Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Did a Green Run 10k

I wasn't really expecting much out of this race. Last year I did it in 58" and something. Most of it is on a flat dirt trail, which doesn't make for a lot a running speed. It's natural desert north of a canal. The 10k is a two loop trail, so you have to run by the finish line on your second lap.

I did a twenty minute warm up and felt really unenergetic. The temperature wasn't great for running-high seventies, but I had run in worse. It was going to be a lot of mental work to get psyched for running hard.

Both the 5k and the 10k started at the same time and there were of lot of kids in the race. I think it's great that kids are racing, but they tend to start out fast and then fade. I certainly didn't want them in my way. Apparently, the fastest runners didn't either, because the director made an announcement for the kids to step back so that they didn't get run over. Yeah, right, you five minute per milers just wanted them out of the way.

We started off. It was kind of crowded. I didn't have the adrenalin rush that I usually have and my heart rate was fairly slow. The first mile went by at 9:15, which wasn't too bad. I had to scoot by a few people and try not to get bogged down in the sand on the trail. The second mile went through a grove of trees, which kept the temperature down and I finished that one at the 18:12 mark. An improvement. Maybe this race won't suck as bad as I thought.

The halfway point went by the finish line and I think the race clock read 27:06. I felt really uncomfortable, but the pace was decent. I didn't have the stabbing pain I usually get in my right side chest. My heart rate wasn't as high as it usually is. It was starting to get warm and I was pouring water on myself at the aid stations. The fourth mile in a 10k is usually a dark hole of despair. You are having to maintain or pick up your pace and it's far enough from the end that you know you still have a while to suffer. I wasn't feeling the mental let down, but I had to focus on keeping steady. The fourth mile went by in about 36:12.

The fifth mile was less shady and the temperature was starting to rise. I picked off people to pass just to keep my mind off of my discomfort. I played jackrabbit with a kid before I finally dropped him. It's always satisfying to pass kids. By now my discomfort had increased and I just wanted the race to be done. I had increased my heart rate and tried to increase my pace for final push. Fifth mile was 45:09.

Finally the sixth mile! Only it was marked five. I knew it was wrong because I was back near the finish line, but it made my oxygen deprived brain think for a moment that I had another mile to go. This race seemed endless.

Final time was 56:09, which was the same exact time I had on a previous 10k elsewhere earlier this year. Freaky. I was happy about the time, considering that dirt slows you down. 10ks are a little more forgiving than 5ks. You have more time to make up for mistakes in pacing. You can't run as hard as in a 5k, so the pain is less intense even though it lasts longer. The older I get, the harder I have to work at to be "fast" and it doesn't always work out that way. This race I was happy just to be where I was.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Pulled the Trigger

I signed up for Ironman Canada on August 30, the day after the race. This race will bring challenges that Ironman Arizona doesn't have. It's out of the country, a five hour drive from Vancouver or Tacoma, the weather is unpredictable and the bike leg is much tougher. I am going alone, so I will have no support. I have to get my bike there, which is a pain in the butt. But the scenery is supposed to be beautiful and the crowd support is excellent. I will probably be fighting the cut-offs again and possibly hypothermia if it rains. It's expensive and getting a hotel room was immensely difficult since they all seem to have been booked up the day after the race.

But somehow it makes me happy. I have a race that I am excited about and a goal to work towards. The fear of not finishing will probably make me work harder in training and I might find strengths that I didn't know I had. That's the siren lure of Ironman, when you go beyond what you ever thought possible, against difficult odds, through sheer mental power. It takes away a lot, but it gives back more.