Monday, November 26, 2012

The Little Runner That Could

Well, low and behold, things in the training arena have been going along as planned!  We’ve been blessed with a relatively mild fall, and with only one exception, my weekly “long” runs have been without torrential downpour.  There was one ugly Sunday weather-wise, but I persevered.  If you’re training in the winter in the Northwest, you are going to encounter some moisture.  Suck it up, Cupcake!

This past weekend (Thanksgiving) was my first “two-event” weekend, and also my last planned events for 2012.  On Thursday, I participated in the Clark County Turkey Trot 10K.  I’d done the same race last year – the 5K – and found that it is a very well-attended family-oriented event.  Having been an extremely wet week, I was prepared for a soggy trail, and was not disappointed.  But, I kept plugging along – with my predicted run/walk pattern – and found that I was not the last one to cross the finish line.  However, when I checked the chip-timing results, I found that I was, indeed, last.  The gentleman that finished behind me must have started behind me, as his time was shorter.  Oh well…someone has to be last, and I found out long ago that it doesn’t hurt that bad!  J  But, even better than that, I discovered that I had PR’d!!!  My time of 14:36/mile is still very slow, but it’s getting faster each week.

On Sunday, I participated in the Hot Buttered Run 12K at the Historic Fort Vancouver National Reserve & Pearson Air Museum.  This event, too, was very family oriented – with three kids races scheduled after the 5K and 12K finished.  I was able to hook up with some of the “Running Chicks in PDX” for pre-race photos, and really enjoyed connecting.  I still prefer to do the races by myself (which is a good thing, considering my pace!), but I do like to connect.  In fact, some of them were still hanging around when I finished the race.

This was my first 12K distance race, so I knew it would be a PR!  But, my goal was to meet or beat my 10K pace – this was a “run test” event for me, and I planned to leave it all out there.  The course was beautiful, and I was keeping pace very well – until I saw the pack stopped ahead of me.  A train was crossing, and most of the pack ended up being stopped for nearly eight minutes!  Fortunately, I was stopped for just a little over two – and it allowed me to catch up with a couple of the Chicks.  I actually enjoyed the breather – and was able to start off running right after we were allowed to cross. 

One frustration I have is my RunKeeper app on my iPhone.  It’s great for time/pace, etc. – but I find that the GPS is often “off” – especially when going through treed or industrial areas.  Both were the case with this race, so I found myself hitting miles well before I hit the marker.  It’s hard to know actual pace without actual miles.  But, I just kept running.  I came in with a chip-time of 1:50.  With my two-plus minute train stop, I know my time was right at my 10K pace…and I was pleased.  OH!  And, I was not last place!  According to the chip-time results, there were TEN people who came in after me! (I knew there were five, for sure.)

So, now the events are over until the Resolution Run in January.  In the meantime, my long runs get longer.  In fact, next Sunday is a 12-miler, which is my longest run outside of my half-marathon in May.  Over the remainder of the year I get up to 18 miles, and top out at 20 miles in January – before the marathon in February – which is only two months away!  I am a little concerned about hitting the six-hour cutoff time for the marathon, but I will do what I can do.  I keep aiming for the mark – and will hit it the best I can…because I’m LIVING MY FIT DREAMS!