Monthly Archives: June 2014

New Year’s Day 5M – 2014

January 1, 2014

I got permission to run the New Year’s Day 5M.  I know that sounds odd, but tomorrow I have an all-day physical at the Cooper Clinic and I have to abstain from exercise for 24 hours (let’s fudge and say 21.5 hours) and fast and avoid alcohol for 12 hours.  I am excited that this race has a Clydesdale category.  I have a chance of getting an award (and they go 5 deep in Clydesdale, because it covers ALL age groups).

The course is slightly changed from the past.  Last year, when I was here, there was all sorts of construction going on.  The construction is finished, and part of the results is a nice pedestrian bridge.  Instead of running along a rather pot-holey road and a sharp turn onto the pedestrian path, there is a nice straightaway and a gentler turn.

It’s about 41 degrees out (despite the start time of 10am), which is a bit cold for me.  I take the first mile in 7:36, and the second in 7:54.

From this point to the turn-around, the wind picks up a bit.  I can start to see the runners coming back and I set my eye on various people that I think may be in my same category… and determine whether I will be able to catch them on my way back.  I slow a bit in this 3rd mile to 8:08, and further slow my pace on the fourth mile to 8:27.

I sprint in the last bit of the last mile, in a desperate attempt to break 40:00, but come up a bit short and finish in 40:08.  (It wasn’t as if I would have a PR, but it is nice to break 40 minutes).

When I looked at the results, they had placed me in the M40-44, and not in the Clydesdale (even though I registered in advance AND checked that box).  This race even has THREE different weight categories (Clydesdale 190 – 214, Rhino 215 – 239, and Hippo 240+).  Since they haven’t done the awards yet, I am able to rectify the situation, thus bumping out of first place the guy I was talking to post-race (though he did come in at least 20-30 seconds behind me).

The award, as usual, is a champagne flute with the race information etched on it.  And, as usual, we are the last ones to have our awards announced, so there are only a small handful of people to witness my “triumph.”

At my physical the following day, the physician comments that I must have done a race because the “recovery”  from an injury results show I caused some damage to my muscles (this happens every time anybody runs, and does not indicate an actual injury). Just like my dang sister, he says.  I KNEW I was as good as my sister at something!

Carrollton Runners 1M/5K – 2013

December 29, 2013

A second day of racing with the smaller clubs in Dallas (or actually, Carrollton), Texas.  This race WAS much smaller.

First, we start out with a mile, and then the 5K comes afterwards.  My concern was that I didn’t want to overdo it and not have a good 5K run, so I decided that I would race-walk and just see what I could do.  There were about 24 runners and I finished in 21st in 10:22.  If there had been age group awards, I would have won my age group (1 of 1).

For the 5K, it is basically the 1M route start and out to the far reaches of the parking lots to the turnaround.  The “chip” (RFID) timing has a monitor at the turn-around so that you can find out if you ran positive or negative splits.  I’m not sure how close my splits were because I didn’t register properly with the system.

At the awards ceremony, I was “only” 4th in my age group (no Clydesdale, again =(  ), however, they gave out some awards based upon (maybe) improvement between the mile pace and the overall pace in the 5K.  (They told me I had the best age graded course PR, but I didn’t run a course PR.  I had a better time in 2010.)  However, I will take a $10 Subway Card in a $2 race!

Plano Pacers Holiday Hustle 8K – 2013

December 28, 2013

Once again, I am in Dallas, TX, for Christmas with my family.  I try to make it a point to run 2-3 races while I am here… several small ones as well as the New Year’s 5M near White Rock Lake.

It is generally cold in Dallas in December (though it was warmer about a week ago), though the temperature is in the 40s (cold, but not horrible).

This Plano Pacers course (which I have done several times) is basically flat, but I am not totally back to normal.  As usual, in the weeks that followed the last 50K, I have low energy and a bit of sickness.

In the past, these races are pretty sparsely attended, but they are doing some kind of charity fundraiser for a girl who died tragically or had cancer (I’m not sure which). All I can remember was that the family name was Nichols, so they were handing out nickels.  The start was super crowded and I hung back a bit and on the few occasions that there were “hills,” I walked them (probably about 3-5 minutes of net walking time).

I ran a decent time of 40:42 for 5 miles, but there was no Clydesdale category (as there has been in the past), so I ended up in about 8th place in my age group (not like I need another medal or mini-trophy).

I visited briefly with a few “friends,” aka people that I recognize and may recognize me from past races, and then headed back to Dallas, since I have my parents’ car, and they may want it back.

Boeing 5K (12) – 2013

December 9, 2013

Since my legs are pretty sore from the muddy 50K 2 days ago, I decided to walk the (final) Boeing 5K of the year.  I didn’t know if I would have anyone to walk with (yes, there are walkers, but most walk slower than I walk), so I brought Book 2 of the Game of Thrones series – A Clash of Kings.

I was able to read about 30 pages. Seems as if my average reading speed is about 10 pages per mile (though I think I read about 15 pages per mile at my last 12 hour “race”).  I think I ended up annoying the other participants, though, since I finished in about 43 minutes.

Malibu 50K – 2013

December 7, 2013

Normally at this time of year, I am running the Ridgecrest 50K… but because they like to do their race on the first Sunday in December and that fell the weekend after Thanksgiving, I was not willing to zoom back down to run the race… but I still wanted to do a nice December 50K… so I opted for the Bulldog course which I have done loads of times.

I knew that I would know several people at the event, including Laura Sohaskey and Taffy Tingley (from the LA Hash) because I knew in advance they would be there.  I drove up on my own with the possible intent of visiting my aunt and uncle afterwards in Northridge. Laura also wasn’t sure what distance she would be doing… because of the impending rain.

As the race began, it was raining lightly and never really went into a downpour, but the fact remained that the rain made the ground super muddy and saturated.  This made for some slow going, especially on the initial mini-hill climb and descent.  After the water crossing (which was more raging than usual), I reached the first aid station (before the REAL climb) in 32 minutes (for 2.7 miles).

Heading up the hill, it was like skiing uphill and very tiring.  I was happy to get to flat (muddy) sections and then onto rock faces (not muddy).  The volunteers at aid station #2 said that people looked pretty worn out.  I did manage 18 minute miles which is not bad considering the hill and the mud.

From this point, I knew it was downhill to the third aid station at the M*A*S*H film site… however, I knew that I don’t do particularly well on muddy downhill. Yes, I know I keep mentioning how muddy it was, but it was difficult.  On the downhills (since it had stopped raining by now), the mud was thick and not super slick.  This created a problem as my shoes were caked with mud and I could not effectively run downhill.  I did my best to use any part of the hill that was not muddy, but there weren’t a lot of options.  It took me 55 minutes to go 4.5 miles DOWNHILL!

Once I got to the aid station, the rain started up again.  The creative folks at the aid station had stored the dry food in one of the rusted out “ambulance” trucks.  Fortunately, this section after the aid station is mostly on a creekbed and I had the opportunity to get the mud off my shoes… just in time for another muddy section.

I made it back to the start finish in 3:44, which meant I had about 30 minutes to spare to be on pace to finish in under 8-1/2 hours.  En route to the aid station, I saw John Hampton.  He looked the way I felt… waterlogged.  At the aid station, I saw Laura and Taffy… and they were going to throw in the towel (after they used it to dry off).

Laura, Emmett and Taffy at Halfway (or all the way).

Laura, Emmett and Taffy at Halfway (or all the way).

As I headed off on the second loop (argh), I saw Yolanda Holder (the World Record Holder for most Marathons in a year).  She was probably 20 minutes behind me and walking fast.

The mini-hill the second time was not as bad because it wasn’t raining, but I was tired.  The water crossing was much deeper than before, but it didn’t really matter at that point.  However, it did take me 11 minutes longer than before.

Heading up the steep hill was less muddy because it had dried out somewhat.  However, it was very lonely, as I did not see anyone, at all, for probably the entire ascent.  I couldn’t really get going up the hill, and ended up averaging 22 minutes per mile.

I kept an eye on my time knowing that I could lose a certain amount of time on each section and still finish under the time limit.  I had already lost 33 minutes on the course and could lose up to an hour and still finish in time.

I did a little better on the downhill section, ONLY losing 9 minutes.  I sure am cutting it close!

On the remaining section, I ended up getting passed by Yolanda (the “indignity!”) and ended up finishing LAST.  This seems to happen to me frequently on these courses, but more than anything, it usually points to people dropping out and my insistence on making it all the way to the finish.

Afterwards, because I like to save money, I limped out the 0.5 mile to my car, and then drove over my aunt and uncle’s for a visit and dinner.

Piedmont Turkey Trot 5K – 2013

November 28, 2013

Back to Piedmont for my hometown Turkey Trot.  The race has only been around for the last several years and does not date back to when I lived here.  It ran by my childhood home, which my parents sold back in 2005. =(

The race has always been pretty small and a 3M course.  When I was in middle school, it was a 5K course called The Feet Meet.  In my family, this course is known as “the route,” because it is what my parents walk for exercise when they are in California, and is a scenic 5K around Piedmont.  I almost used this course probably 30 years ago when I wanted to stage my own Ironman Triathlon (500 laps in our pool, 37 loops of “the route” on my bike, and 9 loops on foot) – I was not a runner at this point, but I thought it would be a good challenge… that would probably take me an entire summer.

The course is slightly different this year… I think, hence, why it is a 5K and not a 3-miler.  They have also put in reasonable age groups… since last time Mom and Dad “competed,” the top age group was 50+, which is hardly fair to people 60+… just like I don’t want to compete with high schoolers!

In the actual race, I did my best to run nearly all of the course.  The hardest part is the run up Wildwood Avenue.  It is not super steep, but is significantly uphill and goes for about 5 sucky blocks.  Then, normally, the course turns onto Crocker and continues straight for a 1/4 mile, but to add the extra tenth, we turn and go around a long block back to Crocker, which heads downhill (basically negating the uphill from before) to Saint James.

Saint James is another street with a slight uphill, which gets steeper and steeper before culminating in an extremely steep (but short) section up Hampton… but today, we turn a long block sooner (still uphill, but not steep) and connect to Hampton sooner.

Finally, there is the long slog up Seaview.  Again, with the continuous uphill for a half-mile, and then mostly downhill to the finish.

One part that I am used to is crossing over Highland Avenue, going about a block, and shooting straight into the high school driveway and finishing.  This year, we go THREE blocks (!) to Hillside, and that ends up with an UPHILL finish.

The race was super crowded and I did walk a little… but I am pretty good at maximizing my speed while walking and then being able to run faster when I am running… so I did do 24:43 (officially) which is right around 8:00/mile… but that was only good enough for 35th place in the 40-49 division.

Afterwards, I went back out on the course to try and find my parents and sister… and ended up walking and talking with a bunch of people I had not seen in a while, including a bearded Josh Eichhorn (Class of ’91) and his sister Rebecca (Class of ’88).  He was only just ahead of my family, so I wouldn’t exactly call him a runner.

Mom, Dad and Marisa came in around 50 minutes… and Mom & Dad ended up in the Pewter division (aka 4th), which resulted in no special prizes… except our own special prize of spending Thanksgiving together as a family.

Boeing 5K (11) – 2013

November 11, 2013

There is a larger group than usual for the Boeing 5K, because today is actually Veterans’ Day and some people have the day off.  It’s a prediction run, which I never do well on… though they do let us wear our watches.

It would probably be better if they only allowed people to make predictions that were somewhat faster than they could comfortably run, so that people could not do what I did and slow down quite a bit in order to hit as close to my time as possible.

I felt good (for once) on the run, but when I got to the last driveway before the final turn, I stopped to walk to come closer to my predicted time of 25:48, and ran 25:50 to achieve the Prediction Run “Win.”