Thursday, August 23, 2012

Race Recap: Madison-Mini

The short of it: 

I came heart-breakingly close to my goal time of the day, but didn't quite get there.  2:25:48

The long of it:

The week leading up to the Mini was hit or miss at best.  Coming off a stressful, feel sorry for myself and be lazy week, I was feeling pretty uncertain about the race.  I know that my training had been inconsistent, with hi's and lo's like none other, and there's no one to blame but myself for that.

With life, and the course, and my training in mind, the coach and I agreed on  a sub-2:25 goal for the race.  Not a lifetime PR, but definitely a PR for the year.  It seemed realistic with just enough of a challenge to keep me going and focused.

Despite everything, I was excited about the race. It felt like everyone I knew was descending upon Madison for the occasion, and I was excited to see so many of my running pals.  Also, the weather was forecasted to be undeniably perfect for race day.  However things officially shook out I knew it was going to be a good weekend.

Friday afternoon we pedaled to the expo to pick up my packet.  I figured it was a good way to get my legs moving and do a little pre-race XT without exerting myself, which I try not to do.  :) And obviously since I rolled my bike all of 12m that afternoon a pre-dinner nap was needed.  Post-nap it was time to get my eat on with Renee and a dozen or so other online running peeps.  It was like Twitter threw up at Tutto Pasta.  Seriously.  At one point someone blurted out that almost their entire feed was at the table. For reals.  With the exception of W, everyone at the table has become my friend through Twitter first, IRL second.  Random but true.

Since someone refused to take me for post-dinner fro-yo, there was nothing left to do but go home and get ready for the race.  Outfit selected (and second guessed), gear checked (and re-checked), nails painted, eggs boiled (thanks Renee!!), off to bed.
Obligatory pre-race family photo
My alarm went off way too early the next morning and it was time to get up and get moving.  I had my typically race day panic over my outfit.  Would I be too cold?  Would I be uncomfortable?  Was I too bloated to wear X, Y or Z?  And actually, yes, I was feeling too bloated and too cold to wear the originally selected (and instagramed) tank top, so I sub'ed in  the red one.

We headed down to the Memorial Union to get the show started.  I met Jen, my running buddy for the day, on the steps of the Union and with 10mins til to go time we made out way down to the start corrals.  Earlier in the week I had bullied Jen into agreeing to we had decided on a 2:25 goal time.  We typically run pretty similar times, and were both wrestling with our own running pains, so we thought this was a good, attainable, goal to strive for.  The first corral, aka the speedsters, were off and we slowly creeped our way towards the start...


Up Langdon, down Wisconsin, around the square and down State.  The first few miles ticked by nicely.  The miles were flat (or downhill) and the temperature was gorgeous!  We listed to our music and chatted occasionally...and by chatted I mean I likely annoyed the hell out of her by random up beat drivel and inability to do simple math.  We headed inot the Arb knowing that this was where the race was going to start to get tough. And hilly.  We kept moving and I kept Jen entertained with my inability to do simple math.

Somewhere around mile 7 or so, Jen's IT band started to rear its ugly head and she wasn't feeling up to the pace we were keeping, and we parted ways.  She was still set for a strong 2:30 finish, which was her original goal, so things were looking ok for both of us. Lonely, but ok.

I kept putting one foot in front of the other telling myself to dig deep and do this.  Shortly after the Arb we headed down Commonwealth and I distracted myself by trying to find one of my friend's house.  Having only been there once I thought I would recognize it when I saw it, btu wasn't really sure what I was looking for.  Also, I didn't want to be puttering along if they were outside, so I had to keep moving down the street.  When I came up to there house they were having a breakfast running party--pancakes, bacon, and so on.  I gave a shout out to them and got heckled in return, which was just what I needed to push through that little bit of the run.

At the 5k mark I was still feeling surprisingly strong.  I knew I was going to have to dig deep to make my 2:25 goal, but that it was still well within the possibility. Just. Keep. Running.  Around mile 11 I realized that my pace was slooowing and that I was going to have to keep a ~10-min mile pace to finish under 2:25. Well, shit. I tried to dig deep and finish strong. But the wheels were starting to fall off.  At about a mile and half we hit the packed gravel portion of the Laskeshore path and it was ever so slightly uphill.  This was around the point I knew I didn't have what it would take to meet my goal that day, but dammit, I was going to run ever last step of that race if it killed me.

I did run every last step of the race.  Complete with finish line kick.  And no, it did not kill me.  The little hill .1m from the finish almost did me in, but I made it. 2:25:48. So close.

At the finish line I found W, toting around Burton in a doggy-bjorne, and my work bestie Gayle!  I handed thrust all my sweaty stuff and food at them so I could snag a finish line photo in the giant terrace chair, and while I was waiting guess who came strolling in? Jen!  She finished just a few minutes after me and we snagged the obligatory finish line pic together.

Christmas Card!
We meandered our way down to the terrace, where we saw Joel and Lisa (who PR'd--congrats!!), grabbed our finisher cups and sodas (beer did NOT sound good yet), and found a seat.  After we collected ourselves a bit we went to reconvene with the running group and swap running tales by the lake.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.  

Madison-Mini Final Results:
243/329 AG
1303/1725 Gender
2647/3227(?) Overall

Monday, August 13, 2012

Race Recap: Mama Goose 5k

I had the pleasure of having Matt as a counselor at a summer camp I ran many moons ago.  During that summer, I was continually amazed at Matt's kindness, generosity, work ethic and compassion for others--the sort of values you know are instilled by wonderful parents.  As the summer when I learned that Matt's mother had been battling cancer for several years, and the prognosis was continually up and down.  Matt's mother Peggy, on the rare occasion she stopped by camp, had a way of bringing warmth and happiness to the room despite all of her personal battles.

A year or two later, Matt's mother Peggy lost her long time battle with cancer.

I'm sure there was grieving and heartbreak in the family and friends, but rather than let cancer have the final say in their family, Matt started a memorial run in his mother's honor.  And so the Mama Goose Memorial Run was born.  Running has always been a passion and source of accomplishment in Matt's life, so it made perfect sense to combine two things he loved dearly.  Every August the race in run in Peggy's memory and money is raised for the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

I feel blessed to know a soul as kind and compassionate as Matt and know that his mother is incredibly proud of the man he's become.


While of much lesser importance, I suppose it wouldn't be a a race recap if I didn't share how it went.

The weather was beautiful--much milder than it has been, probably mid-60's at race time.  The course this year was a 5k jaunt through a neighborhood in Verona that I had never been to.  The pavement was great, the hills were rolling but manageable and the 200+ participants were friendly and happy.

I warmed up before the race with little .5m jog to loosen up my legs because I have actually learned that I run/race better on warm muscle (duh).  Things kicked off at 9am with a very official '3, 2, 1, GO!'

My goal was sub-31:00.  And no walking, no matter the size of the hill.  After all of the running and speed work coachie has me doing I wasn't sure how things would play out.  Quite honestly, my legs felt awful.  Like bricks.  Heavy, tight, sore, angry. AWFUL.

I was pleasantly surprised that more often than not when I glance down my pace was in the mid-9:00's, a pace I NEVER run.  For much of the race I was keeping pace, or within a few strides, of skinny high school runner girl which in and of itself felt like an accomplishment.  But wouldn't you know it, as we neared the finish line that bow-legged lassie pulled away. Drats.

I still finished strong, with a nice little kick in the final .1m.  All and all I am quite pleased with myself.  :)

Unofficial Garmin Time: 28:42

Mama Goose 5k Final Results:

 88/142 OA

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

That's What Friends Are For

 My long time BFF Jamie lives in NYC, and while I love NYC, I don't get out there nearly as much as I'd like.  She's had a rough 2012.  Family drama, breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, moving, and so on...  So I decided it was time to pull out all the stops for her 30th birthday and make my way, unbeknownst to her, to the big apple. Luckily for me, she is still friendly with her ex-bf and he was more than willing to be my accomplice in getting me to NYC, into her apartment (hello! he overnighted me a copy of her apartment keys), and to her office with out her knowing. Muhahaha!!

First stop: NYC Bagel & Shmear
One direct flight later I was making my way from the airport to her apartment in Astoria.  While I was able to smuggle crepe paper and streamer and signs and balloons in my carry on, I thought TSA might oppose to helium.  

Side note: TSA didn't seem the least bit intrigued by the 100 balloons I had in my carry on, but did stop me to inspect my bun because of the bobby pins holding it in place...random.

A little research showed me that there was a party supply store a few blocks from Jamie's place. Score! And much to my complete astonishment, things were actually cheaper there than here in Madison. Double Score!!  20mins later I was making my way back to Jamie's apartment, in the wind and rain, with two-dozen helium balloons in tow.  I was dodging trees and fences and angry NY'ers just hoping that everything made it back in one piece...Don't worry, me and all 24 balloons made it.
By now it's noon'ish so I had to get my butt in gear.  I knew that, allowing for get lost time, I needed to leave her place at 5 to make it into Manhattan to her office by 6, which meant I needed to start getting ready around 4, which only left me 4hrs to decorate and nap. Decorating, in the heat and humidity that NYC calls summer, was not as easy as planned.  Tape didn't want to stick, balloons fought back, and I was a sweaty mess by the time it was all said and done!!  It will shock know one that after the decorating was accomplished I took a nap, sans pants, in front of the fan.

The final product.
After my pant-less power nap I had to think creatively to turn this midwestern gal into a sophisticated New Yorker. Who am I kidding. I totally stood out.  But I didn't get lost, I didn't have to ask for directions and I navigated it all in heels. FTW.

I roll into Jamie's office around 5:45 and convince the receptionist to call her up to the front desk without telling her it's me.  Sneaky, sneaky.  So Jamie comes up there, expecting a package, on her cell phone to find me.  And what does the stinker do? Continue her conversation on the phone. Granted it was a mutual friend, and she was talking about how confused she was that I was there, but still!

Eventually she got off the phone, gave me a hug, and the giggling and gossiping commenced.

From there we went to meet 20 or so her fancy NYC gals out a a nearby restaurant for apps and drinks. The restaurant messed up the reservation, so rather than have the roomy prime party table upstairs, we ended up squished into a little booth/room downstairs.  Not the best for conversation, but the food was tasty and the cocktails were delicious. Regardless of the minor setback, I'd say fun was had by all--especially the birthday girl.

                             BIRTHDAY GIRL!!

Best Birthday Present EVER!

I was only in town for a few days, and seeing as Jamie had no idea I was coming, she had to work.  C'est la vie--NYC has plenty a girl can do!

I spent Thursday afternoon roaming Manhattan with a friend of Jamie's--running errands, window shopping, going for lunch.  Thursday night someone had a hangover, Jamie, so we laid low. We went for dinner at a nearby restaurant and then proceeded to watch hours of the Olympics in our pajamas. Not a bad way to spend an evening with the BFF you rarely get to see.

Friday I spent much of the day being lazy hanging out with her cats, lovingly nicknamed Moo and Roach.
That night we gorged ourselves on sushi before meeting my accomplice/her ex-bf for beers at the Astoria Beer Garden.  BTW, this beer garden is pretty much the coolest place ever.  Great beer selections, good food, both of which are reasonably priced, and they were showing the Olympics on an absolutely gigantic jumbotron outside.  

The next morning I had my third, and final NYC bagel of the trip, and headed home.

A whirlwind trip, but worth every bit of it.  <3 font="font">