Saturday, May 30, 2009

You Gotta Be Hungry!

For each one of these delicious chocolate chip cookies there is an equally delicious championship ring.

Reds Run For Home 5K post race. More to come...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Hunger Walk & 5K Run

As a last minute decision on Monday morning I headed downtown to run in the Hunger Walk & 5k. The night before I had decided not to go, but per usual I woke up around 7 am and knew I had to go or I would regret it. I know, I'm a weirdo, but knowing that I had sort of committed to going made me think I should show up.

The course was out and back. It started at a small park in downtown and wound up to Eden Park and back down. It was all uphill on the way out and all downhill on the way back. No problem. The plan was simple: haul ass up the hill and fly back down. right? right.

I went straight to the front of the starting line. I was determined not to get stuck in the middle of the pack and waste my energy having to navigate my way to the front. At the starting gun I took off and quickly broke away with a group of 6 or so other guys. Mile 1 kicked off with a quick downhill from the start and on to a little stretch of flat road that slowly began to increase in grade as we headed toward Eden Park. I checked my Garmin and realized I was practically sprinting at sub 6 minute/miles. I forced myself to let off the gas a bit and let the front runners pull away. I knew if I didn't ease up I'd pay for it dearly on the hill.

I felt good and loose as we entered mile 2 and was in full on hill running up Gilbert Ave. As we got up closer to Eden Park I thought I would see the leaders heading back down. I thought we would be turning around at the entrance to Eden Park. Man was I wrong. We took a right on Eden Park Drive and continued to climb toward the top of the hill. The hill was starting to take it's toll as my breathing became more ragged. Just a little further. Just a little further. The turn around was at the top of the hill.

Down we went on Gilbert heading into mile 3. As usual by this point I was tired and questioning my sanity. Why do I do this? It's amazing how long a mile can suddenly seem during a race when you're trying gather your wits and composure after a hill. Each step becomes an effort. Each breath feels forced. I took a couple of suggestions from this month's Runner's World to regain control. Both of them worked!

The first was for side stitches. I was feeling a bit of one coming on as I was heading back down the hill. The suggestion is to notice which foot is striking the ground when you inhale and exhale. Then switch the pattern. I did a little skip step while running to change the rhythm of the run. Worked like a charm.

The second bit of advice has to to do with dealing with pain and fatigue in general. If fatigue begins to set in, or I'm getting sucked in to my head by negative thoughts I repeat a mantra. For me simply counting works. Sometimes I'll count my steps. This time I counted every time my right foot struck the ground. It took my mind off the pain and refocused my breathing.

With the finish closing in it was time for a strong finish. I had been watching a white shirt ahead of me for most of the race. He would pull away a bit then I would reel him back in. As we approached the finish I had him in my sights and decided to try to pass him. With one turn and a small hill left I dug in and started the finishing sprint. I pulled up on him on the final hill and edged past him. As we crested the hill I glanced back to see if he was there. He was falling back. I pulled away for a strong finish.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Pigs Fo Sho!

Pigs Fo Sho made their relay team debut this past Sunday at the 2009 Flying Pig Marathon. We weren't the fastest relay team, but we were definitely the team with the most style. We were looking sooo good. Gina took the first leg of the race coming in with her usual flair and style. I rode my bike down to Eden Park to see her come in for her leg, and Ryan pick up the second leg. It was lots of fun to ride along the route and see the leaders come speeding down Madison Rd. and the pack of people running up through Eden Park.

I then hussled it back home to do a quick change and jog to the start of my leg on Wasson. After a short wait Ryan came in strong and I was off. It was loads of fun running my leg with a reasonable goal and no need to push it. I was able to soak in the marathon day atmosphere on fresh legs and without the worry of those final 6 miles that the full marathoners were going to face. I gave high fives to the kids in Mariemont. I collected a couple of Gu packs to save for another day. I sent texts to Missy and Gina letting them know about my progress. I cruised in to set Missy off on the final leg of the Pigs Fo Sho debut race.

While I missed running the full or half a little bit that morning as I watched the runners go past me while I waited at my start the feeling quickly faded as we headed out that afternoon for a celebration barbeque where I could move around without the post race sore legs. Still, next year it might be on.