Saturday, September 26, 2009

Race #6 of the Season: Autumn Color Run

This recap is a week late, but for good reasons:

1. I hadn't uploaded pictures yet.
2. I've worked a whole ton.
3. It's been emotionally stressful (pretty much lost a long-time friend this week ... no, she's not dead ... she just apparently did a 180 in personality. yeah.).
4. The crappy, dreary, rainy, cold, gloomy weather hasn't helped either.

In any case, I finally uploaded pictures and the sun's FINALLY come out again, so yay, race update.

Anyway, this year's recap is somewhat similar to last year's recap ... right down to the crappy breakfast. We managed a better meal the night before (and our pre-race sushi for lunch instead!), though.

So, last Saturday morning, we woke up, I tossed on my winner underoos, got dressed and headed the 30 miles down the road from our hotel to the race site. Circumstances this year prevented us from pre-registering, so we got there with plenty of time to go do that.

After registering, we wandered over to the perma-restrooms (not the porta-potties), did our pre-race business and then warmed up, finding a sunny spot to stretch in.

Autumn Color Run
Brandonpants ... chilling prior to the race.

Autumn Color Run
Trying to stay warm!

Soon enough, it was time to hop the bus to take us 5K down the road to the abandoned drive-in race start. We got off the buses, looked over at the turkeys at nearby house that were gobbling away and then lined up ... about 100 feet back from where we normally start. We waited for the Boy Scouts to drop the flag and tell us we were off ... I love this start. Really.

Autumn Color Run
See all the guys setting their watches? The green stomach you see ended up winning the race in 14:40.8. Yeah.

The usually-not-very-organized start was even less organized this year as we were to soon find out. Anyway, this race didn't feel that good. It's a small race that's been getting bigger and bigger every year and becoming not as fun, honestly.

In terms of pain, this race also didn't feel that good. I hadn't had a chance to get in much in terms of a halfway decent run (or two) the week prior and the ones I did get in sucked. I just kept watching people pass me and pass me and pass me ... and I had no hope at all for a decent time.

Still, I kept plodding along, passing a few people along the way. I never felt like I settled into a groove, however, and my sports asthma and crappy breathing kicked in near the end of the race. Since I parked right near the course this year, I was hoping to pick it up once I saw my car, but I couldn't manage a sprint until I was already in the "chute" (i use the term lightly).

I was crying as I finished, due to my breathing issues and just the overall crappiness that I felt. I waited for my breathing to subside and then walked to the car to change into flip-flops, stopping for a few pictures first.

Autumn Color Run
The race fairy!

Autumn Color Run
Me with said race fairy.

After changing shirts and shoes, we headed back to the park for some post-race snacks, grabbing a silly picture in the process.

Autumn Color Run
We like oranges!

After food, we waited around the park a long time for our results, neither of us having any clue of what we finished in. Brandon had heard a time close to his, but also the news that they were having timing issues (... which was probably why our start was even less organized this year). After a while, we said, ah, screw it and went to the car to go home ... and realized the battery was dead. I remember my purse handle getting caught on one of my light steering wheel lever thingys and I thought I had put everything back to normal ... but apparently not.

So, we walked back to the park to find someone with jumper cables. In the process, we found out our times - I finished in 27:35.5 - 8:52.85/mi ... my second time under 9:00/mi this year.

I didn't believe it. Add the 50 seconds of wonkiness the race people were talking about? Yeah, I'd believe that. But, what the race people say goes, so I'll take it.

After finding out our results, we also found some nice EMTs who had jumper cables in their ambulance, so we bugged them to help jump me and send us on our way home.

As Brandon said, the race was our last official one of the season, even though we're planning to do some sort of Turkey Trot-type race on Thanksgiving. We'll see how that goes, though, as this week has been a struggle in terms of working out. Damn stress.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Autumn Color Run - My Course

Earlier in the year, girlfriend and I decided the Autumn Color Run would be our last official 5K of our running season. We both like this run and last year it gave us our P.R's last year. Here's our last year's recap.

This year, running hasn't exactly been our cup of tea. For girlfriend, she's been struggling with it pretty much all season...for reasons we don't quite understand. As for me, I've done pretty well with it, but still have yet to get into that groove that I did last year. Nagging injuries have plagued me all season long and the week before this race, I thought I might be dealing with a muscle tear in my right calf. I took a few days off from working out though and I think that did the trick.

Regardless, we drove up to Buena Vista and Salida to accomplish what we had been dreaming about all year long. We dealt with some construction on 24 which didn't make either of us happy, but eventually we made it to Salida. We checked into the hotel and went to a little cafe to get something to eat. Then we stopped at Wal-Mart to get some stuff and went back to the hotel to relax and sleep.

Woke up very early and headed over to breakfast. Powdery scrambled eggs, paper-thin bacon, and raisin bran were my breakfast, along with water, milk, and a banana. We ate, changed into our running stuff, and packed the car, ready to head to Buena Vista.

We got there and registered. With plenty of time to kill, we hit the fixed bathroom that we found last year and began stretching and warming up. The sun was definitely warming the place up, but it was still very chilly. I also began thinking that this year wasn't my year to get a P.R. I just wasn't sure I could pull it off.

We loaded ourselves on the bus and headed 3.1 miles up the road to the turnoff where our race began. For whatever reason, they started us further back from the road this year. Don't know why they did this, but I digress. Someone said 3-2-1 and we were off!

I was in 1st place for maybe .01 miles, but still, I have officially lead a race in my life! I sprinted across the road so I could run down facing traffic and attempted to settle into a groove. I forgot how they really don't have mile markers for this race, so there's really no way of knowing where I'm at. Also, there's no water tables, which would have been kind of nice...not going to lie.

I saw the town and figured I would be close to my P.R., which is 27:17. I had to remind myself not to push it yet. I had been trying to catch this one guy the entire race who I would estimate was no more than 5 seconds ahead of me; yet I couldn't catch him. I saw the turn towards the finish and kicked it into high gear. And I passed the guy! I hit the finish line at full speed and quickly asked the time guy where I finished. He said they were at 27:15 but had problems with the timing. Oh great, I thought, another year of a botched time. And this year, I didn't keep track on my own. I started walking towards the turn and saw girlfriend booking it in. I cheered her on to the finish.

We both took in a lot of the snacks and pastries they offered us post-race and waited...and waited...and waited...apparently they had a big problem with the timing. The race director dude said he wants to go to chip timing or some other form of electronic timing. We decided to not wait around and just head home. Of course, girlfriend's car didn't start, so we had to try to get it jump-started. First though, we would see if the resluts were posted. And then we saw it. My time...25:57! I was shocked and amazed. Apparently they had major issues with timing, but that was the accurate time. I was blown away. Girlfriend finished in 27:35, which is her best time in the past two years. Happy, we decided to skedaddle. I decided to ask the ambulance driver if he could help us. He jumped the car and home we went.

A great way to close out my racing season.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Need to update!

Hi everyone. Hope you are all doing well. I'm sure you are.

The fall must be a motivating season. I think I've kind of figured out how my mind works in terms of the 12 months and working out. Here's a breakdown of each month:

January - New year = new goals and motivation. Workouts are numerous and demanding
February - Start settling into groove, which means I get lazy
March - I hate this time of year and generally spend it moping and be even lazier
April - Holy hell! I gotta get to work! Race season is underway
May - Yay, nice weather outside! Bike and run a lot
June - Hooray, in full race season now
July - Ok, it's hot. But still working hard
August - Summer is over. I'm sad. Lazy time again
September - Fall! Leaves changing! Yay! Let's go embrace the outdoors!
October - Dude, season is over. Football and hockey are only priorities now
November - Oh crap, Thanksgiving is coming. I need to work out
December - Work out? Christ, I don't care

Yeah, that's the general breakdown. As you can probably tell, I don't do well in late spring or late fall/early winter. That's not going to happen this year. I plan on doing both an Olympic tri as well as a sprint next year, so I am staying in tip-top workout shape this time around.

Oh, and just so you all know, girlfriend and I are shooting for Ironmans a lot earlier than planned. 30 years old! Yeah, that's right.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Some thoughts...

After some brief hiccups in training, both T and I are doing very well. We're both running and running well and we're both motivated. Let's face it...we have the Autumn Color run coming up and that's where we're both shooting for a PR there.

Anyway, in the past few weeks/months, running around the neighborhood has gotten quite boring. You can run any different route, go any which way, but at the end of the day, you still end up running down the same street to and from home.

I've been up at Red Rocks 3 times in the past month and a half. Once to see a concert, once taking my mom up there who was visiting us and once taking my friend up there who was visiting us. And I don't know what it was, but looking at the stage, the rows, and the view, I got an image in my head. This image was me next year, doing an Olympic triathlon. Plowing my way through the water, smiling as I come into the 2nd transition off my bike, and sprinting across the finish line. So I got to thinking...what if I use the great Colorado outdoors as my own training arena? What if I harness everything that is around me and instead of just admiring it, use it?

I pondered it for a few days and came up with a thought. Swim in the reservoirs around the state including some way up in the mountains. Cycle in the foothills and again ride up to Maroon Bells in Aspen. And run Red Rocks. Why not? Mix it up! Use the state of Colorado as a training arena! Take advantage of the beauty!

We were riding back on the lightrail the other night from the Rockies game and I mentioned to girlfriend the idea of running Red Rocks. She wasn't too excited about it, but when I told her that running every row was the equivalent of running a 5K, she perked up. We both wanted to squeeze in a long run, so we headed on up. And boy, let me tell you, there's something special about running up there. Yes, it was hot. Yes, it was challenging. But my god, it was wonderful. We both had great times, and we both were feeling energized.

While I will not be able to make it up there every day, I plan on utilizing it a lot in the offseason when I can. This may prove to be the spark that ignites the powderkeg! (that's me...I'm the powderkeg...)