Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sharon Classic Race Report (and a Star is Born)

I love the Sharon Classic. It's our hometown race - 5 miles around gorgeous country roads. It's a fundraiser for the day care center, and they make quite a nice little festival - bouncy house, bake sale, silent auction, etc. All the locals come out, as well as a couple of really good runners from the region. There are kids, parents pushing babies in strollers, and lots of walkers. It's supportive, friendly, and well-managed for those who are more competitive (and they never run out of water or food, even if you're the last one in.) I've never enjoyed any race more than this one.

However, each year I get a little slower. In 2007,, my first time running, I did it in 1:01; last year it was 1:02. This year, 1:04 and a half, or so. I don't think I should feel too bad about it. I'm heavier than I was last year, by at least 5 pounds, and my training has been very different - I've basically stuck with the overall high-intensity, low-volume plan, so haven't run more than about 2 miles in at least 2 months. (But have been doing significant sprint work, alternating with weight training.) I am going to check in with my friend and fitness mentor who gave me this plan and ask him if he thinks I could add something more that would help.

It was a gorgeous day for a run - cool, lightly cloudy after a night of rain, no breeze. I felt less anxious than in past races - I'd slept well, and felt calm, if not confident. My 10-year-old daughter was running for the first time in the (not-quite-one) mile race, and I was focused on helping her get ready - she took it VERY seriously. She expected to do a mile in about 11 minutes. I didn't know what to expect - she's slender, fit and fast, but was also just diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma and she hasn't been running - I didn' t know how long she could sustain a run.

She partnered with a good friend who is very athletic. They went out easy, but quickly found themselves in front of just about everyone. She walked for a few seconds up a hill at about the half-mile point, but then got going again, and finished approximately 5th out of at least 25 kids, in about 6:33. I don't know how long the course is - how far short of a mile - but whatever it is, that's FAST! She felt fine afterwards - her lungs felt a little "empty" but she wasn't wheezing or coughing at all. I am so proud of her ability!

For my race, I was feeling stiff and sore, so stopped at the massage table for a pre-race rubdown. He got all the kinks out of my lower and upper back so I felt pretty comfortable starting out. There is nothing I love more than the first minute of a race when it is all possibility and camaraderie! We set off down the green and onto the road, which is all downhill for the first third of a mile. I had no plan - no intention of running and walking at particular intervals. I was just curious to see how this training plan would affect my endurance in a longer run, and decided to just run as much as I could and walk when I had to. The second part of the first mile is mostly uphill, and they put the mile marker (a person with a stopwatch) at the wrong spot - she was at the 4th mile point, which is a little beyond the one mile point (the course is a lollipop - the last part comes back along the beginning.) So my time there, of 13:40, was meaningless. The second mile is always the fastest - it's mostly flat or downhill. SO I wasn't surprised to hit the 2 mile point in 24:03.

The elderly gentleman who always runs just ahead of me was out on the course again, but the 60-something woman who also always just beats me was not here today. (I hope she's OK!) I kept pace with himf or a few miles, always just ahead or just behind, but he never walks, even on the hills, so he pulled way from me eventually. There were tonso f kids out on the course - 4th graders through about 8th grade - and one gaggle of them seemed to be determined to stay ahead of me. They'd sprint ahead, then walk for a while, and when I caught up to them and passed them they'd sprint again. I thought about saying something snarky but kept my mouth shut.

Many aches and pains - my left achilles, which has bothered me for years, both knees at one time or another - but nothing that really slowed me down. My back was fine. The road is very slanted most of the way, and the older gentleman always runs right down the yellow line, I assume because it's flattest there. I do start feeling the strain of the slant.

Psychologically I never went through a big slump - I had low expectations of myself going in, but decided as I went along that I wanted to push myself a little and try to at least match past times. I wish now I'd pushed a little harder - I'm not tired enough now!

I need to figure out a new training plan, and figure out how to commit myself to it. I want to better. I want to go faster. I want to equal or improve my performance from past years. I don't want to have peaked yet.


LBTEPA said...

congratulations to your daughter, what a great effort :)
You haven't peaked yet, don't worry! Maybe thinking of some more specific goals - 'better' and 'faster' are hard to train for! How about '59 minutes for 5 miles'?

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

You got out there. You ran. You finished. Yay, you!!