Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yep, It's Another RR (Race Report, AND a Recipe Review)

The Children with Hope 5Kwas a brand new 5K race here, benefitting a group home (orphanage) for children-many of whom are infants-in Eldoret, Kenya. The people who got this race going have a kid who runs high school XC, and were also very involved with getting the group home going, so I expected that it was going to be a fairly well-organized event even though it was their first time putting it on.

I got out there with my oldest daughter, picked up our packets and checked out the course map in the bag (a nice touch-even though I'm fairly familiar with a lot of the race routes here, you don't routinely get course maps at area races). We visited with various other friends and acquaintances, including one of my old training partners who is getting back into the running groove after having her second child a few months back. We took a look at the awards table and I have to say I really, really wanted to win one of the overalls. They were wooden sculpted animals (Giraffe for first place, Gazelle for second, Elephant for third, with the female third having a baby elephant underneath, trunk to trunk).

This was going to be a cross country course, and with all the rain we had yesterday, I was expecting the grass to be slippery and dirt trail spots to be muddy, That said, this is a relatively flattish course and I had a totally no-pressure, just do what you can in the conditions attitude. After last week's very stressful start, I just felt night-and-day different, and very relaxed. I lined up near the 11-year-old son of one of the runners I ran with early last week, and Alexis lined up with the woman and her younger daughter. A few minutes later, off we went.

I tried to slink through the initial mob as quickly as I could and take the first corner tightly, and might have been about eight women back in that first quarter to half mile. This didn't concern me because I'm learning that for shorter races, I tend to build steam and make up ground on other women little by little. In the second half of the first mile, I was able to ease past several women and counted myself four back. Then, I noticed that the girl who was running third was sagging slightly-not much-but she'd dropped her pace a little. As the first mile marker approached I moved past her, and on into third. First and second place were ahead but not totally out of sight.

Mile 1: 7:01

In the second mile, we continued on a combination of slippery grass, muddy/wet dirt and some sections of paved concrete path. It climbed a little bit in spots but we're not talking anything remotely hilly-lots of turns around tight corners, little ponds and other landmarks. On the relative "How Good Does This 5K feel? (puke my guts out? Breathing's a challenge? This feels only sort of torturous?) scale, I was breathing hard and working hard but staying loose and didn't think I was going to just lose it out there.

I'd made up considerable ground on the number two woman by the middle of the second mile. She seemed like she's lost focus for a minute after taking a turn a little funny and I thought this was when I could try to make a move (exciting for me...I tend to be a more conservative short distance racer-this is going out of my comfort zone). I get right up on her side (and pass another guy in the process), and I could just feel her whole "Oh HELL NO!" dropping of the hammer on me as she picked it up and refused to let me overtake her. She pulled away but I stayed on her tail and didn't let myself slink away in defeat. I was sure feeling it out there physically, but mentally felt totally on-which surprised me in the 70+ degree temps and high humidity.

Mile 2: 7:43

Coming in to the third mile, we really were just going flat on around the edge of the soccer fields there, mostly on grass but again with some mud, wet dirt and pavement. I cranked it mentally into a different gear because it seems like my tendency is a pretty precipitous dropoff after good first miles. As I was taking another turn in the third mile with about half a mile to go, the volunteer did the standard "looking good! Almost there!" to the second place woman, and then said something similar to me, followed by something to the effect of "Now go get her/Go catch her!" a little lower.

Second place was sagging just a little and I was not dropping off any. Normally the "almost there!" stuff does nothing for me, but it really fueled the fire to stay on her tail and try to catch up in the final few tenths on the course. I got within about ten feet of her again and she did give a little sidelong look where she was trying to check my position without being obvious, and started punching it hard as we took the final turn before heading straight on in to the finish.

Mile 3: 7:42

With about three tenths of a mile to go, she checked my position and really kicked hard-I kicked as hard as I could to not let her slip away and seemed like I might be able to get her but then she kicked it up again, turning two more times in the final tenth or so as I turned it over as fast as I could, but just couldn't close that gap any more.

Last Split (my Garmin measured .21 miles): 1:25, or a 6:45 pace.

Garmin time-23:51

Official time-23:52.3, Third female OA.

This wasn't a particularly fast time at all, but I actually feel really good about my run. It was warm, it was slippery/muddy in spots, and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone in trying to make that move for second although it didn't ultimately pan out. It was also really fun to TRY to race and beat someone like that, and that she responded aggressively, which probably meant a better race for both of us versus really spread out women. As it turned out, nearly everyone there ran moderately to considerably slower than a typical road 5K, and I don't really think I had anything else in me during the race that would've altered my finish time (except maybe for the worse if I'd ignored conditions of the day).

My daughter did not have a great day at all-in fact, I don't think she's had a day like that in about two years. I trotted back to find her, and jogged in with her but she was just NOT feeling good out there. Still, she finished....and it's always nice to cross that finish line and say well, not a good day out there but I got through it!

So, when we got the awards, I did get that elephant mama and baby sculpture-definitely the coolest award I've ever received at a race! They were really on top of things with the awards with taking photos of the overalls, and age groups, and although they didn't get 60+ AG's printed on their results sheet, they were able to pinch hit because of the good timing system that has placements recorded on time cards for everyone. With that being the major glitch for the first year, I think they did an awesome job, and look forward to running it again next year.

On a side note, I talked to one of the race organizers and it seems like I've found a potential home for all the cloth diapers I've got just sitting here taking up space now that nobody wears them here! I had checked out some photos of the children's home and saw a bunch of the babies sitting in kooshy chairs, wearing the modern variety of cloth that I used with my kids, and sounds like they might be able to use some of what I've got for the kids, although they'll have to wait until someone is going over there as it is very expensive to ship or mail stuff.

In other news that isn't really news (I have never kept it a secret that I really like to eat), I tried out yet another popular recipe from Cooking Light that is definitely going to the keeper list. It was among the reader favorites in the Five Star Casserole category (i.e.,. when you're a previously overweight gal or guy and are jonesing a little bit for some of that old comfort food, yet not willing to go back to the old way of eating-this is your promised land of recipes). We made this Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese.

While it's not a unique dish by any stretch, it was nice, tasty and easy to make. The recipe claimed to make tons of leftovers, but I always have to remind myself that they're not usually referring to families of six. That said, we didn't clean out the entire casserole in one sitting, a bit of a surprise since all the kids dug in and did the clean plate club thing with this meal.

I'm on a bit of a Cooking Light roll this week, too, and just made this Hash Brown Casserole for dinner tonight, and have my eyes on the Swiss Chard Spanakopita for later in the week.

Now, I'm off to continue what has been a bizarrely productive week for me....not bizarre in that I have been productive, but bizarre in that I've been over-the-top motivated to get things done on the homefront, like some kind of possessed Stepford Wife. I'm sure this too will pass but at the to-do list will be briefly shorter when the time comes that I lose all motivation to do anything productive. Next race up will be a Fourth of July 5K in the small mountain town of Paonia, Colorado, for their Cherry Days festival.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dear Treadmill,

Please, I know it's been a long time since we've seen each other, and negative words have been spoken, but hear me out.

I know we've often been at odds-you with your inflexible and unchanging view of the world, and my desire for more curvy and attractive running routes. I grew bored with you, and your inability to meet my needs. When I had the chance to leave you, out I went to sow my wild oats. But, it seems, I truly didn't realize how little I appreciate you, and how much you give back to me.

I thought back to those great times we had together. Remember that time we spent over three hours together during a rainstorm last winter? Twenty one miles together-that was a special thing. How about the speed work we did together before the Marine Corps Marathon? I didn't think about it then, but looking back, I now understand how exciting and dangerous you can really be when you want. 5K pace intervals with your back against the wall? Wow-one wrong step and I would have been toast! And here I used to live under the misconception that we had a comfortable and boring relationship.

Comfort isn't such a bad thing, either. You're always patient with me, and let me leave any time to refill my water bottle. And you always stay faithfully parked ten feet from the bathroom. The river trail doesn't take care of me like that.

I also remembered yesterday, during what was my last outdoor evening run for awhile, how nice it can be when it's just the two of us. When we spend time together, I don't have to worry myself with others coming between us, which was starting to happen when I tried to spend quality time with the river trail.

First, there was Mister Wannabe Hollister Model with the Frosted Tips and Too Much Cologne who let his dog lunge at me in my lane not once, not twice, but THREE times as I went back and forth. Thanks for sneering at me the third time I went by when you had to stop making out with your girlfriend to pull your dog back at the last second. That was a nice touch. The river trail may seem made for a great relationship of running, but maybe things are different now.

Then there's Little Miss Texting Teenager who parked her bike in the oncoming lane (where I was) next to her mom who was just parked in her lane. She didn't like it when I did not move all the way off the trail to accomodate her position and breezed within about an inch of her, and her mom felt the need to make a snarky comment later when I was finishing my run (and on the very edge of the trail so just about anyone could get by). It might have been easier if I'd just jumped totally off the trail to allow her to have the trail all to herself, but I've been making lots of concessions like that recently as the weather has warmed, and it was time to put my foot down-literally-on the trail, and not off in the brush.

If the river trail is going to let these people into our relationship, then it definitely makes it easier to just go ahead and make a clean break now. You and I have some people involved in our relationship, but it's the ones who are important-that tired daddy and those four little monkeys. For all of its beauty, I was failing to see what a good thing I also had right in front of me.

So, I ask you with great sincerity, Treadmill, to please take me back. Let's try to make it work for a few months and see where things go. I know I've said some lousy things about you and disrespected you in the presence of other runners. Forgive me. I was wrong about you. Can we start spending some nice evenings together-nice music playing from your speakers, my hair blowing in the fan breeze?

Maybe it won't last forever, but I think we owe it to each other to give things another shot. What do you say we meet for a nice, easy, get re-aquainted session later this evening?

Love, Your Long Lost Running Partner.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The 2009 Steamworks Half Marathon

Or, alternately titled...It Started At The Port-a-Potty, And Ended With Melting Beer Cups

Stay with me for a minute on this.

This race weekend started with picking up my friend Jen, who lives an hour south of me, and then heading over several "don't look down" scary mountain pass roads from Ouray, past Silverton, over Red Mountain Pass and eventually down into Durango, Colorado, which really isn't that FAR from where we live, but takes a long time to reach because of those slow speeds and caution we have to use driving over. We got to Ilana's place and checked out our race packets. SWEET...we got technical shirts at this race with the low entry fee, and everything was in a nice reusable bag.

I got an excellent night's sleep after spending an hour or so reading some of Ilana's travel and outdoor magazines in the guest bedroom, and we were up and ready to go with what seemed like plenty of time. Now, here's where it gets dicey.

We headed over to the athletic club where the mandatory buses to the start were taking off. We got on an empty bus parked in what seemed like the first stall out of the lot, and waited. We were delayed a bit as a runner and the bus driver debated an issue that seemed to have been cleared with the race director, but wasn't actually legal with the bus company regarding taking a toddler and stroller to the start on the bus. We finally got out of there, but this bus driver kept stopping at every railroad crossing (for the tourist train, the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad which didn't even start running for the day until 8 a.m.), and asking us to be quiet like five year olds. Yeah.

We finally got to the starting area, or, to be more accurate, a few tenths of a mile downhill from the start. When we arrived, we immediately got on the port-a-potty line. Did I mention that there were THREE port a potties in total for over three hundred runners? I needed to make a pit stop, though, as did Jen and Ilana, so we got on line and waited. And waited. AND.....it was getting ridiculous as I watched the clock, thinking surely they'll hold the race a few minutes with all these people waiting.

I finally got my turn and came out quickly, and Jen was THE last person to duck on in as I started running up the hill...you know, just in case they really did start right at eight. I was at near half-marathon pace when I finally reached the top of the hill, and heard them already doing the practice countdown just before the start! Crap! Here I was totally out of breath from dashing up the hill and I was going to have absolutely NO time to catch my breath, stand there and build that good nervous energy that comes from waiting at the start. No time, either, to move my way more to about where I would normally start, somewhere between the middle and front of the group. I hoped that Jen was hurrying up the hill quickly and not taking her time because just a few seconds later, the real countdown happened and the gun fired. Off we went.

I hit the start button on my Garmin...really, I do remember doing this. I swear. I didn't look at it, though, and was instead trying to weave along the edge of the pack, practically in the ditch, going past walkers, slower joggers, and then finally getting settled in maybe half a mile down the road. I check my pace and time-CRAP again! It's registering pace but no time. I slap the start button again and give it a good look to make sure it's running. This happened at the last race, too. So, great. I'm not going to have an accurate gauge of total time or anything now.

First few mile splits, starting at about the half mile point, are as follows:

Mile 1: 7:26
Mile 2: 7:44
Mile 3: 8:13

I believe I was off to sort of a gangbusters start (too fast), which isn't unusual for me before reigning myself in, coupled with the adrenaline of nearly missing the start. There was a small amount of passing/being passed in the first few miles, but it seemed like people at my pace sorted out pretty fast and there wasn't much movement going on.

Soon we got into the business of rolling, rolling, rolling...keep that course route rolling. Holy cow. these were some serious rolls bordering on being hilly out there. I didn't feel awful but this didn't feel like it was going to be one of those magical days, either, like the Eisenhower Marathon where EVERYTHING from weather to my mood to how my body felt were all just as good as it got. I felt like I was still trying to settle down from that rush from the bathroom to the start.

Mile 4: 8:09
Mile 5: 8:05
Mile 6: 8:13
Mile 7: 8:13
Mile 8: 8:21

Ew. I'm starting to feel icky now. Maybe it wasn't a brilliant idea to re-start ballet classes earlier in the week, or start this womens toning (butt kicking) class at the studio for the first time also. I did some toning work on my own and hadn't thought it would make me as sore to start the class as I was for days after. Oh well. Live and learn.

Mile 9: 8:27
Mile 10: 8:25

Ick. The wheels really wanted to come off here. Just as we talk about reading strategies with our daughter's first grade teacher to help her sort things out, I started using some strategies at this point to not let myself take on a defeatist attitude and turn the whole thing into a glorified training run. I'd keep an eye on short landmarks ahead, look at stuff around me, and do whatever I could to kind of disconnect from anything negative or mentally draining.

In this mile, I suddenly hear someone talking to me, and there's Ilana...absolutely springing along and looking great. She was having what she called the pixie dust race, WELL ahead of all of her goals, throwing her race plan out the window and just going for it. I was excited for her to see her doing so awesome, and it gave me a nice mental break from racing by myself. She bounded on ahead, and picked off a few more runners as she went, having what was turning out to be her race of the year thus far. Me...I was hurting...and the late hills were trying to get the best of me.

Mile 11: 8:43
Mile 12: 9:00

Wow, was this not how I wanted to end. I dug in and just kind of gave myself the internal pep talk of "Come on! Faster you run, faster you're done! Incessant forward motion! Go!" I slowed WAY down in the last mile but then managed to pick it up as I was coming uphill to the finish at the athletic club.

The pace for what it recorded of the time to the finish (9:22 for .6 miles, 5:36 actual time) is pretty crummy sounding versus my start, but the disparity could have been even greater if I'd just let it go and hobbled in. I just did the best I could to have nothing left at the finish, and was honestly pretty discouraged that while I was going to PR, I could see on the time clock that it would be by barely a minute off of what was already a very soft half marathon PR. Still, a PR is a PR and I did set a new half marathon mark of 1:46:29. This wound up being 9th place among open females (possibly 8th....we found a "Dave" in the female results and have a sneaking suspicion that "Dave" is not really an Under 40 "Female."

This was something like 13th overall for me between combined Masters, Grandmasters, and Open Women...I think 145 was our approximate head count. Not the hammering home a huge PR I wanted, so I think that THIS will be a big do-over race for next year. I want to try it again with what will surely be a better port-a-potty and transportation time window situation. Everything else about this race was fabulous (we got nice pint glasses and medals at the finish, and a terrific party with food from the grill, beer, and massages for runners) and it was challenging enough on the course with how much it rolled that I'm not going to beat myself up too much for not coming anywhere close to what seemed like a reasonable "gimme" time of 1:45 based on other performances this year at different distances.

As for my friends, Ilana came in at 1:44 and change, was third female Master and had a huge PR for the course and for a half. Jen, who got stuck in the port-a-potty, arrived at the start to find NOBODY there...not even WALKERS that were there with Team in Training! She isn't sure because there was no chip mat at the start-just the finish-but estimates she missed the start by a good five minutes, give or take. Despite that, her official time of 1:54 was good enough for 18th open female (well, 17th, minus Mrs. Dave), and if you factor in the time she lost, it would've been even higher up the charts. Pretty good to hang in there and not wind up with a throwaway race when all was said and done.

We had a pretty good time at the after party, with each of us getting massages (which I swear is helping to diminish my soreness...this is the best I've ever felt after a half), eating lots of food, having several beers, and going into the club's hot tub in the women's locker room, then the sauna. Ah, yes, the sauna, where plastic beer cups become works of art. But first, some photos of the finishers.

L-R: Me, Ilana, Jen

The party's just getting started at the athletic club. Check out the tent..that's where the burgers, veggie burgers (yummy, yummy veggie burgers that I had to eat, even though I am a bona fide meat eater, because they looked so good), pasta salad, chips, and beer from the title sponsor Steamworks Brewery were located.

More runners enjoying the post-race festivities with a good massage

Check out how literally twisted and warped these cups became after we headed into the locker room, and spent a little time enjoying the heat of the sauna when it started getting chilly outside. I'm glad I was almost done with my beer at that point-don't want to think too deeply on drinking liquid from a melting cup.

Jen models the melted cups. Sorry. I was just fascinated with how these cups crumpled so quickly.

We took a stroll to downtown Durango to stretch the legs, get a bite to eat, and pick up some beer from Steamworks that Jen and I could each bring back to our husbands for little Father's Day/thanks for holding down the fort while the moms are racing gifts. It was bustling downtown, with a car show and the Who's Your Daddy festival going on, complete with bands:

Lastly, we became owners of a Toyota Prius about two years ago when our very very old minivan finally died a quick death, and we decided to take advantage of the available tax break at the time with my husband purchasing the smaller hybrid car since I already cart the kids around in a minivan, and didn't need a second larger vehicle. He really enjoys his car, so I had to take this photo for him when I saw that it is also the vehicle of choice for Durango's finest:

So, there you have it. I really haven't had a home run type of race since my marathon, but it's good, too, in that I've got renewed determination to really get cracking with mileage and quality speed work this summer. Up next will be several local 5K's that I plan to use as speed work-then it's diving right back into a marathon plan for fall. More on that in another blog entry, though-this one is already painfully long!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Magical Mystery Tour

It's waiting to take me away, all right.

As mentioned in the last blog, my first half marathon in a full year is tomorrow. I will be running the Steamworks Animas Valley Half Marathon in Durango, and it's truly a mystery as to how I will perform. I've completed two marathons, and countless other races between 5 and 10K in the past year, but the Festival of Ugly that was the Slacker Half was my last time at 13.1. That race was an utter disaster to start, though I finished strong. I just never made up the time I lost early from my palpitating heart/throbbing hand/altitude sickness walk break. I limped in around 1:53 (after a half PR of 1:47 three months prior), and haven't had a crack at the distance again since then.

My training and mileage have changed considerably since then so I truly don't have a clue what a realistic goal should be for tomorrow on a brand new course to me. It sounds like it'll be a hot one, and I'm going up slightly in altitude, though not enough that I should experience any sickness or fatigue along the lines of that nearly 11,000 foot start at the Slacker. The bridge at the start of Steamworks was featured in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but hopefully I won't have an unexpected demise as I make my way from there to the finish line.

I almost ran the Slacker again, but I a)don't think I necessarily needed to go back to the same event as a "revenge run," and b)it's really important right now that I budget well for out of town races, and it made good financial sense to race closer to home, where I can drive down to Delta, pick up fellow runner Jen, then continue on to Durango where we will both be staying with fellow runner Ilana.

Comaraderie with a Western Slope crowd and beer/burgers at the Steamworks Brewery after the race just sounds a bit more fun than the-um-a few of those Front Range runners take themselves a bit too seriously. Don't want to start an East-West rumble but I've learned over the past two and a half years of running that I love our hot mess club races and other larger, yet still small regional races, and the mountain runners who show up for them.

So, as I type, the last of my laundry is spinning in the dryer. Nothing like waiting until the last second, though to be fair, I've had a mostly productive week around the house, and have been trying to streamline the weekly square dance that is dropping kids off at various classes, camps and other activities. When I return on Saturday night, I'll be making a quick trip to the grocery store with my middle daughter, who is also my Father's Day brunch planning partner in crime. She already came to me weeks ago with an elaborate breakfast in bed meal plan, right down to how the food will be served, and how her Daddy should take the first bite with us all watching. She was similarly "in charge" of my Mother's Day food festivities. I swear this kid may have a future career in event planning.

All things considered, I'm excited and optimistic about this weekend. I don't know how things will pan out tomorrow but it's going to be great to get a little 24-hour staycation-like day to myself, and then return and do a whole lot of nothing, and whatever else my husband feels like doing on his big day.

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.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The 2009 Bolder Boulder, Episode Two

Not much talky talky from me in this one. Just some photos that help explain the flavor of the Bolder Boulder. I'm up to my ears this week in stage makeup, making up three kids and dressing four for an annual dance studio ballet, and year-end show on back to back night, along with all associated rehearsals. Good thing it's National Running Day...I have an excuse to go run after tonight's rehearsal!

I'll start with a little "fun" from my drive over the hill in the pouring rain. I love that I passed a sign, as torrential rain slammed against the car, that said "heavy rain in spots." Oh Really? (And, I was going about 8 mph when I took this photo....no danger of sliding off a cliff when it was taken)

Costumes. Always a fun part of the Bolder Boulder. My friend's condo was just a few blocks from the 7 KM mark on the course, so I headed over to watch the end of the race after I'd finished my own race, showered and had some time to kill before my friend finished and showered.

The "This Seemed Like a Great Idea At Time" Award for Teenaged Embarrassment:

"Hey Man! Is that freedom rock? Well turn it up!"

A couple of Lady Liberties

Here's the "WTF" Award.....

The Intergalactic Species Tolerance Awareness Day (and I am sure this really exists, somewhere in Boulder) Award goes to this guy:

Here Come the Leap Frog Girls (as featured on the complimentary Bolder Boulder calendar which is included in the registration fee)

These times are tough...even for the Easter Bunny.

Upon further reflection....I think the professional runners probably should not be in the same post with these guys. So....I guess we'll make this a trilogy in the next day or two with some shots of people who are really, really fast, and a really neat piece of street art that kind of sums up the Bolder Boulder.