Sunday, January 19, 2014

Beaten by a Prairie Dog

OMG. I barely survived a 13.1-ish mile run this morning up and down the hills of suburban Louisville...the Prairie Dog Half Marathon.

All I know is that it hurt, I suffered, I finished, and I'm glad it's over. Wow, I didn't think I could hurt so much in just 13.1 miles but I did. Final time 1:53:56 on my watch. Chip time might be a little faster. Might be.
I woke up too early this morning, I couldn't sleep well because I knew I had to get up. I had my coffee, some oatmeal and yogurt. It was cold and clear, with just a hint of breeze outside.

I always overestimate how long it will take me to get to the Denver area. I drove down to Louisville and got there too early, I could have used the extra half hour of sleep. But I picked up my packet and hit the portapotties before the crowds. I saw Joanne and her husband Hunter, we talked some before we lined up for the start.
There I am, in my blissful ignorance before the race. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into.

I ran into my Fort Collins expatriate running buddy Eddie Metro, now living in Boulder, shortly before the start. As I said to him, I have no idea what to expect, I'm lost on how to pace myself at anything shorter than 50 miles...

And I got that part right. I took off fairly far back in the pack, at a comfortable but brisk pace. I haven't tried running any road races longer than 5K in forever, so when I reached the one mile mark in 7:40 I was little surprised. It didn't feel that fast and I was able to talk.

I hit 2 miles in 15:30 and 3 miles in 23:23. I felt good, realizing that it was already faster than the last 5K I did. Seven pounds lighter could account for that.

AND THEN.

The next mile was gradually uphill, and then miles 5 and 6 were UP. Up, up, up...on a dirt path...switchbacks, curves, on and off of sidewalks, bike paths, streets...and my legs were tired. Still tired from being re-introduced to real training.

It was sooooo hilly...then we had to do the torture loop from hell. There was a flat one mile or so loop at the top of the plateau, before we started to head back down around 9 miles. But the downhill part was never consistent like the uphill part was. I am good on the downhills and I was able to make up a little. I was wearing my soft, comfortable Pearl Izumi H3s, and they feel good when I'm running fast, even on the downhills.

I reached 11 miles in 1:31 and was excited, thinking my time might not be too bad. But then I heard some runners talking about how the mile markers were all off and that the mile marks were all short on their Garmins. Oh, poop. Damn road racers, know it alls, so anal. I bet they're the same ones who put the 13.1 stickers on their cars. I've got you pegged.

Just kidding, really...you all probably kicked my ass today.

We went downhill, under a tunnel, and then made a 180, which made us run UPHILL and INTO THE WIND for the last mile and a half. There went my time fantasy...


Around 12 and a half miles Eddie was waiting for me, snapping pictures with his camera. He ran about a quarter mile with me as I approached the final mile marker. He took off ahead, telling me to smile when I cross the finish line...all I could do was gasp, "Do you know CPR?"

I had NOTHING left in my legs when I hit that finish line. My legs were toast. I could barely stand while Eddie helped me take off my timing chip. It was a strange feeling because aerobically I could have pushed harder, I was never struggling with the breathing. My exhausted legs were holding me back. The prairie dog kicked my butt, and legs, basically, everything below my hips. But Eddie won his age group. Way to go!

Eddie and I after the finish. He was almost propping me up...photo credit: some nice dude snapping Eddie Metro's camera

It's all good though...I got a good, hard, challenging, hilly 13 mile run in, give or take a few, depending on what the course length actually was. I pushed it for nearly two hours. And other than my legs burning and screaming, I felt pretty comfortable at about an 8 to 8 1/2 minute per mile pace, and I didn't do too badly on the hills.

Gotta start somewhere. Even if it is with a solid ass-kicking. Oh yeah, and I didn't even place in my age group. Not even close...that's okay too...I'm about ready to step up to sub-geezerdom.

Fifty more days to the big day!

2 comments:

giraffy said...

A friend of mine ran that race today, too, and said the course was crazy. Great job!

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks Heather. I'll email you...how did your friend do? When are you coming to Colorado?