Monday, May 25, 2009

I ran the Bolder Boulder!!!

When I awoke this morning I was beyond excited to get to racing my first 10k in many years! The skies were partly cloudy and it looked like the rain might hold off until after the race. After a breakfast of eggs, toast and a cup of coffee we headed off to the start with my aunt and uncle serving as a most excellent shuttle to the start for my coach and I. Her wave went off nearly an hour before mine so I had a lot of time to take in the surroundings.

This race has 54,000 runners so people are line up as far as the eyes can see. The Bolder has gone off for 31 years so the organizers have an incredibly well run set up allowing each racer to feel special. There are 84 waves in total. The first waves are qualified waves so the people in those waves have to submit times from other races proving they can race at a certain pace. Following that are waves of people who self-seed based on their expected times. I seeded myself in a 70-90 minute wave and registered early enough that I was in the first of those waves. As you line up you get behind a sign with your wave letters and as each wave goes off you move closer. All of the sudden you feel like you must have a wave or two in front of you but the volunteers are saying "Go time!" and you're moving to the start. A trumpeter plays his tune and then the gun!

Making sure to keep your pace in check the first mile is tough as noted by my 11 minute mile (goal was just over 12 minute miles)is the biggest challenge in this mile. I settled in for mile 2 including Folsom Field. Unfortunately, for some reason mile 3 hurt today. It was odd because it was virtually flat but I just couldn't find a rhythm and I had to walk more than I'd have liked. Mile 4 appears slow on the official split because I had to run into the port-o-potty unfortunately but it actually felt much better than mile 3. Once I topped the hill just after the mile 4 marker I felt like I hit a comfortable stride. Wish it had happened earlier but at least I found it. In the final mile the crowd cheering loudly. Starting up the last hill I just told myself I couldn't walk any more. As I rounded the corner toward the stadium the emotions took hold and I had an asthma attack. But I just didn't want to be the one who walked the last 3/10 of a mile. As I went under the 6 mile banner and peeked at my watch I saw that I'd taken 2 minutes off my 6 mile time from last week. Woohoo!!! I wouldn't hit my 75 minute goal but I'm improving and that's what really matters right now.

As I came around the turn into the stadium, down the little hill and hit the metal planking that protects the ground of the stadium the roar of the crowd in enormous! People line the railings cheering you on and you feel like you just ran into the stadium of the Olympics. Around the stadium about 3/4 of the way and there's the finish! Hitting the stop on the watch and I see 1:17:13. And I look around and can't believe that I've done it. If you'd like to see me cross the finish line check out this video. I appear at 4:01 in the video in the center of the screen.

After picking up my snack bag I headed for our designated meeting spot and found my coach and was joined shortly after that by my aunt and uncle. We waited to watch the pro race and the Memorial Day ceremonies. The male pro ran his race in, get this, 29:19!!! That's about a 4:43 second mile pace!

The Memorial Day tribute took on special meaning for me today as I prepare to send my oldest friend off to battle next week. God speed Brett Cheatham, you better come home safely! For the tribute sky jumpers come in with flags representing each of the branches of service and then finally the US flag. It's incredibly moving as Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud to be an American" plays in the background.

Next year, I'd like to qualify for the restricted waves. I'd also like to get the side stitches issue under control as much of the walking that I had to do was because of these. Hopefully more fitness will bring relief from these.

As the last notes of the Memorial Day Tribute finished the skies opened up and released a deluge of rain. We were parked a mile or so away so needless to say we were soaked by the time we reached the car but we couldn't believe the luck of the weather holding off until after the races and ceremonies!

Here are some photos from the day!

Before the race with my coach Andrea

After the race with Andrea

With my friend Gaye

Memorial Day Tribute

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's been awhile...

Oops, time got away from me by a bit. It's been a crazy couple of weeks though and I'll try to do a quick recap.

First, I got in my last ski day of the season on May 9th. Good day with good friends and okay conditions. Then, I turned 32. The year before was exceptionally good and I am excited to see where the next year takes me.

On May 13th I went to a wonderful presentation regarding my triathlon in June. Put on by SheRox the guest speaker was 4 time Olympian having competed in 3 different sports (swimming where she won gold, triathlon and modern pentathlon) Sheila Taormina. Sheila's stories of her career were mesmerizing and I really didn't want her to stop. But I took away one word from her talk. Gambare. It is Japanese and means "keep going". This word suddenly became a motto for me beginning the next day.

On May 14th I was laid off from my job. It's traumatizing, emotional, difficult and exciting all at once. I've been able to do a bit more training, spend time exploring my options and reflecting on what I want to do with my life. I've not found the answer yet but I know I will.

This weekend I'll be running in my first Bolder Boulder 10k race. One of the largest (over 50,000 runners) running races in the world it's a day of parties along the route, a great run and lots of excitement. I'm so excited that I almost wish the race was tomorrow! So wish me luck and cross some fingers for me. Race day environments really feed me so this is just the endorphin boost I need to kick my training up another notch!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Little known dangers of cycling...

So, this evening as I showered before my swim I noticed that the water felt especially hot on my lower back. But I moved on and didn't think twice about it. Then as I relaxed on the sofa it felt like the waist band of my jeans had rubbed my lower back raw. I headed for the mirror to check it out and discovered it. When riding there are all sorts of places to remember the sunscreen. Face, arms, legs, chest. Easily forgotten is that little spot on your back where if your jersey creeps up a bit this crack of skin is exposed. And when you do a 2 hour ride in sunny Colorado the burn can be intense. I'd share a photo but have you ever tried to take a pic of your own lower back without exposing any not to be shown on the internet body parts? Yeah, so not happening!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Where does time go?

This morning dawned the 5th weekend in a row with less than ideal weather. Originally coach and I had scheduled a trip to Boulder to join a group ride there but given the gloomy day with probably rain we decided earlier this week that would have to be canceled. So I awoke this morning with a plan of getting in my second 4.5 mile run of the week. Earlier this week I'd had a rough one so I wanted to do another to make me feel more confident. Just as I was searching Map My Run coach im'd me wondering what I was up to. Soon we hatched a plan to go to Sloan's Lake for a run. We met at my place late morning and headed up there.

With the grey skies temps were nice and cool at around 48 degrees. We were delighted to find that the parking area also had bathrooms and water available which will be great for summer runs. The loop around the lake is exactly 2.5 miles so I decided that I'd try for 2 laps. If I needed to walk at the end that would be fine. As I ran I realized that I passed another runner. And a lot of walkers. And I found myself not being the slug barely making it along. And suddenly I was about half a mile from being done with the 2 laps. And I was feeling great! So into the logs goes a 5 miler.

After our run Andrea and I headed for lunch at a local Irish joint. Although nothing about our lunch said Irish. I had a lovely chicken salad on a croissant with brie and pear while she had a burger with mushrooms. And then we headed for the active person's paradise, the REI Anniversary Sale. I resisted most of the temptations but came away with a tech tee and a running cap. I can't believe how soggy gross those caps get during even a cool run but I do love how they keep the sun, hair, and sweat out of my eyes!

I can't believe we've reached May already! I can't help but think back to how my life has changed in the last year and feel I am so very, very blessed by the friends and family who have been there for me. But my beautiful coach means so much to me and our adventures this summer will be sure to entertain my readers as well. I hope you'll stick around to read the saga.