Saturday, March 6, 2010

9.3 miles down, 32 to go

This morning Mik, Elsie, BBJ and Kat and yours truly were the herd members who ran at the Sue Krenn 15K, not a typical distance for a race, but the track club uses it as one of the Marathon training program runs. It's a pretty flat race that starts on East Mission Bay drive, does one loop around Fiesta Island (big news is that there was almost NO WIND as we ran on the Island this morning, which is a pretty big deal), then runners head back onto the running/walking path alongside Mission Bay Park for a couple of miles, then the turnaround to the finish.

It's a pretty small field. The starter started the race by ringing a cowbell. My biggest complaint about the race is that the mile markers seem to be just randomly placed in an area near the mile they are marking. That and the first aid station is about 3.5 miles into the race, but I've run this race three years in a row, so I'm mentally ready for it now. In the past I was more like "WTF is the aid station?" Also, in past years, it's been much warmer than it was this morning.  This morning is what I would call Perfect Penny Weather...cloudy and cool.

Me, Elsie and Mik before the run...Mik said she was cold. I started off with a long sleeve shirt under the day-glo green, but removed it after the warmup. I was glad I did. Note the missing nosepiece on my sunglasses...yep, lost it this morning. GAH! Hopefully, Nike can replace it.

There were some random conversations bits that took place before and after the race. Out of context, they all sound dirty, but in the context of running, quite normal. In fact, the first two don't even need any clarification. I did have to promise a certain tall, male, who runs in black, and who teaches Math, that I wouldn't attribute the first or second comments to him, but I have to share them anyway...
  • Do you want my Hammer?
  • Please don't write in your blog that we exchanged Gu!
  • You are my only G-friend*

I was not expecting much from myself in this run. Since the debacle that was the Surf City 1/2 Marathon last month, I've been running only twice a week, and have been to the gym only a handful of times, so my overarching goal was just to finish and not hurt myself as I still have a 32 mile ride scheduled for tomorrow morning.

First things first...I did finish in (unofficially) my second best 15K time (1:43:29); not only that - I am thrilled to report that I ran pain free. It was not at all what I was expecting as my knee has been sorta twitchy and stiff lately (yeah, another dirty sounding line, whatever), and the 2nd half of the run is on a concrete walking path, and that always seems to bring a flare-up in the PF, but neither of those things happened today.

I knew I was doing pretty well, and my inclination when I'm feeling good and running well is to push myself too early in a race. I kept telling myself that this wasn't really my race, just a training run, and that I needed to take it easy. It was quite a challenge, especially as I knew that a PR was within sight. Apparently, it's taken me almost five years of running to learn that lesson (or at least to have actively applied the learning to actual practice...)

Here are my splits

So, to what do I credit this performance?

You got me? But it could be...
  • Strength training-I am becoming more and more convinced that, even though I am have done minimal strength training these past few weeks, my legs and body is stronger. I noticed, especially, after the 6th mile when I would have expected my legs to start feeling heavy, and they didn't.
  • Carb Loading - I also think that proper nutrition played a part (and by proper nutrition, I mean that I drank loads of water yesterday and I had pasta for dinner two nights in a row). I'm not a big carb eater ordinarily...too many carbs = too many lbs for Alice, so I tend to limit them. For some reason, I didn't do that this week. I felt the result of it today when I didn't even need a Gu until about Mile 7.
  • Peer pressure - (or at least the pressure I put on myself by running around my peers). Starting about Mile 6, the faster runners, who have already turned around and are headed back to the finish. Some people (Betty for example) find this depressing. I, on the other hand, LOVE seeing my friends who are headed back. With every high five, and thumbs up, and good job, I hear and give, the better I feel. So, I gotta credit everyone ahead of me today including Irene, BBJ, Elsie, Mik and Kat, and a whole lotta other peeps from the track club. I do love an out-and-back for this reason (another dirty line, right?)
That's it...because a reasonable performance certainly couldn't be attributed to actual training as I've done so little of that, but I'll take it nonetheless.

After the run, we gathered at La Casita (Elsie's place) for Mimosas and pancakes. Even though Betty wasn't able to run this morning (slight stress fracture, I swear I didn't give it to her, and some other family shiz she has going on), she joined us for breakfast. We are such creatures of habit, we all have our tasks. Betty makes the pancakes; Mik gets the fruit ready; Elsie makes the coffee; I am in charge of the mimosas. We sit in the same place, every time...we are such dorks.

And I completely missed our dorkiness this month.

At our usual places...ready to get all caught up about each other's business...

So, it was a fine run and now I have to go take care of my bike. I wonder where I put the lube? (Another out of context dirty-comment).
* The actual context of this comment: Two women were in front of Elsie and me as we picked up our bibs. One woman was telling her friend that she was the only person on her cell phone whose last name started with the letter G (oooooh...THAT G...I know what you were thinking!). Of course, once she said "G friend" we all started giggling. I saw her at about Mile 8. She hadn't yet gotten to the turnaround yet, and didn't look like she was having much fun, so I shouted out to her "HEY! G-FRIEND!" and she smiled... Just doing what I can to spread the cheer!


  1. great job - nice and steady and you finished strong. woot!

  2. Nice job, Alice! Congrats on your time! That was a funny, girlie race report and I liked the picture of your fun and routine breakfast. I think we all like routines! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  3. I was hearing about a lot of twitchy knees this morning before the race, but maybe the run warmed them up?

    You looked great out there, and you looked really happy. I guess that's what NOT being in pain does for a person. :)

    Ditto on the strength training and cross training exercises. I certainly do think it helps.

    I've been so lame about blogging lately, that it probably won't be until later tonight or sometimes to morrow when I update.

  4. You guys have it figured out better than anyone I know. I'm going to ride today and everyone will be like - no, I gotta get home OR will go out and just have a snack. Where's the beer, where's the alcohol people, I need to recover for Pete's sake!

    I LOVE a 15K, I just feel like it's a nice little stretch distance without being a killer. Nice job.

  5. Sometimes we need the stress in a race, sometimes we don't. Glad you had a great run - it's about time!

  6. I think all those factors you mention had something to do with your PR, but I think the #1 reason that you had a great race was when you said: "Apparently, it's taken me almost five years of running to learn that lesson (or at least to have actively applied the learning to actual practice...)" Great use of the ol' noggin to get the end result! Do you give lessons?

    Hope your ride goes/went well today.

  7. Way to go! Finishing any race is a big accomplishment.

    I loved hearing about your "dirty comments". Too funny I should definitely use them some time in one of my long runs (I run with a bunch of guys), it would help the time pass by a bit quicker.

  8. Snorted when I read the "dirty" comments, LOL.

    You did great at the race, and I agree, proper carb loading makes a huge difference in running quality, too. I feel so much better when I've eaten a nice pasta dinner the night before a big run.