Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summer Series #4 Kiwanis Park - 07/18/09

First, sorry about that last post. It's amazing how getting not enough sleep can turn me into a human thundercloud like that. I feel fine today :)

Pre-Race: Lilac could not attend this race because she's in Minnesota for some Army thing. As I may have hinted at yesterday, I wasn't really looking forward to this race in any way at all going into this weekend. However, after I rumbled and threw down some lightening, I realized that every single complete meltdown that I've had as an athlete has been at Kiwanis Park.

- My first run there was the first GOTR race that I ran as a running buddy - and although I made it painfully clear that I wanted to make a slow girl feel like a rock star -they gave me Miss Speedy Gonzales, who I attempted (and failed) to catch the entire race.

- My first 10K - Run for Congo Women (yes, the grammar is wrong and yes it drives me insane that it's not Congolese) was at Kiwanis. It was such a small event that there were like 50 people there, and they all took off at the start of the race - and I not only got left in the dust, but also got completely lost on the course, since it was poorly marked, and wound up making up my own route. I came close to 6.2, with my 6.08 mile run, but I was panicking the whole time, and it was a disaster.

- The lowlight was the the Chances for Children Triathlon, where I got hit by a car while biking to the race, and decided to do it anyway. The craptastic event that followed that decision (completely blowing up on the "run" which I walked the whole way because my knee was too swollen to bend, temporarily quitting when I couldn't find the entrance to the bathroom and erupting into frustrated tears, being the LAST finisher, and getting a DNF because they had already removed the finish line and packed up before I got there) lead to my personal intense dislike of Kiwanis in general - which is one of the reasons I was less than excited about this race.

4:30am. Alarm goes off. Eileen (stupidly) checks the temperature. It's a cool 94 degrees, and pitch black outside. Yes! (apply sarcasm as necessary). Still I'm determined to challenge myself to push this race and leave it all out there. I'm going to beat this damn park. I have no time goal. time doesn't matter - my goal is to follow my plan and push myself throughout the race.

I eat, get ready, and I'm out the door by 5:30am. Arrive at the race by 6, get my bib and chip, hit the honey pot, do my pathetic warm up jog, and then line up for the race.

Race: For this race course, they chose to start in the park area on the east side of All American Way, just south of the Garden of Sister Cities. The course started north, and my goal was to run to the bridge, walk along the rose gardens, and start running around the lake when the path split. In fact, I started running once I go up to the hill where the GOTR race generally starts, and ran around the lake and over the first hill on the east side of the lake. Walked over the next two small hills to catch my breath, and then ran through the 1 mile marker, through the rose garden, under the bridge and to the water station which was right on the top of the hill after the bridge on the east side. This was a poorly coordinated course, because the water station was only on the left, where the super fast guys were already coming back from their loop out, and we slow pokes (who really needed the water) couldn't get any. A simple additional table and some water on the right side would have fixed this. Anyway, eventually I was able to sneak through and get some water, and then ran down the east path to the big curve that goes around the rec center. Walked to the soccer fields, ran the along the long part and short part of the soccer field, then walked along the street side of the field - and passed the Mile 2 marker. I ran back to the courts, walked to the rec center bend, ran to the water station (this was the hardest run section mentally) walked down and up the hill by the bridge, and then ran it in for the rest of the race. I have no idea where I finished, and I'll have to add a post script later about standings, since they won't post until at least Tuesday. I can say that when I finished, I knew I had put it all out on the line, done even better than my plan, and worked my but off.

Post Race: I definitely pushed it today. It took quite a while to get rid of the foggy brain, and I'm still red in the face (it's 8:30am now.) I definitely feel like regardless of the time (it was definitely over 42 minutes), and the goals that I set for the series, I can look back at this race and say that I beat the goon in my head and I showed this park that it can't get the best of me - even when conditions were not ideal.

Here's hoping for 500 points, and a spot in the teens - but even if it's not, that's ok with me. I know I ran this race to the absolute best of my abilities!

Post script - Results - like I said, the time stinks, but is not a reflection of the progress that I made mentally in this race. Also, about 5 minutes faster than the last summer series race last year in similar conditions. All's progress!

Summer Series #4: 42:51, 29/31 F 25 - F29, 246/268 female, 642/676 overall
Women's Standings: 16/98 F25 - F29, 129/639 female, no results overall
My points for this race was 458. Still one race to go!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Death Valley

This is a poor me blog. Just skip it. I just need to complain to myself. And yes, I know that the rest of the year in AZ is gorgeous. I know that when people are slogging through snow, I'll be out running trail in shorts. I know all of this, but I'm still whining today).

It's been over 110 for the last two straight weeks. And not just 111 each day, we've had some beautific 115+ days here. Note: they shut down the airport if it hits 117, because the tarmac actually melts. Like literally.

The mean temperature for the last month - including the night time weather - was 96.67 degrees according to the electricity bill I just received. It's hitting 100 degrees one minute after the sun comes up at 5am or so. Then there were the great articles in Runnersworld this month. The first one gave degrees and how much you should slow down off your pace - except that it said "90+? Just walk". Well thanks Runnersworld, that does not help my motivation. The second was a long article on some guinea pigging that Amby Burfoot submitted to which involved determining the impact of heat on the body when all other running conditions were consistent. We'll just say that he ran at a very easy pace for an hour - in the 53 degree weather test he was pronounced healthy as a horse. In the 90 degree test, he had a temperature of 103.5 (104 is heatstroke), and a heart rate at 96% of his maximum threshold. His lactic buildup was off the charts as well. And this was for a nice easy loping run. The moral of his story was even nice gentle runs in the heat can kick your ass - so don't do it.

Wow, thanks. I hadn't noticed that.

The crappy part is that there's always this little caveat - give yourself two weeks to acclimate - but it never actually says how much more acceptable that makes it to run. And we're talking about 90 degrees in these articles. I ran on Saturday, where the high was 116.

Ok I'm working out of the complaining thing.

I think the problem with the summer here is that everyone and every article is talking about how wonderful it is (and I've been in Seattle two weeks in a row, and I can attest - it's absolutely GORGEOUS out there now), and how people are training hard for fall marathons, and trail runs, etc and I want to be able to be motivated and excited about it, but then I go out and check the mail and say Forget it. There's absolutely nothing out there that's talking about motivation and struggling with the weather - probably because this is the best season for most of the country. We're just backwards. In the winter, when I want to be outside every day, all of the articles are about getting out there and doing a little bit - which doesn't help me when I'm running 10 milers.


I have a race tomorrow, and I don't even want to go. There. I said it. I don't want to go. My bro said today "The things you do for 'fun' are insane. Why are you sweating it out for cancer? Write a check." Yeah I can't say that I can disagree with that philosophy right now.

All I can say is that I hope that tomorrow the race report will say that it was worth it. And that I make over 500 points. And that I get into the teens in the women's standings.
Death Valley here I come.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Series #3 Rio Vista Park - 7/4/09

I know, how dare I post a race report when the race took place two weeks ago. In my defense, I wanted to write the race report that day, but the overall standings didn't post until after I started traveling again, and I just haven't gotten to it until now.
Also, see the swirling heat that is shown in the Summer Series logo? That's actually how it feels. Seriously.

Pre-Race: As always, the 4th of July race is generally my favorite race for the community feeling, but right up there as my least favorite due to the fact that it's been in the teens for the last two years. This year, it wasn't quite as hot, but it was really sticky. It was way worse than just being hot and dry.
Lilac and I had planned to meet at the Borders parking lot and take the long trip to Glendale together in her new car. Generally she texts me when she's left, and again right on time to tell me she'll be five minutes late. This happens almost every time we get together. So I get up at the ass crack, eat something, get dressed, set the alarm off again, frantically turn it off, and get my happy ass in the car to meet her at 5:15. As always, I am 10 minutes early. I wait, and then I realize - crap. She didn't text me. This means pretty much conclusively that she is still sleeping. But, who wants to call someone at 5:15am on a holiday and ask if they are still sleeping? I decided to wait the 5 minute standard grace period, and another 5 minutes, just in case. I finally text her at 5:25, when it is absolutely dire to get on the road for the race that starts in 65 minutes all the way across town. She's sleeping. She's frantic. She's convinced she can still make it to the race, even though she's at LEAST 25 minutes behind me. I tell her to go back to sleep. She absolutely refuses.

OK then, so I drove to the race, and hoped she'd make it. While I was driving, I decided that it didn't matter if we started with everyone else or not, it was more important to run with her, so I'd wait.

Due to the semi-narrowness of the course, they decided to start in waves. 6:30am, off goes the fast people, then the pretty fast people, then the semi-fast people, then the less fast people, then the slow pokes, then the walkers.... and then I get the call from Lilac - yes she's actually lost. So I walk her through how to get back to the freeway and start over. Meanwhile, I'm standing at the starting line by myself with and extra bib and chip, and the announcer is looking at me, and then says "Last call?" I explained the situation, and promised that we would not be the last finishers if I could just have 4 more minutes. Finally, she's parked and running through the long parking lot, right to the start line, throws her chip on, and off we go!

Race: Again, the weather was beastly. I had sweat pouring down my face in big droplets about 10 minutes into the race. I generally don't start to sweat at all until about 15 minutes in (why do runners know these things about themselves? I have no idea...). The course itself was all on a wide sidewalk that rolled up and down the banks of a fairly large (dry) wash. There were, unfortunately, no good consistent landmarks to run off of, so we just did the best that we could. We ran south along the eastern bank, under a bridge, and just as we were approaching a decent sized hill up to the top of the bank did we hit Mile 1. Just after we got up to the top of the hill, we hit a water station (thank you gatorade) and then continued cruising south to the turn around point - which crossed the wash at the bottom of the wash, and was sidewalk, but not the place I'd want to be if a flash flood was coming. Hit mile 2. The other side was just as boring, just as hilly, just as humid - and oh by the way they decided to make this a 4 mile race this year, because a good ole' 5K would have been too easy. Still we had hopes that the 4 miles would scare people off and we could get better spots in the series. There was a second water stop at Mile 3 - thank you! The finish of the race was across a pedestrian bridge, and right back to the starting line, now the finish line. Overall, I can't say that it was particularly interesting, exciting, or enjoyable. It was just another race. The good news is that I gave myself a very liberal you'd better finish by 60 minutes, or be embarassed for all time, and I finished before that, so all was good.
Post Race: Breakfast, and TWO cold chocolate milks.

Results Race #3: 58:55, 27/27 F25-F29, 230/245 F, 634/656.
Series Standings after #3: 20/85 F25-F29, 140/558 F, no overall available
*Also, let the record show that the female winner for every race has been in my age group. In addition, the record should also show that this was my slowest race of the season, yet I got the most points. Similarly, my best race is the one I have the fewest points in. My new goal is to get 500 points in either race #4 or race #5.

Next stop - Kiwanis, this weekend!