Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Burning Old PR's

What: Five Trails Half Marathon

Where: Leavenworth, KS

When: May 15, 2011

Alrighty folks, I finally did my goal race for this year, and RAWKED IT. I also smashed my previous PR of 2:09 (set in December 2009 at Palm Beach), burned it, and stomped it into the ground. My new personal best is now 1:59:14.

I will rewind all the way back to last Friday to set the stage for this key race. Friday afternoon, DH and I took off for Kansas City, MO, to take part in the Fitness Summit It was a small conference covering topics pertinent to fitness enthusiasts & professionals: nutrition, recovery and of course, training. It lasted into Saturday, and it was such an amazing experience. I learned so much about training smarter, and found physical therapy resources that I hope to incorporate with my mom and her current condition. It was also terrific to meet with people who are just as excited (probably more, actually) about being fit and healthy. It was simply nice to be with those who "get me." Some of you will know what phenomena I am referring to. Whenever fitness enthusiasts (runners included) share tidbits about our training, or sit down to a meal with family/friends/co-workers, it seems that our choices are sometimes maligned. We're seen as "too rigid" and "obsessed" with eating right, and aren't we over-exercising ourselves into a tizzy? By working out a few times a week? It was simply great being able to discuss my fitness interests without getting raised eyebrows and silly judgment calls.

Sorry for the digression, and back to the race. Got up Sunday morning a little before 6AM to get changed, and fuel up with black coffee and sugar, and a cinnamon raisin bagel with natural peanut butter. The java's really important, as it guarantees I don't remain klutzy. We arrived at the race location within 15 minutes (we live very close to the area, so it was a breeze getting to the start/finish).

As for the race itself, it isn't a trail one, as it implies. It is purely road. However, it's backed by the Leavenworth County Historical Society, and the name refers to the five trails pioneers took during the US's westward expansion of the mid to late 1800s. The course is hilly, about 815 ft. in elevation gain. The nastiest part starts around mile 2.5, and lasts for nearly another mile... Though strangely, that didn't get to me today. It was the rolling elevation towards the end that irked me. I used the downhill portions to my advantage and revved up whenever I was on them. However, I've also developed a good running pattern to help me cope with the uphills, and I ran them with gusto, much more than in any other hilly race that I've done.

The race experience went fast. I felt like I had constant momentum. I was also in a giddy mood. I think the positive energy from the Fitness Summit really rubbed off on me. I just kept on yelling out to the race volunteers "Thank you!!" because I truly appreciated them coming out on a chilly (well, it was 48F chilly), overcast Sunday morning to make sure we racers had support. I will have to be a race volunteer one of these days myself, because it was fun being happy & enthused during a race for once!

Other notes: Five Trails is very no-frills. They didn't even have ankle-band timing. Timing was done the old-fashioned way: recording bib numbers as we crossed the finish line! There was probably in all only 400 participants, which was great. It meant less people to contend with on the course. But this race was so together in its organization. It started without a hitch, parking was easy, and the course had more than adequate water/Gatorade stops. Fun, fun, fun.

So I am now a runner who has accomplished her goal of doing a sub-2 hour half. I am incredibly thrilled to see that my somewhat-obsessive training finally paid off! I did it!!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Inspiring & the Sketchy Sides of Marathons

And both happened at this past Sunday's Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati.

The Great Stuff: Legally Blind Woman Wins Marathon

And the Low-Light: Naked Runner in Flying Pig Marathon Pleads Not Guilty

Racing is a very eclectic world indeed.