Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Irish Run 8k

This will be a quick one, just like the race.  Boston is now 3 weeks away so there won't be much fitness gained from here on out, it's all about sharpening up, tapering properly, and getting my legs fresh for the big day.  In an effort to do just that, my MN RED teammates and I raced the St. Paul Irish Run 8k this past weekend.  The race marks the kick off of the USATF race series.  Since I've never been a member of a team, I'm not sure what that means, but I'm pretty sure if I run fast, that's good for all parties involved.

So, the race recap:  this was a 5 mile race.  I haven't raced such a short distance in a long time.  From the gun, I didn't have the confidence to go pedal to the floor because I wasn't sure how my body would react to the quicker tempo.  At the two mile mark I realized I was essentially half-way to the finish and wasn't in nearly enough pain.  I needed to push it.  I did and my last three miles were progressively faster:  5:41, 5:34, and 5:31.  I ended up coming in at 28:08 and 2nd place female among a speedy field.  I maybe would have had a chance at the "W" if I would have ignored my watch, turned off my brain, and raced how I normally race (pin on to the leader and hang on for dear life!).  But it was a good workout and a great lesson in racing.

Post-race, a couple of my training partners (shout out to Doug and Melissa) and I regrouped and put in a 5.5 mile hilly, tempo run to simulate the end of Boston (marathon).  It was great.  The harder, faster effort of the 8k took enough out of my legs that they had that 20-mile feeling, but without the 20 miles!  We made decent time on the effort, averaging about 6:20/mile pace.  I'll need to be faster if I want to come in around 2:44:37 (my Boston goal time), but the fact that this effort didn't destroy me was a confidence builder.

        Photo op from the race.  We'll call this one:  game face & bad hair.  ;)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Little Fish, Big Pond - Boston is Approaching...

The countdown to the Boston Marathon started many moons ago, but waking up this morning it started to feel really real (I'm so eloquent).  28 days and counting.  Assuming about half of that is going to be a taper means only 2 weeks left of hammering.  Yowza! 

In the fall (2012), when I decided to register for my first Boston Marathon, I was happy and excited just to be participating in such an iconic event.  It was around that same time that I decided to join a running club and enlist in the guidance of a coach to try and get to that elusive "next level."  My new coach, Ron Byland, thought with my ability and his workouts, I could run around 2:40 by race day in Boston.  And running that kind of time was probably good enough for the elite start wave.  He checked into it, and badda-boom-badda-bing, I was in as an elite!  Whoooaaaaaaa, that's crazy!

               So you're saying I'm going to be running against this?  GULP.

Fast-forward to two weeks ago and I faced a big decision:  should I stay in the elite wave or should I defer back to the main field?

I didn't know what to do, and I still question my decision.  Here's what I wrestled with:

1) Being sick for one month in the winter had set back my training substantially.  Realistically, I'm now hoping to run a 2:45...still around my PR, but five minutes off where I thought I would be.  And 20 minutes off what the true elites will run.

b) The female elite field at Boston is only going to consist of 55 runners!  This was a major curve ball.  When I got in as an elite, I expected at least 100, probably closer to 200 women to be considered "elite" at Boston.  I mean, this is BOSTON!  Runners from all over the world show up for a crack at the huge prize purse and the prestige of being a top finisher at this event.  In a field of 200, there are bound to be runners I can hang with and compete against in those final few miles.  In a field of 55...there is no where to hide!

4) The main field at Boston is the creme de la creme.  Most mortals consider the Boston Marathon a pretty big deal.  There are tough qualification standards.  So deferring to the main field would not be bad.  It is still going to be super competitive.  And some of my new MN RED training buddies are in the main field.  I would have compadres to work with...

But even in the face of these seemingly good reasons to defer my elite status, like Madonna said, I'm keeping my baby!  (And by baby, I mean my elite bib).  I don't know what the future holds for me.  I hope to keep getting faster.  I hope to have a shot at the 2016 trials.  I also hope that one day brownies will be considered a major food group.  Will any of this happen?  I just don't know!  So I say:  carpe diem aka seize the day!  I'm going to run at the back of the elite pack at Boston and revel in the fact that I made it there.  I may never have the chance to do it again.

                                                     Game face aka pain face.  :)