Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fowl (not foul!) Fun Run

I'm going to try to do this quickly, as I would like to hop into a bath before it gets so late that I just bag it. I think my much used legs will really appreciate a nice soak. I'm a little behind on "Take It and Run Thursday" post remains half written. But will be finished soon, during work hours, I am sure.

It's been a high volume, medium-mileage weekend. Friday morning I ran 8.1 miles at an easy pace. I didn't bother with the usual Friday pace/tempo efforts because I had a 10K on the schedule Saturday. That would satisfy my tempo needs for the week, and I didn't really want to overstress my legs in advance!

Another reason Friday's run was so intentionally mediocre was because the weather allowed for little else. Darkness at 6 a.m. goes without saying, of course. But I also got wind and rain thrown in for good measure. I wore my hood on my rain jacket for about the first five miles. That kept my neck dry but made me feel even more constrained and slow. After a potty break around mile 5 I noticed that the rain had slowed to a spatter, so I went happily hoodless for the remainder of the run.

After the fairly ugly weather on Friday I had no great hopes for Saturday. But Saturday morning dawned dry (if a bit foggy to begin) and cool. Cold actually--I had to scrape ice off my car. I drove over to my parents' house to pick up my dad, who was going with me. None of my other support crew was available this Saturday.

By the time we got up to Mt. Vernon to the race starting area it wasn't even all that cold. There was a bit of a light wind, but really much less than I've often experienced up there. I decided to keep my jacket on, as I'd already pinned the race number on it and didn't want to redo it, but I think I could have easily done the race with just my half-zip shirt and no jacket. I ended up taking my gloves off a couple miles in, which actually does wonders to cool me when I'm getting just a little too warm.

I jogged around for about 1.8 miles to warm up for the race. (Plus adding the 1.8 to the 10K would give me a nice day's total of 8 miles.) I managed two potty stops before we started, and even though I was one short of the traditional three, that seemed to cover it for the race. :)

I took off, as usual, a little too fast (because everyone else was going fast!). Actually the first few seconds were not fast at all, as I walked and jogged through the initial congestion. After I was able to pick up the pace, I think I was going close to a 7:30 pace! The first mile was 7:44 (allowing for the initial delays).

After that I settled into about an 8-minute pace, which seemed comfortable and not too hard at all. The next three miles were very consistent at 8:01, 8:01, and 8:00!

Somewhere after mile 3, I caught up to a man and a woman running together who turned out to be running my pace. I kept even with them for several miles, using them as pacers but not "drafting off them" or anything like that.

At about 3.5 miles we finished an out-and-back section, which felt like the halfway point, even though we were more than halfway along. In past races, I've used that as the point where I try to pick up the pace a little. I did the same this time, although my actual pace didn't increase until the last couple miles. Luckily after the mile 4 sign, my "pacers" seemed to pick it up a little too, and mile 5 was a little faster at 7:52!

Once we passed mile 5 I decided it was time to kick it up a gear. I left my companions behind (though not far behind), and tried to maintain a strong pace. During the last 1.2 miles I was literally running from mailbox to mailbox (we were in a residential area, and there were a lot of mailboxes, pretty close together!). Mile 6 - 7:49.

Then I was almost there. I turned the corner and the end was almost in sight (around another corner). I figured my former "companions" were probably not far behind, and I was not surprised when I saw the red shirt of the female runner out of the corner of my eye. Even though she was a lot younger than me, I gave her a good race for the finish, and we crossed the finish line at almost exactly the same time. I think she was literally a hair ahead of me, and I told them to take her tag first (no chips, old school race tags here). The time on the clock when we finished? 49:20!

Un-freaking-believable! Not just a PR (a huge PR), but under 50 minutes! I was so happy that I forgot to turn off my Garmin right away. It read 49:37 when I stopped it, but luckily I had already noted the time on the clock. That put my average pace under eight minutes, about 7:55-7:57 (my total distance was, as usual, a bit more than 6.2 miles exactly).

But even though I've won lots of age group prizes in small races with less stellar times (like first in AG in this race last year), I didn't even place this time (I was fourth). My, those 40-something females are fast! (I am not being facetious. It is a very competitive age group!)

I stuck around anyway, in hopes of winning a turkey or pumpkin pie in the door prize raffle (actually I only wanted a turkey, I don't like pumpkin pie despite my love of all things squash). But no luck there either. I walked away empty-handed. :) But happy!

Today I went for a medium long run. My plan was twelve miles, though I ended up doing fourteen. The weather conditions were not nearly as favorable as yesterday (though not awful). It didn't really rain, although at some point a drizzle definitely developed.

I was not particularly thrilled to get out there, and dilly-dallied until late morning. My legs had been horribly achy last night (despite doses of Advil), and I expect the same tonight (hence the bath plan). It took a few miles for the stiffness to work off.

Then, though, I was surprisingly speedy for a Sunday following two prior consecutive running days! Also surprising because I ran the road to Mukilteo, which is hilly. Big hilly. I guess the benefit of the downhills overcomes the disability of the uphills. My splits: 10:22, 9:48, 9:44, 9:16, 8:55, 9:14, 9:13, 9:15, 9:08, 9:31, then .51 at 9:57 (the second half of a one-mile uphill), 9:30, 8:50, 8:29, and .52 at 8:49 pace. TOTAL - 14.03 miles, 2:10:56, 9:20 average pace.

I got a mocha at Starbucks and sat there to drink it, then got a grande Guatamala Mayan drip (this is probably the last day for it, sadly, I love it!) and walked home. HOT shower. That was a few hours ago, and now I'm ready for my hot bath!

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