Monday, March 28, 2011

Running Update

With all the excitement of brewing two new beers, I've been neglecting to post about the last couple of races we've run.

Back on March 12th, we ran the second race of the Triple Crown of Running --  the Rhodes City Run 10K.  As eager as I was to improve upon my time from last year, I was really getting annoyed with running in the cold.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but when it's cold out, I can't seem to regulate my temperature evenly.  More often than not, I'm cold, so I wear lots of layers.  Then, my core gets hot but my hands and feet are frozen.  I wear gloves and those sorts of things, but it's still annoying.

So yeah, the worst part about races this early in the year is trying to dress for how I'll feel during the race (i.e. - less clothes since it'll be warmer once the sun comes out and we're running), but having to deal with the freezing temperatures while standing around waiting for everything to get going.  That, and I've just been tired a lot more this year, so that morning I really wasn't looking forward to racing.

Once everything got going, I got into it, though, and the race actually went really well.  I tried to restrain myself so I didn't burn out, and I did a pretty good job of that.  The race actually felt easy.  Probably the only bad part of it (aside from the beginning I was ranting about earlier) was that I tried to open it up a little too soon at the end.  I thought I was closer to the finish than I really was when I really started pushing myself, and by the time I could see the finish I was literally about to pass out.  I was hoping to finish in under 55 minutes, but I ended up doing it in 57:47.  Last year I came in at 59:39, so I'm happy with my time (although I would like to run a 10K in warmer weather just to see).

Over the next couple of weeks I didn't keep up with my training program at all.  I think I only ran once per week, so I was definitely nervous about the Papa John's 10 Miler this past Saturday (3/26).  What's worse, early last week we had temperatures in the 80s.  I was wearing shorts for the first time this year, and LOVING it!.  This being Louisville, though, we had a nice cold front move in just in time for the race, and actually ended up having more snow Saturday night.  Go figure.

Prior to the 10 miler, the last time I had run was the previous Friday.  Jennifer and I took the dogs to the park.  She had a 6 mile tempo run to do, and I decided I was going to do my 8 mile long run.  I ended up getting them all done (even though I only ran 7 of them), but it was hard.  I was hurting, and I was ready to quit after just a couple of miles.

So once again, I wasn't looking forward to running in the cold.  Especially not 10 miles.  Especially not through Iroquois park and all of those hills.

For this race, I didn't set a time goal.  I decided I was going to start off easy again and do my best, and just be happy with that.  Of course, I figured I was going to improve upon my time from last year, but I wasn't really concerned about it.  My beer-making hobby had stolen my focus, and I already knew I was capable of completing the race, so I was just going to do it and get it over with.

I think it's fair to say this was the best race I've run so far.  Since the time changed, the sun was actually out before the race began.  Even though it was cold, the sunshine put me in a better mood.  And Jennifer and I ran the first two miles or so together, so that was nice.  I knew I was running slower if she was keeping up with me, but it felt comfortable.  Plus, I was really trying to hold myself back so I didn't burn out during the hills in Iroquois.

The hills were difficult, like I was anticipating, but I never stopped to walk, and neither of my knees gave me any pain.  They both tightened up, but I was able to push on pretty easily.  Once I finally got out of the park and back onto flat ground (around mile 6), my plan was to really start pushing myself.  Physically, I felt fine aside from my knees.  At a couple different spots around miles 7 and 8, my legs started feeling weak, but I kept eating my energy beans and never let myself stop running.  Once I entered the stadium, I felt good enough to really open it up.  I must have been doing under an 8 minute mile (well, that's what it felt like at least) as I crossed the finish.

Last year, I finished the 10 miles in 1:56:05.  I remember joking this year that I'd like to do it in 1:45, but that probably wasn't possible, and that I would be happy doing it in under 1:55.  I ended up doing it in 1:43:22!

Since I haven't been training or doing anything else I should be doing to prepare, the only reason I can find that I'm having so much success with races is that Jennifer is really making sure we're eating lots of healthy, unprocessed foods now.  Although I still don't eat as well as she does, I can definitely see the benefits of eating a healthy diet with how I feel physically now.  Just another reason why I love her so much -- she takes such good care of us!

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