Sunday, March 13, 2011


So far this year, it's been pretty dismal in terms of races. I just haven't had the funds to sign up for everything I would have otherwise (at least 2 or 3 other races), so other than the New Year's gig and the Fanconi 8K in February, the Shamrock Run is the only other one I've run this year.

Yesterday, Jenn and I made it just in time to grab our race packets from the Convention Center. Disaster was narrowly averted when a nice race organizer decided to let Jenn sign up when it was discovered her original registration attempt back in January never went through. The race had already filled up at least a week ago, so it was very fortunate that she got in. It would have been a serious bummer if she'd not been able to run. Afterwards, we headed out to meet up with Ronda and her friend for dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory and get in some good, old-fashioned carbo-loading.

Race morning was wet and grey, but fortunately, not overly cold. We were pumped and ready to go.

It was a nuthouse downtown - record participation this year, and it was elbow-to-elbow people. 7,500 in the 15K, not sure about the 8K, but 11,500 or so in the 5K. It seemed very chaotic and disorganized, and after waiting in fairy quickly-moving lines for the porta-potties and the bag check, we just sort of milled around waiting for them to announce our start. When we finally did get going, it was pretty anti-climatic, as we were far back in the pack.

The first couple of miles are always the hardest part. For me, it's like trying to start a motor that just can't seem to catch and sort of sputters to life - slowly. By the time we hit Terwilliger, I was feeling good, but then it was the Climb That Never Ends. Well, obviously it does end, but when you're operating under oxygen deficit, it's practically eternal.

I was OK until I hit about mile seven. Then, every muscle from the waist down turned into one crampy hot mess. Jenn was a couple minutes ahead of me, and Ronda was long gone, and once again, it was an exercise in lonely and determined perseverance. My finish time was 2:19 and change, about 15 minutes slower than last year. I'm not too happy about that, but as with every race that turns into a serious challenge, I was happy that I finished before they started taking everything down. And, they didn't run out of medals this time.

I was soaked. I met up quickly with Jenn and Ronda, we took some pictures and then wandered around a while. I really needed to just keep moving at that point, as all those crampy muscles were tightening up like clock springs on steriods. Ronda and her friend parted ways with Jenn and me, and the two of us went back to our cars, wriggled into some dry clothes and headed off to breakfast. After I got home, there was nothing else except for a delicious hot shower and lots of dozing and lounging.

Soreness is lingering; I'm hoping a good night's sleep will help combat that. All in all, one more bib number and medal for my Wall of Bling, and one more race, fought for and won.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Terwilliger Blvd. Love

Sunday's run entailed almost 6.5 miles on the local roller-coaster known as Terwilliger Blvd. The hills certainly lived up to their reputation; I surprised myself on just how well I managed. I wasn't quite the rockstar powerhouse on the ups, but if I wasn't running, I maintained a pretty strong walking pace. Besides a little residual soreness, I felt great.

The Most Excellent Jenn and her friend Nikki accompanied me; it was very encouraging to "pep-talk" each other up and over the steep parts. I really enjoy running with friends and I hope Nikki decides to join our weekend runs on a regular basis. It's exactly what I need.

This coming Sunday is Shamrock, and Jenn and Nikki and I are going for the 15K. We hope to not to be part of the sweeper crew leading up The Rear Guard; with any luck we'll power through it just like we did yesterday.