Saturday, May 24, 2008

Race Report: ARR Summer Series #1 Papago Park – 5K

Pre-Race: Eileen woke up at 4:30am - 30 minutes before the alarm clock - and ready to go! The long awaited Summer Series was finally here! Lilac and I are convinced that we can make top 10 in our age group if only we compete in 4 races this year. :)

Funny story though, it was raining. Raining? What do we do now??!! Do we go? Do we sleep in? What’s the precedent for rainy day races? I don’t have a rain jacket. I don’t have a jacket I could run in at all!!

Lilac and I decided to go, and to change our philosophy around, because of the conditions. The race was at Papago Park, which is mostly comprised of that red sticky clay. We figured we’d be slipping and sliding everywhere, so our goal was to 1. Be safe, and not injure ourselves, and 2. Have a good time getting dirty. We thought it was a pretty good plan. We also packed towels, and flip flops to change into afterward, and I decided to skip the knee high socks, and go for dri-wick because of the conditions.

It was quite cool, and stopped raining right before the race began. The race was set up so that 80 year old women started first, and everyone else was seeded after them. Lilac and I were luckily in the same starting time (we were planning on cheating otherwise) and so we started 12:15 after the amazing ladies. Lilac and I have decided that we’re going to be doing the Summer Series when we’re 80 also J

The Race: We couldn’t see the clock in the holding pen, so we kept asking the tallest guys around what the time was. At the last moment we realized we only had 20 seconds or so, so we shoved our way up to the front, and took off when the clock hit 12:15. I say took off, but it’s a relative term.

Our race was actually not in the park at all (thankfully) and we wound up running outside of the Zoo, and then mostly along the canal. The canal was dirt, so it was nice and soft, but no real puddles to speak of. We were totally dry the entire race.

We still decided to keep our go with the flow attitude though, and enjoyed the very cool and very sticky weather (I bet on 4th of July we’re going to be wishing for a little rain!), and cheering on the old ladies, as we saw them on the out, and passed them on the way back.

Dorothy was the woman of the day. She was 80 years old, and told us that she had hiked the Grand Canyon when she was a spry young thing at 65, and at 75 completed the Dublin, Ireland Marathon. She even won an age group award for $76 and change, and now her husband says she’s a professional. J I love these ladies. They are so inspirational! We also stopped to talk to the guy with the flag shorts, who was waiting for his daughter. He told us we were having too good a time, and clearly we hadn’t run fast enough! Great guy.

At the end, we were approaching the finish line, which said 52:something . Didn’t know where we finished though, because Lilac grabbed my hand and we ran cheering across the finish line together. It was a great moment of friendship for us.

Post-Race: Lilac was starving so we grabbed something to eat. They had Nana wafers (so delicious) and pretzels, and soda – but no water. She grabbed a bagel and peanut butter, and then we set off for the real prize – The Good Egg. Breakfast was excellent, and the perfect end to a fun and enjoyable morning! I got the official results around 2pm that day – 40:15. We were 40 seconds off a PR from our 39:36, but since we were totally relaxing and enjoying ourselves, I’m thrilled with that number. I think the weather played a big part on it feeling so easy. J

The moral of the story is - go have fun in the rain!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Race Report: Wondergirl - 5K

Pre-Race: Lilac and I had initially heard about Girls on the Run when we were looking at races in 2007, and saw a “Diva Dash” on Cinco de Mayo. For some reason we decided not to race it (I think Lilac had a conflict). We saw the GOTR when we did the IronGirl in December 2007, and although I was really interested in becoming a running coach, I was doing way too much travel to commit.

Early in 2008, I was looking for races and found the Wondergirl race. This race is the culmination of the hard work the girls put in during the spring session. There was an opportunity to become a one time – race event only – Running Buddy. Sign us up!

I had gone to the 5k practice at my assigned school – Bustoz Elementary – and met several of the girls. During the practice I ran with the 2nd slowest girl, and had an absolute blast. The pace was slow, but I’m positive that I made that little girl feel like a million dollars. I was eagerly anticipating the same kind of experience on Wondergirl Day…

…Except that my Slow Girl didn’t show up to the race. So at the last second I was paired up with Cynthia from Laveen Elementary. We stretched together in the group stretch, and then it was time to go! Lilac was also paired up with a Laveen girl, named Layla.

The Race: Funny, they neglected to tell me that Cynthia had rockets for legs! As soon as the gun fired, off she went, pushing through people and other groups, meanwhile I’m desperately trying (and failing) to keep up. “Cynthia!! Cynthia!! Excuse me, I’m losing my girl…Excuse me… CYNTHIA!!!!” Gone. I have no idea where my buddy is, and now I’m panicking that I’m going to be in trouble for losing my girl. My only solution? Stop and wait for Lilac and Layla, and run with them!

About the time Lilac and Layla caught up, Cynthia came back for me, so I took off with her again… and lost her again in about 30 seconds. This girl could run! Speedy Gonzales also didn’t look back for her buddy. So I waited for Lilac and Layla again.

Eventually Cynthia and I started to play a game where she would run to a certain landmark, and then come back to me. “Hey Cynthia – see that boat ramp? Go!” Meanwhile I trotted along with Layla and Lilac who were much more my pace. At some point Cynthia got “tired” (for all of 35 seconds) and walked with me and held my hand. It was nice, until she took off again.

Post-Race: Overall it was the worst speedwork session of all time. Run as fast as you can, stop for 10 steps, run as fast as you can etc. for three miles. My quads hurt for days. Cynthia had fun though – although she probably did 5 miles with all the back and forth. When I talked to her coaches afterward they laughed at my plan, and mentioned that they were afraid I wouldn’t take her if I knew she was super fast. Wow thanks for telling me now!

Cynthia took off and finished ahead of us. Lilac, Layla, and I finished in about 50 minutes or so, but had a great time. We were Wondergirls!