My legs still aren't fully recovered from Chile, but with some rest my Achilles is finally feeling much, much better. I'd say it's near 85% strength -- good enough to run, but not strong enough to push very hard.
Speaking of not pushing very hard -- there was a full schedule of local races this past weekend. Surprisingly, they weren't all at the same time. So I thought I'd have a little fun and race 4 of them (within a 16-hour window) -- three 5k's and a 5-miler. My brother was in town visiting, and he joined me at all the races as photographer.
Race 1: Twilight 5k, Friday, 7pm
I love it when I ask if dogs are allowed and they say, "Yes." Sadie really likes it too. She doesn't have as much fun being all leashed up on the sideline. She also doesn't have much fun when the race begins with the bang of a gun. She's gun-shy and kinda freaked out, but after about 50 meters she was satisfied enough that we were running away from the gun to calm down a bit.
I love seeing smiles on the faces of people that I run past in the park -- they can see how happy Sadie and I both look when we're running. It's always a nice reminder that, above all else, I run for the enjoyment of running.
I was holding onto to second place for the first two miles, but then the third place guy made a surge past me. No matter how fun I am having while running a race, there's still a competitive side of me that wanted to match his surge and hold on to second place. But I stayed back and kept at my even pace, and I held on for a third place finish (1st age-group).
Final time = 19:13
|Snake River (WA/ID border)|
|Sadie wants me to run faster|
|Relaxing after the race|
Race 2: Canine Canter 5k, Saturday, 8am
I've skipped this every year because I'm usually doing a long run on Saturday mornings, and because Sadie doesn't have much fun being around other dogs. (They want to play and have fun, and she just wants to work.)
All of Saturday's races were in Pullman, which means the courses are hilly. A lot of people showed up to register late, so they kept pushing the start time back. This had me a little worried, because I had to drive to a 9am race after this one. We started around 8:20, so I knew I needed to run fast. :)
When I moved into second place shortly after the start, someone yelled to me, "Are you going to try to beat Stephen?"
"Who's Stephen," I said.
"That guy," she pointed to the guy who burst out into the lead. She then added, "He wins this race every year."
Well, I wasn't planning on being competitive, but now...
I stayed within a few seconds of him for about a mile and a half, but then Sadie had to take a restroom break and he was out of sight by the time we were back on the road.
It was a hilly course and my fatigued legs were working hard. I finished in second place. I think this is the only the second time that another dog has crossed the finish line in front of Sadie. She was a little disappointed, but I told her it was mostly her fault. :)
Finish time: 20:22
(does Sadie look bored with how slow I am?)
Race 3: Mom's Weekend 5k Run for Breast Cancer Awareness, Saturday, 9am
My brother and I rushed to the start of Race 3 just in time for registration -- only to hear them announce that the start would be pushed back to 9:30. So I had a little time to sit in the car and get warm.
This was another hilly course (it's hard to run in Pullman without running up or down several hills). My legs were getting a nice burn, and I was in third place after the first climb up to mile 1. I moved into second on the first big downhill, but the guy in the lead had a big enough gap on me (80 meters?) that I had no intention of challenging him -- until I saw him look back just before mile 2; he was looking tired and was (I guessed) wondering if he'd be able to hold on to the lead.
Since I knew most of the last mile was a big hill, I thought I'd push just a tad to see how he did on the hill. He looked back again around mile 2.75 (near the top of the hill), and at that point I was about 10 feet behind him. He had nothing left in the tank, and I cruised to the finish line in first place.
Finish time: 19:55
|Making the turn for the final climb|
|My Brooks Racer ST5's are awesome|
Race 4: 5-Mile Poker Run, Saturday, 11am
The final race was the dessert race: 100% pure fun. (but still pretty hilly)
This was the event that our infant running club put on. The idea was simple: run five 1-mile loops on a trail with great views of the Palouse; grab a card from a deck of cards after each loop; drink a beer at the end of a loop if you want to trade a card in at the end; best hand (not time) wins.
My legs were very tired at this point, so Sadie and I took it pretty easy. My cards weren't promising so I took advantage of the drink-a-beer-for-another-card option after loop 4. Running a mile with a stomach full of beer isn't as fun as it might sound. And, as it turned out, my beer gamble didn't pay off.
Final result: pair of sevens.
|Going over course instructions|
|Why drink out of a water dish when|
you can drink straight from the earth?
|Pair of 7's were a big loser|
(BOSTON MARATHON IS IN ONE WEEK -- I'll post details in a couple days about how to follow me during the most famous of famous marathons.)