Sunday, February 13, 2011

New shoes, new PR's and some clean air = Great race!

Don't you just love it when things come together!  It's not very often that this happens and when it does it just feels oohhh sooo goood!  Yesterday's 10k was that rare and beautiful day where I fell in love once again with running.  I decided that after 4 years of wearing the same shoe it was time for a change.  I have big feet and I also run in orthotics and when I took my shoes off one day and they felt like 5 pound dumb bells I knew it was time for something a bit lighter.  So, I just bought the Saucony Kinvara trainers.  They are light as a feather and felt like butter on my feet.  Of course I had to special order them because no one seems to carry my size (10.5) plus I get embarrassed when I have to ask the salesman if they have them in my size.  One time the sales dude even said "I bet you're a great swimmer with those flippers."  I just said "why yes I am, thank you very much." Now you know what they say about girls with big feet....

Saucony Kinvara (10.5)

Anyways, the sun was out and it was a bit warmer than the previous race two weeks prior.  Their was no wind and the air was breathable (imagine that).  There were quite a few runners too.  The road runner club named this 10k the state championship so it draws some fast runners.  We just love it because it's fast, flat, organized and the energy is amazing. 

Sunny, no wind and Justin

My goal was to run a negative split.  I always go out too fast and hurt the last half, so I ran a good pace but made sure I kept some in my tank for the turn around.  I hit the 3.1 split at 23:00 which was faster than I had expected and I still felt great.  With two miles to go, I made a friend.  An older fella who was cruising along at a great pace.  He looked at me said, "well are we going to finish this together?"  to which I replied "if I can hang with you great but don't let me hold you back."  We stayed with each other for half a mile or so and then I swear my nos kicked in and I shot out of a canon (well not that fast) and left my new buddy and even passed a few other dudes and one girl for 10th overall female with a time of 45.47 (7.23 pace) and 3rd in my age group.  Yahoo! I did catch up with my friend on our way out and was reminded of the people who are a real inspiration to me.  Although impressive, the young and amazingly fast runners don't inspire me like the older racers do.  If I can still run a sub 50 min. 10k at 50 or even 60 years old I will be one happy lady; big feet and all!

My long, lost ancestor....

As for Justin; lets just say that that guy is on a mission.  He continues to break his old times by minutes.  He is FIT.  His Ironman training is paying off and these smaller races show it.  He had a four hour bike the day prior and swam two miles the morning of the race and was still sweet on his feet.  Way to go babes!  I love to see him at the turnaround and count the guys in front of him.  This time it was 14 and I usually flash him (well not really flash) the number of racers in front of him but this time I just gave him a shout.  I told him to try the negative split thing but of course he can't keep his competitive ego under control and always goes out too fast.  Fast enough though for 12th overall and 37:45 (6.05 pace). Nice job Just.

Justin on the home stretch

Race on my friends,

Michelle (aka Big Foot)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter Running Series and a Warning!

Here we are with our Third and Second place age group ribbons.
As we move through the dog days of winter here in SLC, there is something Michelle and I always look forward to as a way of taking our minds off the yuckiness of it all...the annual Salt Lake City Track Club Winter Running Series.  The series consists of three races (5K, 10K, and 15K) spread over a 6 week period in late January and February.  We've done this series pretty consistently since we started running back in 2003.  We've not always been as competitive about the races as we are now, but we've really enjoyed them as a way to test ourselves and get an early season fitness check.  It's also kept us motivated to get out an run...even in the worst of elements.  In fact, we've done these races in all of the elements imaginable...beautiful sunshine, disgusting smog (this past Saturday for example), brutal winds, and even a blizzard a few years ago.  That's what we love the most about the races...regardless of the conditions, the race will go on.  One year we even witnessed cars/trucks/semi's sliding all over the freeway in a blizzard.  It's like that commercial you see with the song "slip-sliding away...slip sliding away'yay."  It made the race go by a way of entertainment.  No worries; no major accidents were witnessed.
Saltair on a sunny day...

The series is run along the frontage road out at the old Saltair by the Great Salt Lake.  Yes, it's not the prettiest of runs (and a bit smelly at times), but it's nice and flat and generally pretty fast.  It also brings out some of the faster runners in the valley to test their legs, so it's nice to test yourself against some good competition.

As I mentioned before we weren't always as competitive as we are at this time in our lives.  In fact, our first year we ran the 5K together, and came in with a smashing 38:36 time.  At the time, we were excited to have set such an aggressive PR for the race.  Of course, it happened to be our first 5K and we got lost on the way there. (Michelle wouldn't stop and ask for directions...typical female). We arrived at the start line 10 minutes AFTER the race started.   I can hear you all laughing, but yes, we did manage to got lost on the way to Saltair...we have skills.

 In past years we would just casually run the races together, chatting it up and going at a very leisurely pace.  Only in the last couple of years did we decide to actually try to get a little bit faster, and our race times have improved dramatically.  I've set a goal this year to set PR's for the 3 distances during the series.  I'm as fit as I've been in a long time (if not ever) so I figured it's now or never. 

The race this past Saturday went pretty well.  Other than the nasty inversion, the weather was great.  Cold, but calm...very little wind.  I had decided a few days before the race that I wanted to get a good endurance swim in early in the morning before the race.  I ended up getting in a solid 2 miles before we headed out.  After dropping the kiddos off at Brittany's house (thanks again by the way), we headed out to Saltair.  Not exactly sure why we left so early, but we got there an hour early and believe me, killing time at the Great Salt Lake is about as fun as cleaning frozen dog doo doo off lawn.  Fortunately, Michelle was listening to an intense Nora Roberts (or another similar author) book on tape that helped us pass the time....I know what you're thinking and yes, I'm handing in my "man card" tomorrow.

As we toed the line, it was nice to chat with some of the other racers, and we even saw the local Tri Star Leslie HowlettShe ended up having a great race as usual.  Then we were off.  Let me tell you, I never remember how tough these 5K races can be.  I've done 13 marathons, but a 5K still seems to kick my butt!

I decided I wanted to try to go out fast and see how long I could hold it.  At the first mile I felt great and checked the watch as I passed the marker...5:30.  Sweet...things were looking good.  Mile 2 came and I was still hanging in there...had slowed slightly, but was still averaging about a 5:40 pace.  As I pushed up to mile 3 I just couldn't hold the pace and slowed slightly.  I felt a bit bummed as two people passed me just before the 3 mile mark, but I was glad I was able to hang with them for the last few hundred yards.  I ended up setting a PR by 40 seconds and crossed the line in 11th place overall at 18:19 (5:55/mile pace).  Yes, I got chicked this time BUT it was only by 5 seconds.

I still haven't figured out this negative split concept, and it continues to be something I want to focus on, but just can't seem to hold myself back in the beginning.  It's going to be something I continue to work on throughout the rest of the season.

Michelle had another stellar race, coming in with a blazing 22:05 (7:07/mile) 9th female overall.  She didn't set a PR this time, but came very close.  The sad thing is that she hasn't hardly been training this winter, choosing to focus on school and the kiddos while I spend all our free time training...and she still almost set a PR.  Unreal!

In closing, a bit of a warning.  I've received a little feedback about my beans post a few weeks back.  I have to come clean, the beans were not at all the cause of my "issues".  As much as it pains me to say, I found that the unbelievable protein bars Michelle had me addicted to were at fault!  As such, I've had to cut back my protein bar intake!  I still continue to consume tons of beans, and things have been going much better.  Abbi is ecstatic!

Until next time...Tri Hard!