me a lot faster in general, I cannot achieve the speeds I do in races!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Please don't hate us

Okay, I know that unless you live in Seattle (and maybe even if you do), you don't really care. But the picture is from the Washington-Oregon game at Husky Stadium today and, if you follow college football at all, you will already know that the Ducks TROUNCED Washington 43-19. We were sitting in the verdant visitors' section, as Rod is an avid Ducks fan (and Oregon alum). (I actually went to law school at UW, but I guess I'm a bit of a Benedict Arnold as I happily bought up green and yellow gear and joined in the fun. I actually find green and/or yellow more to my fashion taste than purple anyway! Today I'm wearing the cozy Columbia fleece I bought in Eugene.)

So the midday game pretty much ate up the whole day and made today a true rest day for me, at least as far as exercise is concerned. I don't know why I am so beat tonight, considering that pretty much all I've done today is sit, one place or the other.

I suppose the hooplah of going to a game can be a little draining (when you're old :). I also wonder if I'm having a bit of a mild reaction to the flu shot I got yesterday. In addition to being tired, I've been mildly nauseous (not enough to keep me from eating, of course), and had some light chills this afternoon (despite still wearing long underwear under my jeans and several layers of top). Plus, I have a sore bruise on my arm where I got the shot.

I just need to be all better (enough) for my long run tomorrow (of a distance to be disclosed when I actually accomplish it).

Yesterday, Friday, I did accomplish a fairly successful 12 mile pace run. My new training plan (which I am following loosely) called for a 9 mile pace run. I wasn't sure if the nine miles included warm-up, or if the entire nine miles were meant to be at "pace," so I decided to do two miles warm-up, nine miles at 9:00-9:15 pace, and a mile cool-down/recovery.

What I actually did, after the warm-up miles, was run the entire remaining ten miles at pace effort. Of those ten miles, six were in the 9-9:15 range, two were slightly slower (possibly in an uphill section), and two were significantly sub-9 (yup, the downhill portion).

But I consider the effort a success, as the faster miles kept my average within goal range, and in fact, my average pace for the whole run was 9:13, including the two warm-up miles!

Mile splits: 10:03, 9:38, 9:07, 9:05, 9:12, 9:07, 9:24, 9:28, 9:05, 8:38, 8:37, 9:12, and the final .12 mile at 9:37 pace.

The only real negative to this run was my hyperactive intestinal system. Not to make this into the potty blog (but isn't every runner obsessed with his or her GI issues?). But for heaven's sake, every couple of miles I was making a mad rush to the bathroom--3 visits in the first 6 miles. I stopped at the hospital (my north end venue) so many times they were probably expecting to admit me. The third (and final) time my usual restroom was closed for cleaning (not because of me, I promise), so I had to venture down a hall, down an escalator, and around a corner to find another one. Of course, on my return I spotted a handicapped toilet just slightly down the hall from the original one.

Honestly, I logged half my mileage (almost) just running to the bathroom.

Okay, I promise that no matter how many bathroom issues arise in tomorrow's run (and let's hope for none, except for non-emergency planned stops every few miles), I WILL NOT blog about them! I swear on a stack of TP rolls.

Happy Sunday, everyone!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Made me some pumpkin cake

Well, not just for me. Really it was for the office. I just had a very small piece, to taste it, and I pronounce it good.

This pumpkin cake is the easiest thing in the world to make. You may already know it, in fact. I heard that it was on the Rachael Ray Show today (although I don't see that on the website). And I got it from the Noble Pig blog.

But anyhow, just in case you haven't run across it already, here is the fantastically easy recipe for:

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cake
  • One 15-ounce can of plain pureed pumpkin
  • Box of cake mix (I used Betty Crocker spice cake)
Mix pumpkin and cake mix together thoroughly. Pour into greased 11 x 7 cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 28 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean). Eat as is or frost with topping of your choice...cream cheese frosting, whipped cream, or this tasty sounding glaze from the Noble Pig (which I wish I had made, it sounds yummy): Combine 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, 3 Tablespoons apple cider and 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Glaze should be thick but pourable. Add more sugar or cider if needed. Pour over the cake while still warm. Reserve some to pour over each slice when served, if you wish.

How fast and easy is this? I had a craving for cake at 1:55, left the office to go to the store at 2:00, bought the ingredients, went home, made the cake, took it out of the oven at 3:00, and after allowing it to cool a teeny bit, was back at the office with warm cake at 3:15.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All I can say is Ugh

After toying with, and possibly actually taking a Big Step, I stepped out this morning for a Wednesday run with speedwork. The title above says it all.

Actually it wasn't that bad of a run. I did about 3.5 miles of warm-up, hitting around a ten-minute pace after the first typically slow mile. I kept the warm-up pretty short because I wanted to do mile repeats at the track and I didn't want to run out of time.

It was quite dark when I got there and that certainly did not make things easy. Only one side of the track was not in darkness, and that was because I was running toward a large spotlight on a nearby building. Having that light in my eyes was possibly even worse than not being able to distinguish between the track and grassy field in the dark portions!

My original plan (which did not come to fruition in any way) was to run four one-mile intervals at, possibly, 5K pace (about 7:45) with approximately half a mile recovery in between.

I couldn't see the Garmin at all, so I originally thought I would just run blind and check the results. But after the first mile was done I couldn't resist standing under a light pole and checking the history, just to get an idea what I was doing. Turns out that mile was 8:07, off pace but not too bad. As a recovery jog, I finished the fourth circuit of the track (since it's more than a quarter mile it only takes about 3 2/3 laps to make a mile) then went around again (just under half a mile total).

I might mention here that when I first arrived at the track I felt a little bit like I had to go to the bathroom but was sure I could wait till I was done. Still feeling like that, but a little more so, I commenced the second mile.

By the time I got to the final lap I was quite sure I couldn't make another mile without a bathroom stop. I finished the mile then ditched the track and headed for QFC (a few blocks away). Unfortunately the porta potty at the track was padlocked. I can't blame them, I know it's for games and field events, not passersby who might have a need, but as a passerby who really had a need, I sure wish it had been open.

I tried to run to QFC to at least add a little recovery mileage, but quickly found out I needed to walk. Running activates too much...gravity. I walked as quickly as I could and darted into the store with great relief!

After I finished at QFC I did jog back to the track and jumped right into mile 3. However, I had used up my time for mile 4 in my diversion to QFC. So I had to terminate the speedwork at three miles instead of 4. And when I checked my splits for miles 2 and 3...8:18 and 8:22. Can you say SUPERFAIL?

(Eternal optimist me, I amended my plan for today to three one-mile repeats at 10K pace. DONE!)

With my recovery from mile 3 and my run home, I did manage to top 8 miles, so total mileage was good even if the speedwork was crappy. know what I mean.

Total stats: 8.06 miles, 9:24 average pace.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why would anyone run a full marathon when they can run a half?

I'll admit that all this marathon talk is getting to me a little bit. I hear all sorts of wonderful reports about the Nike Women's Marathon and I feel a little envious. I read blog entries by people who do marathons and they seem to at least get through them, often raving about how wonderful the experience was.

Then I look at the course map for a marathon, say the Seattle Marathon, and compare it to the half marathon. The half looks so much more interesting! Half marathons seem to take the best part of a race course and condense it into 13.1 miles. The accompanying marathons stretch that out by adding in all sorts of boring extra miles. And for some reason, the extra portion of the marathon course always looks so much longer than just another half marathon!

I just don't know.

In other topics, today I ran a slow recovery from my long run yesterday. Honestly, my legs were dead in the first mile! 11:10 minutes of dead. It took that long before I even got to the typical warm-up miles. After a few miles I finally settled in to some sub-10 easy miles. My splits for 8.71 miles—11:10, .53 miles at 10:29 pace, 10:25, 10:09, 9:48, 9:51, 9:47, 9:32, 9:16, and .18 mile at 10:16 pace.

The reason that last fraction of a mile was so slow was because I did a lot of jogging around in front of my house to bump the total up to 8.7. I had only intended to do my usual 8 (and really had barely enough time for that, especially at my slower-than-usual pace), but somewhere along the way it came to me that if I added my distance from yesterday's long run to today's run, I would be pretty darn close to 26.2....8.7 was what it took to make it up to the full 26.2. So, despite the peril of being late to work, or, worse, having to skip breakfast, I bumped up my morning distance to the full 8.7. (And I didn't miss breakfast....)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Running for...what?

You might wonder why someone who only runs half marathons is doing extra-long runs...for example, 17.53 miles today. I might wonder that too!

I think I have a few legitimate reasons. First of all, and most importantly perhaps, I am ever seeking ways to make my half marathons easier and better. I figure if I can run much, much further, the next 13.1 will be a piece of cake. Second, there is the urge to challenge myself. How far can I run before I can't run any farther? Maybe that's a bad way to phrase it. Let's try, how far can I run and still maintain a decent steady pace and not feel too wiped out? Third, the basic, "run more, eat more." Nuff said about that (ice cream later).

Finally, I will admit I feel a teeny, tiny sense of competition with people who actually do run marathons. Both those who actually train well and run well, and those who seem to pathetically undertrain but yet get out there and do it, even if their results are less than stellar. So I guess I'm trying to prove (just to myself, because who else would know?) that I could do it too. If I really wanted to.

So there you go, my deep dark (running) secrets. Who knows, maybe I'll run a marathon by accident.

Anyhow, my last long run (two weeks ago) was 15.75 miles, so I thought 17 miles sounded good for today. I did take the precaution of mapping out a route on Mapmyrun, so that I wouldn't run too far away from home by mistake, or end up short.

After all the rain in the last few days, today was finally dry, though cloudy. I took my time and didn't go out until around 10:30. First I fueled up with coffee and a piece of Upside-down Pear Cake! I filled my water bottle with tri-berry Nuun and packed an extra tablet, as well a tube of green apple SweetTarts Squeeze for a little fuel boost on the run.

My running route was simple. Through downtown, west to Mukilteo, back to Everett, and north on Rucker or Grand to 13th, then south on Colby to QFC and Starbucks. This measured 17.05 on Mapmyrun, and I figured it would be pretty close to that distance.

The trip from my house through downtown Everett was a pretty typical warm-up pace, 9:58 and 9:24 for the first two miles. At about mile 2.5 I hit the first big hill as 41st turned into Mukilteo Boulevard, giving me a bit of a slow mile 3 at 9:42.

I might add here that despite my apparent obsession with pace and splits, this was completely a long slow distance run. Except at the very end, where it took extra energy just to keep going, I never pushed myself to achieve a particular pace. My sole objective as far as pace went was not to try to run fast (and I did succeed at that).

Mukilteo Boulevard is exceedingly hilly. Ups, downs, and ups again. But I am quite certain (despite not having downloaded Garmin's elevation information yet) that the trip to Mukilteo is much more down than up (and the return is the opposite). So my next few miles were rather effortlessly speedy—9:14, 9:05, 9:24, 9:15. Those seven miles took me almost into Mukilteo and I hit my intended turnaround spot at 7.25.

However. I had skipped a bathroom stop at around mile 4 or 5, figuring that it was too soon to really need it (as I had stopped after one mile at Starbucks) and by the time I got to Mukilteo I really did not want to wait to get back there again (none of the little parks along the way appeared to have bathrooms).

I figured that there would be a bathroom around the ferry terminal, so I ran the extra quarter mile downhill to find it. Ahhh! Relief.

Of course that meant a steep uphill climb back to the main road, and that had a big impact on mile 8's time (9:54). My returning miles (on the still rolling but more uphill hills) were a little slower than my miles in; the next three—9:24, 9:29, 9:26 (totally acceptable).

Then I hit the longest hill of the entire route. I started up right after finishing mile 11 and it was uphill all the way to mile 13! Really, a mile-long hill. Not surprised to see a finish time of 10:16!

I happened to arrive at that gas station bathroom at the end of mile 12 and I wasn't making the mistake of by-passing it yet again (at least, I didn't think I was). I veered in and found the door locked. I waited a bit to see if someone was in there, then went in to ask for a key. The attendant said it should be unlocked, so I went back out to wait again—I even knocked on the door. Finally I just gave up and ran on. I didn't need to go that bad.

From there I only had about a mile left to the end of Mukilteo Boulevard and my return to Everett. And the end of Mukilteo Boulevard was the downside of that hill I had gone up at the beginning! Hurrah, what a treat. (Speaking of treats, I broke into my SweetTarts after mile 12. Yum.)

I hit 13.1 miles right at the intersection of 41st and Rucker.* Mile 13—9:16. Half-marathon split—2:04:45. Very okay for a non-race run.

I was a little bit ready to be done at this point, but I plugged on northward to finish my route. I was lucky that Rucker was slightly downhill for the next couple of miles because that certainly gave me a boost. I reached my turning point (and final potty stop), the hospital at 13th and Colby, just past 13.75 miles. Miles 13-16—9:16, 9:19, 9:22, 9:29.

I figured I had about a mile and a half left after the hospital (actually 1.75), so for the first time on this run I did put a little effort into maintaining my pace so I wouldn't fall apart at the end. Of course, it's notable that it took effort to maintain my effortless pace from before!

Somehow I did find my extra gear (albeit a very small gear) and finished the last stretch in 9:14 (mile 17) and 4:30 (.53 mile at 8:31 pace). Total 17.53 miles,** 2:45:40, 9:27 average pace.

I was very happy to arrive at QFC and Starbucks, though! I quickly bought a couple of things I needed in the store and then proceeded to Starbucks for a refueling beverage, treating myself to a Chocolate Banana Vivanno with an espresso shot. Very tasty! I was worried that my legs would not want to walk the half mile home but we managed. :)

After a long, hot shower and a bit of a legs up rest,*** then a delayed lunch consisting of a very delicious turkey sandwich, I took a jaunt to Road Runner Sports to look for some black running tights to wear with a costume for a 5K on Halloween.**** The Road Runner brand seemed to fit the bill, and the price was right too! But I more than spent my "savings" by also getting a pair of Nikefit thermal pants and a really great pair of Asics Thermopolis running pants. They are so soft and cozy, I would welcome some cold weather to wear them! Oh, I also got a Road Runner windbreaker/rain jacket with which I hope to combat our foul fall weather!

Yeah, I know. I shouldn't be allowed to shop on a runner's high.

*Where there is an Arco/mini-mart with no public bathroom. Boo to them.
**The extra half mile in the total is from the extra quarter mile to and from the ferry terminal in Mukilteo.
***That means reclining.
****There will probably be pictures, eventually.

We have lighthouses too

The Mukilteo Lighthouse, viewed about 7.5 miles into my long run today. Better shots are possible, I'm sure. I was viewing from somewhat of a distance as I was running down the ferry lane in rather desperate search of a bathroom at the terminal. :)

Total run distance 17.53 miles, time 2:45:40 (net, sans potty stops), average pace 9:27. I'll probably write a longer post later, as I think it's rather interesting how the very hilly route affected my splits.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, October 16, 2009

FAILtastic Tempo Run Friday

I'm not one to use the word "fail" lightly, as I am a pretty positive person and prefer lemonade to lemons.* I like to find the good in every run, even if I have to adjust my goals to do so. :) As such, I wouldn't call this morning's run a "bad" run, but as a progressive tempo run, which was my intent for this morning, it certainly was not a success. (Other than that, it was a great run!)

My general plan was to do 10-12 miles, with a progressive pace increase every two miles up to ten. I hadn't firmly decided whether to increase by 15 or 30 seconds (and continued to fluctuate in my mind), but it didn't matter, I didn't manage to do either in a consistently progressive manner!

I went out a little later in the morning, at 7:23 according to my Garmin, and that was nice because it was pretty much light outside. It was also, however, wet. It wasn't really raining when I left home, though, and I had hopes that it would stay that way. (No such luck!)

It was still dim enough that I couldn't glance at the Garmin easily (plus it was covered by my jacket cuff), so I relied on the sluggishness of warm-up pace to keep the first two miles in my progression "easy." At 10:22 and 9:47, I succeeded there, and just about averaged a 10-minute pace for that first segment (just a little slower, technically).

I figured I'd go for 9:30 in my next step, since 9:30 is the pace I generally maintain without too much effort. It would probably be harder, really, to manage a 9:45 pace after getting warmed up. (I say that, but I'm sure I could look back at plenty of runs where I was doing 9:45 without any trouble at all!) That worked, though, and mile 3 was exactly 9:30! Mile 4 was a little bit quicker at 9:23.

By that time I was at Grand Avenue Park, a quarter-mile strip of park along the bluff over the waterfront. Lots of times I do some extra repeats through the park to increase my total distance without changing my route too much (like circling a track). Two ups and downs would be a mile; I decided to double that and squeeze in two miles.

This was also the portion of the run where my pace was supposed to increase to 9:15. The park is slightly uphill in the first half, and slightly downhill at the end, so I figured the balance between slower and faster might even out.... The first mile came out at 9:08, a little faster than planned, but acceptable.

After running up and down a few times and admiring the view each time, I decided, in my final (or was it semi-final) trip to pause and take a few pictures. Here is the marina complex as viewed from Grand Avenue Park.

The southward view looks over the naval base and towards Mukilteo (left half) and Whidbey Island (right) in the distance.
To the north you see the actual marina where boats are moored, with little Hat Island in the center distance, and Priest Point (near where my parents live) to the right.
Back on Grand Avenue, looking northward at Grand Avenue Park.
And up Grand. (I say "up" because it's north, although you can see that the road is a little downhill here!)
I paused the Garmin for these photo stops, of course, and perhaps the loss of speed in my various stops and starts explains how this mile was so off the 9:15 target pace, at 9:27!

The one bonus to my short stop, though, was that when I started running again I felt revitalized, my legs light and my energy high. However, something did not go quite right, because this mile, supposed to be my first 9-minute mile, was a COMPLETE FAIL at 9:35! I really have no explanation. Maybe I was just running too easily.

I wasn't checking the Garmin too much, because it was really raining by now and I wanted to keep my sleeve cuff pulled over it. Plus, the wetter I got, the less I wanted to mess around with my clothing. I think that to do a really precise tempo run, I do need to monitor the Garmin pace pretty closely (even though it can be misleading at times), so that I can push harder when I need to or ease up when I (very occasionally) need to do that.

"9-minute mile" number two—9:16. Apparently I got mile 8 confused with the mile 6 where I didn't quite manage the 9:15 pace.

So at eight miles down, I had pretty well blown the tempo run. I had originally thought I might do my final two tempo miles at 8:30 pace. After all, that's pretty moderate and I knew those miles would be downhill (a stretch that I can often do sub-8). Of course even 8:45 would be okay....

The rain had, by the way, increased to a solid downpour, big drops and all. There was no way I was going to be fiddling with the Garmin. I pushed blindly through the sheets of water and just hoped I was going a little bit faster than the last segment!

And I was, a little bit. Miles 9 and 10—8:52, 8:48. Okay, a minute slower than my "good" pace for this stretch, but whatever. At least I was getting close to finishing!

In fact, I passed by QFC and Starbucks in mile 10. I could have so easily finished the ten miles and then doubled back to quit there. But despite the rain (which had actually let up a little now) and despite my inability to hold a pace, I still felt good, and I had no overwhelming compulsion to cut my plans short. So I plugged on to finish my path through Riverside.**

Mile 11—9:24. Mile 12—9:20. I had planned all along for these last two miles to be at recovery pace. So I consider this SUCCESS. The final .15 mile to the door of Starbucks was at 9:27 pace.

TOTAL DISTANCE—12.15 miles, 9:24 average pace.

After getting my latte (and a box of cookies to take to work), I walked the remaining half mile home. Unfortunately the drenching rain decided to return for the last couple blocks! But since I was already soaked through (with rain from the outside and sweat from the inside), it hardly even mattered.

HAPPY FRIDAY to all, and many good wishes to everyone running the Nike Half and Marathon, or any other races that happen to fall this weekend!

*I actually do like lemons, though.

**The route I was running I call my "perfect 10-mile run" because it is almost exactly 10 miles from my house to Starbucks (in a big loop—actually I live half a mile from Starbucks). I made it into a 12-mile run today by adding the extra two miles in Grand Avenue Park.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mud run

This morning was the first time this fall I have had to face going out to run not only in the dark, but in the rain as well. I could hear it on the roof before I got out of bed, so I took the time to pop in my contacts instead of wearing glasses. I got the contacts especially for running in the rain and skiing, but I'm not crazy about shoving them in my tired eyes early in the morning!*

It wasn't really raining too much when I went out the door, although the sidewalks were wet and shiny and there were puddles to dodge (in the dark). With my hat on and a jacket, I could hardly feel the rain at all.

Because I was doing speedwork this morning, I cut my regular route short so I would have time to spend at the track. When I turned around to head south, though, I found the rain that I had missed on my journey north! And the wind. Although I hadn't realized it, I had the wind at my back going north, which probably made for an easier trip. Once I started south I was running right into the wind.

This is reflected in my atypically "positive" splits for my warmup: 10:22, .51 mile at 9:49 pace, 10:07, 10:16, and then .75 mile at 9:42 pace.

After that I was at the track and ready to start my planned speedwork of six half-mile intervals with (originally) a quarter-mile recovery jog in between. After the first three I realized that I only had fifteen minutes until I really needed to head home (only a quarter mile or so away), and if I stuck to the quarter-miles between laps I would not have time to do all the laps. So I switched to one-minute recoveries, allowing four minutes for each half mile.

My intervals went pretty well. I would characterize them as a little slower than optimum 5K pace (slower than my average pace last Saturday), but all sub-8 pace, so I consider that satisfactory. I was a little hampered (I believe) because it was still dark when I started, and I think I hold back a little in the dark. I couldn't see well where the puddles and extra-muddy patches might be. When it lightened up, my final laps were a little faster. Interestingly, those were laps where the recovery portion was much shorter, and that didn't seem to matter at all.

Here are my half-mile splits:

  • 4:04 - .51 mile at 7:56 pace (this one was a little long, I adjusted my stopping point after)
  • 3:56 - .50 mile at 7:55 pace
  • 3:54 - .50 mile at 7:53 pace
  • 3:52 - .50 mile at 7:48 pace
  • 3:53 - .50 mile at 7:45 pace (my Garmin measurement doesn't account for fractional differences in distance, hence the longer time but faster pace for what appears to be the same distance)
  • 3:50 - .49 mile at 7:45 pace (oops, guess I stopped a hair too soon!)

I am pleased that I was able to progressively increase my pace over the six repeats! I should, and would like to, increase the number of intervals I am doing, but that is a little difficult (for half-miles, anyway) given the time I have in the mornings and the darkness. I could shorten up my warm-up run (4.25 miles today), which would allow more time. But even so, it was still dark when I started at the track and I'd just rather not try to do a lot in the dark. However, I could definitely do more quarter-mile intervals. Something to work on planning.

My total distance this morning was 8.51 miles over 1:19:07 (average pace 9:17).

When I got home and went up to take a shower, I discovered that although I had managed to avoid most puddles, the track was a lot muddier than I realized!

*The other funny thing about the contacts, because they are weighted for astigmatism, it takes a while (like 15 minutes) for them to adjust properly in my eyes. Until that happens my vision is as blurry as if I didn't even have them in at all, except worse, because I can't even see clearly close-up for reading, which I can without my glasses.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, Monday

Yeah, I know it's Tuesday. Tuesday is a cross-training day for me, which was a nice change after running four days in a row (Friday through Sunday). On Tuesday (and usually Thursday) mornings I go to the Y and spend a long, long time on the elliptical trainer. Good thing(s) about the elliptical: It's indoors. It claims to burn a lot of calories (I get about 10 calories per minute, which is less than Livestrong allots to it—I go with my numbers). It's very, very low-impact (a break from pounding sidewalks). I can watch TV and read blogs on my BlackBerry while I'm doing it. Not so good thing(s) about the elliptical: It's boring (but the TV and blogs help with that). I can't get my heartrate up very high (and doing so would require a level of effort that I don't think I have in me). So clearly the good outweighs the bad. And I'm just not going to run six or seven days a week. So elliptical it is. And the good things seem to outweigh the bad.

Yesterday I did run, and it wasn't until I just typed that first paragraph that I realized it was, in fact, the fourth consecutive day running (I had forgotten about Friday). Monday is designated as an easy/recovery day, which is good. I wasn't in need of true recovery, since Sunday's run was not a "long" run (I no longer consider eight miles "long"; it has become my standard length run and I find it hard to end a run with less—sick, I know). But I was in need of "easy," because, well, because it was Monday morning!

So what is easy? Easy is not a specific pace, but a feeling. Easy is where I can run without pushing myself, without breathing too hard (theoretically I could carry on a conversation, if I had someone to talk to besides myself—as I do not, I generally try to keep my one-sided conversations inside my head). Sometimes this means a 10-minute pace, sometimes even a 10:30 pace (especially early in the run), but most often my easy pace gravitates to around 9:30.

Yesterday's splits tell the tale: 10:24, 10:03 pace for .53 miles, 9:54, 9:40, 9:22, 9:26, 9:30, 9:04, and the final .47 mile at 8:51 pace (included a downhill).

Yesterday was a day when my compulsion to finish eight miles overroad my better judgment. My departure time and pace were better suited to a seven-mile run (or 7.5 if I hadn't stopped at Starbucks and walked home at the end). My poor judgment was reflected in my inability to get ready for work in a timely fashion (despite taking part of my breakfast to work with me instead of taking the time to eat it). In the end, despite my best efforts to rush and cut corners, I was ten minutes later getting to court than I should have been (pretty much coincides with that extra mile!). (Luckily I didn't have any hearings so I caught a break that way.)

The rest of the day proceeded in a similarly scattered fashion. I checked my calendar and didn't have any 1:00 cases in one courtroom, but forgot about two in another courtroom, so arrived ten minutes late for that (although it worked out okay, we had a pro tem judge who is always late anyway). I had three guilty pleas on the calendar and their was something wrong with each one—wrong paperwork, temporarily missing paperwork (I found it though), police reports not provided to the judge.

Somehow I got through that without tearing my hair out, just in time to meet with a client who seems like a really nice kid, but has got himself into some pretty hot water. And I don't have any good answers about how to help him get out of it.

That pretty much left me drained, so I headed home to make a short trip to the Y before going to the grocery store and making dinner. Taco salad in a bowl! With lots of chopped vegetables, half a sweet potato, bean dip, 2% cheese (melted on the sweet potato), salsa, nonfat sour cream, and seasoned* ground turkey. Not traditional, but yummy (to me) and very satisfying.

*I used my own seasonings based on the list on the back of a taco seasoning packet. I didn't begrudge the dollar or two that the packet would have cost, I just didn't want the processed stuff. Here is what is in taco seasoning (all of which I had in my cupboard!): paprika, oregano, cumin, pepper, red pepper, parsley, garlic (I used chopped rather than powdered), tomato powder (I used some salsa instead), cocoa powder, and some kosher salt. Worked like a dream!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A few more comments about the Duck Dash (and pictures)

At the start—here I am on the first lap around the track. They were calling out times as we passed our starting point and I think mine was 1:47 for the first 400. The guy behind me eventually finished a couple minutes faster than I did. I have a nice picture of him coming into the stadium because Rod saw the yellow sleeves and white hat and thought it was me!
While he was waiting for me Rod took some photos around the stadium.
I particularly like this poster!
Worshiping at the altar of Prefontaine (and Kara Goucher!).
My triumphant re-entry into Hayward Field for the end of the race! I love this picture. And I am genuinely smiling! (I think that is because I am laughing at myself for almost missing the entrance.)
Only half a lap around the track to the finish line!
After the finish. Final time 23:50 (Garmin was off by a second). I'll take it anyway!
With the Oregon Duck. Go Ducks! (I know I posted this already but I love this picture.)
With Rod after the race. He was my official race photographer for these great race pics (except the ones with him in it).
Next stop, Starbucks and the Duck Store. Then home to watch the game! Go Ducks (again).
I won second in my age division (F40-44) and third Masters woman! Unfortunately we didn't stay around for the awards ceremony (I didn't expect an award), but they are going to mail me my ribbon. There were five women in my division and eleven women over 40 (I think). The Masters women winner is 54 years old and had a time of 19:35! No way I'm beating that, ever! My splits for the race were 7:33, 7:45, 7:49 and :40 for the last tenth (7:02 pace). Average pace 7:41. I'm happy with those results! I don't have any regrets about the first mile being the fastest. In 5K races I adhere to the old adage (and Head & Shoulders slogan)—"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." There's just no time in a short race to pace yourself or make up for lost seconds in the first mile. I like to go out fast and then try to maintain the pace as best as possible. A couple of years ago I read a Runner's World article recommending this technique, and I like it!
Wearing the race shirt for the rest of the afternoon.
The website for these Eugene races is called the Good Race, and I have to agree with that!