17 June 2012

I’ve raced twice this week – the Mile on Thursday, and a 5 miler on Saturday. The RMRR Father’s Day Mile was Thursday evening at Denver’s City Park. I trashed this race.Couldn’t have possibly done anything else wrong. Pulled a groin slightly in warm-up, ran out at 6:00 pace and had to walk twice, but I still finished in my McMillan predicted 7:13.  After all that PLUS heat and smoke from the High Park fire I still call this one of the funnest races I’ve had. It was an absolute blast.With different divisions going off 10-15 minutes apart, it was like being back in school, at a meet, waiting for your event. Overall winner turned in a 4:23.

Saturday was the Colorado Masters’ Sand Creek 5 Miler at Bluff Lake/Rocky Mountain Arsenal. That one was also a lot of fun, because it’s the kind of race I train for. A variety of surfaces (none paved!) and a mix of up, down, and flats. I ran probably my smartest race ever, passing on downhills AND uphills, while relaxing the flats. After you’ve passed someone on an uphill, though, they tend to stay passed. I finished in 39:58.

Thursday I was last in my division (M40-49) and Saturday 5th out of ? in M45-49, but I have to realize that these are not mass-participation races, where I’m a 70th percentile finisher. I’m running with serious runners who are doing this to test themselves – as am I. And since my goal is not to beat these people (well, not all of them) but to run with them, I had a great two races.

18week mara training begins TOMORROW. Plan calls for a 13 mile long run, an 7.5 mile second long, and a total of 30 miles, leaving 8.5 “junk” miles. I calls ’em choice miles, because I can run how I feel. Trails, hills, fartleks, or just some easy miles. I don’t want to run more than 5 days/week – 4 if possible – so it looks like I’ll do 3+ one day, and 5+ another for my total. LR on Saturday; so I’ll need to be laced up and out the door at 5 am to do this in the morning. That means awake at 4:30, slam toast and peanut butter, and take off with some gels. Have to make breakfast the night before. Hmm. When’s a good day? Not tomorrow, I need a rest or an easy day. Tuesday, then. Stretch/Yoga/Core Monday and Wednesday, 8.5 miles Tuesday, runners choice Thursday and Friday, then a pikermi on Saturday. If God wills it. Because I publicly give Him my training. To Him be the Glory; to me the sweat, from Him to me the Blood. 

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June 9, 2012

Parked at 32nd and McIntyre at 8 am. Ran to canal trail at S. end of Kendrick, followed the trail through the neighborhood to the Old Quarry trailhead for South Table Mountain. Explored the SE slope a while, then up the hill. Headed for Castle Rock, climbed the stairs, and rested a bit, looking south to Red Rocks up the Hogback. Turned around and headed for home down the Ancient Palms Trail on the north slope. Back down the canal trail. 2:19,  a very rough 11-ish miles. I really don’t know how far. New Balance MT101, no socks. Feet were sore yesterday afternoon. I ran on a lot of rock – basalt cap to the mesa, and large river rock roadbed. Good training run. 70-75 degrees. Weight at end 137.5, so I lost about 32 oz of water. I drank 22 oz on run.

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Sunday was the 100th running of the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco. B to B is a 12k race across the city, from the Bay side to the Pacific side. It has the distinction of being the largest footrace ever with 110,000 runners (including bandits, or unregistered runners) in 1986. Considering that the Bay area has a population of 7.4 million  and Boulder/Denver has 3 million, Bolder Boulder can be quite proud of its status a second largest.
B to B is a “dream” run for me. I’d love to see San Francisco from a runner’s POV. Can you imagine touring the harbor, the neighborhoods, Golden Gate Park, and the beaches of the Pacific, all on foot?
The event is a party for San Franciscans, originally started as a pick-me-up for the city after the devastation of the ’06 earthquake.  Serious runners start first, and the party follows. SF is known for debauchery, and B to B carries on that tradition. In fact, the alcohol use has gotten bad enough that the city supervisors are stepping in to attempt to reduce it.
2 Boulder men and 1 woman made the top 10 finishers yesterday-congratulations to Laura Bennett, Jason Hartmann and Patrick Rizzo.  
Also yesterday was the Colfax Marathon. This was only the 5th running of the Fax, with locals Nicholas Mockeridge winning the men’s division and Nicole Chyr leading the women. The weather was chilly; even some snow in Lakewood for the westernmost part of the course, but cool weather is a runner’s friend. Snow, not so much :(.
About 1000 runners started, and 750 finished  I think I’d like to be in that list someday, but having started running at age 47, I think I’d best work up the miles and see if it’s possible before I register for a full 26.2. If I never do it, I’m still happy. I run for myself, not for finisher’s medals.
Well, I do like event shirts.
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I just couldn’t get started yesterday. It was Saturday, and I had nothing that “had” to be done at any particular time. The weather was dreary,  43 F., and overcast.I had eaten my toast and peanut butter (a favorite snack to give me energy on a run) and drunk my coffee, and still couldn’t get out the door.

I missed my Wednesday run last week because of rain and consequently ran Thursday, a tough hill repeat workout. Friday I ran 4 miles at a faster pace than I had planned; it’s tough to slow down when the first mile is downhill. Saturday I was tired and cranky and just wanted to sit around the house. But Bolder Boulder  is 2 weeks away, and I need the miles, so I headed out the door and drove to the east slope of North Table Mountain in Golden,  to the head of the Fairmount Trail. This trail runs north along the mesa and up to the Arvada Reservoir. It’s about seven and a third miles out and back, with fantastic views of the near Front Range foothills, from the “M” on Mt. Zion to the Flatirons. You can also see miles of Denver metro to the east if you care to. I don’t care to, much.

At the trailhead, the weather hadn’t changed. Had I expected it to? Still overcast and cold, and I was wearing short sleeves. Should I turn back and get another shirt, or wear my hoodie? I decided that I’d just start out and see what the first 15 minutes brought. If it was too cold, I’d turn back.

After half that time, I was dejected. I was sore, cold, and dispirited by the clouds, I couldn’t see my mountains. I would have settled for a city view at that point, just to break up the greyscale smothering me. Too, the first part of the run is a pretty good uphill. I usually love starting a run on an uphill. It forces me into a good pace, instead of coming out fast and fading. This day it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I determined to run to the next landmark and turn around.

That decision made, I allowed my mind to drift a bit, and I came across a tip I’d read, where a running coach said to run ten minutes, and then walk for 30 seconds- 1 minute, and repeat. I’d heard similar comments before, and knowing that there is bad and good advice out there, I thought  “well, the day’s a loss, so if it’s a bad tip, I’m not out anything”. I checked my watch and slowed down to a walk, watching 60 seconds pass, then paced back up to a slow run.

I felt a little better, surprisingly. A minute’s rest had a big effect on my legs. Like most runners I can obsess about training, so this small increase in the quality of the run had a somewhat larger effect on my mood. I thought I’d pass up the turnaround point just ahead, and run another ten minutes before turning around.

Who’d have thought it? After another repeat of run and walk, I knew I was going to do the full length and back.

The temperature didn’t budge, the clouds never lifted. My spirit lifted though, and my attitude moved. The simple tip that I don’t have to push 100 percent in every workout was something I needed to be reminded of. I came long ago to the realization that I’m not created to be a professional athlete. I came only recently to the realization that I don’t have to be to enjoy “racing”. I like running in competitions for the boost it gives me; being part of a group working towards personal goals.

My goal in my next race is to run faster than my qualifying time, not to win my class. So if I know that winning is not important and running my best is, then it stands to reason that running my best is what’s most important in my workouts, too.

God did not put me here to win footraces, but to win the most important race of all. In that training, in my marriage, my work, and in my sport, the quality of what I do is of more importance than mere quantity. The junk miles I started out to cover yesterday would have been of little worth.

By ceasing a pointless struggle for perfection, I can turn “junk miles” into productive hours, in my running and in all my life.

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