Sunday, February 19, 2012

One more time?

Even though i knew the reasons for the slow 5k last week, i was still rather bummed out about it.  this week was a cut back week where I deliberately kept all runs short so I'd have less miles overall and added in an extra day off just to have time off my feet from the pounding of running.  I don't cut back intensity with cut back weeks unless i'm feeling really tired and worn. 

the past couple of years there has been a nice race series every month here in the Seattle area.  The Magnuson Series has a 5k, 10k or 15k every month for an inexpensive no-frills race.  I could do another 5k!  Should I though?  Nothing was hurting. i was feeling pretty good overall but basically decided a 12 mile easy run was going to be better for some upcoming events. 

And then we woke up to 20 mph sustained winds with rain and gusts up to 40 mph.  No.  I am not running 12 miles in that and no way to bump the long run to the next day (more on why later).  So I drove over to Magnuson Park Saturday morning and signed up for the 5k.  I got a shorter warm-up in because it was so miserable running into the headwind and called it good enough.  Surprisingly there was a much larger crowd signed up for all distances than I was expecting.  I got to chatting with one gal as we were huddled up against the building waiting for the race start and the 5k she had just signed up for was going to be her FIRST race. 

I congratulated her on still coming out even though the weather was so horrendous.  Eventually the airhorn went off an we were away with a tail wind.  I hit sub-7 for that first quarter mile with no problem.  Yikes, that is some tail wind.  I settled into it and felt so much better than last week which was a relief.  Where the wind was coming in at the side, it was enough to push me over a foot or so when i was mid-stride (ie with both feet off the ground).  I have never felt like a hand was pushing me over but that's what it felt like.  It's a good thing there weren't any others around me as I'd easily could've bumped into them if it was crowded.  the turn into teh wind was just tough but I kept battling.  I passed a guy here and there and eventually got passed by a gal around 1.5.  I just told myself to try and keep her in sight. 

the last mile of this course has a lot of turns and is on a small graveled path through a marshy area.  Some of the trail was underwater with all the rain we'd had.  Keep running!  Finally we came to the last half mile of the race where we turned directly into the wind.  It felt like hitting a wall.  A seagull happened to come flying up next to me and a gust of wind stopped it.  I kid you not.  Finally the hairpin turn and i could finally run again.  I had to laugh because as i came to teh finish and could see the clock and my time was pretty much exactly what it was last week.

BUT, this course is not a fast course and conditions were atrocious.  This 5k course has a hill, half is on a gravel path with many, many turns and a hairpin turn.  Next time you do a workout on a track, try doing a hairpin turn in the middle of an interval and try not to fall over.  It's tough!  So, I'm delighted actually!  Yep, i knew i had some more speed in me and that is an excellent effort even with the cold I've gotten this week. 

And as I was doing a short cool down, I happened to see the new runner walking that section into the wind.  As she made the hairpin turn back towards teh finish I ran with her a bit to give her some encouragement and cheer.  She said she'd had some horrible pain in her side so I gave the trick for getting rid of side stitches (breathe out hard using your belling muscles a few times). She did this a couple times and exclaimed that it worked!  She seemed pleased with the run overall and she should be, it was a tough day for a race.

And why couldn't I get in a long run today?  I volunteered at's inaugural Fort Ebey Trail run out on Whidbey Island!  It was perfect weather and a wonderful venue.   I was at the aid station at mile 3.2 with another gal also volunteering.  It was an all day sort of thing getting out there, getting ready and then aiding runners.  Almost all were exceedingly happy and thankful especially the first time around the loop.  Those running the longer distances and adding a second loop (so we saw them twice), were defintely saying the course was much harder the second time around. 

There are always some issues with trail runs.  We had no cell phone coverage so no way to know when to expect runners or last runners.  Some runners got lost when they made the wrong turn at our aid station.  Hey!  If you aren't sure, ask!  We knew where to go and were shouting out directions but it can be chaotic at aid stations.  And no, i do not know which if any of the items we are serving at teh aid station are dairy and gluten free and healthy.  If you need that, you need to bring your own items.  Yeah, some people got grumpy and I'd guess that was from not enough food while running! 

I was well prepared with long johns, extra blankets and scarves, warm soup in a thermos, chemical handwarmers and distractions (a book and my knitting).  It was a long day which went very quick and was quite fun.  I hope to run this event next year as the park's trails looked gorgeous and inviting and tough! 

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