Saturday, May 28, 2011

Random Thought

I spent most of today in the Great Hall of the WV Culture Center watching my niece perform with the WV Highland Dancers. While waiting for her to dance, I wandered around a bit and spent some time in the section of the museum dedicated to the Kennedy brothers and their trips to WV while they were campaigning. There was a large display on the wall made up of various quotes from JFK, and this one stuck with me.

Let me just say, I'm not a political person at all. I don't take sides; I'm not affiliated with any party. But this quote sums up what I do believe politically. I've voiced the same sentiment in the past, but Mr. Kennedy put it much more eloquently than I could:

"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future."
- John F. Kennedy

(Thus ends my first and probably only politically based statement. We will now return to the regular randomness of this blog)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Inspiring Thoughts

Sometimes I get a little discouraged. Like yesterday when it took me 2 hours and 20 minutes to run 9 miles. It was a tough course, but I should've been able to do it faster than that; I wanted to do it faster than that; I know I can do it faster than that.

Instead of being down and feeling sorry for myself, I need to remember:

"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that."
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

"You also need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don't run and never will... those who run but don't race...those who started training for a race but didn't carry through...those who got to the starting line but didn't in the finish line...those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You're still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you've outlasted."
- Joe Henderson

"It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit."
Dr. George Sheehan

Random Pic of the Week

Bree & Pammy chasing tennis balls

Memorial Day 2009

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dirty Dog 15K Race Report

The Dirty Dog 15k trail run was at Kanawha State Forest this morning. I've always been a lover of trails; my parents took me for my first hike when I was just a little kid, and I was hooked. My husband starting me on running the trails, which I love even more than hiking.

I started my mantra the night before, trying to get into the mindset of the "Little Engine that Could". I repeated "I think I can I think I can I think I can" over and over again. Didn't realize that instead of channeling the little train, I needed to channel my inner mountain goat.

I read the course description and studied the map, trying to figure which parts of it I was familiar with from other runs and mountain bike rides in KSF and which parts were new to me. The trails were described as steep single track, rolling ridgeline, switchbacks, very steep single track, etc. So I was a little nervous about the run because I'm not good with running up hills. Don't have the stamina or strength (yet) to do prolonged uphill running. And I was nervous about the distance because I hadn't run more than 6 miles for weeks; and I hadn't run more than 8 since last fall. Also, with the weather, we hadn't been able to get out on the trails for a long time. So basically, I felt unprepared. But I knew that even if I had to walk the whole way, I'd still have an awesome time, just because I was on a trail and outside, enjoying nature. In my opinion the worst day on the trail is 100 times better than the best day on the road.

Since we felt a little unprepared, Marc and I decided before hand that we weren't running this race to race; we were running it just to run; we took it as just another opportunity to get in some miles on the trail. The excitement of the race and all of the other runners were just an added bonus. It seems we never see any other runners when we're out on the trails, so it was nice to share the trails with other people (and some puppies) who love them as much as we do.

It rained most of the week before. Heck, I think it's rained every day for the last 2 months… Anyway, all that rain meant mud, which just makes it more fun (remind me I said that when I'm trying to get my shoes and socks clean). Thankfully, it did not rain today. The weather was awesome. At the 9am start it was fairly cool and it warmed up pleasantly as the day went on.

We started out at the Johnson Hollow picnic area parking lot (a lot that might be familiar to some of my family and friends, as it was where they parked for my wedding :o) ) and headed down the road toward Pigeon Roost Trail. Pigeon Roost is one of the trails that I know and know well; I've run up it, I've run down it; I've walked my bike down it; I've hiked it;. Up Pigeon Roost we went. It was bit of a bottleneck since most of the field was still together at that point, and since it's single track, there were not many places to pass. The dogs were having a blast – zipping up and down and dodging people. Made me wish Bree was able to run with us; she would've loved it.

From Pigeon Roost we turned onto the boundary road, another trail I'm familiar with, having been on it many times as well. We headed for Pine Ridge Trail and on it, we headed back down, scrambling over trees, rocks, and switchbacks. It was a challenging, but fun, bit of downhill; with all the mud it had some slippery spots.

At the bottom of Pine Ridge, we ran through the ball fields and back out to the main forest road. We crossed the road and headed up White Hollow Trail. This was the trail that was described as "very steep single track." Boy, were they not kidding on that one. This is where I needed to channel my inner mountain goat. Brutally steep. Steep as in I had walk, I had to climb, I had to use trees to pull myself up the trail. Totally wore me out; thought my legs were going to quit on me. But of course they didn't, and I reached the top with the thought of "hah! Big bad hill – I beat you!!" A section of rolling hills got my legs back to feeling fairly normal.

After White Hollow, we hit one of the Middle Ridge Trails, which are some of the most awesome rolling smooth single track in KSF. Great to run on, great to bike on. From Middle Ridge Trail we went to Middle Ridge Road – one of those long gradual uphills that always wear me out. Seems like we were on it forever. There's always one part in a long run when my mind rebels and says ok you're done; this needs to be over now. I hit the wall and just wanted the whole thing to be over and done. I looked at my watch and realized that I was way past the time I wanted to finish in, which is always a bit depressing. So I just kind of slogged along, putting one foot in front of the other; going forward only because turning around would end up being longer farther and harder than finishing.

But then, there's always something that pulls me out of my funk, pulls me through or over the wall and I'm ready to go again. Today that was the yellow "don't go this way" tape and the sign that said "Johnson Hollow Trail." Finally we were back on single track and headed down toward the finish line. I don't know if it was the fun of going down the trail or if it was the fact that the end was so close, but my legs got lighter and wanted to move. Down the trail we went; I felt light and free and happy again. I even managed a smile and a wave at the photographer! Then there it was, the finish line.

The big ol' clock said 2:19. Way slower than I hoped, but that's okay. I started, I finished, and I accomplished something I hadn't done before and never thought I could.

I'm thinking the Nike+ sensor in my trail shoes is not calibrated correctly as it logged this as a 10.74 mile run, when a 15k is only 9.3. (it registered long on the Ace trail run last fall too… gonna have to figure out how to fix that). Or maybe, I'll get a Garmin. ;o)

So these splits and the average time are probably off from the reality, but here they are:
10.74 miles; 2:19:06 total time; 12:57 mpm avg. pace
Mile 1: 12:31
Mile 2: 12:54
Mile 3: 11:58
Mile 4: 12:15
Mile 5: 16:29
Mile 6: 13:55
Mile 7: 12:12
Mile 8: 13:02
Mile 9: 13:34
Mile 10: 12:23

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Race Report - Komen Race for the Cure

A year and half ago, I "ran" a 5k I wasn't ready for. I came in last for the run, and even got beat by a walker. Not the best for the self-confidence. Granted, I had only been into running for a couple of weeks, and wasn't really ready for the race. But still, coming in last was quite a blow to the ego. So, I thought I didn't like 5k's and I told myself I wasn't going to run another one.

Well, in the year and a half between then and now, my running has improved tremendously. I'm actually running now (most of the time - hills still get me) instead of doing a run/walk/run type of thing. Because I've gotten better, I got it in my head that I had to redeem myself on the 5k. And the Komen race was the perfect one for it. It was big enough that even if I was super slow, I was pretty sure I wouldn't come in last again. It was early enough in the year that it wouldn't be too hot. It's flat. And it raises money for a great cause.

I spent the last few weeks training and preparing by running laps around my neighborhood. I got my pace down to under 10:30/mile, and thought "If I can do that on the hill in the neighborhood, I should be able to do about a 10:00/mile on the course". I even set up a "Racin' music" playlist on my iPod with all fast, fun songs so I could run to the beat. This past week, I managed a sub-10:20/mile twice in the neighborhood (one of which was in the pouring rain) and a 10:11/mile on the boulevard during a lunchtime run. I knew I had the race down. I could do it and I was so ready.

So I hopped out of bed way earlier this morning than I have on any Saturday in I don't know how long. It was cold outside, so I thought I needed a long sleeve shirt. I dug around and searched and searched for one particular shirt, but couldn't find it. So I gave up and went ahead and wore the tank top and running skirt that I had laid out the night before. I figured if I were cold, I'd just go faster. :o)

I left the house, swung by and picked up my mom and headed down to the Capitol. There were people everywhere! So awesome! We found Mom a perfect place to camp out close to the finish line so she could see me finish. This is me, hanging around waiting for the start:

I hung around with her for while to pass the time since we got there a bit early. We were right across the street from the Capitol building, which in my opinion is one of the prettiest buidlings there is.And then it was time to move into the crowd to get ready for the start. The crowd was huge and there were people everywhere. Stood around for quite a while and was starting to wish I had that long sleeve shirt, when a yell went up and we were off. The back of the crowd started a little faster than the front, so there was almost a moment of all of us falling like dominoes as we had to stop as soon as we got started. But the front moved on and the middle & back of the packers could take off.

I wormed my way in and out of the crowd and finally found a clear spot where I could comfortably get up to pace. And off I went. Didn't push it and felt good the whole way. I kept feeling like I could go faster, but didn't want to end up going too fast and have to stop and walk. So I kept the comfortable pace, picking up the speed just a little as I went. The music on my ipod, fast & peppy, kept me going and motivated. And before I knew it, there was Mom and the finish line. As I crossed, the clock said 32:something, and when I stopped the iPod it said 32:12. Don't know what the actual time from real start line to finish line is yet (hoping it'll be posted somewhere on-line).

Here's the stats:
Ran 3.27 miles in 32:12.
Average pace of 9:51/mile.
Splits: mile 1=10:24, mile 2=9:41, mile 3=9:40.
Here's the happy me, after meeting my pace goal and setting a PR:

My "Racin' Music" playlist:
"The Best" by Tina Turner
"Raise Your Glass" by Pink
"FireWork" by Katy Perry
"I Like It" by Enrique Iglesias
"It's My Life" (live) by Bon Jovi
"Spinnin' Round" by PFR
"Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina & the Waves
"Hot N Cold" by Katy Perry

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Random Pic of the Week

Riding in the Rain

pretty much the only kind of riding he's been able to do lately...

(pic taken Sept. 2009)