Monday, July 21, 2014

Tutu Running

Helping sort Ogre gear
While most everyone on the team is nervous about running and the unknowns of the relay, I tend to be nervous about logistics and getting everyone in place at the right time. Thus, I very seldom look at what I'm actually running until I'm in the van and about to run.
Giving myself the most miles did take the pressure off. I knew I'd run strongly and well under our average team pace. At 5.7, 7.7 and 5.7 miles, none of my legs were short either so I'd not have to worry about running at those faster paces that I am not used to running right now. I'd kept last week as a full training week and even done a 17 mile long run last weekend. The unknown was the weather and we lucked out!
It was fairly warm on Friday with higher humidity and stronger winds. Ragnar had changed my run from year's past which was a good change for the runner before me as they have almost as many miles but more hills over the course of the relay. I still wasn't too thrilled about the 4.5 miles uphill I'd face as my first run. GVB, our lead off runner, ran fast too and traffic is always bad to get to the next exchange. I had no time to warm up or even go to the bathroom before i was being shouted down that he was here!
And I was off at a sensible pace and relieved to finally be running. I wore a tutu on this leg as I always do and love how much honking and support you get from all the teams plus random drivers out and about. It's all about the fun. I had forgotten how to wear my tutu though and it interfered with my running watch which eventually fell off! I caught it but must've turned it off. Since I refused to look at pace the first few miles this wasn't an issue and once I eventually realized my watch was off and turned it back on, i knew i was having such a tough run that it was better not to know just how slow I was going.
I still did pass a few people and did enjoy a nice trail along Padden Creek heading towards Padden Lake. Once we got back to the previous year's exchange, i knew i had 1.5 miles more uphill and then a fun downhill. I just set about surviving the last uphill. The downhill as expected felt wonderful and I did make up some time. Still I was pretty annoyed by the slow first leg.
Leg 2 has been my favorite in years past and this year didn't disappoint. The weather cooled and there were lots and lots of blinkie lights ahead of me. I passed 14 people on my run and felt I could've run much longer at that same pace. Strangely enough, I checked the last time i ran this same leg in 2011. I would've said i was faster in 2011 but nope. I ran the 7.7 miles then in 8:16 pace and did the same in 2014 but it felt much easier! I was aiming for 8:15 so perfect! 
RPD handing off to K at Bush Point portopotty line up!
The last run is always the big unknown. If the sun is out and the wind and humidity is up, all bets are off as to what to expect for the run. The last run featured a 3.5 mile climb that wasn't as steep as the first run. I used the first steeper climb to warm up and just relax into pace. I was wearing my tutu again, of course. I didn't look at pace and just kept effort, cadence and form in mind as I powered up the hill. I knew i needed to stay focused until 3.5 miles where the super fun downhill would start. 
I peeked at my watch around 2 miles and was shocked to see 8:45. I'd originally hoped for about 8;30 pace overall for this run but once i looked at the course profile again had told my van mates to expect more like 9,could be longer as I thought this would feel as bad as the first hilly run. With that 8:45 pace, I knew I had this and kept it strong. At mile 3 when I could see the last half mile ahead of me, I was delighted because I knew I'd OWN that hill! Haha!
Then the swooping downhill started and I was moving. As I passed a guy I'd been eying for miles, he called out "nice pace" I got passed by Van 1 in here too which was fun to see. They were making their way towards the finish line to wait for us.  I realized I'd told my team that i was going to take much longer but what to do but keep running and hope RPD was ready for me.  RPD is always on top of this sort of thing though so from about a half mile away, I could spot him and give a little grin of relief. I was done! 5.7 miles at 8:31 pace.
19.4 miles at 8:46 pace overall. Solid running and I felt great. I think now that my slower pace first leg was just right for conditions and preparing for solid faster runs later in the race.

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