Thursday, April 21, 2011


JANUARY FUN: Well kids, the first 4 months of 2011 have been wild and certainly merit a new blog post.   Kicked off January with 10 races, including the second of the Northstar at Tahoe snowhoe race series, which was a half marathon and the longest I'd run in snowshoes by far. Conclusion: that's too far on snowshoes! The real January highlight for me though was my first ever track meet where I actually did field events - I'm pretty sure during my one season of track in h.s. I may have done only long jump or no field events at all I have no recollection of them. So, I made up for that lack by trying the javelin, hammer, discus, shotput and long jump at the Chabot College all-comers meet. It was great because the only people there were  me and one other girl (who was a college field athlete) and her coach who showed me how to do everything right, and I tried to mirror what the other girl did. Now, I must stress the word "tried" because I don't think any glory awaits me in field events! bahahha. But they are so fun - my favorite by far was the hammer. I ended January with a new 5k PR, but the course was not certified and the distance was in question, so I decided to wait to call it a PR of 21:04 until I had a certified course.

FEBRUARY BLAH: February didn't start off on a good foot with a DNF at Jed Smith. I have to say it was kind of a wussy DNF. I had no real MAJOR issue. I just felt like crap mentally and physically. My heart wasn't in the race. And my IT injury from the old broken foot reared its ugly head. So at mile 22 I was out. I curled up and slept for a bit then felt fine.  Strangely, I don't regret the drop.  I really like the old Jed Smith course around the farm much better than the new one and question whether I will even sign up next year. I did only 7 races in February, 2 of which were orienteering races in Red Rocks park, which was amazingly beautiful but tearfully frustrating for me (as I'm not very good at orienteering yet). Only the orienteering races were longer than a 10k.  This was mostly because I was gearing up for 2 figure competitions in March and wanted to ease back from the longer running distances. For that same resason, I only did 4 races in March, 2 5ks and 2 10ks - and ended with a new 5k PR on a certified course in LA the day after my second figure competition - 21:05. The balancing act required for the figure and racing is quite a challenge. I'm still trying to nail it down as I like to do both things - and of course folks ask, why not focus on one to do your best - well, it's the same answer I have for when people ask why i dont train six months for a marathon to get my best time = not nearly as much fun as doing lots of things - and anyway, so what if my marathon PR could be a few minutes faster - who cares? it's not like I'm on the edge of elite times or something. So it's all about what I want. Which is to do it all, obviously ;)

MARCH FIGURE: The figure competitions, as usual, were fun but frustrating. I liked the set up for the first one in San Diego a bit better, but it turned out that strangely there was only one other girl in my height class (this is very unusual for my height) -  I asked to combine the classes to have a better competition, but they didn't want to do that. So, I won my class against the other woman, which isn't very satisfying because I prefer having competition. However, the San Diego provided a good warm-up for the LA show, which had a normal sized class. I felt more comfortable on stage in the second show and was generally happy with my performance, though I definitely have identified several areas I need to improve upon in order to win an overall. The girl who beat me in my class ended up winning the overall so that made me feel a bit better about a second place in my class.  

APRIL RACE CRAZE: April's when things got a little crazy. Kicked off with American River 50-miler out of nowhere really. I hadn't been running training miles as you might think given the lack of race distance I had been doing. Somehow, AR wasn't too bad - I kept a decent pace mostly but around 12 miles from 26-38, I slowed due to some stomach/bathroom issues and was worried I wouldnt be able to finish well, but I managed to pick it up again and felt strong at the end - even ran up that crazy hill at mile 47.5! AR was my second 50-miler (Firetrails was 1st), not including the 12 hour race I did where I went 56 and change. I felt much better after AR then after Firetrails recovery wise so I wasn't too worried about being able to do Boston a week later - I was just concerned that it would be a really slow marathon since my legs were feeling heavy. Or that my knee would get re-injured.

So, AR50 was last Saturday, then I flew to Massachusetts Wednesday night and on Thursday I conquered the little woodsy 5k where I had dnf'd 2 years before due to a hamstring pull. Saturday J & I did a 5 mile trail race up to a buddhist pagoda in the middle of nowhere (okay, it was outside Amherst but felt like the middle of nowhere!).. I liked how volunteers were banging gongs up the steep hill to the end and how the finisher's medal was an origami crane. After that race, I was feeling okay for the marathon despite battling intense allergy attacks all week - was just hoping that would clear up during the race (usually does from race adrenaline, etc). We stayed in Boston, rode the bus hella early to the start and got a short pre-race massage to stay out of the cold before it started.

The 115th Boston provided me with the opposite experience from the first time I ran Boston - the first time I went out way too fast (classic boston error) and crashed hard in the later miles. This time I couldn't seem to get going, even on the downhill! My splits were below pace and I was more than a little worried that a good time was completely out of reach. Turned out the wind at my back (awesome tail wind) saved the day - I got a PR (with a big tailwind asterisk) of 3:37:54.  My previous best (at CIM) was 3:39:28 - so not a large PR at all and I give credit to the wind, but I'll take it anyway and at least I technically have a Boston 2012 qualifying time, though I'm pretty sure due to the new wave registration I won't get in (I know girls running 3:20s who are worried). I'm not complaining, I'm just planning for next year!

So, you thought I was done? Well, so did I, until I decided to run a little Mass XC 5k the day after Boston.  I didn't really think I'd pull off anything faster than my marathon pace to be honest. My calves were tight, my knees felt a little rickety. But I had a great first mile - sub 8 pace which was surprising to me. But then I felt a spasm in my left hammie that made me walk and jog the rest. Goin to the sports massage master now to work that out.  Not sure if Ruth Anderson will happen - if not, I'll just hit the figure training hard...after all, Contra Costa is around the corner now (not even sure if I'll be ready since I can't see any abs after all that marathon and vacay food!)