Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A super summer Seattle run

Summer running in Seattle - Green Lake am rowers
There is always a bit of a let down after Ragnar, the overnight running relay.  I'm back to work and it all feels rather mundane. What do you mean I don't have to manage 11 other people, two vans and running getting from point A to Point B?

Sure a big part of this is that i feel totally brain dead for a couple days post-relay. Running-wise, my legs don't feel too badly.  I'm a bit stiff and sore and can tell i have raced. I'm pretty hungry for a couple days post-relay and really prefer high fat and more protein. I have no problem eating a lot of high quality ice cream, eggs for breakfast and yes i will have a flank steak for dinner. Thanks!  I'm eating every couple hours and that is pretty typical.  The bigger issue is that I just feel a bit foggy for a few days and thinking nimbly doesn't quite work.  My brain feels a bit sluggish recovering from lack of sleep, effort etc.

I typically bike easily the next day and then take the following day completely off.  The first run a couple days later is typically slow and i'm pretty stiff.  The next run following always feels much better.  Recovery happened to coincide with gorgeous summer weather here in Seattle.

I ran just a typical local course the following weekend and just was happy to be a runner here in Seattle in the summer.

Things to see:

Paddleboarders out on Lake Union.  I even saw a friend who teaches yoga on a stand up paddle board.  Awesome!
Various running friends also out for their runs.  It's a friendly community.
Hills!  yes, Seattle has them and that is ok.
Dragonboat races! This is a chinese holiday also celebrated in many other countries and the date can vary from year to year.  Here in Seattle it tends to happen around SeaFair events and it was fun seeing and hearing the event on Lake Union as I ran around the new Lake Union Park
My run ended by running up what is called Soap Box Hill in the Lower Woodland Park by Green Lake.  And amazingly, there were Soap Box races going on!  I have never seen this and thought it was just great to see the kids pulling their soap box creations up the hill. 

Summer in Seattle typically means perfect temperatures from mid-70s to low 80s and low humidity. We have long summer days and water every where.  It's been a great summer and great for running.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ragnar Northwest Passage 2013

No, I don't run in the wig. Tutu yes.
What can i say about my most favoritist type of running event?

You remember.  An overnight running relay.  There are 12 people and 2 vans and about 200 miles.  Runner order is assigned.  Runners 1-6 in Van 1 run their legs (3-8 miles at a time) until they hand off to runners 7-12 in Van 2 where they all run their legs.  Van 1 has gone ahead to that exchange point to wait for Van 2 and rest (haha!) at which point once Van 2 shows, Van 1 starts running again.  Each van does this in order three times until as a group, we've run about 200 miles and run continuously for over 24 hours. 
Year 3 for Orange Ogres.

I kept the same legs as last year which was fun but I would like to do a different set (even a different van?) next year.

It was HOT and very humid the first day and everyone suffered in the heat.  Don't forget the ferocious and drying headwind.  As Captain, I worried we would have enough water on board.

You make instant friends along the way.  On my Leg 1 (Leg #11- 6.7 miles flat), i got passed by a guy when i had to stop and walk to get rid of a side stitch.  He came up to me with a plea of "don't stop now" as you've been pacing me perfectly.  Well what could i do?  I decided to hang with him as long as I could partly because it was something to focus on in the appalling heat and headwind and because he was a big guy and would block that wind for me. Thanks guy!
The Handoff

There are these moments of breathtaking beauty in relays. This year I ran the leg across Deception Pass again but it was just light. I'd started at 4:30 am and by the time I had made it to the Deception Pass Bridge at mile 5, i could hear and feel the roar of the outgoing tide far below under the bridge.  The wind through the pass was strong enough to shift me over a bit.  I would come up to slower runners and have to jog behind them as the path across the bridge is too narrow to pass those runners. That was OK because it gave me a chance to take in the Nature around me.  And yes, Nature should be capitalized here. And I'm still delighted at how well I ran that leg.

I don't even bother trying to sleep now. I got a chance to lay down in a lovely field in La Conner and just relax. I desperately tried to doze but I do know i failed napping when i was in Kindergarten.  They put in the corner away from all the other kids for a reason when it was nap time. I kept everyone awake!  I tried dozing in the van around 8 am or so but it never fails that someone's phone or my phone will beep or something.  Sigh.  Sleep is overrated for these events anyway.  Really, the adrenaline and coffee pulls me through every time! 

The other part of breathtaking beauty comes with watching the runners on my team and on other teams push themselves and support each other. They are slow or fast or old or young or experience or newbie runners, yet all want to run as best they can for the team.  It's an inspiring thing to watch.  and it's not just the participants who support.  I smile thinking of the grandma and young kid sitting by side of the road in front of their house cheering for random runners or that volunteer directing traffic at Exchange #8 who had the most awesome flag directing moves.  Thank YOU!

The heat broke once the sun went down. It did stay pretty breezy the entire race but we had cloud cover for most of our runs to the finish.  That was a huge help and I was very pleased to run a really good third leg at exactly the same pace as last year.  I thought I'd been slower but nope.  I had a slow start to warm up and kept hammering. I passed quite a few people along in here and got a lot of honking and cheering from everyone along a major highway.  Well that's what you get for wearing a bright orange running skirt, fast yellow shoes and a big smile.

As always the relay was a great success.  We had just 3 runners new to relays and they did great.  The only bad thing about this relay?  It's over and i have to wait until next year to run again. I feel great post-Relay besides the usual brain dead feeling for a couple days.

CoachLesley.con Orange Ogres Van 1 Orange Ogres Van 2

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Not5k

Ragnar Relay is just two weeks away and I cannot wait! I'm running the same awesome legs that I had last year. I get to cross Deception Pass and I run about 17 miles total. Last year 17 miles was one of the runners with more miles overall. This year, it's about mid-range as the miles are balanced better. I've got the endurance. I have the strength. The speed has been missing and that is pretty sad since just a half year ago i set a 5k PR.

In all the years I've been a runner, I have never run a race on the 4th of July. This was the year! K and I debated between a popular race with baked goods or a smaller race just north of us. The smaller race just north of us won out mostly because it was easier to get to and would be faster to get home. It had a nice small event feel supporting a local YMCA and community groups. I'd get a chance to work on short speed and have some fun.

The YMCA Everett Yankee Doodle Dash was super easy to get to and there was plenty of easy parking. It was a small event though and I'd seen conflicting information about what time the various races started. There was a 10k, a 5k, a 1 mile race and various young kids races. We picked up our bib and asked about race start and were told the 5k would start with the 10k. Turns out that was incorrect and the 5k started 15 minutes later.

I had time for a nice long warm up along totally empty and closed off streets. Later in the day there is a July 4th parade and the streets were already closed in anticipation of that plus there many, many spotlessly clean porto-potties scattered around. I tell you, it was a runner's dream come true! I wasn't too happy though about the mix up with the race start as that was enough time to get cooled off waiting about. So be it. I'd been very stiff and slow warming up and wasn't too sure what to expect.

The 10k started a couple minutes late and we cheered off a friend from my work whom we often see at local small races. He is one fast dude and always entertaining to hear his latest whining and complaining and oh yes, he'd generally either win a race or certainly his age group.  And we lined up and were ready to go. This race had an uphill start which i knew would not be fun but i hoped to run about 7:10 overall. I didn't think i'd be at 5k PR pace since i'd not had very many or very sucessful speed workouts lately.  I did wear my fast shoes though and debuted my new sparkle skirt as a test for the relay.

And we were off! And evidently the lead runner followed the course of the 10k. Or the volunteers on course directed us wrong. Or K thought there was a lead motorcycle who followed the 10k course. Uh wrong. The 5k had a different start and we were off course. I didn't realize the mistake until i hit the mile 2 marker and saw my watch said 2.4 miles and was confused.  So this begs the question that if one were on top of things and followed the course as it should have been, I think that person would have won!  K realized this mistake so he obviously lost out on a once in a lifetime opportunity!

The uphill felt pretty awful as expected but then i started settling into pace just a bit slower than i hoped. Mile 1 - 7:14.  Mile 2 featured a very gradual downhill and I wanted to use this and get ahead a bit but the legs were perfectly happy maintaining. Mile 2 - 7:15. There was a hairpin turn in this mile too which is never ever fun at 5k pace.

After the crowded first couple of turns, the field had really disappeared. I had a few guys ahead of me but no one was passing nor was I making up much time on anyone except for the occasional doofus who'd obviously gone out way too hard.  Mile 3 was gradually uphill and I desperately fought to maintain pace. maybe it would've been better to have a greater depth of field as I was basically running by myself. i was happy to eventually get mile 3 to a hard fought 7:34. It was a bit more of an uphill than I was expecting.  But i'd hit that mile 2 at 2.4 and couldn't quite figure out what that meant.

I expected to do the same little extra turns back to the finish but we turned and suddenly were headed downhill to the finish.  Go!  I got passed by one guy who then managed to stop in front of me right after the line and started heaving.  Yeah, that's a great way to race. I'd passed him about half a mile back.  And then the race director was coming through to say congrats on the 3.5 mile race.

What?  Hahahaha!  That's right the extra turns in the beginning had added almost half a mile. I'd managed a 7:19 pace overall for 3.5 miles total and was fairly pleased with that.  I'd demonstrated that for me to race a 5k well, i have do do a lot of longer hard intervals (ie a lot of 2 mile races in the months before) so thought this was really perfect as preparation for the upcoming relay.

the extra bonus?  it was a small race and the 10k drew the faster people.  So I was 9th female overall and took first in my age group in the 5k.  Yippee!  We stayed around to get my ribbon because really, I'd worked very hard for it and this sort of thing doesn't happen all the time.

and the extra extra bonus? I loved the sparkle skirt. I got two for the upcoming relay and a couple other smaller races. One was the sparkle light and looked really nice and was very comfortable. I got another sparkle tech skirt in a pretty spectacular patter WITH sequins and just love it.  Both will look great with the orange tutus for the relay.