Wednesday, September 25, 2013

July, August and September running

July, August and September races

I was at the hometown in July for the hometown days then and participated in the fun run, timed--but not seriously timed--"5k-ish" race.  My watch actually said it was 3.2 miles. Maybe it should be made into a 3.1 by finishing at the bar instead of on the elevator scale ;-)

(And, my face is *always* red after I run, no matter how long, hard, or weather! However, it's never red when I'm actually running).

I did the awful thing that day though, of running all my miles. I was supposed to run ten, so I went out and ran five, then went to the house, re-fueled, and ran/walked into town for the race. The Mike came in before the race started and got some pictures, but none I think are web worthy. Not to mention I wasn't completely feeling 100% since I had ice cream the day before when we took in the Jocelyn Art Museum and stopped at Dairy Queen on the way to the homestead  :-)   When you have dairy and sugar you're not use to, the performance level isn't going to be there. Amazingly though, my time wasn't much different from the previous year I participated (it was really hot and humid that year).

Dale Chihuly
piece at the Jocelyn
I have no photos from my August run.  It wasn't an actual "race" but rather a fun run to raise funds for a Veteran and paying it forward to others.  I actually had forgotten about the event until I walked to a food establishment that day and saw Taylor getting out of car.  I had been thinking earlier that day that I just would not run an August event. Not only was this a night run, which I had never entered before, it was also a glow stick event. Everyone who entered got at least one glow stick, and then helpers were handing out multiples as we waited for the start.  Others bought their glowsticks at stores and came for the costume event.  Definitely fun, definitely different and definitely want to do this event again. You could choose to run or walk.  The path was lined with glow sticks every foot or so. On the darker parts of the course, the glow sticks were end-to-end around curves and the like. It was very cool to run in the dark along those areas.   The only thing I wished was different would be not allowing people with flashing/strobe lights. Those were really hard to run with in the field of vision.  Some people had them on their hands as rings, others had them in their hair.  It was okay to see at the start when we still had street lights. Hard to handle when we were on the trail. . .then again, maybe my eyes are just getting (eek) 'old'.   One of the great things for this event was having so many veterans there and others who had prosthetics.  Many also ran with us. I wasn't sure if they all started the race, or if some positioned themselves along the course. I saw a couple who had been off on the side and then got onto the trail to run.  The sound of the feet on the ground was interesting and a great rhythm. At one point I was thinking, "this is a good pace" and then all of  a sudden the guy got a burst of energy and he was off! Afterwards there was water, cupcakes and gluten free cupcakes!  I ran/walked back to where I parked my car and a neighbor came up. He had never done a 5K before and was amazed at what all was involved. 


I had a hard time deciding which races to do this month.

There is the standby, Park to Park, that I've done for several years. It is fun. The race director is awesome. You can stand around and chat with the elites afterwards. Great music, great food, massages, and it's in a state park near a small lake, so it's beautiful as well. It is run on all trails in the area.

There were others I wanted to do as well.  The half marathon in my home town, the Quad Cities half marathon near the end of the month, and a few others.

I decided to run Park to Park and the Wabash Trace half marathons as training runs. I knew I wouldn't be going "all out 100%" but that I could use the people, the atmosphere and the energy to carry me a little faster than maybe I'd do in a training run on my own.

Park to Park was mentioned in Runners World this year as one of the top picks for a half marathon due to its trail run, awesome race director, beautiful weather, etc.

Enter race day and the humidity was high, the heat was already present, making the combination feel a big muggy. Then, a few minutes before race time, a cloud went overhead and we had a bit of a shower.  Ugh. More mugginess!   There were people not able to get in to park and were having to be bussed up to the start line. Due to the number of people still needing to get bussed to the start, the director made the very tough call to delay the race. He has never had a race start late.  Some people were disappointed, others loved the delay and used it to go to head to the portapotties. The folks with the mics reminded us to think of if we were in those folks' places/shoes. . . then schooled us in a brief 'cliff note" version of a classic. 'if you don't know what compassion is, read To Kill A Mockingbird.  As a person with an English Ed degree, I LOVED that!  In light of a contest the festival had on Facebook, I won an entry to the VIP tent, which meant I had a smaller gear check area, food waiting for me afterwards, a place to meet up with some friends who were also in the VIP tent, etc.   This was also the first race that hubby wasn't going to hang around, ride through the woods on dirt trails and take pics of me randomly!

The race started a bit before 8am, an pavement still slick with the short shower.  The Elites went off and did their amazing fast stuff while I wondered if I had what it took to do 13.1 today, let alone 26.2 in a few weeks in Detroit.   If you hadn't read some of the other running posts, my training has been off this year due to fatigue, lethargy, coldness and just plain not feeling "ON" this year.

I knew most of the course and knew there were some turns and scenic areas, but I also am use to running the trails with some WIND, or breeze of some kind. I am operating, this year, on the run/walk method and due to the heat, the race director had bicycle patrol out checking on racers. It seemed everytime I was at a walk break point there'd be  a bicycle go by to see if I was okay!   The air was fairly still until about mile four or five when the course opened up to a southerly direction and a wonderful breeze there. I caught up with a friend's sister at this point (or rather, she caught up with me) and we talked a bit and then she picked up her pace a bit.  Knowing the trail is a good thing and something I forget when I go to other towns to race. Sometimes I drive the course and sometimes I don't . It's always a good thing though!  I knew that when we came to the "end" of one trail, we had to turn left to do a short loop and then come back to the pedestrian bridge we could all see.  I also knew that the curvy road on the way out was our way back to the finish. I'm sure some people have the curves counted. I am not one of those people.My body pretty much screams with joy when I see the "TURN AND SPRINT" sign.  Instead, I focus on the steps at the given time and try to find a way to motivate myself to the end.  

I had been quite hot when running, and kept hiking my tank up to the chest to get the belly some air to try to cool down the body. In the last section before we had to turn left for the quick loop, I was walking more often.  After crossing the river, I knew there wouldn't be a lot of people for a mile and a half or so, so I just took off the tank and ran. I wasn't around a lot of people at this point and only felt comfortable (ha ha) doing it because of the trail/trees.  As I got closer to the park entrance of the trail, I put the shirt back on and then did the "try to catch" so and so routine.  I had been trying to "reel in" my friend's sister as I could see her on the trail ahead of me in the last mile every so often. In the last few curves I could see her ahead and thought, "I'm going to catch her!   

Alas, it wasn't to be had.  She crossed the finish line just as I had turned the corner to sprint.  Finishing about nine minutes slower than what I had wanted for this training run. . . the highlight--> hubby WAS at the finish line for me!  He had just gotten back from his bicycle group ride!   

After the race, walk around, cool down, enjoy the VIP tent.  Pizza, bagels, chocolate milk, cookies, potato chips galore.  I went to the regular food tent for the gluten free food--found some chili and lots of Larabars to enjoy, along with the chocolate milk!   While biking to the race is fun, it's always the riding the bicycle home that's the issue!  We broke up the ride home with a stop at the local mexican restaurant

The next training run/race was the Wabash Trace Nature Trail Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay in Southwest Iowa.  Great former railroad bed trail and we were running it on the descent. They had packet pickup on Friday night, with dinner and a speaker from Runners World magazine.  There was also packet pickup on Saturday morning, which was FABULOUs since things went south on Friday and hubby wasn't able to go with me, which meant I left town later than I had planned/needed to in order to get to the pick up then.   Since the race was point to point, they had busses running from the finish town to the marathon town and to the half marathon town early in the morning. It worked out well that a relative was riding the bus, so his car was in the finish town for us afterwards. My car would be in the start town and we could store our race packets/shirts in the car. I headed into the town early to get the packet and get in some prerace running per the coach.

There were a few areas of climbing and enough to make your bum notice, but not enough to make one struggle. . .that's how I recalled running the trace before However, in the race, it was different --as racing always is, right?  We started in the small town, went about twenty feet, turned and immediately started up the snow-sledding hill of the town, then we meandered around until we were at the Wabash Trace on the north side of town and we ran south to Shenandoah for the race. We almost had a 5K under the belt by the time we headed out of town.  It is is nice running a path you've run before, and knowing the surface--gravel/worn asphalt in the town, crushed limestone most of the way on the trail, and with 3 or so miles left it turned to asphalt trail and concrete streets.   It was nice, too, to know I was running this as a training run and not as a race so much. Thus, I didn't mind stopping to pick up the 47¢ laying on the trail !

Various folks were out on the trail, at intersections with roads, cheering us on  and seeing so many friendly faces!  One fabulous woman (WKS) wasn't able to race, and she kindly offered to pick up some oranges for me for a mile marker stop, and then she had grapes too!  It was awesome to see a friendly face, as well as her adorable son with a great cheerleading signs! One was:  

The Trace is mostly tree lined from a time when Earl May and Henry Fields nurseries had train cars moving with seeds in the cars (and some would blow out).  Every once in a while the trees would open up and we would get the nice brisk wind coming from the south.  As we crossed the highway, we passed mile marker 9, traffic was stopped by the sheriff's department, then we had an aid station and a seemingly 'straight shot' to the  finish line. . . I didn't realize we'd come into Shenandoah and turn to the east side of town and we had some climbing to do back there, but still it was a "fairly flat" course regardless of those four or five blocks. As we made a turn and headed north I knew we had to be getting close to the finish line on Sheridan Avenue.  I asked which way we turned at the diagonal street and knew the finish was near so I just kept going past other people, even though I knew I wanted to rest---there'd be time for resting in eight blocks!   An announcer stood at the WCTU historic water fountain and then we turned the corner and pounded pavement for a few more blocks. Great finish line area with 'railroad crossing arms'  for decoration.

Feel free to check out some photos of the race here on Facebook.    I am so glad I didn't run this race last year. I wanted to, in its inaugural race, but wasn't sure of my ability to run a 'training race' with limited time before the Omaha Marathon last  year. I'm glad I didn't as I found out that runnign downhill just makes you want to go faster all the time!

The finish line is near the old Depot in Shenandoah, which is now a restaurant--refreshments for runners were outside and I went in to get a LARGE milk for getting sugar and protein in the body.  Also open, but I didn't get in that day, was the Everly Brothers museum (restored childhood home).

Next on the agenda is a run/walk (walking) Pancreatic Cancer Purple Stride event to honor my mother.

In October, the main goal is Detroit Free Press Marathon, running Detroit, USA and Windsor, Canada.  I have my 'passport card' and am ready to roll. . . or so I think, part of me is still screaming (EEEK) that it's less than a month away!  

No comments:

Post a Comment