Saturday, March 26, 2011

Final Long run before Dry Creek!

Sorry about the lack of posting but its been a bit crazy around here lately. I have been trying to really put in the mileage for the upcoming half-marathon which is now only a week away. Meanwhile, I have been busy coaching track a bit and serving my time at parent-teacher conferences. Speaking of which, I finally had my first really negative parent encounter this week... that's all I'll say about it since I have been trying really hard not to dwell on it.

I have managed to up my miles to the 30's the last four straight weeks, topping out last week with a 36 mile week which included a ten mile progression run with Mike. Following that, I had some Soleus muscle issues so I took about four days really easy with no more than 4 miles and one day completely off. Even so, I'm on pace to break into the 30's again this week without really trying to hard... that is, until my run today.

The original plan was to run about 13 miles today, but I thought that I'd take those miles to the trails to get in a last good trail run before running the Dry Creek half next Saturday. I picked up Joe the coach, Suzanne, and Jeff, aka the fast guys and we headed to Wilson Creek. The loop we did I distinctly remember being around 13 miles on my bike so we pointed ourselves in that direction and hit the hills. In the first 3 miles, there is about 600 feet of elevation and much of it is very steep. I was anticipating a hard run, but by mile 7ish I was really wishing we had planned a much shorter run. Perhaps the grumpy parent took more out of me than I thought...

We ended up running down Bingo for the second half of the run and my legs felt a bit better, although I quickly tired when we went up again to finish the run. Time was about 1 hr and 45 mins, and we all estimated about a 12-13 mile effort was not a stretch. Of course with no mapping possible on these hardly visible trails, we can only guess, unless I go out and ride it again just to satisfy my curiosity. Perhaps a rest day tomorrow? Maybe, maybe not :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Les Bois 10K Race Report

The Les Bois 10k turned out to be a pleasant surprise in terms of the quality of the course, the race organization, and the level of competition present. I went into the race relatively unaware of the challenges of the course, something that is unusual for me as I tend to over-obsess about every minute detail when it comes to races. Regardless, I found myself waking up on Saturday morning to rain and knew that I would be in for a "fun" race no matter what.

When I got to the race, I found a great parking spot by the finish and was able to quickly sign in and get my race packet. I had previously decided that I would start warming up about 1/2 hour before the race and this turned out the be perfect given the rain and relatively mild temperature. My standard warm-up is about two miles easy, and I took liberty to run it on the first mile of the course to scout out the elevation change. The course kicks up just after the first mile and I was unaware, so the second and third mile of the race certainly were a surprise to say the least. After my warm-up, I downed a Hammer Gel (Espresso) and some Fizz and got my race shirt on. Fortunately, the warm-up calmed my nerves and I felt ready to race by the time we were called to the start. Looking around the start, I realized there were some fast guys present and I made a quiet decision to not go with them at all from the gun. Thankfully, I made a good choice because they were off at a sub-5 min/mi pace and a few poor souls tried to actually go with them. Most of the fast starters held a strong pace to the end, a few guys faded, but I noticed that the race was pretty much in order by the end of the first mile.

My first mile ticked by in 6:16 and I felt strong but knew that I perhaps would fade on the hill to come. As mentioned, the course really heads up after the mile mark and by the second mile split I was at 8:00/mi. Perhaps I went out a bit hard, but I knew that the steep up meant a fast down so I just tried to hold it together on the uphill. Mile 3 rolled by and I had picked up the pace a notch to 7:55/mi. Finally I hit the turn around and was ready to rock and roll on the downhill. I noticed a couple of guys tailing me on the way up, and one had passed me around the 2.5 mile mark, so I prepared to hit "flying squirrel mode" and took off down the steep muddy trail. Even with a bit of uphill in the 4th mile split, I managed to drop my pace down to 6:26 by the 4 mile mark. By then I was just going as fast as I could and hit the 5 mile at 5:40. Between mile 5 and 6 the course is downhill but the footing is solid and fast, and I still hadn't caught anyone, so I just let it go and through down a 5:07 mile for the 6th split. I caught the guy in front of me but couldn't drop him, and he managed to pass me back before the finish. Knowing I had missed my secret goal time of 40 minutes, I was content to let him go and take my 9th overall finish. I crossed the line with a 40:54 time on a hilly, wet, and muddy course, so I was pretty happy with my finish, that is until my name showed up on the results as the 1st overall female... opps, I must have clicked the wrong box... too bad I didn't shave this morning... haha. With the error corrected, I stayed and ate a couple homemade "Marathon Muffins" made by the race director's mother, delicious! The prizes were only going to the top 5 overall so I hung out and tried my hand a raffle prize, but ultimately left empty handed. Good thing I grabbed 4 chocolate milks from the post-race spread.

So now its Tuesday and the race has not faded from my memory too much since my legs are still reminding me of the efforts running up and down the awesome course. I thought the course would be a bit lame, but it ended up being a great start to the trail racing season and I'm already looking forward to the Dry Creek Half-marathon on April 2nd... that is, as soon as I can walk down stairs again...

My race pictures...