Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Trot 2008

So this is the third or fourth year I've done the 10K at this race. I had done the 5K with the Elder Child in there a few years, so this is third year in a row. Last year I missed a PR by about 10-15 seconds a mile, mostly since I was just kinda jogging along at the outset and hadn't had any idea that I could PR, so I didn't really try. This year, I knew that despite my weight being an ongoing struggle, I've been clocking relatively fast times on shorter runs, and also have been benefiting greatly from the hills on the trail we use for long runs. So I went into the race knowing that it was a possibility, albeit remote.

We got a call from the organizers through the running store that the YMCA needed volunteers this year, so I talked Elder Child into coming along to help out. He'd wavered on whether he wanted to run the 5K with me, but we finally figured out that he could come along and help out instead of lazing around the house until lunch. So I woke him up early and we headed out. It was chillier than I was expecting, but I knew it would warm up significantly since my race was later in the morning. He got set up to do chip handout, and I wandered back to my car to try to warm up and rest a while before the 5k start. While I was snoozing, he texted me that he'd volunteered to be a course marshall, so he'd be out on the 5K route. Then it was time to cheer on the 5k runners, walkers, strollers, dogs, and turkeys. This was one of the largest crowds ever, and it took nearly 10 minutes for everyone to pass the starting line. It was fun to see so many families and groups out on Thanksgiving. By about the time the last walkers left the starting area, it was time to head over and wait for the fastest of the finishers to cross, just around the 15-minute mark. Pretty remarkable to see those speedy guys. After about 15-20 minutes more of cheering, it was time to head to the starting line. First, I dumped off my jacket at the car, checked in with the boy on the phone, then headed out.

I ran into a couple of folks from the training group, including my pace leader, right before the start. I had decided to run m own race, and not get caught up in the hysteria and go out faster than I should. This race is fraught with hills, and even though I've been training on them, they are still there and still tough. I knew if I went out too fast, it would spell trouble later on. So when my pace leader and the other group member took off in front of me before we reached the first turn, I let them go without giving chase. Still, I clocked a first mile of 9:32, which I thought was way too fast.

The second mile went just as fast, even through the gradual uphill along the highway. Before I knew it, we were gliding downhill toward the first water stop, then here comes the first of the big hills. At the second mile marker, I checked the watch and was amazed to see a total time of 19:14 -- still going well under 10:00 miles. But by now, the hills were coming fast and furious, and they kept coming through mile 5. I had thought the worst of them was right at the end of mile 4, but then we turned the corner and saw another one. ugh. I had been keeping a pretty good pace until then, and managed to feel strong and still have energy to wave to the folks on their front yards, thank the volunteers and shout out to the police officers. The day had warmed up nicely, but it wasn't too hot, so it was really just about perfect for running. I was sweating, but not dying. The water stops were placed perfectly every two miles, per usual, and a quick cupful was more than enough to keep me from getting that dry back-of-the-mouth stickiness that I get when I push. ick. Anyhoo, it was going very nicely so far, even though mile 5 was my slowest of the day at 10:39 -- that included the water stop and that last killer hill. Still felt good, but there was that last mile plus .2 to contend with. Was I going to break an hour? It was looking doubtful that I'd do that, but the PR potential was alive.

I'd decided that I would stop the watch at mile 6 so that I could get an automatic average for the full miles; when I reached the miler marker, my watch read 59:33. That gave me just over 3:00 to finish the last .2 section and get my the PR that eluded me last year. With my clock stopped at 6, I wouldn't be tempted to keep looking down at my wrist in that final stretch. I needed to just tuck in and run. And that's what I did. I was gassed and didn't have much left in the legs, but it was enough to get to the chute with 10 seconds left to spare before it turned to 2 minutes after the hour. I cranked it for the last little bit and crossed the line at 1:01:59, a PR by 39 seconds! Wahoo!

The only downer is that Elder Child missed it -- he'd been wandering around the festival area waiting until about 5 after to come to the finish line. I'd told him I didn't expect to PR and that he should come out to the line by about then. I had no idea I'd come in a good three minutes before then! I had time to get my chip removed and grab water before he came out looking for me. Then it was time to hit the S'bucks and head home to get ready for lunch.

All in all, it was a great race. The crowd, as usual, is great and supportive, the volunteers are awesome (of course, I'm biased this year!), and the organization of the registration/chip pick-up area was much improved over last year. I don't think this race will ever get as big as the one over in Dallas, not that we'd want it to, but the ever-growing size of it does go to show that they do a good job.

For posterity, here are my splits:

Mile 1: 9:32
Mile 2: 9:41
Mile 3: 9:48
Mile 4: 9:49
Mile 5: 10:39
Mile 6: 10:00
Finish Time: 1:01:59

2008 - 1:01:59
2007 - 1:03:07
2006 - 1:02:38

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick post to all you out there in cyberspace: Happy Thanksgiving! I'll be enjoying the day, starting out with the traditional 10K run (Elder Child will be doing his first volunteering today, opting for that instead of running the 5K), and ending with the back-to-Thanksgiving Texas-Texas A&M football game. In between will be lots of food, lots of dessert (I myself made double-cherry cobbler, apple crisp, and a pumpkin cheesecake for the cause - I'm sure there will be more), Cowboys football and family.

I'm thankful for lots this year -- we've had a little bit of a whirlwind around here the last six months, but in the end, all has worked out for the best (gawd, I HATE when that happens!! lol!) and I know I'm glad for what we've been blessed with in our lives. Gotta run -- headed out to the Trot here now!! Peace!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wahoo!!! Big props to Jane!

Go on over and give some cyber-love and HUGE congratulations to Jane. She's an IRONMAN! She is an inspiration -- she saw where her body and her life were headed a few years ago (not that many, actually) and made a conscious decision to change her direction. She starting riding a bike, then she dived headfirst into running and multi-sport, too. She's already completed an ultra marathon, and as of this weekend in Arizona, she is now an official, can't-ever-take-it-away-cause-she's-a-rock-star IRONMAN!! Way to go, Jane!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

9 mile run + hills!!

so, today we had 9 miles on the schedule with the running group. Last week's weather was so hideous, and it was chilly last night, so I prepped before I went to bed by laying out long pants instead of my usual cropped tights, a long tank underlayer, a short-sleeved tech shirt and a long-sleeved shirt to go over that. I set out my gloves and my Love the Half jacket, too, since I was thinking it would be in the lower 30s. But when I got up and checked the weather, it was only in the 40s, so I chucked the short-sleeved layer. Glad I did, too, because I started getting hot by about mile 2 and took the gloves off. By mile 3, I stripped off the top jacket and tied it around my waist, then I even went a few minutes with the sleeves of my shirt pushed up to my elbows. It was humid, more than it's been in a while, so that made it seem warmer than it was. In the end, though, the weather was pretty good for the run, and I had the layer mix just right.

So, the workout. We went out a little faster than intended, but our pace leader caught up to us and told us we'd want to conserve energy, as she had "some surprises" for us at the end. Now, considering that the end of the workout already consists of the Monster Hill, I wasn't looking forward to this. But, we slowed down to closer to a true 11-minute mile until it was time to turn around. We hit the turnaround point at 49:17 which means we were running faster than 10:57 since that included TWO water stops. We don't lollygag for any amount of time, that's for sure, but it does take a little while. Felt strong and sure for the return leg, and despite a little bit of a twinge on my lower left hamstring on an uphill, I didn't have any trouble.

Then, we get to the base of the hill. Our pace leader told us to gather at the bottom of the hill and explained what we were going to do. She said it was totally optional, and if we weren't feeling it, we could just go on up the hill and then continue the last half-mile to the gathering point. Like any of us were going to choose that! She picked a mailbox a couple of hundred yards up the hill, told us to stride up it, then jog back down, drop and do 10 pushups, then repeat. Twice. ugh. So, yeah, it was a bit of a push to do that after running 8 miles. The hardest part for me, though, was not the strides but physically dropping down to do the push-ups. It was just creakier than I expected, and during the second set, the tightness in the back of my leg morphed into a full-out cramp that triggered a total collapse to the ground while it subsided. Didn't hurt, but caught me by surprise, so I ended up laughing my a$$ off flat on the ground while the rest of the group got up and started their ascent. So I ended up last up the hill. No worries. I got it done.

After we'd done the repeats, we were instructed to motor up the hill, taking as long as we needed to as long we RAN and didn't slow to a walk. Even if we were taking the smallest steps possible, as long as we were technically running, we were OK. And that's what I did. I made it up the hill for the second week in a row, even after having to climb the first part of it multiple times. Jan says that next week, 9 miles into the run when we hit the hill again, we'll be so glad we only have to go up it once it will be cake. I don't know if I believe it yet. I'll have to let you know!!

So, there was the workout for today. Very nice run when it was all said and done. AFterward, we went into Dallas for a balsa wood glider competition Elder Child particpated in, then we stopped by an aunt's house for lunch and little visiting. On the way home, we drove into downtown and walked around Dealey Plaza for a little bit. Neither of the boys had even been there before, and it just seemed like the right thing to do today. I wish Hub wasn't in Mexico City, though -- he would have enjoyed all the conspiracy theorists set up around the knoll. It was interesting to explain the whole thing to them -- even TDP Dino Boy was pretty fascinated by it. I was hoping there would be more documentaries on it tonight so they could learn more, but no luck. Anyhoo, getting ready for bed soon -- yes, it's early, but I don't have to go anywhere next week and I'm taking advantage of the cold weather to just hang out and hibernate for a few days.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Photo Game


So Flatman over there in Fort Worth played this photo game, and I had to play along. You're supposed to open the fourth folder on your computer and post the fourth photo. So this is what I found. I've just spent a little longer than I expected to reminiscing over the photos in this particular folder, since it was from Elder Child's 8th birthday 5 years ago and we just had TDP DinoBoy's 8th birthday. It's very sobering to see how much he's changed in the years since these were taken.

It's even scarier to think how much he'll change in the next five years. Eeep!
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

OK, so now it's cold!

yeah, so much for me bragging about sitting at outside patio cafes for lunch the past three days... a front finally moved into the area last night, and this morning it is a chilly 30 degrees here in Boulder. brrrr. and of course, because it is fly-away day, that means that the rain/ice mixture will hit right about the time we're supposed to leave for the airport. grrrr. Anyhow, that meant the hotel treadmill this morning, since I ended up bailing on last night's run in favor of a dinner out with a friend from the project. We found this great place that does all organic meals, and I had the most amazing wild mushroom risotto topped with grilled shrimp. I was restrained enough to save half of it for lunch today, which is great because I never have time to go out and grab lunch on Thursdays.

anyway, time to head home today. This weekend will be another flurry of activity -- I'm going to try to take the boys to the driving range tomorrow after school, then I have a 9-miler scheduled for Saturday morning. The good news is that I'm working from home Monday and Tuesday next week, so I don't have to fly anywhere (or prepare to fly anywhere). anyhow, I should pack up and get ready to check out, so talk to you later!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

interrupting the crickets here...

hi there. still here. still running. Had a great long run this weekend with the training group -- 8 miles along the trail, culminating in the hill at the end. And this time, even though I'd given myself all of December to make it up without walking, I was able to crush it, to run it the whole way. Was I running fast? Um, no, but I ran it, no stopping, no walking. I would have let out a huge "wahoo" at the end, but there are people in these big houses that probably were still sleeping, so I just laughed and jumped around when I reached the crest of it. It was awesome! And especially since I'd just finished a two-mile section in 20:21, so we had been booking it just prior.

Total time for the run was 1:26:14, for an average pace of 10:47. Splits below are for two-mile segments, since we had mile markers only every two miles at the water stops and then at the turnaround:

Segment 1: 21:15
Segment 2: 21:23
Segment 3: 20:21
Segment 4: 23:10 (includes hill)

After that, the whole family headed out to the big Scout camporee up in Fort Worth for a family campout. We missed last fall's camping trip since we were in NYC that weekend, and TDP DinoBoy only did the day trip for the spring trip, so this was our first foray into camping. We had a borrowed tent and only one true sleeping bag between us (tons of blankets and a couple of thick sleeping pads the boys use when they spend the night at Grandma's, though). The tent was HUGE and we had to tie it to the truck to keep it from tumping over in the winds, which were gusting up to 40 mph in the afternoon while we were trying to set it up. But it was nice and spacious. The boys spent all afternoon traipsing around all the activities, from the rifle range, to the human foosball course (hilarious!), to the marshmallow guns and bounce houses. We had made chili, so that was our evening meal with the pack -- a couple of other families had made some, so we had that with cornbread, potato salad and crackers, and baked beans. Afterward, there was a talent show and fireworks, and before you knew it, it was time for bed. Except that the temperature dropped very quickly to about mid-thirties, which is way too cold for us Texans to be out in a flimsy nylon tent. We froze! Elder Child got up in the middle of the night and crawled into the back seat of the truck, so I think he had the best sleep of all. It was very fun, but exhausting, especially after that workout.

So, there you go, that was the highlight of the weekend for me -- making it up the hill and freezing my arse off in the tent, all in the same day. I'm in Boulder again this week, where the weather is mercifully warmer than in Texas, so I'm looking forward to a great run this evening, with temps in the 50s even when the sun goes down. Should be awesome. We start ramping up the weekday mileage this week, with a 4-miler thrown into the mix instead of just the 3-milers we'd been doing. Then next week, we have the Turkey Trot 10K -- that is always a blast even if it is always flipping cold that day. Anyhoo, gotta blast -- have a great day!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mountain Run

I really am enjoying the runs I get to go on out here. I really, really am. It's not too chilly this week, so I've gone out twice so far. Last night, I took a colleague out on a run/walk session, since she's just used to walking, but was game to speeding it up a little for a few short intervals. Tonight, I took a different direction and found a great path, but it was a little too deserted at the hour that I went, and I kinda freaked myself out since it was too far removed from anything. So I can't go that way in the evening; have to stick to the more populated paths.

This weekend I won't have a chance to post the training group run recap since we have a camping weekend with the Scouts planned. SHould be an interesting time -- notice I didn't necessarily say "fun," I said "interesting." peace out folks! enjoy the rest of the week .

Sunday, November 09, 2008

7-mile group run

so, I had delusions that I would finally do a Mud Run this year, especially since I am actually trained for the distance this time. But, as usual, I procrastinated, so when I finally got around to looking at the website (Friday night), the online registration was closed, and they said there was no race-day packet pickup. So, I had to settle for the 7-mile run with my training group.

My pace leader was actually out yesterday morning since SHE was doing the mud run, but she left us in the capable legs of another pacer. Actually, they had decided to pace together before we got started, but we just hadn't met Nikki yet. We went out a slightly different route than we had done the last few weeks, so it was a little change of scenery. Still had the killer hill at the end, only this time, we saw the downhill part of it since the sun was rising on our way out and we could tell how steep it was while we were going down. All in all, it was a really nice run, even though we were booking it a little faster than we expected. We ended up covering the 7 miles in 1:15:05, for an average pace of about 10:44, so it's a little faster than the 11:00 we signed up for. If not for the hill, we probably would have come in about 10:30 -- I'm not quite strong enough to run all the way up to the top. I did go further this week than last week, which is my only goal each week as far as that hill is concerned. I'm figuring that by the end of December I'll be running up that hill like nothing.

So, that's all there is to tell about the running. I will be in Boulder through at least the week or two before Christmas, which is GREAT news for my training -- I can tell that every mile that I'm up there helps my performance while I'm here. And, professionally, it will definitely be a coup of I can make myself useful enough to be extended longer. We're still trying to figure out if we can swing getting the family up to Colorado for a winter holiday, but we're not sure yet. Certainly something to plan for, if we can make it happen. Anyhow, that's for another day -- for now, I've got a few loads of laundry to finish out and then some packing before my flight tomorrow. Cheerio!

Friday, November 07, 2008

another fast run

I only ran twice this week in Boulder, and the second run was on the hotel treadmill, because it got cold!! I walked the 200 yards from the office to the hotel and in that space of time decided to NOT try to go outside. I just didn't bring enough layers nor did I have my gloves with me. Now I know for next week to dress for January in Texas and I should be OK.

I ran the park loop again this morning -- really wanted to go longer, but since I have my 7-miler with the training group tomorrow I thought I should take it somewhat easy. I did, however, pound out a 3-miler in less than 30 minutes again, which means I'm enjoying the payoff of three and a half days at altitude. Oh yeah! And I learned that I'll be doing the weekly Boulder thing until at least mid-December, which gives me that much more time to reap the benefits. Oh, and yeah, Boulder rocks! (remind me of that when the snow actually flies, instead of just threatens like this week, and I'm crying 'cause I can't feel my face!)

Gotta blast -- gotta work for a bit here and then a con call, then pick up TDP DinoBoy from school at noon (it's a Catholic school thing -- early dismissal once a month) to go to see Madagascar 2, then the driving range. Have a GREAT Friday!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Still here, still running

so i'm in Boulder again this week, and have had a light training week so far. Since it's no longer October, I'm more focused on following the training plan Coach laid out for us and not so much worried about hitting a run every day. I think my legs are recovered for it, too. So Monday I ran two miles (the second mile with a bag containing my naked Whole Foods burrito) outside, last night was a rest day, and tonight has 3-4 miles, as does tomorrow morning before I start the day. Then on Saturday we have 7 planned, with that hill again.

So, just a quick update so you don't feel I've abandoned everything. What a night last night, huh? My brother drove in from the mountains to take me to a belated birthday dinner, so we weren't in front of the TV, but we knew who had won the minute it happened. All of a sudden, cars were honking, people on the Pearl Street Mall were whooping and hollering, and the line for free Ben & Jerry's across the street got really long! It was pretty exciting, no matter what your political bent. Gotta say it will be interesting to see how things fall out in the next few months and years.

Got a butt-early con call to get ready for here so gotta blast. Have a great Wednesday, America!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

6 mile training run

We had another training group run this morning; today we went half a mile past our turnaround point last week for a total of 6. We went out a little bit faster than 11:00 pace -- in fact, we caught up to the 10-minute group at the first water stop! But it was fine, and we slowed down on the return. We had to go up that killer hill again, and it was tough going, just like last week. But I was able to power up a little further today that I did last time, and I'm thinking by the end of November I'll have that thing conquered. Especially if I keep training mid-week at altitude (and really especially if I can find some hills at altitude!). Afterward, we had a guest speaker at the running store talk to us about injuries, inflammation, bulging discs, etc., so it was a good presentation and a GREAT way to start the weekend.

Hub just took off to take Elder Child to his hockey game and then they're off to try to find some white-tail (good luck -- it's still too hot here for them to be moving around), so TDP DinoBoy and I have the afternoon to catch a move with some friends and hang out at home relaxing. We may have to hit the park, too, since the weather here, while still on the warm side for November, is too gorgeous to stay inside!

ADDED: Click the title link to get the elevation for the monster hill on the route. More than 150-foot rise in less than half a mile. Kill me now.