Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday Thoughts: Recent Races

Since returning from Boston last month, I have been enjoying running (and not guilt about skipping training runs when I'm not training!) a great deal. I've also been busy racing. Boston was April 19, so I have been taking advantage of not having a major race to run in May (and consequently having to taper for said race), unlike last year when I had to forgo racing while I was tapering for Cleveland. That didn't stop me from abusing my taper, as savvy readers may recall.

First up: the Run Fit 5K in Novi on April 28. It was at this race last year that I ran my 5K PR of 22:13 (and roughed up my taper a little bit). I knew I wasn't coming anywhere near that time this year. I just wanted to have a little fun after work with some running friends. I ended up posting a time of 25:04, good enough for 2nd in my age group and another mug to add to my collection.

Next was the Heart of a Spartan 10K in East Lansing on Saturday, May 2. This is that other school's answer to the Big House Big Heart, which finishes inside Michigan Stadium. This time, however, I would be finishing inside Spartan Stadium at Michigan State University. Because I am a proud University of Michigan alumna, I deliberately chose to wear my "Michigan Alumni" shirt for this race. I wanted to make the natives restless. Perhaps it was the unpleasant weather (steady rain, breezy, about 60 degrees) dampening people's moods, but my brazen display of the maize and blue drew surprisingly few comments from the crowd. I got more of a response when I wore the same shirt at the Cleveland Marathon. Spike's reaction was better: a disgusted groan and some snarky comments.

I wore a hat to keep the rain out of my eyes, but that was the only part of me which wasn't thoroughly soaked by the first mile. I gave up trying to keep my feet quasi-dry, and soon I was feeling water squirting between my toes with every step and my clothing was plastered to me. After I got warmed up, the cool rain was actually quite refreshing. I sloshed my way to a 51:33 finish, good enough for 7th in my age group.

Go Blue! Take that, Sparty!

Last but not least was the Vision Builders 5K this past Saturday. Like the Spartan 10K the weekend before, it was raining steadily. The difference was the addition of a 30-35 MPH wind and a temperature hovering around 44 degrees. There would be no sassy T-shirt and running skirt worn for this race. It was back to the full winter treatment, which in this case meant my Boston jacket and whatever wasn't dirty.

Three years ago the Vision Builders race was the first race I did after I got serious about running. I finished in 28:47 (9:15/M) and thought I was going to collapse. It was incredibly difficult.

May 2007. Little did I know what was in store for me.

Saturday morning as I was getting ready, my left hamstring was sending me some curious signals. "Hey, remember me? I'm back!" I was annoyed at this development as that troublesome spot had not been an issue for months. A warmup jog before the race to assess the situation was not cause for concern, but I know the hammy only acts up when I run at a fast pace. I decided to keep my expectations low and avoid risking injury because I want to be in decent shape for the Cleveland Half Marathon, which I will be running on Sunday.

So much for that...I cruised in for a 24:13 and placed 2nd in my age group. My hamstring didn't give me a single twinge. The worst part was battling the violent headwind.

I'm on the left (duh).

With my swag.

With fellow Thursday Night Gang runner Larry, who won his age group.

Careful readers may have noticed I slipped something into this post about running the Cleveland Half Marathon. Yes indeed, I'm heading back to my ancestral homeland tomorrow to run the half on Sunday with my dad. We have done the same races before, most notably the Marine Corps Historic Half two years ago. Last year while I ran the full marathon in Cleveland, he ran the half. This time we are going to run together, as in he wants to finish in a certain time and I am going to help him get there. I'm very excited!

Hawkeyed readers may also notice I said I don't have a "major race" to run this month. But...I'm running a half marathon on Sunday! My, how things have changed. There was a time when running a half marathon was cause for extreme panic. Now, running 13.1 miles is something I might do just for fun around town on a Saturday. Training for and running marathons permanently alters one's perceptions of distance.

Aaaaand...last but not least, I took the plunge and registered for the Grand Rapids Marathon. It is my intention to requalify for Boston at the race, so I have some work to do over the summer. Luckily for me I am going on vacation to Cape Cod in July so I will have somewhere different and interesting to do some of my runs.

My next post will most likely be after the half on Sunday. Have a grand weekend, everyone!

Run Fit 5K: 25:04 (8:04/M), 2/25 AG, 33/206 F, 107/368 OA
Heart of a Spartan 10K: 51:33 (8:17/M), 7/100 AG, 86/751 F, 360/1423 OA
Vision Builders 5K: 24:13 (7:49/M), 2/14 AG, 30/162 OA


Georgia Snail said...

That Boston jacket looks good on you! Great race times, I always seem to cruise to good 5k times in the weeks following major marathons...

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

Lucky you, to be running a race with your dad! I did the same 5K as my father once, but the crowd was so big that we didn't find each other until after the race. Oh well.

Where are you going on the Cape? Do you go often? I used to have family there and I still love going back.

Stephanie said...

Great running post...looks like you are keeping busy and are really enjoying "just running"!

Jill said...

You've been busy! I had the Novi race on my schedule, but then forgot about it (who has a race on a week day?). And making fun of Sparty? Not cool. ;)

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Very productive last few weeks, sister! Way to be!

Also, good on you for rubbing it into those Spartans faces on their home turf! I don't care about either of these schools myself. I am just in favor of being in people's faces in general. You know, as an end in itself.

B. Kramer said...

Good luck in Cleveland! Great Lakes has a new brew for you to try. I say once you finish, run back to Ohio City for a pint or 10. Cheers!

misszippy said...

Just found you via Viper. I am a NE Ohio native also. Congrats on your Boston finish and hats off to you for having the energy to keep going like you are so soon!