It's a Saturday and I thought I would have to force myself out of bed at 6 am so I could run the Heart Center 5K at Boyd Lake. Starts so early for November, 8:30 am. It's cold. So glad I didn't sign up for the half marathon, which is really the main event, I think. That would have hurt.
It was freaking freezing at the start. My hands were ice cubes, and I was wearing all sorts of layers, most of which I forced myself to remove before I ran over to line up at the start. I was thinking, how can they call ultrarunners crazy? Here are hundreds of people, in the freezing cold on a Saturday morning when they could sleep in, and they want to sprint 3 miles and tear every muscle in their bodies.
Oh, wait...I was out there with them.
I ran my warmup in the beautiful sunrise, and of course I took some pictures of the mountains west of Loveland.
I considered running in my Brooks Adrenalines. It's a 5K. But after I ran the course as a warmup, I thought, what a dork. They're not racing flats, but I feel really silly wearing lightweight shoes, as if I think I'm Supafast...
And it's not the fastest course in the world either, not certified, starts out in a sand pit for the first 50 meters, has a half mile section on dirt and grass, and bike paths that have lots of curves. But what the hell, part of my training. I settled on my usual tank shoes, the Addictions.
I waited to the last minute to line up at the start, I stayed in my car until then. When I got to the crowd of people, you couldn't tell which end was the fast people and which was the back. Everyone was asking and nobody knew.
So when we finally figured out which way the race was starting, they lined us up in a sand pit- which was part of a playground. The first 50 meters or so were across this deep, soft sand pit until we could all get up on the narrow bike path. So you get a little burst of lactic acid built up right out of the starting line.
The first mile was uphill, and when I got to the one mile mark, I looked at my watch and almost started laughing. 8:26. It feels like I'm running my ass off, and all I can do is 8:26? I just kept pushing, thinking, this is going to be pathetic.
I don't know if the mile markers were off, or even if the course is accurate, but my two mile split was 16:15, and that included the cross country section on a rutted dirt two-track. I hit the finish line in 24:26, which is still sub-8 minute pace, not bad for one week out of racing an ultra. Far from Supafast.
I actually felt strong and consistent the whole time. Though I did finish second in my age group by 2 minutes, I got beat by some 41 year old chick...with no ass, I might add. I'll get you, my pretty...and your little dog, too!!!! Just wait 'til I get some real speedwork...and if all else fails, only 16 months to the new age group! Ha!
On the agenda for tomorrow is the second of back to back 5Ks: the Tortoise & Hare 5K in the morning at Warren Park. Fort Collins Running Club T & H events are low-key, and there's been a good turnout lately. The run is at 8 am, but that's really 9 am because we're turning the clocks back tomorrow, ugh. No dragging myself out of bed.
I prefer daylight savings time. I like for it to be light later into the evening. Mornings are for quiet, who cares if it's dark. But at least in the fall we get an extra hour to sleep. And for once I'm not working on time change weekend. How did that happen?
I got on the bike again Friday and took the day off from running. I was having little aches and pains after my 15 mile day on Thursday. I can tell I haven't been on the bike. Why? Sore butt.
Tomorrow I'll ride with Troy, even though it won't be cold out, he is motivating me to get my butt on the bike and make it a point to ride when the weather cools down.
Troy is my motivation for a lot of things, including starting this blog 5 years ago, and getting me off my ass to run Badwater in the first place back in 2008. He's an amazing dude,
He's been through the wringer this year, actually this year topped off the last couple of years. His wife, Ornella, died this past April from ovarian cancer. They had been dealing with it for 10 years, but the last few years have been extremely hard for them, as she kept getting sicker and weaker despite her refusal to give up on treatment.
I've written about her before on this blog, and how they both motivated me to raise funds for the cancer center and just to get off my butt and do the things I dreamed of doing. Life is short, and you never know what can happen from day to day. Don't put things off.
So then in June when the High Park fire started, Troy was forced to evacuate his home for several weeks, and the fire came way too close- just the next ridge over was burnt to a crisp along with the houses there. And then a few weeks after he came home, a truck was coming down the road with some logs and ran him off the road into the ditch, tearing a hole in his oil pan and doing a bunch of damage to the car.
He's getting over a recent bike wreck where he got hit by a car on his bike and broke 6 ribs, that was just about 8 weeks ago, and I think if it were me I'd be freaked out about getting back on the bike, at least on the roads, but he was determined to get back to it and has been riding for a few weeks already. Like a tank, we should all be that strong and resilient.
I'm not that hard core when it comes to the bike, but I can pretty much get myself out to run in anything cold, wet and windy, even though I whine like a big baby about anything cold and wet. So when I think of Troy, I remind myself that my minor discomfort is no excuse.
Looking back over the past couple of years, I ran two races where it was COLD, at Across the Years in 2010, and at 24 the Hard Way last week. I have done so much heat training over the past several years that I think my body's thermostat has been permanently altered, or at least my perception of the heat is changed. I have become a COLD WIMP!
Then this summer I whined about the heat, because my body is now into hot flash mode, and cool air actually feels good. But as I discovered last weekend in Oklahoma, and again this morning, I'm still not used to running in it. I was wearing three layers while other people were in shorts and tank tops!
So one of my projects for this winter is to make myself be less of a cold wimp. I did go to REI yesterday and bought shoe covers and super warm gloves for cold weather cycling. Doesn't look like I'll get to use them for at least another week, though, with our weather forecast.
The plan for next year's racing is falling into place. I've picked out about a dozen races, mostly training run half marathons and marathons, but I have 3 ultras already in mind and I'm still in search of that fast 50 miler. Or two. If anyone knows of a good, fast road 50 early in September, preferably on a loop course, that's not a major hassle to get to or to deal with once you're there, please send your suggestions my way!