Saturday, April 25, 2009

First Trail Race!

Today I participated in my first trail race, the Road Ends 5-Mile Trail Run at Pinckney Recreation Area. It was only the second trail run of my life and I loved it!

I accomplished my primary goal, which was not to end up DFL or DNF. Sadly, I did not accomplish my secondary goal of not falling down. Just past mile 2, I kicked a stick and sent it flying into the legs of another runner. I turned my head to apologize to her. Mistake! I promptly tripped over Lord knows what and fell forward. Fortunately, I just picked up a lot of dirt and a few minor scratches on my right leg. No real injuries.

We're having what the weather guy calls "unseasonably warm" weather, which I refer to as "freaking awesome, feels like summer and I love it" weather. But for running, it's probably not the best.

I left the house shortly before 7am and it was already almost 70 degrees outside. It probably was 70 by the time the race started at 9am and a few degrees more than that at the end. While I do love not having that crazy shock of cold air when I step out of the house to run, I wish it had been a little cooler. There's just no pleasing me, eh?

Normally for a 5-mile run I don't bother to carry water and today was no exception. But with the warm weather and the hills, I was so happy to see the water station around the 2.5 mile mark. In fact, I said "thank God" when I saw it and the woman running near me echoed my sentiment.

So anyway, about this trail. As I mentioned above, this is only the second time I've ever run on a trail. The first time was last Sunday because I thought "hey, it might be a good idea to attempt a trail run at least once before you do a trail race, genius." So I ran 5.3 miles on the mountain bike trails at Stony Creek Metropark. (Though technically all those miles weren't on the trail since I got a little turned around and decided getting on the road to go back to my car was probably my smarter move.) I enjoyed the first trail run, found it fun and challenging but not too strenuous.

Naturally, this made me excited and probably a little cocky for today's race. David has gone mountain biking at Pinckney before and warned me that it would be a tough, hilly trail. Well I am here to tell you, that man knows what he's talking about. Wow, there were some killer hills. Fortunately, it seems that it's quite acceptable to walk up the hills in trail racing. Yay! So walk I did, for most of the hills. Occasionally (for the less steep ones), I acted all tough and ran up. But overall, my pace was pretty slow and I was okay with that. I felt a lot more relaxed than I normally do during a race. I really didn't feel any pressure to race. I just wanted to have fun.

I was wearing the shirt from the Martian Half Marathon so that caused a few other people to strike up conversations with me. One woman and I chatted for a bit as we ran. She'd also run the Martian half. I told her this was my first trail race and she said "it's my first one, too, and it's kicking my ass." I enjoyed talking to her but she stopped to walk and said "I'll let you go, have a good race" which I think is code for "go away and leave me alone, lady, I'm trying to race here."

When I got into the last mile of the race, I noticed I was feeling pretty good and my breathing was fine. Meanwhile, quite a few people around me were sucking in wind like a Dyson sucks dirt out of your carpet. I would feel egotistical and think that it's because I'm so much more fit, but the reality is that I didn't push myself much. After the fall at mile 2, I started running more cautiously because I didn't want to fall again and risk an injury.

In summary, the race was a great time. I had a lot of fun and will do more trail running in the future. Next time I do a trail race, I plan to push myself a little harder and leave more of my energy out on the course instead of taking it back to the car with me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Survived the week

So, we had major layoffs at work this week. I ate a lot of chocolate on Tuesday when it was going down in my department. But I did run on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And managed to finally get my eating under control.

Today I went out for a nice 12-miler with my friend Vicki. What a fantastic day for a run. It was almost 50 degrees when we started out at 7:30 this morning and gorgeously sunny. Ahhhh, a nice long run feels so good. We tried to keep our pace very reasonable today because we tend to overdo it. But we still found ourselves going way too fast from time to time. I swear, I need to keep my eyes glued to my watch every minute, otherwise my pace just gets out of control.

Vicki agreed to run the Detroit Free Press Marathon with me! Woo hoo, I'm so excited. We run really well together and it will be great to have a training partner for all those long miles. Plus, we're planning to run the whole race together. We don't have any time goals, we just want to get through it. It will be a lot easier to get through it if we run it together. Yeah!

Monday, April 13, 2009

I run so I can eat

That's what my favorite Bondiband says: I run so I can eat. But in this case, it should say "I ate, so I need to run!" Wow, did I ever eat a lot over the weekend! Like, everything in sight, former fat girl style, just chowed down. Good thing I ran 9.5 miles on Saturday, but that didn't put a dent in it!

Today I made it to the gym and got about 4.5 miles in before work. I'll run before work this week on Tue, Wed and Thu, too. Maybe even Friday. And I've got 12 scheduled for Saturday. If I do all that and eat right all week, then maybe I'll be back to where I started before I took a trip to binge-ville.

Job stress (as in, we're having layoffs and I'm waiting to see if I still have a job) has definitely played a role, but I think I also just got tired of always being the healthy, virtuous chick. However, I feel thoroughly gross and also don't want to regain all my weight, so it's back to healthy virtuousness this week and beyond.

Now somebody hold me to that.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Martian half marathon race report

The good news: I set a PR at the Martian half marathon this morning.

The bad news: Actually, there is no bad news. I SET A PR! Hehehe.

The official results aren't posted yet. If my Garmin is at all correct, then I beat my previous half marathon time by about 12 minutes. YEAH! (Edited to add: results are in and I set a PR by 12:37. Wooo!)

I don't know what else to write about. The race started at 7am. I arrived at about 6:30 and went into the building where late packet pickup was happening because it was warmer in there and they had real toilets. :) Temperature was in the low 30s at the start and around 40 at the finish, so it wasn't too bad. My hands were cold the whole race so I kept my gloves on. But then my hands are almost always cold, so that's no surprise.

As my friend Wendy predicted, my nerves settled down as soon as the race started. I think there were around 4,000 people registered, nearly all of them for the half and very few for the full. The race route was along the roads in Dearborn, MI (home of Ford Motor Company). The majority of the route was along one long road that goes through a number of parks, so there were lots of flush toilets along the route. Why am I so focused on the toilets? I don't know, but porta potties are gross so real toilets are appreciated.

The weather was mostly cloudy but the sun peeked out from time to time. It's hard to believe we're supposed to get three inches of snow tonight.

Even though I knew quite a few people who were running the race, I never saw any of them. It felt like the miles were going by pretty quickly and I felt quite good through most of the race. The course was mainly flat but there were a couple of killer hills which fortunately were very short. I'm proud to report that, aside for stopping at a couple of water stations, I ran the whole way. (That's different than my last half, where I took a few walk breaks in the later miles.) When I got to mile 12 I started getting pretty excited. And also had some weird and horrible abdominal cramping which fortunately disappeared after a few minutes.

I was really happy to see the finish line up ahead and I have no idea how the hell I'm going to run a full marathon in October. After I finished, I headed for the food tent and promptly ate three giant chocolate chip cookies. Yum!