Monday, June 15, 2009

Catching Up

Um, yeah. Where was I? Sometimes life turns into a bit of a runaway train for me-and you just have to hang on for the ride and see where you are at the end.

Right after the Bolder Boulder, we had a full week's worth of rehearsals in full makeup for all my kids. Due to a variety of schedule conflicts and the only venue we use for our dance studio's annual ballet, the decision was made to move that traditional midwinter performance to the night before our year-end shows. This seemed like a GREAT idea on paper-killing two birds with one stone with time that kids had to block out for shows, and the studio could get the venue for a slightly lower rental fee.

Like I said, great idea-on paper. I never, ever again want to have to try to do my job, get my kids ready, try to keep them clean, and then also have them trying to conserve their energy for THAT many rehearsals and performances. If anything, I am definitely more of a "rub some dirt on it"/"kids are adaptable" mom, but in the end the schedule just wound up being a bit too intense for everyone. It was FANTASTIC once the shows finally went off and I loved this being the first time I pretty much got to watch with undivided attention, with all our kids performing. I just have to say that I am glad that I was able to sneak in a handful of runs and a little trail race during that week, or I may have killed someone.

Early on the Saturday morning of that performance week, I caught a ride with fellow neighborhood runner Carl out to the desert for this funny little club race. It's normally a two dollar entry fee, but when we arrived, we learned that there was a great little recession special taking place. One dollar entry for non-members, and running club members were FREE! That's right. You can't beat that with a stick. It's a no frills/schwag/awards deal, which was fine. I would much rather get a cheap entry and not contribute to my massive tee shirt pile in the closet than deal with a more expensive alternative.

We showed up at roughly 7:00 for the 7:30 race and were rather surprised that nobody was there. Even with this ultra-casual and not exactly supremely well-organized group, one would expect a few people to show up to get in a little stretch or warm-up jog beforehand. We sat waiting in the car until we saw our race director, a local retired doctor in his late seventies, come barreling up the bumpy road like a bat out of hell.

He drove up the road with binoculars to survey the trail he'd flagged the night before to make sure they were still in place. This is a common use area frequented by the motorsports crowd, and there have been times in the past when some in that crowd have thought it would be amusing to yank all the flags to mark the trails out of the ground. Alas, all was right with the cosmos this year, and he came back down the road to set up the registration booth, consisting of a card table with a jar labeled "$1 for non-Striders" and a clipboard to sign yourself in. In total, there were roughly 26 of us there for the event.

When we lined up and started, I was almost a half mile up the trail when I suddenly looked down to see that I had a pace but no time on the Garmin. Whoops, never started the watch. Way to go, MacGyver. I started my watch although I really just paid occasional attention to pace after that.

The group spread out pretty quickly after crossing a starting line that immediately sent us about ten feet down a gully, then right back up the other side, very much resembling a half pipe for skateboarding. There was a small group of men up front and a woman who started out slightly ahead of me who just kept stretching out that distance between us. I'd never seen her before locally and I found out later that she either was visiting or had moved here from Boulder.

Maybe two miles in, I was surprised to totally catch up with her as she stood at the edge of a deep gully, and she asked "do you know where we go?" About ten seconds later, a guy came in right behind me, and said that we get down in it and run--so I slid down the steep bank on my butt, and ran through the arroyo with them.

After that, it was a series of climbs, running the ridgeline, descend, repeat, just as Carl had described to me since this was my first time at this particular run. My form was not awesome going downhill but I tried my best to find that happy medium between out-of-control barrelling down the hills and daintily tiptoeing. After I'd totally caught up with the female leader when we weren't sure where to turn, she took off again and lengthened that lead.

Aside from the guy who caught up and told us where to go, though, I was pretty much able to hold my position to the finish with an official race time of 40:59, 2nd female (it appeared that men out numbered women by about 2:1 at this small event), and 8th overall. The finish was right where the whole thing began at that half pipe gully. This would've been well off a 5 mile PR for a road run but I am satisfied with my first time at this particular run. I think the only way to compare performance would be to run the same race again next year. Some trail courses are just too specific in nature to measure against anything else, and this is one that qualifies there.

The weather was great, and the race was as pressure-free and lowkey as you can get, so it was a great stressbuster to start the last day of the kids' busy performance week. I did indeed feel slightly less crazy by the time I got home to start applying makeup and fixing hair for the last time. Hopefully it'll get me on the right path toward a good run at Imogene in September, as well as the other hilly races I'll do in October and November.

Here are a few photos taken by Carl at the event (he's a fine photographer and they really show what words cannot about this little race):

After that week, I had another week of crazy back-and-forth driving around, getting kids to the vacation day camp they go to at church every year for a week, as well as the first week of regular summer dance classes. The silver lining to my husband's company reducing hours to avoid layoffs a few months ago has been that he's been able to pinch hit with some of this, so that certainly helped. I was still somewhat frazzled, though, since there just was not any down time between the last week of school, performance week, and the start of summer stuff. It just feels good this week to be far away from that dance makeup bag we pull out once or twice a year, and to not be making endless back-and-forth trips all over town.

Up next for me is a little half marathon down in Durango this weekend-the Steamworks Animas Valley Half Marathon. I truly don't know what to expect or what goals to set, as my last half was exactly a year ago, and a total disaster. We'll definitely call it the worst race of 2008. My half marathon PR race was a solid fifteen months ago, and so much has changed in my training and mileage since then.

I'm trying to be optimistic, and it does look like the weather should be about as nice as one could hope for at a June race. It'll definitely be warm by the time we're finishing, but it sounds like it will not be outrageously hot. I'll just look forward to the night out of town on Friday with runner friends Ilana and Jen, and maybe try the early restraint thing that seems to have worked decently for me in the past in 10K's and longer distances.

1 comment:

L.A. Runner said...

Awesome run! Way to go on 2nd place. I can't imagine running and crawling through all that brush.