Tuesday, May 25, 2010

From NR: Firefighter's 10 Mile plus updates

Wow, guys - it's been a super long time! Sorry for the utter lack of updates. I've been crazy busy, I guess. Lots of racing going on and my computer time has been mostly devoted to other things and I've been doing well with keeping consistent lifting and swimming so that's more time taken up. I keep starting entries and then not finishing them - I've had the NMTC series every Wednesday plus a Sunday, Moose Lake 10K, TC One Mile and the Firefighter's 10 Mile in Thunder Bay. The best news is that running has been going great! My knee feels a-ok and I'm pulling out some speedy times. I've been smashing my times from last year in the NMTC series and my Moose Lake run was the fastest I've done since my PR 3 years ago.

The biggest news, though - I am runner number 9857 for Grandma's! I signed up last week after I nailed my 20 miler. I'm getting excited - 3 weeks left, which is crazy! I feel ready to go, though. This weekend (well, Monday, I guess, since I've been working all weekend but have Monday off) is my 22 and then it's the countdown!

My 20 was on fishing opener so the run was by myself on lovely dirt roads up at my cabin. Since it's rather empty out there, I opted for heading twice around the lake instead of an out and back. This way I'd be able to refill water on my own and Kyle and Dad could fish in the morning without worrying (much) about me being by myself. I kept 5 mile splits and was pleased to review them at the end and see each split get faster. It felt humid at the start and in the beginning my legs felt way too tired for being only 5 miles in, rather worrisome, actually, but I knew I could do 20 miles so I tried not to worry about it and kept plugging along. Along comes the second lap and what I wanted to do was focus on staying strong from about 13-18 since that's where I often have trouble. Turns out not only was I able to keep the pace up, but my last 5 miles had an 8:19 minute mile average which is close to race pace. In humidity! Excellent.

Hmmmm. Let's skip ahead to this Monday and the Firefighter's Ten Mile Road Race. It's up in Thunder Bay so we (I rode up with Leslie and Shelly) took off Sunday afternoon, getting up just in time to get our race packets and enjoy the very last of the spaghetti dinner. Mmmmmmmmmm. The race is on a Monday morning (Victoria Day!) and it was the 100th anniversary of the race this year (but only the 70 something running of it since it was canceled during World War II). It's an out and back course (with a little loop at the end of the out) that's pretty flat - the one hill was an overpass that we run up and down and then came back the other direction on. I like out and backs since it means you can see everyone which was doubly good in this case since it was a pretty boring route. The hill made from the overpass was nice, too, to break up the flatness and not nearly large or steep enough to be any big deal.

10 miles isn't that common of a racing distance, so it was hard to know what kind of time to shoot for. I decided that 7:30s sounded reasonable. The miles were marked but I didn't see a single one until mile 5. Not so helpful. They were all these sandwich board type signs that sat on the ground so I think they were being covered by the spectators. There were tons of people out cheering! I love a course with lots of cheering! But, yeah, no mile markers for me which meant I didn't really know how fast I was going. I knew the water stations were about every 2 miles but beyond that . . . So I decided not to worry about it and just go by feel. I took a look at my watch at 5 miles and saw 36 minutes which means I ran even splits! Funny because the second half felt SO much faster than the first half - I was sure I had gone out much too slow.

Also - apparently the issue with my shoelaces is me and not my shoes. BOTH of my shoes came untied. I don't understand what my problem is! Clearly when I run, my ankles move in such specific circles as to undo double knotting. Bizzare. So my first one comes undone about 2-3 miles in. Hmmmm. 7 or 8 miles is too far to run untied so I keep going until I see a bus bench, run over to that and tie my shoe. Not ten steps later, the other shoe is undone. Nargh. Get caught back up with the group I was with and then stop again to re-tie my other shoe. At least it gave me some motivation to pick my pace up more to catch up and then try and keep that pace going. I'll skip over the middle for you and jump to the last few miles. I passed by a girl and she put up a bit of a fight and then fell back. Well, it was awfully nice to have someone to run with so I gave her a wave and told her to "come on" and up she came. It was super nice to have someone to pace with for a couple miles, she really helped me keep my pace. It's maybe something I need to work on but sometimes I just need to blank out and hang onto someone or at least have someone to share the work with. I have to remember this come the end of Grandma's - if I can just keep on pace through the rough part and not think about having to hold a pace, I can come out the other end okay. So I eventually dropped my help and caught up with the group of 3 women in front of me with a good strong finish (despite the lying handmade 'one mile to go' sign in someone's yard). 1:12:17! So much for 7:30s - apparently I decided to run just faster than my 10K earlier in the year and do 7:13s instead. Very exciting! Also super exciting was Leslie winning the whole thing and the rest of the team having good races, too! It's so much fun when most everyone around you also does well. I came in 4th in my age group (so close to an award!) but 3rd place was a couple minutes in front of me, so I'm a-okay with 4th.

So, here we are. 3 weeks out and 22 miles to run! I decided to go for my 'evil' route - running up Highland and doing mileage around the mall and back - it's surprisingly rolling. I promise to update more often. Hopefully again this week.

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