Friday, January 1, 2010

2010, Off on the Right Foot

One could also say off on both feet, but that sounds kinda weird.

For the past several years I've started the year with the Fort Steilacoom Running Club's "Resolution Run" series. Aptly named because the first race is on New Year's Day then 3 more races at 1-month intervals. Details here.

Today's race was the 5er (KM or miles) and I ran the miles. It's always fun to see my endorphin junky friends at this race so I was quite looking forward to it. This year, however, I've also scheduled myself to run in the Death Valley Marathon in February, so that looms pretty big right now. Funny sort of perspective for a 5 mile race.

Then the big surprise.

Janet calls out to me as I'm starting my morning routine would I like it if she goes with me. "Sure," says me. Then she says, "What if I were to run the 5K?".

Well, Janet hasn't run for some time what with her failing vision and the last time she ran in a race was a giant disaster. She ended up tripping over a curb and falling smack on her face and scraping up much of the front of her body.

I know that she's gutsy, but that's REALLY gutsy. There's a section of gravel where the run course leaves the track and at about the 1 mile mark it's pretty dark from overhanging trees. These kinds of hazards are very difficult for her to negotiate.

My goal was to run the 5 mile race in 36 minutes which would be a real stretch since I've been doing nothing but endurance running for months now.

This race is about the most civilized race that you could ever imagine. The start/finish venue is a high school and all the athletes have full access to the common areas and the locker rooms (with showers!). We both brought shower gear and a full change of clothing so that we could take full advantage of the showers.

I took a couple of warm-up laps around the track (the race starts and ends on the track) and Janet did some yoga poses for her warm-up. We separated for the start - me towards the front of the pack and her towards the back of the pack.

With the usual informal start we were off and running.

By the time we rounded the track and ran up the hill I was into heavy breathing mode. Runners from both races followed the same course out with the 5K athletes turning around at the 2.5K mark and the mile runners continuing on to the 2.5 mile mark.

After a mile or so everyone settled in to their pace and I was running with a group of the same runners. The lead runner in the 5K race went by me on his return 200m or so from his turn-around. And he was at least 100m ahead of the second place runner.

As I passed the kilometer turn-around, the pack really thinned out. Most of the runners were racing in the 5K event. Some little rises over the next mile and we were to the turn-around.

Back to the KM turn-around point and I started looking for Janet. There were still walkers coming out and she said she'd be walking.

No Janet, no Janet.

The 4-mile mark and no Janet.

Across the last big street and back towards the finish and no Janet. I was starting to get a bit worried.

Down the hill and back onto the track and there she was running along, heading for the finish. Cool, running!

I could hear Trevor shouting out my name to pass the runner ahead of me. All this got me was a quick backward glance from that runner and a pace pickup.

As I rounded the last turn in the track and headed down the finishing straight away I could hear the race director calling out the names of athletes. A little closer and I could see the clock: 34:36!

This urged me on to finish strong and I clocked in at under 35 minutes. A great feeling.

I walked a few steps, talked to Trevor, and turned back to the finish as Janet was walking out of the finisher's chute. She was really happy, I was really happy.

The wind had picked up a little and we were both sweated up so we headed in for a warm shower.

Showers were followed by hot food (chile), companions, and awards. Janet and I sat at the champions table. We had 4 AG first place finishers: 5K M35-39 (Trevor), 5Mi F45-49 (Patty), 5Mi M60-64(me), 5Mi M65-69 (Marv) and 2 second place AG finishers: 5K F60-64 (Janet), 5Mi F45-49 (Liz) at our table.

We brought home the software and started 2010 out right.

I'm off to a

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