Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Forest Hills 5K

Any given race could be your best or worst race..

This was almost literally a last minute decision to run in the Forest Hills 5K. As I was walking out the door at 7:30 am into a sunny, warm morning I knew I would regret skipping this race. I quickly changed clothes in my car and took off for Nagel Middle School. This was more than just another 5K. This was a fund raising event for my cousin Heather's school district. In addition to the race there was a festival that included a fun mascot race. Before that though, a quick race summary.

I came into the 5K with low expectations. I had just finished a 12 hour overnight shift that was spent mostly on my feet. I've been experiencing achilles tendon pain and calf pain. I'm pretty sure one or the other is going to snap and roll up like a fruit roll up one of these days. Because of this I didn't have a good race at all for the Pig. All things considered I figured if I could make it through the race without the fruit roll up effect I was good.

I was able to work my way up to the front of the pack at the start which was very good. This was an out and back course, so the roads got very congested very quickly. You can play a little Where's Waldo with the photo above. Look for the white hat, red shirt. I won't go into the gory details, because at this point I don't remember the details. I remember Thunderstruck kicking off the race in my ears and thinking this is gonna be damn good race. I remember heading out on a lot of downhill and thinking oh crap, I need to run back up those hills. I remember having something left in the tank and targeting the runner in front of me then mowing him down.

The result was a very solid 21:37 time and a second place finish in my division. Good run, well done.

After the race I stuck around to meet up with the family and catch Heather run in the mascot race. I've got some pretty sweet video that I was planning on editing together and posting here. Maybe someday I will. In the meantime enjoy these photos.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Swimming/Flying Pig Marathon

It's 55 degrees with a light breeze. It's a little overcast. Maybe it's sunny and there are puffy clouds floating lazily along offering an occasional break from a warming sun. I feel weightless. My legs are pumping rhythmically and feel like I could go all day. I'm running the race of my life. There is no pain. The finish line is up ahead, and I have reached the pinnacle of my racing career. I am Pre. I am Bolt. And I am Benoit as she won her second Boston Marathon in a world record time. Then I wake up.

I am standing near the starting line of the Flying Pig Marathon in the pouring rain at 6:45 in the morning.  I have a trash bag with a whole cut out of the bottom over my body trying to keep some square inch dry with no success. My fingers are so soaked my iPhone has stopped responding to my touch. Maybe it's for the best, because I'm pretty sure that if I get my playlist fired up it's going to send a death shock up through the headphone wire and into my brain. Fortunately, as the gun goes off to start the race I get the tunes rolling and I don't die of a sudden shock.

It's an hour later and after slogging it up the hills into and out of Eden Park I'm wishing that there had been a sudden shock that killed me at the start line. I've been running an hour and my legs still haven't quite loosened up and my stomach is starting cramp up...and then I wake up. I said I wake up. Oh no, I'm awake. Crap.

This pretty much sums up my experience at the 2010 Flying Pig Half Marathon. It was wet and soggy. I didn't have a good run at all and my iPhone had a near death experience that lasted for 4 hours after race. I'm fine, but I think it's suffering from PTSD. I can't say it was a total waste of time. Any day out on a run isn't a terrible day, and I did learn a few things.

  • Technical running shirts are awesome. Heavy weight technical running shirts in the rain are terrible. After about 10 minutes I felt like I was running with a wet blanket wrapped around my upper body. When running in the rain forget about planning to stay dry at all. Plan to wear the lightest material that will hold the least amount of water possible. Those dudes that run in speedos don't seem so ridiculous after all. Who am I kidding? Yes they do.
  • There is no such thing as a 100% waterproof pouch/case, especially when you have to open it. I was using an iFitness belt to keep my iPhone and a few things in. It didn't get rain directly in it, but there was so much moisture in the air combined with me opening the pouch and fiddling with said iPhone spelled doom. When in doubt leave the expensive stuff at home.

  • In case of electronics meltdown due to moisture don't freak. There are several remedies for wet electronics that don't include spiking them on the ground when they quit working. Here is one that I was reminded of by a friend on Facebook. Thanks Nathan. Finally I have a use for all those little bags of rice I get at the pig and other races. 
  • Any given race could be your best or worst race no matter how well prepared you thing you are. I suffered pain my knees and tightness in my calves for no really good reason. I also suffered some stomach discomfort. Not sure why. I ate the same thing I've eaten before dozens of other races with the exact opposite results. It's a mystery.
Finally, as I put the pig to bed again for another year, maybe I should say always enjoy the run and the experience. Or, any day running is a good day. That's not true. Some days I hate the run. During races like this I want to quit. I could be sitting on the couch right now reading a book, watching a movie or anything else that doesn't involve rain, pain and running. Then the race is over, and I dry off and the pain subsides.  After a good meal and a few hours on the couch with that movie or book my mind drifts to the pig. Next year. It's gonna be 55 degrees and sunny.  I'll be well trained. I'll be weightless....