So...I've got this little half marathon coming up in six days. Road races don't particularly call to me, and I had no plans to do another half, but my teammate Adam was doing this one and some other friends are and somehow I convinced myself that I wanted to do it as well. My first half marathon was a raging success by my standards, so when I first committed to this race my intention was to train faithfully and collect a second sub-2 hour finish. You're reading this blog, so chances are good that you won't be surprised to hear that things didn't quite work out that way.
I got a good start, but then school started back up again and I developed this aversion to running in the dark because of all the skunks in our neighborhood (that's totally an excuse...I mean, it's both true and a bullshit wimpy excuse) and all I wanted to do was ride my bikes. Still, even if I was whiffing on my mid-week miles, I had some decent long runs. 9 miles on August 18, whatever the trekking mileage was at Thunder Rolls, and 10 miles on Sept. 1. Then my planned long run was cut short two weeks ago when I hurt my back. Sigh.
I got in 10K last weekend and figured I'd run a few miles this Saturday and then basically just write off the last two months as an extend taper. Instead, this Saturday found me running 12.6 at Lost Valley, one of my very favorite trails. I won't pretend it was easy (or that I wasn't looking at all the people out on mountain bikes with undisguised envy), but it was fun -- perhaps more so in retrospect than at the time, though there was one stretch that was absolutely glorious and made me so sad not to have a camera along so I could capture the moment -- and my average pace was 11:46/mi. Maintaining that on trails and hills gives me hope that Sunday's half marathon won't be a disaster. Even better, I made it through that distance with minimal hip pain, and if the only thing this half marathon "training" gives me is the ability to run the distance again without spending the last four miles limping, I'll be thrilled.
Sunday was the third race in the Wild Trak Bikes Superprestige cyclocross series, and my biggest hope was that the muscled pain from Saturday's run wouldn't set in until after my race. I was a little stiff when I woke up, but my legs didn't feel too bad. That didn't stop me from coming in last in my race, though. Two other girls DNF'd, but all of the other finishers (8 of us in all) were ahead of me, including one woman at her first cross race. While I expected her to beat me because I know she's stronger on a bike than I am, it's still really disheartening to lose to someone totally new to cross.
On the plus side, unlike last week at La Vista, none of the women in my race lapped me, the course was a lot of fun, and the photographer took some good pictures of me. Credit Mike Dawson for the awesome pictures. Very cool to have someone out on the course every weekend taking and posting photographs for us!
|Early in the race. You can tell because there are actually other bikes around me.|
|I'm either smiling because I'm talking to the photographer or laughing at myself because I just did something stupid. Both things happened in this spot. I still love the picture.|
|Another cool picture.|
I went home in a lousy frame of mind and planned to go out back and practice remounts after sitting and relaxing with a magazine for a while. Instead, I got a message from my friend Dave suggesting a mountain bike ride. Since my guys were spending the day watching football, I jumped at the chance to ride at Bluff View, one of my new favorite trails. If I'd realized just how long it would take to get there (I've only ridden there from a closer park) I probably would have opted out, but I'm so glad I went. It was exactly what I needed to break out of my negative mindset.
|How can you be crabby when your trails include a playground with a view?|
C goal: no major hip or knee pain
B goal: 2:15
A goal: anything better than 2:15 and/or still be able to make it in time to race at the cross race.