29 March 2008

Campus on the Run 5 km - Race Report

I love springtime in the Northwest. Birds are chirping. Flowers budding. Baseball just around the corner. Ice. Snow. 20+ mph winds. Windchill in the teens. Yes, I love springtime in the Northwest.

So I thought I'd try the Campus on the Run 5 km. When I signed up a few weeks ago, I really did believe it was springtime. I know now that my very public cursing of this winter has brought bad weather karma onto me. Yes, I am to blame for the ice and the snow. If I could've just kept my mouth shut. So you won't hear me say anything bad about it until at least mid-August. By then an ice storm may be refreshing.

Believe it or not, this is my first 5 km. Well, I did participate in one of those Race for the Cure 5 km a few years ago before I actually started running. I don't even remember what my time was. I remember breathing hard and almost passing out. My funniest memory was when I was checking in they asked if I wanted to have a timing chip to put on my shoe. I said, "That's okay, I have a watch." And I laughed at the lady as I was walking away thinking how silly it was to put something on your shoe for timing. "Weird runners don't even know how to use a watch." It wasn't until I did my first "real" race last year that I figured out what the chips were for. Don't make fun of me.

So, I am counting this as my first "real" 5 km. One thing was going to be certain - I was going to set a new PR.

The start was on campus a couple miles away from home so Sadie and I took off a few minutes early so we could run there. Jeanie and Shasta met us a few minutes later.

I timed it so I had just enough time to check in and then wait at the start long enough to want to go home.

Someone left the portable heaters at home.
I asked the guy next to me if we could
cuddle and warm up. He said no.

The starting line was grouped by expected pace. I jumped in with the 8 minute/mile group. I thought that was a realistic pace to stick with. I didn't want to push too hard. I'm still in the easy-goes-it stage with my knee. I was hoping that I could keep myself from pushing it much faster than 8 minute miles. It would be a shame to hurt myself in this 5 km when I have much more important/adventurous races in a few months.

I hear the weather is nice in Florida
this time of year.

You know how everyone starts off way too fast in road races? Well, Pullman's population is university heavy. So imagine that most of the runners are guys 18-22. And most of the rest of the runners are ladies 18-22. I'm not saying that I don't like to show off in front of the ladies when the time is right - but the start of this race was pretty funny. Within 50 meters I was being passed by the 10 minute/mile group. But it wasn't just the guys trying to show off. The ladies were sprinting by me, too. I scooted to the side so I wouldn't get run over.

The start. I was off so fast Jeanie
couldn't even get me in this shot.

I'm not going to say anything bad about winter until August, remember? What I will say is how wonderful the wind and snow felt. Especially when the snow turned to ice and pelted my face. And then back to snow and it would fly up my nose. It was wonderful. I especially like when the wind is so bitterly cold that my eyeballs freeze.

Everyone just ran in a big group
the entire way to stay warm.

I felt good most of the way. The roads were pretty icy (in a good way) in quite a few spots. There were some hills that my legs weren't quite ready for, too. Since I've been running the past month I've been sure to do a lot of walking in between miles. I think this may have been the first time since November that I've run 3 miles with zero walk breaks.

At the top of a big hill a bit past mile one I was breathing pretty hard. Just take deep breaths, I said to myself. Deep breaths and you'll get through this. Then I looked over to the left and realized we were running past the university's Nuclear Radiation Center. Okay, no more deep breaths. In fact, hold your breath for about two hundred more yards. I love the smell of nuclear radiation in the morning.

The hills, the wind, my lack of speed and hill training, my lack of a watch, and the lack of anyone calling out times along the course made it difficult to gauge my pace. I think I held to the 8 minute/mile pace. Maybe a bit faster.

From this angle it's hard to see me dry heaving.

I'm trying to smile. Those guys behind me
are comparing frostbite on their legs.

There was no one even calling out time when I crossed the finish line. So, as of right now (1 day after the race) I still don't know what my time was! I really have no idea. They pulled the tab on my number so I'm assuming it's recorded somewhere. I would guess between 22 and 24, but who knows. I asked someone working the race and they said results would be announced at the award ceremony (which we didn't want to wait for) and they'd be posted online today or tomorrow. So I'm waiting for the online results. I'll post when I know. Overall, it was a good run. And a new PR! I'm not sure what it is yet, but whatever it is will be a PR.

Official time - 22 min 41 sec
7/22 age group
41/~350 overall

Keep running!


22 March 2008

Return to the Wheat

These are the views I can get when my knee feels good enough to carry me outside of town:

There's some amazing running to be done on the roads through these rolling wheat fields.
Moscow Mountain (ID) is in the background. That's where I was last weekend with all the snow.

Sadie pondering what life would be like without running.
The fields have thawed and the up-and-down dirt roads can be slick and muddy.

Is it spring yet?
Temperatures are still very cool, but this wheat seems to be as impatient
and excited for spring to come as I am.

8.5 wheat field miles this morning. It's nice to be back.

Keep running!


16 March 2008

Snow, snow, go away

I want it to melt. All of it!

I knew there was still snow up on Moscow Mountain. I knew the trails wouldn't be very runnable. I knew it snowed a couple inches overnight in the higher elevations. But I couldn't help myself. I still went up there.

A few of the south-facing, open sections of the trail were bare, but most of it was still under about 12-18 inches of packed snow. In most parts the snow was packed enough to run on top of it. Of the 5.5 miles on the trail I was probably able to run about half of it. So it wasn't a total waste of a run.

Both pups came along, too. Shasta loves the snow but her short little legs and fluffy coat combined aren't a good combination with wet snow. Big snowballs form on her legs and belly. A couple times I looked back at her and she could barely walk. Poor Shasta. She has so much fun, though. Sadie chased some deer and couldn't figure out why the deer could run so much faster than her.

There's no snow in the lower elevations and I got in some good runs this week. My knee feels stronger and stronger with each run. It hasn't felt this good since November. I'm happy.

I love taking photos on my runs. For the past year, all my photos had been from my camera phone. Convenient, but not the best photo quality. I'd been looking for a much higher image quality camera that was still small enough to carry on runs. It's been a couple weeks now that I've had my new running camera. The Canon Powershot SD750. I'm very happy with the photos and it is small enough to easily fit in my hand held or my running belt. The only thing it doesn't do as well as I'd like it to do is take videos while I'm running. There's no image stabilizer, so videos I take while I'm running are pretty shaky. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a high quality, ultra-compact camera to take on runs.

09 March 2008

I've Been Working on the Railroad

There's a nice little path down by the railroad track that we've been running on this week. Sadie, as you can see from the photo, is very excited to be back on a running routine.

My knee is feeling decent. Eighteen pain-free miles this week. It still feels weak, but with each run it's feeling better and I'm feeling more confident. Sadie is acting like she's okay with these three and four mile runs by the railroad track, but I can tell she'd much rather be on the trails. I'm hoping by April that the trails on Moscow Mt. will be melted enough to run.

The Spokane River 50 km trail run is in late April and I'd like to be ready for it, but I realize that it might be a stretch to expect that I'll be completely ready by then. My main goal for this season is to be injury-free for the Iceland ultra and White River 50 in July. Any race I can do before then will be a nice bonus.

I'm excited to be running again. This might be another fun year.

Keep running!


Check out my running sticks below.
running sticks

More to come!

02 March 2008

I Runned

So I went on a run. Yes, I did. 3 miles. It was nice. Like reuniting with a long lost friend. I admit, I was a bit teary-eyed after about two miles or so.

My left knee felt...okay. Not great, but there was no pain. It basically felt like I haven't run in a month or so. My plan is to run easy distances the next few weeks to test it out more.

Keep running!