Thursday, July 30, 2009

Run Into The Shadows

Okay, so I'm sick now, after I thought I had an oncoming cold licked over the weekend. I'm ticked, too, because it's the kind of cold I just can't run through now, with the raw throat, swollen glands in the neck, cough that's trying to get into my chest and nose that is for demonstration purposes only, because there sure isn't any air passing through all that stuffiness. So, I'm looking ahead to a likely running purchase that I'll hopefully be well enough by Monday to use.

I've been doing that crack of dawn trail run with some of the local ladies. That first roll out of bed is the toughest part, but once I get myself out of the bed and subsequently out the door, I am never disappointed that I decided to haul my butt out of bed. The trail is challenging but not extraordinarily technical, and the low level talk with the ladies in an otherwise quiet world is a great way to start the day. For a time, the days were long enough that we'd get going down the little bit of paved road before hitting the trail, and then we'd already have enough light to see where we were going from the sun just beginning to rise.

Well, I realized this past Monday when I parked my car to wait for the ladies in total darkness, and then saw the light of their headlamps coming down the street in their neighborhood, that I was going to have to join the Cult of Headlamp Wearing Early Morning Trail Runners too. I had a friend a few years ago, before I was running, refer to this mythical group of women who got up at crazy hours-five, sometimes four in the morning, and wore lights on their heads as they ran through the darkness. Nobody had ever really SEEN them, though. I thought it was nuts. Who would do that? I should be in a warm bed at that hour. The joke's on me, though. I was lucky enough that their headlamps worked well enough that I could see okay if I stayed right behind them, but it's clear now that I really need my own to stay safe out there in the future. It turns out that this is a great time to squeeze in a run, especially since the family schedule goes haywire every now and again, and if I want to keep doing it I need to make sure I'm not risking life and limb in the dark.

The husband does actually have one of his own-he's used it for overnight snowshoe trips before. It's an old, heavy, clunky thing, though-not something that would work well for running. So, I think I will need to pay a visit to REI and get a little something like this (and, no, I'm not one of those "blog-ola" moms getting paid to rave about a product...though if Petzl or someone other company wants to send me a headlamp, I sure won't send it back in horror):

I already look sleepy and sweaty at that time so why not go the whole nine yards with a bright light shining from my forehead? I'm looking forward to seeing what they have in the store, and officially taking the final step toward craziness I scoffed at a few years ago.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Comically Hilly 10K Race Report

Okay, that's not really the name.....but it would be a more accurate description of the race. There were lots of giggles that any of us would sign up for a race that guarantees hill after hill, many curves in the road, and changes in surface. It's a race not for a PR, but to shoot to avoid a PW (personal worst). It starts at our area dinosaur museum, heads up paved road into a hilly residential neighborhood and then then twists, turns, climbs and falls until the 10K runners hit a hilly, oiled dirt and rock road before finally turning back for the return trip to the museum.

At its peak, this race used to attract hundreds of people when the dinosaur museum was located in our downtown Main Street area, with a nice downhill route that enticed many. The dinosaur museum moved into their new location (not centrally located) a few years ago and the race distance has changed several times, so couple that with a course that nobody would run for fun and it's sadly dwindled down to a pretty small crowd. It's still one of those great courses on which to test yourself, combining a tough hill workout with race conditions.

We were very lucky that we had that cloud cover because we didn't quite get off on time-the race was supposed to start at 7:30, and as of 7:25, the person doing timing still wasn't there(!?!). The guy did show up around 7:28 and did have us ready to go by 7:35. He counted down and off we went.

This was my fifth race in sixth weeks, and between that, knowing that the hills would keep coming, and coming, and coming, and having been a little sick earlier in the week, I did opt for hard running, but not the running at a 12 on a 1 to 10 scale intensity that I was doing from the get-go in the previous two 5K's. There was one girl ahead of me but by the time I'd picked it up as much as I thought I could without blowing up on the hills, she was still pulling away little by little.

Mile 1: 7:33

The second mile was the one with the little downhill, step uphill, repeat...I was VEEERRRY slow on the uphill and got some good speed on the downhill but it wasn't enough to cancel out the lack of speed going up the hill.

Mile 2: 8:11

Heading out on the dirt/rocky road, I was just sort of laughing in my head thinking "this course sucks." It sounds bad, but it actually had the opposite effect and loosened me up. Given the unstable footing, and the hills, this mile was a bit better.

Mile 3: 7:51

Hey, look at that! More hills!

Mile 4: 8:03

I really can't see the first place female anymore...I'd said "looking good" to her as I was going downhill to the turnaround and she was already well on her way back. When I passed my friend Carl as he made his way to the turnaround and I was on my way back, he said she was about 45 seconds up. She had to have been quite a bit ahead at this point. I could hear one guy who was not far back, and given the widely spaced runners where we were, this was at least a chance to try to hold him off, and keep kicking even though first was out of reach unless the girl suddenly stepped out and DNF'd.

Mile 5: 7:39

Now we finally flatten out, relatively speaking, to go back to the start/finish. I don't always like getting a long, one mile look down the road but after all the hills it was okay today.

Mile 6: 7:27

Last garmin measured .44 miles- 7:15. I am not sure if I was really running the tangents THAT badly (possibly...with all the curves in the road) or if the distance was off at all. Total time, 49:54. HAHA. I was kicking in hard on the downhills and trying to charge the uphills and that is still an absolute personal worst if we count it as a road race.....and second to worst if we compare it with my trail 10K's.

I was second overall, first in age group, and I must admit I kind of kicked myself a little when I found out that there was prize money for overall winners, and my worst 5K time over the past two years still would've been good enough for the win. As it was, the 10K winner could not accept her money (same story, actually, for the men's winner) because of NCAA rules. Don't start me on that...that would be a whole topic altogether. It's not like they have boosters throwing sports cars and big money at cross country runners under the table, and it's great for a student to have a little bit of extra cash on hand.

Oh well-I really needed a good hilly, hard run as far as training goes, so I'll take it! We did get all the nice free juice drinks from a race sponsor, and cool dinosaur claw awards. I love it when the awards are something related to the organization putting on the race, and it was a cool and unusual idea.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Are You A Runner Or Walker in Northern Virginia or DC Metro Area?

If so, please direct your attention to this. The Cody's Crew Foundation will be holding the 1st Annual 5K, Mile, and Tot Trot. As stated on the website, this first annual event is to celebrate the life of a remarkable young boy while we run to find a cure for one of the most deadly childhood cancers.

It's taking place in September, according to Cody's Dad Mickey, for two reasons. The first is for Cody's birthday (September 11), and the second is that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. All kid finishers will get medals at this event so it would be a great thing for people to attend with their kids, neices/nephews, or any other young relatives or friends.

There will be a LOT of fun activities associated with the event in addition to the running and walking, and will be a very family-friendly event. It's also a great excuse to get out there in a totally pressure free environment for someone getting back into shape, beginning to run, or even fo the more experienced runner to do something to invigorate their training. I wish I was not half the country away from my native NOVA-I would love to participate! If any of you do know folks it the area and you think they'd be interested, please pass the race information along. They also are looking for volunteers, so that would be a fun way to participate as well.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Got $3000 Burning A Hole In Your Pocket?

Yeah, that's what I thought-same here. But, you must admit-this would be pretty cool. We've made Deena's avocado enchiladas several times (you can see her make them in the "extras" on the Spirit of the Marathon DVD), and even my kid who fears green food digs them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

And the drums...the drums....the drums.....

Just a quickie today....Great DJ by the Ting Tings has embedded itself in my brain lately. I'm not usually a fan of poppy dance music but it just makes me happy. I have been using it at both ends of my treadmill runs, getting me pumped and not dreading the hamster wheel, and again as I finish the medium-long runs midweek to really punch it home hard. Side note to those with preschoolers-they are also the band who sang a really cool Happy Birthday song on Yo Gabba Gabba last year. (Shhhhhh, don't tell anyone that I really, really like to watch DJ Lance and his orange jumpsuit.)

Do any of you who listen to music for runs have any of your own standbys or new favorites that get you going or help you finish big? I listen to the wierdest hodge-podge of stuff during runs, so just throw 'em at me whether you think anyone else would like it or not. It's good to throw new stuff into the mix.

I am fighting a cold with all my might right now, and hoping to get in a decent midweek run this afternoon. I skipped doing a recovery run last night to try to rest up and be ready for something good later. If I just feel disgustingly sick when I start, though, I am going to be smart and call it a day. I am hoping, however, that I can have a decent run after a day of laying low and pumping the fluids. This feels likethe kind of cold that I could just take by surprise and beat into submission and run out of the system if the run is started easily enough.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hybrid Synergy

No, this is not a promo to go get yourself a Prius. I had a dilemma this the group for a hilly trail run, or get in my regular long run as planned. I love getting to run with other people when the opportunity presents itself-especially when I knew there would be several ladies there who were me two years ago, doubtful that they were ready to train for a half marathon after their first 5K's. That said, I raced four weekends in a row and really wanted Sunday off.

When I started running and training, I was totally rigid to checking off workouts on the schedule. I don't think this was bad at all at the time-it kept me going and ensured that I would follow through to my first half marathon. That said, I'm in it for the long haul now and don't worry about splitting hairs like I used to. Besides, I need hill work for all three of my big fall races, and this was a chance for that. I opted for having my cake and eating it too, creating a hybrid run with 3.5 miles of trail with the group, and then heading three minutes down the hill to the riverfront trail to do a 9 mile loop there.

It turns out that this wacky mish-mash of a hybrid run was a great idea. I am weak (wait...let's not do that stereotypical female putting down of one's self...I am PROGRESSING) on trails, and it was a great chance to take my time with others who were new to anything on a trail. Besides the ladies who have already been running, we had one there who had recently had the "I want/need to get in shape" moment. She said she'd run a grand total of one 5K, and finished last after her race companion dropped out, but she didn't care. I remember how intimidated I was at my first group run two years ago and how I almost didn't go because I had this misperception that people were going to look down on me for being new and slow, even though I've since found that nearly all runners, male and female, tend to be very accepting and welcoming of others joining the sport. Hopefully, we didn't beat her too much over the head with the "great job-stick with it! It just gets easier as you go," but she did seem to appreciate it and get that we all start in about the same place.

After the trail run, I headed down for my loop. At first, it felt relatively easy compared to the hilly scrabble and scree I'd just run over. Somewhere around mile ten, though, I hit that point where I thought, "yeah, I'm tired. I could be done now." That's the great thing about loop routes-the only way back was completing the loop, so I sucked it up and finished--and it really wasn't that bad. While I may think about a three to four mile super easy recovery tomorrow, I'm feeling good about having absolutely nothing scheduled tomorrow. I kind of thrive on being go-go-go, but it's nice every once in awhile to just hang out and do nothing in particular.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Everybody's Working For The Weekend

Children of the 70's and 80' can thank me later for planting that little ditty in your head.

It's been a busy week, but this is a good thing. We've been holding our breath about my husband's job for many months, and it's not time to exhale, but his industry's trickle of work has continued, with the scope of a few projects they are handling actually expanding a bit over the past couple of weeks. It doesn't mean things cannot get worse, but we're chalking this up in the "little things going right" column for now. If things continue to go on like this, we're hopeful that the office can return to working 40-hour weeks. If not, we are not taking for granted that underemployment beats unemployment with a stick any day of the year.

I'd be lying if I said we weren't stressed over it at all, or have considered what could happen if the tables turned to the many what-if's of lots of little things starting to go wrong. Still, I think we have both been trying to shut off the negative thinking as much as we can, count our blessings, and try to blow off steam in healthy ways, like when he gets out the mountain bike for an early ride with the guys, or when I pound my way through these short, hard races I've been doing lately.

At my end of things, although I'm pretty much working for peanuts, it feels good to be busy and making the most of the factors I can control. Our dance studio has also been great about throwing us odd jobs when we asked for additional stuff to do besides the cleaning we already do as part of a work-in-trade arrangement, and it's cool because the kids actually seem to be taking pride in making the place look clean and pretty.

I've also been missing my oldest daughter terribly. She is visiting her grandparents this week, and is having a blast, but we've never been away from her for this long so it's hard. Just a few more days, and then she'll be back. On the upside, it means my middle daughter and I have gotten a lot of extra one-on-one time when we normally have a number of "Mom and The Big Girls" stuff with her big sister. We also get to have a little mom/daughter date tomorrow to watch some of the dancers from the studio performing in a show along with the small opera company in our city. The opera blocked out a bunch of seats for any students and families from our studio, so we sure aren't going to turn down free tickets to anything! I've never been to anything like this, so it ought to be interesting. This kiddo somehow got a recessive singing gene (her parents sure can't sing a note) so I think she's really going to enjoy it-it's a comedic opera, nothing too deep and serious.

Oh, and running! I'm still doing that as well (sorry for dumping so much non-running content into this entry, but it needed to find its way out). I will take a break from racing this weekend, so that means I'll actually do a Saturday long run and get to take my Sunday off. I'm unofficially in training for my fall marathon now, but am going to kind of twist the Pfitz 18/55 plan I've done twice now into sort of a 14/65, with an extended base-building period taking place now which also includes a weekly hilly trail run with a group of ladies as part of my own version of Pete's plan. I won't say that I love the sound of the alarm at 4:45 a.m. on Mondays, but I am loving the sights and sounds (or lack thereof) of early morning trail runs, and it's so nice to be finished with the run early in the day. My new strategy on afternoon treadmill running days is "run faster if you don't want to be stuck on the treadmill," and so far, so good with that idea. We will see in another week how that plays out when I go back to the races for a 10K.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So Much To Say, So Much To Say

But no real time to say it today. Instead, I just thought I'd share a little spot for my fall marathon that is set to start airing very soon. I'm trying to remind myself that it's for the beauty of the course, and not think too deeply over the, um, "gentle climb" up the Monument, or the, shall we call it, the "leisurely meander downhill" for the later miles when the muscles will feel just fabulous after that gentle climb.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

To Brink of Nausea, And Beyond-The Monument Downhill 5K

The Monument Downhill 5K was a race in which I'd participated two years prior, but with oldest daughter, so today was my first real time racing the course. It runs from just below the gate to the CO National Monument, down toward town and finishing between a local restaurant and gym. Even at an easy pace two years ago, I decided that this race is not quite as easy feeling as one would think for a downhill, being out there with the sun beating down on you, though it's definitely fast.

On one hand, I really wanted to blow away my 5K PR, but I also woke up with a severe lack of motivation and just didn't have that chomping at the bit feeling as we rode our buses up to the start. I'd been out with the husband for dinner last night, at my favorite local restaurant, Il Bistro Italiano, where we had all kinds of yummy stuff including mango panna cotta for dessert, which was one of the most incredible deserts I'd ever had in my life, but probably not exactly on the "what should I eat if I want to PR tomorrow?" meal plan. I'm pretty sure the Pear Tree martinis (and I don't drink martinis...these things were like candy, I tell ya) were not on the meal plan either, especially when temperatures were forecasted to hit around 100 today.

Turnout for this race looked to be right around 75-100 participants. A number of running friends, acquaintances and other regulars seemed to be there today, including both ladies who finished first and second overall at the race two weeks ago where I was third overall, and really got out of my comfort zone to try to race for that second place slot.

I was glad to see them...they were total competitors on the course and totally friendly off, so I think that got my competitive juices going, knowing that we were going to have a chance to duke it out again. Fellow blogger Rebecca posted recently about some younger female racers who don't have much interest in building any comaraderie between fellow competitors, so I have to say I appreciate that we have a decent contingent of 30, 40 and 50+ year old women who fight like dogs on the course and say "hey, nice finishing kick/you looked strong today" after.

It was getting VERY hot even before 8 a.m., and I was getting antsy to start as the temperature continued to rise, with the occasional hot breeze/no shade from the sun combo. Finally, we were off and I went again with last week's strategy of going on the offensive immediately, chasing after the front group of men.

Of course, we were not even half a mile in when the other two ladies came charging up and slid right past me. I knew how fast we were going this early and that it was well ahead of PR pace for me, so I didn't try to push any more because I do think I would've totally blown up with any more-I had that vaguely sick feeling where you're on that ledge between a great race and disaster. I held my pace, which kept me a little back from them, but not by much, and they were not lengthening the lead.

Mile 1: 6:17

Things kind of flatten out in mile two, and oh man, did I mention the hot wind to our faces? Yuck. I can't breathe and cannot get in a good breath. I try to loosen up and calm down a little without losing pace. I'm getting to the point where I'd love some honest feedback here with regard to whether that's just normal for a race where you go 110%, or if that sounds like a possible touch of exercise-induced asthma. I've experienced episodes like that in extreme heat and cold, though not chronically, and I'm not sure if I ought to visit the doctor for that or just consider it to be par for the course. But, I digress...

Ladies #1 and #2 were still in my sight. All of a sudden, #2 stops for a shoe issue and although it's just ten seconds tops, I try to pound ahead with energy. She's tough, though, and steams on past again but doesn't make it back up to #1. I got a little burst of speed and really gave it all I had, and a few more tenths of a mile up I slid past two guys and the #2 lady, determined to fight to hold onto that position and set a PR.

Mile 2: 6:52

Okay, I am really feeling it now. I did not check my pace on my watch until I knew I was well over the 2.5 mile mark. That stretch of the first half in the third mile is usually pretty mentally tough for me so I thought I'd just disconnect from my Garmin, disconnect from the pain and race hard. First place seemed to be about 15-20 seconds ahead and I didn't want to spend any energy worrying about anyone behind me. I pushed on despite that increasingly more noticeable feeling of wanting to puke. I gave the Garmin a look finally and it was at about 2.6 miles-a great mental place for me when I could say "almost there, put on a good finishing kick, go get that PR."

Approaching the mile 3 mark, we finally get a little bit of shade here and there. It's enough to make a difference for me and I don't feel ready to stop now.

Mile 3: 7:12

I turn the corner for home and can see the finishers chute and don't know if I am close to getting clipped at the finish. I pounded it in hard, and just gave it all I had.

Last .1 (Garmin measured it exactly, too)-:37.74 (6:07 pace), Garmin time 20:58, official race time 20:57, second overall female and first in age group. That's a new PR by 43 seconds, and despite the downhill factor indeed giving us a chance to feel what it would be like to race at sea level, as the RD told us, I'm very happy with that time given that the heat, sun beating down, and stiff hot breeze to the face off and on out there did not make this an easy walk in the park to get that PR.

I thought that only overall open and Masters were getting prizes today, but they had money for second place, too, so I won $25 that I am going to turn around and give to Girls on the Run (I'm running with SoleMates, the former Team Tiara fundraising program for GOTR. If anyone's interested in checking it out, visit my page here).

I also won a door prize, bumper boat tickets for the local fun park, which my kids will love! Only odd thing is that they re-named me the 30-39 winner-even though it was just a ribbon I think they should have bumped me out, and acknowledged the third overall girl as our age group winner. She ran one heckuva race and I was glad we got to push each other out there like that. I believe she was about 25 seconds back from me but don't quote me on that-she had one great finishing kick two weeks ago so I am willing to bet that we were running a lot closer for most of the second half.

So, thus ends my three 5K's in three weeks tour. I have to say that as much as this distance hurts from start to finish, it's been a great way to slide in speed work before I really get started with marathon training. Two weeks from now, I will get to slow the pace down a bit at the Pteranodon Ptrot, where I will run their 10K race. They do have an accompanying 5K, but I've had more than enough of these all-out 5K efforts as of late. I recently ordered a new tech shirt from fellow runner/blogger/shirt designer Flo, and think I will don it for that event, because I really do promise myself a favorite microbrew to sit back and sip on in the evening following races. If anything, maybe I can illicit a few giggles from course volunteers while I am out there.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Cherry Days 5K Race Report

As per usual, I'm now four days late getting Saturday's race report to the bloggeroni. As long as it's there before the next race, I'm doing okay, right?

We had a possibility of not making this race in Paonia (90 minutes away) at all due to a new earlier start this year and conflicting time listings in various publications, but luckily figured out ahead of time about the time change. My middle daughter and I caught a very early ride with our neighborhood running friends Carl and Jo Ann, and headed out for the scenic drive to Paonia. It's a small, funky, cute mountain town, and was offering one of multiple July 4th races in the region, though surprisingly we still do not have one locally even though we're the biggest city in the region. My husband was going to head out about an hour after us with the other three kids to watch the race, giving them a chance to sleep in a bit.

My middle daughter was planning to jog/walk this race and was going to hang with Jo Ann, who was also planning to run some/walk some, and then I was going to double back to cover the second half or so with her. After last week's 5K, and not ever making up time on the first two girls, I decided that I was going to go out aggressively and hang on as long as possible. I used to think I started 5K's at a good pace for me, but the fact of the matter is that I never catch people who go off to an early lead in shorter distance stuff (yeah, light bulb moment) and that it was time to throw caution to the wind a bit. Based on Carl's description of this course, it sounded similar to the course where I ran my 5K PR where there were a couple of good hill climbs, but a couple of good long downhills to balance out those climbs. I think those rolling courses are my strongest suit, so why not choose this for a start with no holding back?

After a very small amount of warm up jogging and a strideout or two, I just relaxed and hung out with my daughter and the other runners until we lined up to start. A few minutes after 8, we were off, and I took off following the small lead pack of men, and one woman up ahead. I could also hear some teenaged voices chattering away right behind me, and worked to get away and get some distance between us.

Somewhere shy of half a mile, I overtook the lead woman and worked to gain more momentum so there wouldn't be that moment like I had in the last 5K where the competition says "uh, no, sorry!" and immediately drops me. I wound through the residential area in this small, pretty mountain town and was enjoying being out there.

Mile 1: 6:58

Did I mention the hills? Oh yeah. Somewhere around this point (I don't know if it was just before the end of that first mile or a little after) there was a decent climb. There were two guys who started way ahead of me that I made up ground on, and then flew past as I did the downhill. Ironically, my work on downhill trails seemed to help here on the flat road-just the whole lifting the knees and springing lightly (not braking or overstriding) worked well.

We continued on ahead to a stretch of open road. What's funny is that the race director told us it was an out and back-Carl and Jo Ann told me it was an out-and-back...yet somehow my brain went out to lunch and I forgot this detail. I saw some guy who appeared to be running back and got confused for a moment and then thought to myself "oh yeah."

I know some people hate and avoid out-and-back courses but I like the mental boost of knowing it's half over. I turned the corner and started heading back, and that's when I could see the small high school girl who was not more than about ten seconds back from me. I didn't know what kind of final kick I might have but kept cranking away and didn't even look at my watch when I heard the second mile beep from the Garmin. Checking it after the race, I had

Mile 2: 7:05

This is the mile that brought an "oops" on my part and the fun and excitement of a close finish. First, the oops. I took one of the corners (I think onto the main street) pretty tightly, and there was an American flag waving from the corner. I thought I was going to just miss it but the breeze caught it just right, and my head and the flag met, and off went my hat. You've heard of wrapping one's self in the American flag? Well, I unintentionally did it for real.

I turned around to grab my hat, and guess who scooped it up and handed it to me? Yep, that high school girl, who had to have been just a few feet behind me. I thanked her twice-I would never expect another runner to grab junk I dropped, especially when we were running so close together like that. That said-this is a reason I like running. There's usually a nice sense of camaraderie out there.

We both came down the Main Street where people were lined up to watch the parade and bed races, and I think we were pretty much neck and neck through here. She picks it up and edges a little past me. I'm really tired but try to disconnect the mind from the body, and keep going hard without a letup. There's a bit of a gentle uphill toward the turn back into the park where the start/finish is located.

Mile 3: 7:25

Coming up that hill, I just gunned it with all I had left and had in my head that I was going to fight to catch her. I was making up ground on her and thought I might be able to pull it out....I heard someone yell "Come on! SPRINT!" to her at the final corner.

Last .1 (I think Garmin measured it just shy): 6:14 pace, :25 seconds.

Final time, 21:53. Second best 5K ever (missed a PR by :13), and good for second place overall (actually, first place 30-39 women because they did single overall winners, then three-deep ten year age groups), just a couple of seconds off the winner who took it to a pace around that last final corner that I could not beat today. Still, it was loads off fun (did I just say "fun" about a 5K?) and I think that maybe I'm on to something with forgetting my old ideas about saving something for the end. By pushing more from the beginning, I was further up the road by the time that 5K extreme fatigue set in.

I doubled back for my daughter, and found out that she, Jo Ann and a pack of other runners had taken a wrong turn earlier. After that, the three of us went along for a bit, and then I went with my daughter, alternating brisk walking and jogging. Not sure of her finish time and there was not an official 12 and under age group, but they did give a medal to her, as well as the other two children who finished the 5K, which was nice.

They also had a ton of extra shirts, so we scored some extras when the race director quite seriously said after awards "anyone want to grab some of these?" All in all, it was not a bad way to spend the morning without turning it into an all day, exhausting deal for the kiddos.

Now, my Lazy (Wo)Man's Speed Work Tour continues with yet another 5K this Saturday. I have to say that I've been enjoying not doing speed work during the week, and just double-dipping with the short distance races. It'll be a downhill race starting near the east gate to the Colorado National Monument, just about three minutes from my house.

I also don't think I've mentioned it on the blog, but I am now registered for my fall marathon, the inaugural Rim Rock Marathon. For many years, the Rim Rock Run was a 22.6 gate-to-gate race across the Colorado National Monument. Although some old-timer runners have grumbled about the conversion to marathon distance, I think it's a good thing, logistically speaking, allowing for two miles of flat road to warm up instead of immediately climbing from the east gate as in the past, and now ending in the James M Robb State Park.

It also used to end at the west gate with traffic whizzing by, and this will just be a lot more spectator friendly, and make for a better place for racers to hang post-race. It is definitely NOT any kind of BQ course (nor do I think it's even certified yet) but it doesn't matter...this is my "fun" marathon for the fall where there is no pressure to perform to a predetermined standard. I'm also excited that Girls on the Run is going to be one of the primary beneficiaries of any race profits, as I start my third year with the SoleMates (formerly Team Tiara), the fundraising program for GOTR. I'll just do my best and enjoy the views.