Sunday, March 27, 2011

Week in Review: Training Week 9

The "meh" edition.

This week. Oh, this week. I hit my miles, and even had some really nice runs in there. But I'm nursing a bruised ego and a sore ankle/arch/something and that puts a not-so-rosy patina on the memory of this week.

First things first, the recap, and since I seemed to have skipped all but one of my non-running workouts this week, let me just touch on the things I DID accomplish.
  • Monday: Run--5 miles, 57 mins, 11:12ish pace: My notes say that I'm not going to complain about what the run wasn't, and instead relish what the run was. Which, of course, tells me that I was probably miserable the entire time. I do know the weather was fantastic, so there's that.
  • Wednesday: Run--5.3 miles, 58 mins, 10:55 pace: A lovely, early AM run before work with some of my old running buddies. Hadn't run with them since November of last year, when they decided to jump to marathon training. It was a chilly morning, but a fantastic run nonetheless. Felt great most of the time and even found myself holding back a little because they wanted to go a little slower.
  • Saturday: Run--7.45 miles, 1:20:26, 10:47ish pace. My first race longer than a 5k, which is a hay-uge milestone for me. The run itself was fine, course wasn't anything fancy, but the trail was smooth and fairly flat. It was a small race (under 100 people?) but everyone was friendly. My only bummer was that I had gotten myself used to the idea that I *might* come home with a medal. They award the top three in each age group (of which there are 13) for both the 5k and the 12k, and last year's race there were only two folks in my age group. So, you could see why maybe I might be a little hopeful. Originally, my only goal was to not finish last, and I did make that goal at least. I might have been 5th to last, but whatever. Anyway, long story shot, I did NOT medal. However, everyone else I knew there who raced got one, including my friend who ran/walked and my other friend who ONLY WALKED. And it was her first 5k. Oy. I know I shouldn't let it bother me, but dammit. Oh well. I ran a 12k! In the freezing cold and snow! At least I got a bottle of Gatorade. And I also took Belly out for Dunkin' Donuts after the race. Donuts are the breakfast of champions, after all.
And my ankle. GD ankle. This is the same foot that was having toe issues earlier. Well, I'm happy to report that my toe problems have gone away. Not sure if it was the lock-lacing on the shoe or the anti-chafe stuff or what, but my toe didn't hurt at all on Saturday. My ankle is a different story, however. It had been bothering me when the toe was acting up, and it's still an issue.

Basically, about 2-3 miles into my run--any run--the interior side of my ankle and down into my arch starts hurting/aching and continues to do so even after I'm finished. Yesterday it throbbed most of the day after the race and even into the night. My self diagnosis is that I'm probably over-pronating on that foot. My feet are angled outward under normal circumstances (duck-footed?), and I think that when I run and get fatigued, they probably tend to do so even more, which leads to running on the inside of my foot/ankle, stretching the tendons ligaments in a bad way, etc. Not good. And I'm not sure if the toe situation was caused by the pronation or vice versa. It's so hard to tell. And maybe the locking-lace trick is putting too much strain on my ankle and not allowing it to flex properly? I don't know--that foot is completely f-ed up and pissing me off.

And I'm back to square one. Is it the shoes? Is it me? Is it the mileage? I'm sort of desperate at this point, trying to find a fix that will at least let me get through the next three weeks of training and the half marathon itself. I've come too far to get sidelined at this point!

So, I broke the cardinal rule of running: I went to Famous Footwear and bought new shoes. Yes, I skipped my Local Running Store (LRS) and headed straight for the place where I had a coupon. Found a pair of Sauconys with some stability/motion control that felt like they hugged my feet nicely. Bought them in an 11, which is what my previous Sauconys were. (My Brooks are 10.5s.) My very first pair of running shoes were FF Sauconys, the cheapest ones I could find there. I loved them and they loved my feet. The only reason I got different ones were because they didn't sell that style any more. So, I went back and found a decent pair at a price I could justify.

In the meantime, I'm trying to ice my arch/ankle a couple times a day, incorporate more stretching of my calves and such and I'll try to keep my gait steady on any training runs this week. These shoes could the biggest mistake of my life, or they could save my hide. Who knows?But honestly, I'm willing to try anything at this point. I just need three more weeks, that's all! Please ankle/foot/whatever. Be kind to me!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


As best I can tell from my records, it was about this time last year that I logged my first slow running miles using the C25K program. Little did I know that those steps would lead to where I am now.

Nearly 40 pounds lighter.

Five 5Ks under my belt and counting.

In training for my first half marathon.

Registered for my first sprint triathlon.

Preparing for my first 12k race this Saturday.

Becoming part of a welcoming, encouraging community of runners of all shapes, sizes, ages, levels.

Finding something that I never thought I'd enjoy and realizing now I can't imagine my life without it.

Wondering why in the hell it took me so damn long to get here.

Knowing I'll never go back.

This morning I ran a 5.3-mile run at 5:30am with some of the friends who encouraged me when I was first starting out. I cruised through the run, holding back a little to stay with the other ladies. If you'd have told the 366-day-ago me that one day I'd finish and enjoy a 5-mile run, I'd have laughed in your face. I've come a long way, baby.

What a difference a year makes. I can hardly wait to see what this year brings.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I have a event countdown clock on my iPod Touch that I downloaded when I first committed to the half marathon, way back in January. I've looked at it a handful of times since then--it just doesn't resonate with me most of the time. But I opened the app today, just for fun, and that's when saw it.


Twenty-seven. 2-7. Less than a month. Less than four weeks, even.

And I panicked.

Rapid heartbeat. Sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. A bit of a head rush. Oh yeah, that's some good adrenaline right there.

What's strange is that since I've been training, I've kept an Excel log of my training, dutifully marking off workouts as I complete them (or miss them--ha), so it's not like I didn't notice the weeks going by. Heck, I post a training recap here every week, and the last one--posted yesterday--was for week 8! So I KNOW the big day is creeping up steadily, stealthily. But I guess seeing it in bold, unmistakable numbers drove the point home. Somehow being on week 9 of a 12-week program isn't as intimidating as seeing 27 days left on a countdown clock.

Here's a sampling of what goes through my head when I stop to think about it all.

  • Should I wear my water bottle waistpack?
  • Will I be able to sleep the night before?
  • What should I eat the night before?
  • What should I eat the morning of?
  • What time should I get up the morning of so that I have time to eat whatever it is I've decided to eat the morning of?
  • What should I wear?
  • Should I buy this shirt?
  • Or maybe this one?
  • Should I start taking engergy chews/gels now so I can practice?
  • What if my toe hurts?
  • Will I finish?
  • Will I meet my goal-that's-not-really-a-goal-because-my-real-goal-is-just-to-finish-but-who-am-I-fooling-of-COURSE-I-have-a-time-goal goal?
  • Will My Friend M regret spending the money on a plane ticket in order to come to BFE to run this silly, small-town race with me?
And on...

Despite my obvious neuroses, I feel like I'm ready. Wait--I feel like I'm going to be ready. As ready as one can be. Yes, you can always train more, but that's the case with any level of participant. I guess what I'm trying to say is that yes, I'm nervous. Yes, I'm anxious. Yes, I wonder how my body will hold up and how badly it'll suck. Yes, I have a ridiculous amount of questions. But at the same time, I'm READY for it. I'm READY to be nervous and anxious and to feel sore and to see if my body can continue to push and do what I want it to do.*

27. Twenty-seven. 2-7. Less than a month. Less than four weeks. Ready or not...

*(Is this whole process supposed to be like pregnancy/childbirth? Seriously, people. I'm having major flashbacks here. I just hope there are fewer bodily fluids.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week in Review: Training Week 8

I've been suffering from some toe issues the past few runs, which aren't very fun at all. I'm getting a lovely callus/corn/not-quite-a-blister/thing on the tip of my second toe on my right foot. It could be shoe issues (namely that they're too small? Or too big? God only knows), form issues (gripping?), or just "one of those things" that happens when you start to amp up mileage. I visited my friendly neighborhood running store and was pleased that they didn't immediately try to upsell me on new shoes or a bunch of other stuff. As an aside, isn't it interesting that the less a store tries to upsell me on crap, the more likely I am to go buy something from them later? Good business right there, folks. Anyway, I think my socks are fine (not cotton) and I think my shoes are fine, so I'm settling on the fact that my form is sucking majorly as I start getting into higher miles. Makes sense, I suppose. Fatigue=bad form=over compensation somewhere=ouch. I had a long run yesterday and I really tried to focus on relaxing my feet/ankles and that helped some. Sure would be nice if I could eliminate the problem for good, though!

Anyway, as I look back, I think the week went fine overall. My mid-week runs were difficult, as usual, but the further I get from them, the better they seem. Isn't that how it always goes?

  • Sunday: No clue. Why do I even bother trying to report this day's activities? I never remember what I do, if I do anything at all.
  • Monday: Run--4.4 miles/46ish minutes/10:27ish pace: It was chilly and windy and I was still tight from Saturday's run. Decent pace though, and I hit my miles. Taking success where I can find it.
  • Tuesday: XT--30 Day Shred L3: Didn't feel like doing anything, so I resorted to my favorite fall-back, the 30 Day Shred. It's a great way to get in 20 tough minutes of strength, cardio and abs. And L3 STILL kicks my butt every single time.
  • Wednesday: Run--4.4 miles/46ish minutes/10:27ish pace: Yes, the exact same run as Monday, with nearly the exact same time (I think I was 3 seconds faster today--ha). Funny thing, though. The whole time I was running, I was thinking that I was going so much slower than Monday and was so miserable (I finally got into the groove around mile 3) and was so down on myself. And then I got home and realized I wasn't any slower than Monday. Go figure. I need to tell the voice in my head to shut up.
  • Thursday: Hair appt--What?! I walked from my car to the salon. That counts for something, right?
  • Friday: Rest.
  • Saturday: Long run!--Leg 1: 1.7 miles, Let 2: 7.4 miles, 9.1 total: Two legs? Oh, yes. It was one of THOSE runs. Weather was calling for rain/storms, but I thought I had it planned that I could be home and done before everything rolled in. Oh, how the universe laughs at me. I got 1.5 miles in and saw lightning. Rain I can handle--lightning? No thanks. Luckily, I was near a friend's house, and they happened to be home, so I ducked inside for a bit to let things roll by. It never really rained, so I waited until the dark, thundery clouds passed and went on my way. However, it had been a good 20 mins since I stopped running and didn't feel I could honestly count the first 1.7 miles as part of my run, so I decided to start over mileage wise. But since I don't have a Garmin or other GPS device, I was just going to tack on a bunch of extra blocks at the end and hope I hit my numbers. Anyway, I leave my friends' house, get about 3 blocks away and am caught in a downpour. Sigh. I don't mind rain running, but I'm not dressed for the "occasion." No hat, just a regular jacket, etc. Whatever. I'll survive, right? Luckily the run itself continued fairly well. A fair bit more adjusting than I usually have to do--jacket on when it's raining, take it off when it's not (because then I was wet and humid and sticky), trying to gauge my distance based on how much time I THINK 8 miles should take me. I did have to stop one more time to let some thunder/lightning pass, but by this time I was about a mile away from done and was NOT going to call it so close to the end. So I plowed through one last downpour--looking every bit like a drowned rat--and made it to my car. And of course, once I got home, not a drop of rain fell the rest of the day, and today has been sunny and warm. Go figure. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

One last note about yesterday's run. I know this is redonk, but I have to address it. Even though my total for the day was over 9 miles, and my schedule only called for 8, I still feel like I cheated the training because I didn't hit 8 miles in one shot. You know? And yes, I only missed hitting 8 by about half a mile, but still. Ugh. I really wanted to see that 8 on the map. I'm trying to look at the big picture and think about all the persevering I did yesterday and the pushing myself to finish and the not giving up. But all I can think of is 7.5 instead of 8. Somebody slap me and tell me I'm stupid.

Less than a month to the half! And this Saturday, 3/26, I have a 12k race. I'm a bit nervous about that because it's about the distance I ran on Leg 2 yesterday and it wasn't my best run ever. I'm hoping that by Saturday I'll be in a better headspace and I'll have the benefit of not having run 1.7 miles prior.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Week in Review: Training Week 7

Before I get into the review, I thought I'd quickly update the water bottle dilemma from last week (because I'm SURE you were all dying to know). I ended up getting the Aphiphod Full-Tilt Velocity waist pack--oh, who am I kidding--FANNY PACK holder thingamabob. It came highly recommended by the woman at the running store and it seemed to fit all my requirements without being too excessive. I wore it on Saturday's long run and LOVED it. And I ended up getting the pink one, because that's what happens when you let your preschool-age daughter help you pick it out. ;)

Also, a shout out to my friend M who absolutely ROCKED her sprint tri on Sunday!

A quick glance at my training spreadsheet shows GREEN across the board, which means I hit all my workouts last week! Yay! And I can't believe Week 7 is already behind me. Yowza.
  • Sunday: I have it marked off as completed, but I have no recollection of what I did! It was a strength/stretch workout, and I vaguely recall doing a DVD, but that's all my pea-sized brain is remembering at the moment.
  • Monday: Run--4.3 miles, 45 minutes, 10:26ish pace: Ah, yes. The first of my "just get it over with" runs this week. It was cold and my legs were tight and tired and I never found my groove. Looking back at my time, I see I held a pretty good pace, but I know I was miserable, and not in a "hurts so good" kind of miserable.
  • Tuesday: Strength--Heard about a "card deck" workout from one of my BBC Running Mamas and decided to try it out. Yowza. The great thing about this workout style is that you decide WHAT to do and the deck decides how much to do. It gives you choice AND keeps you on track at the same time. I ended up doing 42 curl/press combos, 64 burpees, 74 shoulder combos and 83 push ups. All with 8 pound weights. My arms were dead. But it was a great workout!
  • Wednesday: Run--5 miles, 54 minutes, 10:43ish pace: I ran from Ash Wednesday service back home, which takes me from the flat part of town back to the top of the highest part of town. It was cold and dark and windy, but I did it. I wasn't happy most of the time, but I did it.
  • Thursday: Cross training--Spin 40 mins: The usual spin class, the last one before our two-week break. A good class as usual! Nothing out of the ordinary.
  • Friday: Rest day! Always the easiest day to complete.
  • Saturday: Run--7 miles! 1:16, 10:57 pace: I can't really complain about this run at all. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, I had my new water bottle, my iPod and a great attitude. I was amped just enough to get me excited to go (not so much that I was nervous). Not to say I didn't struggle at times--my right ankle/foot started hurting around mile 4 or 5 and my legs were tired about that time too. I hit a mini-wall about mile 6, but I snarfed a couple of fruit snacks (the poor man's energy chews) and realized I had less than a mile to go and got just enough of a second wind to finish strong! And then I rewarded myself with a smoothie and buttered soft pretzel while I waited for the Hubster to come pick me up. Not sure that's on the list of approved recovery foods, but it was good and dammit, I'd earned it!
So happy to have ended the week on a high note with a great long run. My friend M was right--each week I am amazed that I have been able to complete a new longer run at distances I'd never thought I'd do. I still get a little concerned when I realize I basically have to do two of Saturday's long runs back-to-back in order to complete the half, but I also know that by the time that happens I'll be ready for it. That's why the half is in 4 weeks and not last week!

I'm looking forward to another strong week of training this week. Weather should be good once we get past today and I'm ready for more great workouts and new long distances to mark off the schedule.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Belts, bottles and bucks! Oh, my!

Another weekend, another new long run. The schedule calls for a 7-miler, which will put me well over the 1-hour-run mark for two weeks in a row. And with a new long run comes a whole new set of issues to ponder, specifically nutrition and hydration. In the little bit of research I've done, it seems that the nutrition aspect--in the sense of consuming energy products during a run--can be put aside for now. Looks like quite a few runners don't bother with the gels, beans, etc. until they're in the double-digit miles or multi-hour runs. However, I don't think I can ignore the issue of hydration any longer.

Spring has sprung, as they say, and next week's high temps are projected to stay in the upper 50s to low 70s most of the week. BRING IT ON. However, the combination of warmer temps and longer runs means water is going to be a must-have on my long runs from now on.

I've asked some runner friends, polled the interwebs, talked to Mr. Google and...I'm still not sure what to do. I figure I've got a few options.

  • Fuel Belt: Probably the best quality, most well designed option. Reviews are all positive, and my friend M says she's used hers with no issues. However, at this stage in my running life, it seems like overkill. Since I only have the half mary on the horizon, as far as long races go, will I really need it much after April? Granted, I don't plan to quit running so it could get more use as the season wears on and I'm forced to run in even hotter temps. And I assume that it will last for many years, so it's a buy-once option. An "investment." But cost is a factor--big time. At $30+, they aren't cheap. Can I justify the cost for what's essentially a water carrying device that I might wear only four times this year?
  • Fanny-pack style: A little less runner-friendly, as I imagine there could be some flopping around of the whole pack/device unless you get a perfect fit. But bonus points for it having a little pocket to carry a cell phone, key, a bit of money, ID, etc. I don't really think I'll need multiple bottles for different types of fuel (I don't plan to carry energy drinks), so having space for one bottle is really all I think I need at this time. I could also potentially use it in non-running activities--at the zoo, outdoor festivals, regular walks, anytime when I want to have some liquid handy. One major drawback is that it's A FREAKIN' FANNY PACK! Cost is much more reasonable at $20 vs $30 for the fuel belt).
  • Hand-held bottle holder: This is waaaay down on my list of options, simply because when I run, my hands get hot and swell and the thought of having to hold ANYTHING (even if it is strapped to my hand and not really being "held") makes me KEE-RAZY. But they must work for some folks, as I've gotten a few recommendations. One benefit is nothing around the waist that could increase chafing or flopping or anything annoying like that. Cost is even MORE reasonable ($12ish)
  • The Stash-n-Dash: Leaving a bottle of water at some point on the route or in the car and doubling back halfway through for a quick drink break. Possible but unlikely. My routes usually start and end at home and don't often cover the same area twice in the same session. But it could work if I made it work. Cost: FREE.

So here I am, overwhelmed and confused. If I go for the fuel belt, will my husband kill me for spending $30+ on a stupid water bottle belt? Will all the "real" runners make fun of me for trying to be part of the cool crowd? Is it even really necessary? Do I try the fanny pack and hope the flopping isn't crazy annoying? I've pretty much written off the hand-held option as I know it will make me nutsoid. Am I overthinking all this stuff?? (Yes, probably.)

Tomorrow I'll make a trip to my local running store and seek the advice of the friendly folks there. They've never steered me wrong. Then I'll take my new purchase out for a 7-mile spin and see how it goes...and hope the store has a generous return policy if it all goes to hell.

Bottoms up!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mom on Wire

Balancing work, life, motherhood and fun isn't anything new for moms, so this post isn't ground-breaking in any way. Everyone has to find a way to juggle all the parts of their life. I'm still learning to walk that wire between home and hobby.

My struggle isn't so much time as emotion. I feel like I have a good handle on my schedule and making time for all the parts of my life. However, I do struggle with the guilt that comes with carving out the time I need for the things I want to do. The funny part is that sometimes I feel guilty for not feeling more guilty about taking time away from my home life to do what I want. How's that for ridiculous?

The deal is, for the first time in my life I'm taking care of ME. I have a hobby. I have things I like doing that don't involve my husband and child. Sometimes I feel like crap for enjoying my time away from them. And then I feel stupid for feeling like crap. Why shouldn't I enjoy the time I have alone? When did my life become only about my identity as someone's wife/mother?

I guess I do have my share of scheduling issues that need to be ironed out. Dinner time is an especially stressful time for me, as it's usually the only time I have to run. (At least until it's nice enough to get out before work.) My problem is that my sweet, darling, helpful husband seems to be completely clueless on the fact that dinner needs to be started every night. No, there are no magical dinner fairies to deliver food to the house every night. I find myself getting irritated at him when I come home from a run, soaked with sweat and exhausted, to find him on the couch and the chicken still frozen.

But then I wonder if it's fair to expect HIM to rearrange his evening to accommodate MY hobby. I've always done dinner, he's batted clean-up, so why do I expect that things should suddenly be different because MY world has changed.

So, I don't know what to think. Part of me knows that it's not realistic to expect everyone to change just because I have chosen to take on a hobby. It's my responsibility to make my training schedule work within the family's parameters. It's not fair to them and it's pretty selfish of me to change things on a whim. Another part of me wonders if just a little consideration would be too much to ask, for people (ahem, men people) to think and be proactive.

It's hard. I've never been in a position like this, where I've wanted to "do me" as the kids say. I'm happy. I love where I am in my life and what I'm accomplishing. And I love my family and the time I spend with them. I just don't know how to walk the wire my two worlds.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week in Review: Training Week 6

We've reached the halfway point of training, which is hard to believe! Six weeks done, six more to go...
  • Sunday: My very first 6-miler!! (6.12 miles, 1:09, 11:20 pace). And hey, my first hour-plus run. That's pretty cool! Anyway, it was a cold, wet, foggy day. Part of me was excited to get out and conquer this latest foe, another part was not particularly loving the weather. I debated waiting a few hours to see if the thick fog cleared, but I realized that was just an excuse, so I left right then. I took a new route from my house (it would ultimately intersect with a route I pretty often) and it brought a few hills and a loop through West Campus that I thought would NEVER end. I don't know why that loop completely killed my mental strength. Maybe because I didn't know the route and had no distance perspective? Who knows? I was simply happy when I was done with that segment. Another mile or so and I was back to my regular route, where I knew approximate distances and therefore had a better idea of what was ahead of me. And happily, after those first 2.5 miles or so, things went really smoothly. My legs were pretty tired at the end--and having to stop for a stoplight in the last half-mile didn't help, as they didn't want to go again once they'd stopped--but I finished. I FINISHED 6 MILES. And that erases any bad feelings from earlier in the run.
  • Monday: Stretch/Strength--Easy Bob Harper DVD workout, TV yoga: Monday was supposed to be a 4 miler, but I wanted to rest my legs after the previous days' long run, so I did an easy strength/stretch option. Felt good! And it's always fun when Belly does yoga with me. :)
  • Tuesday: 2 miles, 19:36, 10:09 pace. Needed to run, but didn't want to overdo it so I could do my 4 miles on Wednesday (still trying to get back on my regular schedule) and all I had time for was a quick 2 miler. But loved my finish time. A great run and a great pace! Sometimes a quickie is a good thing. ;)
  • Wednesday: 4.11 miles, 43 mins, 10:20 pace--My regularly scheduled Wednesday run, my regularly run route. It was chilly and my legs were a bit stiff, but as usual, my super-awesome running playlist pulled me through the tough times. And I'm crazy stoked about my pace time!!
  • Thursday: LPRD spin class--The usual spin class. It was a good class though--definitely harder than the norm!
  • Friday: Rest. Ahhhh....
  • Saturday: Local 5k race, 31:15 official (30:35 watch time), 10:04 official pace (9:56ish? watch pace). I've recapped the race here, but in short, it was freezing cold and absolutely awesome. It was totally the confidence boost I needed to head into another week of training!
Another week complete, another week closer to the race! I feel like this week was a really good week both in terms of training and in terms of confidence. Of course, that makes me wary of the fall--all good things must come to an end, right? And logically I know that not every week will be sunshine and rainbows, especially now that the mileage is creeping steadily upward. But still...a great week of running is something I accept fully. I'm enjoying it while I can!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Race Report: Shamrock Shuffle 5k

Today marked the beginning of the 2011 racing season for me! I ran a local 5k, nothing exciting, just a small fundraiser. It was absolutely freezing, one of those days where if I hadn't been serious about this training crap, I'd have just stayed in bed. But the sun was shining (despite the sub-freezing temps) and I knew I'd already paid. Besides, my mom was doing it with me (walking) and I figured if she was willing, so was I. My goal was 32:30 or so, something in the 10:30/mile range, which would bring me a new 5k PR.

There was a good crowd for such a cold day, which is always motivating. I think they estimated 400--not too bad considering how small the race was and how cold the morning was. The size did impact the start as there was quite a bottleneck getting everyone onto the narrow levy, and there was a bit of jostling/passing until everyone got settled into paces. I realized early on that I was going too slow--letting the crowd dictate my pace instead of pushing myself to go as fast as I normally would on my own. So, I bumped it up a notch, kicked the gear one higher and started finding my rhythm. I have to admit it felt good to be the pass-er instead of the pass-ee! Checked my watch about mile 1 and was running about 10:07. Zoinks!

I finally hit my comfort zone--wait, that's wrong--I hit my mildly uncomfortable zone, the place where I know I'm pushing myself but not so much that I can't sustain the pace the whole race. Just enough to feel it, not enough to regret it. Hit the turnaround and was hit smack in the face with the freezing headwind. My eyes started watering and I had to give it more gas just to maintain pace. Luckily the path curved just enough--or there were just enough houses/obstructions--that the wind abated for a while. I was able to keep up my pace for the next mile or so.

I hit the 2 mile mark and started feeling the drain. I knew I was getting close to my max, but I was NOT going to stop or slow down. I could see the bridge ahead, and I knew the finish line was just on the other side. Luckily I'd programmed my playlist to play some hard-driving punk rock for the last 6 or 7 minutes, just what I needed to drive ahead.

Up a couple small hills and to the chute! Done. Breathe. Stop the watch.


Come again? Homina what? To say I was thrilled doesn't even begin to describe it. I admit to being a little skeptical of that time, simply because I wasn't sure if I started my watch at the start line and finish line (did I mention it was small and not particularly fancy?). But still, to see that time and know it wasn't too far off the "official" time, most likely, was absolutely exhilarating and invigorating. Yes!

I walked back on the course and met my mom and walked back in with her, we grabbed some free breakfast and headed home. *Official results were posted later and my posted time was 31:15. Still a PR for me (and a big fat one at that), so I'm happy. And I have to think that maybe my true time was somewhere between my watch time and the race time, since I doubt the official time accounted for the bottlenecks at the start and finish. Alright--enough justification and excuses. Official time is official time--just let it go, right??

What matters most is that it was a great, fantastic, surprising start to 2011. I hope this means good things for this racing season!