Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hyannis Marathon

Today was a glorious day on the Cape once again for the Hyannis 10k, half marathon, marathon and marathon relay.

This is my first race since Labor Day and I wasn't sure I was going to run until we were actually in the car and on the way. I signed up for the 10k and I was feeling strong and confident until a week ago when I was felled by a nasty cold going around. I spent Tuesday ensconced in my chair wondering if I'd have the lung power to make it. By Thursday I felt better but I took a spill down a handful of stairs in the house, landing on my right knee and left hip. I lay on the floor in the entryway swearing and asking who I pissed off to have this happening.

But this morning I woke up at 6, took some ibuprofen and packed my bag to head to Hyannis determined to walk the race if necessary.

It was cold - no two ways about it, but I shed my track pants - wearing my running tights, an underarmor long sleeve t and my oversized Dice-K shirt and was glad I had shed the pants the moment I stood in the sun. I would have been too hot and they would have been too heavy for me today.

I met up with Kristen from the Runner's World beginners forum before she went off for the early start on the marathon.

The mix on my iPod: the Apple commercial play list on shuffle mode.

It took a couple of minutes to get across the start line, but it wasn't long before I was off with my recent strategy of run a song/walk a song and the first 3 miles flew by. My goal was a 13 minute mile and I was pretty close to that for the first half of the race. After the first water station, I could start to feel the lingering effects of the cold but was able to keep pace until mile 4.5 when my knee began to stiffen up so the strategy became run a song, power walk a song, walk a song. By mile 5 I was pretty much down to power walking with the occasional jog for a few minutes before dropping back to a power walk again. In the final quarter mile, I was able to break into a jog to the finish for a time of 1:28:02 - which is certainly a respectable enough time.

There are a lot of reasons I love this race course, the main one being I just love the smell of the salt marshes as you run past them and the views of the ocean along the route. The relative flatness and tree lined streets are a bonus. It is certainly among my favorite races and I look forward to returning to this course for the Johnny Kelley Memorial race at the end of May.

So that first time returning fear has now been stared down. I have the Running of the Irish (Ras Na Heireann) in 3 weeks which is a 5k through Somerville in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Gentle Reader

I have not been good about keeping up with this since being injured. Like I didn't run this past week as I've had a cold and have been trying to rest before Hyannis tomorrow - my first race since Labor Day. To make matters worse, Thursday I took a minor tumble down a couple of stairs and my knees have begun to stiffen up a bit. My work schedule has been crazy while they try to figure out rhythms and times for all of us new folk.

I am racing Sunday, I don't care if I walk most of it. I need to break through that psychological hurdle that seems to keep getting in the way of me moving forward.

So if you will be in Hyannis - look for me as I trot along the route and give me a big "Gambatte" (a Japenglish word meaning: go for it in sporting events). If you won't, then check back here later Sunday as I post my race report and maybe a photo or few.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Surreal Snow

I beat the bed magnet to get out the door this morning at the butt crack of dawn and into a surreal world. It snowed last night. Not a lot - a dusting is the official term. You know, enough to cover bare patches and make the roads slick but not enough to really measure.

But the temperature was warm enough so when the snow stopped, there was this surreal fog over the road... almost as if the snow had suspended itself midair and just decided to stop before reaching the ground. Because it wasn't fully light out and the world was still mostly asleep, there was an eerie quietness in the air as well running up Commonwealth Avenue today.

I was early enough that the running clubs weren't out enmass yet. Every so often a pair or so of elite runners would glide past and there was the occasional dog walker, but the first half of my run was mostly me and my soundtrack for the morning.

Because I went for time instead of distance (I really only had an hour before I had to shower and get to work), it was interesting to hear that voice in my ear call out 5 minute intervals instead of mileage calls. I did manage to cover just over 4.5 miles in that time - I'll take it.

Now off to shower so I can get to work. After a serene, surreal start to the day, I'm in a good frame of mind - so it all works for me.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Two Against My Will

There were a whole lot of reasons not to run today:

- I have to be to work by 1
- It's snowing
- It's below freezing
- The bulk of my running clothes are in the laundry
- Do I really want my neighbors to see me
- I haven't eaten
- I really have anything to drink
- I haven't been eating well this week
- I over slept

and the list goes on and on. Yet the thought of a double digit week for the first time since Labor Day was just so enticing that I knew it would trump all the reasons not to. So I put on the running tights, the compression shirt and the oversized Dice-K shirt and strapped on the shoes for 2 miles.

That means this week I logged 11.5 miles and it feels good.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Up the Hill, Down the Hill, Up the Hill, Down the Hill

There is a big mambo hill outside my house. I really needed to get a 3 mile run in today so I went to the trusting distance tools at map my run and the nike+ sites and mapped out 3.1 miles. Essentially it was up the hill, around the cul de sac, back down the hill, around the little park, back up the hill and back down the hill.

It was around 40* and drizzly out, but I sucked it up and did it. While my times still aren't great, I'm feeling better about getting out there especially when my inner loser decided to pay a visit. I came down the hill and was heading around the little park at the end of the road when my legs began to feel heavy and the voice started.

"I'm tired," it said, "the house is right there. You got a mile in on a day you weren't even gonna run... c'mon."

I'm not sure where I found it in me, but I did. Next thing I know, I'm cresting the hill and thinking, "Wow, that was fast."

That gives me a 10k run and a 5k run on the week so far - more mileage than I've done in a long time. It feels good. Maybe it's being able to run outside again, maybe it's just time. No matter what the reason, I'm running and it doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'm a New Soul

Ever since Apple announced the new Macbook Air, the song "New Soul" by Yael Naim has been in the background of most of our hearing ranges. It's a lovely little song and the video is such a joyful little romp.

You can watch the video here.

It was the theme song for today.

The other day I downloaded the "Apple Commercial" mix from iTunes which included that and Feist's 1234 (from the Nano commercial) and Perfect Timing (This Morning) from the iPhone ad. Basically, it's just over 1/2 an hour of really good music.

Realizing I'm running in a 10k in 3 weeks, I went out for my longest run since Labor Day - I went out for a 10k run with the Apple commercial songs as my soundtrack. To encourage myself, I did my run on Heartbreak Hill.

Since all the songs are around the 3 minute mark, I decided the best thing to do was run for one song, walk for the next and then run again. It took 90 minutes to cover the 10k distance, but I did it. The carriage road was filled with running clubs doing their training mileages for Boston, Sunday runners, dog walkers, you name it.

When I started out and at the 5k mark the song "New Soul" popped up. My run finished to "Perfect Timing (This Morning)" and those two songs say it all. It was a perfect morning. The weather was warm enough to run outside, the sun felt good and it was just a nice feeling to run outside for a change.

10k - not too bad. I feel renewed for the first time in a while.