Monday, August 27, 2012

Raleigh 8000 Race Report

Last Year's Raleigh 8000 was run on the edges of Hurricane Irene.  In addition, it was my first race following my illness and development of Asthma, so my only goal at the time was to not pass out while running.  Puking was fine as far as I was concerned, but passing out was bad.  Fortunately, I managed not to puke or pass put, but finish the race with a bloated time of 48:39.
Start of the Race
This year the weather was nearly perfect, but the race would once again follow a layoff from racing.  This time the lay off was by choice and was not related to injury or illness.  I had decided in the spring to use the summer as a time to just run and work on getting fit without the need to focus upon a certain race.  This decision was also aided by the fact that my first child is due to arrive in late October and wouldn't allow me to commit to any one race beyond September.  So, I was happily signed up for the few races that were outside the official baby arrival watch dates.  Besides, the Raleigh 8000 incorporates the Greenway of Shelley Lake, which I really like running.  I also was set to run in another 8k the following week, so I figured that I would use this race to knock some of the rust off and be ready for the race on September 2nd in downtown.

Chugging up the hill at the end

The Course:

In a word: Hilly.  It starts on a downhill, then goes right into an uphill, followed by another downhill.  around the lake the course is deceptively rumbly with a couple of potential bust you butt declines.  After a lap around the lake it ends with the same hills that started the race in reverse order.

I felt good before the race.  My warm up went well, but since there were only two port-a-johns for the race (WTF), I had to sneak in the McDonald's bathroom, which was kind of annoying. I am not really sure what was up with that.  Honestly the whole race was rather bare bones.  

Better view of the hill at the end

The Race

This race seemed to really only draw serious runners.  Nearly everyone running seemed fairly fit and experienced, which was a big contrast from the charity races that I had been running int the spring and fall.  However this made it a bit hard to tell where I should line up so as to be near people running at my pace.  In addition, I hate beginning races on a downhill because it is so easy to screw up my pacing from the out set.

I think that the down hills start and my fear of the uphill finish led me to hold back more than I needed to in the race


Mile 1: 8:14
Mile 2: 8:27
Mile 3: 8:46
Mile 4: 8:58
Mile 5: 8:07

I felt good during the entire race and ran well, but I don't think that I pushed myself at all until the final mile, which I think was some pretty good work on my part considering it was my fastest mile and took place over the largest elevation gains of the race. 

Just happy to be back in a race
Overall, this was a good way to shake off the rust, I finished the race in 42:30, which was not a PR but a world of difference from last years time, and I hope that it will help me run harder in next weeks race. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hitting the Trail and Kicking Jean-Paul Sartre in the Teeth

Recently, I've felt like the spirit of Jean-Paul Sartre has jumped on my back and  insisted that I carry him on all my runs while he reads Being and Nothingness to me.  The busy season at work hit right as the busy season for baby planning got into full swing, and my life has gotten crazy.  Granted, I know that once the baby arrives it will be worse, but I just can't wait way.  I'm too excited for words.  Frightened out of my mind as well, but I am still excited.  Luckily, I have managed to keep up with running and working out over the summer, but it has started to wear on me.  I won't lie it has been difficult at times, but Running is important to me, so I've made sacrifices and been flexible. I've run in the evenings despite brutal heat, I've switched rest days, and I done cross training at lunch so I could sleep in and give my body rest following long nights of baby shower planning, Bradley classes, and moving.  I even switched gyms to the University gym where I work rather than the Y because it is more convenient (and cheaper).  However, running without a major race on the horizon has gotten increasingly difficult.  I've start to ask myself does it really matter if I skip a day or if I don't hit 20 miles for the week.  I feel like I'm being visit by the spirits of dead French existentialists, who want me to feel nothing and embrace pointlessness of my Sisyphean toil.

They know that I would love nothing more to run a Half Marathon this fall, but with the unknown arrival time of my son looming, it is just not a real option.  The spirits of these dead French intellectuals noticed recently that despite my desire to run and exercise being present, my spark was noticeably lacking.  I am just pushing rocks up a hill knowing that they're going to roll back down.  Damn You Camus!!!  I have gotten tired of running in the same places, covering the same ground, and efforts to change things up haven't seem to help.  Sartre just keeps jabbering away in my ear with each step I take!  I think he wants me to wear a beret. 

However, changing gyms seemed to really help reignite my workouts.  I enjoyed walking into the campus gym and thinking about all the different ways I could change my workouts or make my current workouts fit in this new place, and I found myself eagerly anticipating my next workout.  The French Philosophers didn't have membership cards so I was able to leave them at the door as they began to talk about Jacques Derrida behind his back.  The effect changing gyms had on me got me thinking about what I could to help my running.  I thought about doing track workouts, but the track is really where I go to alleviate boredom, plus I have been trying to incorporate sprints into my cross training, so the track didn't seem like the answer.  I thought about going to different parks and tried changing routes, but it just wasn't working.  I mixed up my music, tried running without music but that just invited Sartre to being talking to me about his life with Simone de Beauvoir, which just got weird!  My spark just wasn't there.  I blamed the heat.  I blame the heat for everything, but on days when it was cool, still no spark, no fire, no passion, I was running because that's what I do.  In my head I was screaming damn it . . . I am Sisyphus!

I was beginning to resign myself to my running life turning into a feeling-less Prozac-esque haze until, I could start training for my next big race, but luckily the answer hit me on my way to Umstead on Sunday . . .Trails!  I should run trails!  I love running trails.  Trails were where my passion for running was born and that is where I knew that I would find it again.  So, instead of heading to the airport entrance to Umstead, I pulled my car in the the main parking lot where several trail heads are located and hit the old Company Mill Trail.
Hello Spark!  I was in love again.  I could see vivid color and the Existential nihilism that was threatening to take over my running was gone!  I kicked Sartre in the teeth as I ran along side of a rain swollen stream, I chucked Camus into oblivion as I hurdled a fallen tree that blocked the path.  Halfway though my run I felt like scream that I wasn't going to wear their stinking beret because I got my spark back and the fire was burning bright!   Trails were my answer.  I hadn't been running trails because I was afraid of getting injured before a race.  But, with no major races upcoming, trails were once again an option.  I love the level of concentrations that running trails require.  I need to focus on the ground in front of me that it was easy to ignore the whispers, shouts, and cries of all the long dead French philosophers questioning my reason for running.  The trails were my salvation, and I just enjoyed my run with a peace that has been lacking for the last few months.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In the Radio Edit Words of Cee Lo Green

Forget You July! 

No, this is not a repeat of yesterdays' post.  Granted, I was so frickin happy that it was August that I nearly peed myself when the clock struck midnight, but that's beside the point. 

No the reason that I am quoting from Cee Lo's song book is that as of yesterday morning I was sitting on 90 miles for the month, with only a 4 miler on tap for the day.  After oversleeping in the morning, and missing my run, July began to taunt me with what had to be the mildest weather of the month.  And this I could not take.  July (i/ʊˈl/ juu-LY) is the seventh month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, the month that marks both the birth of our nation and your's truely, had been mocking me for the better part of 31 days.  And, I was sick of it!

So with less than 6 hours to go, I decided to lace em up after work and sing July a lullaby from of my Green's that you may have heard a time or two.  The run was a struggle because, even though the temps were mild in comparison to what we have been experiencing. it was still pretty dang hot!  However, I was able to tough it out, get my 10 miles, cross the century mark for the second straight month and tell July to . . .

Forget You!

So hit it Mr. Green!