Thursday, February 28, 2013

Something in the Mundane

Checking in: With two class weeks left until finals, I've had my britches full of books and papers.  Training has been sporadic because my knee still isn't quite right.  Which means more strength training and stretching.  I'm quite amazed at how flexible I've become but it just isn't the same as a good run.  In my journalism class today, we had to write about our morning.  No matter how uneventful the details, a story needed to surface. This is my morning in a nutshell. 

"Something in the Mundane"
            I should have prepared myself for the frustration I felt after discovering all of my spring classes had already been filled.  I had my doubts about the class availability the night before but being an idealist allows for a measure of self-deception.  After joining multiple wait-lists I decided a walk in the rain to Arlis’s restaurant for breakfast would brighten my spirits. 
This morning was the first time I had chosen to walk downtown from my house.  The drizzle of rain was light enough to enjoy the crisp morning without getting soaked.  The neighborhood streets running parallel with Cornwall Avenue were still full of cars.  I imagined the people in those small homes were groggily watching the morning news as their coffee machines finished brewing.  Waiting for the jolt of caffeine to get them started for the workday. 
            On my walk I saw a woman standing at the corner of Cornwall Market with two dogs on leashes.  When I approached she had her back to me but the dogs looked very interested in me.  One with black fur and a white chest leaned towards me to get a sniff while the other darted in my direction from behind the woman.  It was about to jump on my chest when the woman yanked his leash back at the last moment.  She said, “I’m sorry!  I didn’t see you there.”  I replied, “Well your dogs sure did.”  There was a brief moment of surprise but I brushed it away and continued down the sidewalk muttering, “stupid dogs.”
            Inside the restaurant there were two middle-aged women chatting over plates of pancakes and bacon.  They seemed to be catching up on past events.  They were telling one another about their husbands’ health and the projects they were working on.  I was curious about where one had grown up because she had an accent I couldn’t place.  Her pronunciation of tomato and potato sounded like she replaced the Os with Us.  I imagined she was from somewhere in the Midwest, Ohio maybe. 
            A few minutes later I overheard a customer telling the waitress to look outside towards the intersection.  There was an elderly woman in a small white coupe stopped in the through lane with her left-hand blinker on.  The through light was green but she wasn’t moving.  Behind her was a line of cars stretching past the building.  They were honking their horns and inching their vehicles forward.  After about two minutes the left turn signal changed green and the elderly woman drove straight through the intersection.  I could only laugh at the frustration they must have felt.  It was then I realized mine had vanished and I continued eating my pancakes with a smile.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fragrance Lake 10K

While the runners filed towards the starting line, the sky parted for some much welcomed sunshine.  The day started out grey and rainy.  I'm sure I wasn't the only one worried about a slippery, mud filled trail race this morning.  Once that sun poked through, the Fragrance Lake race was on.

The start was a 100 meter long moss-covered road, climbing out of Larrabee State Park.  We quickly crossed Chuckanut Drive and headed north on the "Urb" for 1.5 miles of flat, gravel trails.  I wasn't sure how much time would elapse before my knee would begin quacking so I went out comfortably.  Then we began climbing on Cleator road.  This was the hardest part of the race because the road felt like it would never stop climbing.  I could feel my calves getting tight, my breathing labored but a quick glance to the west revealed the shimmering Salish Sea.

After a mile I got onto the trail and the climbing didn't quit.  Three weeks of no running was definitely showing its effect because even though all the runners at this point were going about the same speed, it still felt I could've walked faster.  Nonetheless I continued the slow uphill battle until mile 4.3.

This is when the race started for me because I've got crazy mountain goat skills on downhill.  For two miles I flew down switchbacks, catching traction on the edges, and passing other racers.  I felt like I needed to make up time for that lousy climb.  I was pulling this blue shirt fellow in gradually with every switchback and I thought I was going to take him.  Once we got back on the Urb, he looked back and threw on the afterburners for the last quarter mile.  I wasn't able to muster up the 5 min/mi pace I knew would be needed so I stayed strong until the finish. 

It was a tough race but so exciting.  I'm shocked that my heart was redlining for almost the entire race.  182 bpm average with a 195 bpm spike.  This shows me two things: one, I have a strong heart; two, I need to do more long slow-distance runs. Here's my Garmin analysis.

The race results for top 20

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pre-Race Nerves

Tomorrow is my first race of the year and honestly I am not ready.  When I signed up for the Fragrance Lake 10k my training was going well or so I thought.  There were long days, intervals, hills, and plenty of trails.  Three weeks ago I got a hint that I was riding the line of over-training when my knee started hurting.  I've ran once since then and it hurt on the way back. 

After lots of research on how to diagnosis and treat (I even spoke to a physical therapist who was doing a talk at Western), I've been biking and swimming to keep fitness while doing specific strength training and stretching to my glutes and hamstrings.  It's been somewhat easy to lay off the running because the weather's been so gloomy but with the race tomorrow, I'm getting anxious with questions.  Has the inflammation gone down?  Will the downhill do me in? 

This afternoon I am going for a 3 mile run at a slow pace on flat ground to see how it feels.  I'll do some strides to feel my speed out.  Not that tomorrow's race will be very fast considering there's 1,200 feet of climbing but the downhill could require some fast leg turnover.   I'm hoping that everything goes well and I can start building my mileage again.  Either way, expect a race report soon.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Race Calender

Finally, I have nailed down a race plan for the 2013.  Honestly I've been reluctant to post this list, but after registering for the USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals this afternoon, the green light lit up.

*$   Februrary 17        Fragrance Lake 10k
*     March 3               Stewart Mt. 15k
       March 16             Runnin' O' the Green 5mi
       April 6                 Rainman Indoor Triathlon-Silverdale
*     April 13               Alger Alp 25k
       April 28               Mount Rainier Duathlon
*     May 5                  Little Mountain 10k
**   May 28                Spring Festival Super Sprint Moses Lake
*     June 1                  Pine & Cedar Hill Climb 4.5mi
       June 8                  Vashon Island 10mi
$     June                     Lake Padden Triathlon
       July 7                  Vashon Island Exterra Off-Road Triathlon
       July 13                 Ocean Shores 70.3
*     July 28                 Chuckanut Mountain 12k
A$- August 10            USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships
       August 24            Lake Sammamish Sprint
       September 7         Lake Stevens Olympic
**   September 15      Kirkland Sprint
-A- September 21       Grand Columbian Iron distance

*      races in the Bellinghan Trail Running Series- cumulative points
**    races I did last year that I'd like to repeat
$      signed up
-A-   races that my training revolve around
 -Lake Stevens & Kirkland- I'm on the fence because they are so close to my Iron race.

Below are marathons I'm entertaining for the Fall.   

November 10   Bellingham Trail Marathon
November 23   Wishbone Marathon- Gig Harbor
November 23   Ghost of Seattle Marathon
November 25   Seattle Marathon
December 31    Last Chance Marathon- Bellingham
December 31    Yukon Do It- Port Orchard

Of course all of these are subject to change based on monetary funds and health.  Except those I've already paid for then I'll just have to suck it up and march forth.