Saturday, May 18, 2013

Un-Race Report - Dirty Dog 15k Trail Run

It rained on Thursday.  And with that rain, our crawlspace flooded for the third time in as many weeks.  I was totally frustrated and fed up and ready to quit.  As we worked to clean out as much of the water as we could between storms, I started to seriously consider withdrawing from the race.  But then I thought more about it - a day on the trails might be just what I needed to clear my head and relieve some of my stress. So I decided to give it a go.

Friday morning, I'm laying in bed waiting for the alarm to go off before I get up, and I'm sure I hear rain on the roof.  Rain that could possibly be re-flooding the crawlspace.  Rain that would definitely be muddy-ing up the trails.  Once again, the idea of withdrawing reared it's ugly head.  Turns out it was just the sound of the fan in the hallway and not rain, but I still thought about withdrawing.  I'm slow enough right now when it's dry - the thought of how much mud and slippery trails would slow me down even more was just downright depressing.  Again, I gave it some thought and the stress-relieving, head clearing positive aspects of a day on the trails (even wet, muddy ones) won and I talked myself into running anyway.

It's now Saturday morning and the big question of the day is "to run or not to run?"  For some, it's a silly question.  Most race days, for me, it's a no brainer.  But this one, this morning, was different.  I didn't wake up all excited and pumped to get to the race.  Ordinary race days I hop out of bed and get dressed in a flash and I'm ready to leave early.  This race day, I dawdled; I procrastinated.  I started putting on my race outfit, thinking that if I could just get dressed, I might feel more like running.  Nope. Not even my lovely, fun, inspiring, green sparkle skirt could shake my "don't want to run today" blues.

There was a small part of me that wanted to run.  But unfortunately, that part of me wasn't strong enough to beat the part of me that didn't want to run.  It couldn't overcome the fear of slipping in the mud, sliding down one of the steep sections of trail and breaking some bone on one of the big rocks.  It couldn't overcome the major feeling of unpreparedness that comes from the lack of motivation to train that's been plaguing me all spring. It couldn't overcome the mental hole I've fallen into the past week or so.

Running is a mental game.  If my head were in the right place, I could overcome all of that and run this race anyway.  But today, it's not.  It's feeling too many doubts. And the Dirty Dog is not a race to run when you're doubtful.  It's too hard of a course to not take seriously; you can't just wing it.  You have to be all there; you have to go all the way and give it all you've got and then some.  And today I just don't have it to give.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Toughest Race I'll Ever Love...

Is it "wrong" to wear a sparkle skirt to a trail race called the Dirty Dog?   Don't know, but next week, I'm doing it anyway.

Yes, here I am again, one week away from the Dirty Dog 15k trail run (see my thoughts from this day last year: 2012 Pre-Dirty Dog post .)  I don't know what it is about this race, but it's one of my favorites.   It's hard; I struggle and fight for just about every step; it's made me cry.  But I keep signing up to do it again.

Once again, I'm not ready for it. But I'm gonna do it anyway.  If nothing else, it'll be a nice walk in the woods.  

I'll be there, probably finishing close to last, bringing a little sparkle to the woods in my green sparkle skirt.  Because every race, even ones with dirty in the name, needs a little sparkle.

Read about my previous Dirty Dog adventures here:
2011 Dirty Dog Race Report

2012 Dirty Dog Race Report

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Race Report - Susan G Komen Race for the Cure

Hope & Faith, my trusty Komen shoes
ready to carry me through another event
 Last August, I participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-day Walk for the Cure.  It was an incredible experience.  I don't remember the exact figures, but all along the walk course they had signs and posters with Breast Cancer Facts that included staggering numbers of women (and men) who are diagnosed with breast cancer every minute and the sobering and equally staggering numbers of people who die from breast cancer.
With those numbers in mind, I signed up to run today's 5k Race for the Cure.  Whether walking 60 miles, or walking or running 3.1 miles, the goal is the same - to help find the Cure. 
Because Everyone Deserves A Lifetime.
Now let's taking a moment to move away from the charity and the symbolism of the event, and get down to the run part.
I wore my "Hope & Faith" shoes not just because they are symbolic of the BC fight, but because I needed a little of both if I was going to have a decent run today.  I've been spending a lot of time going slow and utilizing the walk/run method on my evening runs.  I've been lazy when it comes to my long runs and cutting them short or skipping them all together (which means the Dirty Dog in 2 weeks is going to be an interesting experience (like always), but we'll take it one race at a time and save that one for later. :-) )  So I figured going into today that I was going to be slow and that I would probably have to walk. 
I am so far from my 5k PR right now that it's kind of depressing to think about and I know I want to work this year to meet or beat it.  But something that I also know is that it'll take most of the year to get there.  I knew I wasn't going to do it today.  In fact, I knew I wasn't even going to come close.  Today was a "I just want to finish" kind of day.  I guessed that I would finish in around 32 minutes.
It seems the gun going off was a surprise to most of us at my section of the start line.  None of us were really paying attention to the fact that it was almost time to start and then BANG! off went the gun.  The slower, unhurried start was just what I needed because I didn't take off too fast, but was able to start at a nice comfortable pace.  And it ended up being a nice comfortable pace that I was able to easily sustain for the whole race.  I had stop twice in mile 2 to stretch out a sore & almost cramping left calf/shin, but didn't have to walk, which was a happy surprise.
I reached the finish line in 32:52, close to my predicted time.  My mom commented that I finished right were I wanted to.  Not exactly.  I want to be faster.  I want to be finishing somewhere in the 29's. But I did finish where I knew I could considering where my fitness/endurance is at the moment.  And I'm ok with that. 
That was a hard lesson for me to learn last year, but this year I am more accepting of the runner that I am at any given moment.  Doesn't mean I'm not going to keep pushing and training and trying to get better, faster, stronger.   No, it means that when I look in the mirror, I'm going to see me now, as I stand today, in this moment, in this run/race and not be so hard on myself in comparing that me to the me that I want to be but am not yet.
Race Stats:
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k
Finish Time - 32:52 (garmin); 32:58 (official gun time); 32:48 (official net time)
Pace - 10:31 (garmin)
22 of 39 in age group
449 of 594 finishers