Twilight Trail 8k

Last year Solar, MT, Daisy and I decided to do this new fun race at North Chagrin. The Twilight Trail 8k is run on the bridle path and it is a special event in that they use a staggered start with the first runner to the line winning and they also have a team competition and as it is for charity you can buy your way into an earlier start slot. In general the start is ranked by age and sex, with the older female runners kicking it off and moving along to older gentleman, then young and master females, then the rest of the females, and so on to finish out with all the men. This system put most of my friends in the 9:00 starting wave. Solar and I didn't buy up a slot because we wanted to win fair and square ;)

Last year Solar and I (Two Trail Freaks) just missed first place with Daisy and MT (Team Pimp my Stride) taking those honors. This year MT was still recovering from Burning River so Daisy picked up another fast chick in CJ (now CV!). CJ isn't a trail lady but she is a speedster, but even with these two fast chicks in the race I was confident Solar and I could pull out a win and get some new shoes in the process! Solar wasn't so confident but I had faith in her. She has been crushing the runs lately.

We got in a small warm up but while everyone stood around the line waiting to go I jogged around and threw in some strides. My legs were feeling pretty trashed from Tuesdays 5k and my upper body was still a wreck from the upper body workout on Monday. So I wanted to make sure I was warmed up. TM was here but she had donated to charity and would be starting one minute ahead of me. I was a bit bummed about this because I would have liked to have used her as a gauge on my performance, but that's what I get for being cheap!

Last year Daisy made us crazy torn off white beaters to wear, this year Solar stepped it up a notch and we were in iron on decal shirts! Thankfully it wasn't quite so hot and humid as last year, but I still managed to get pretty sweaty in this thing! I definitely think more teams should unify in their clothes for this race, it adds another element of fun. On top of this fun staggered start this race throws an awesome after party with free beer, pizza, and cookies as well as a raffle drawing for all kinds of goodies. If you like trails, beer, and pizza this is the race for you!

With about a minute to go I lined up with the girls and we cheered on TM and DM as they made their way around the grass field that is the start. The course winds through a grass field before heading into the woods on the bridle path. Pretty much upon entrance you run over a creek and then it is a quarter mile stretch before you head straight up a long steep climb. Last year I walked this hill it is so steep and if it is humid it just zaps you. After that the course is a few rollers, one significant climb, and one twisty turny downhill before popping back out into the field and grass to the finish.

I went out hard, I wanted to push the first part of the course since I knew the hill would be slow. There was one girl on my shoulder that seemed to be pushing too as we forded the stream, I went straight through, the water was low and I really don't care if my feet are wet for 5 miles, and after the stream I was on my own passing people from the early waves. Got to the hill and I put it into a lower gear, trying to conserve energy but avoid walking. My goal was now to try and run the same time as TM and not come in more than a minute behind her. My legs felt absolutely trashed on the hill and I got passed by a young girl who had started in our wave. I let her go just trying to save my legs for the runnable sections of the course.

I passed DM and she said I looked great which made me feel better and as I crested the hill to a mile just under 8 minutes I was relatively pleased. I tried to do the math to see where that put me compared to last year. I ran 37:08ish last year and I was really hoping to go a few minutes faster this year. I slowly made my way back up to the young girl who had crushed the hill but caught her just as we started the only other decent climb so she re-passed me :) I knew she was mine though as despite my legs feeling somewhat tapped and trashed my pace felt strong and my energy was good. I passed her shortly after the top of the hill.

I passed BH here and I am not sure how he ended up starting in front of me, I guess he donated to move up a few starts. Team VR was out representing at this race for sure, everyone did great. By about mile three I had passed everyone but TM, and one of the last gals I passed told me I was close. As I couldn't see TM I wasn't sure what close meant but it was encouraging regardless.

I did my best to hammer the winding downhill by Squires Castle and as I exited the woods I finally spotted TM. I wasn't sure if she knew I was coming up on her or not, but she still had a good gap on me. I just wanted to close the gap as much as I could. I didn't really care too much about passing her since she had a head start and I was in the race as a team, but I was definitely using her as a target to run faster.

I was cruising through the woods telling myself if Jason Lezak could come back from starting behind and win I could certainly finish within 60 seconds of TM. (Anyone else using Olympic races as inspiration during their own races the past few weeks?) I passed a father and son out walking and as I passed the kid exclaims "WHOA!" which was certainly a nice ego boost. I used his exclamation to push myself harder as I neared the exit of the forest and heard a trumpet announcing that TM was making her way through the grass field. I received the same horn salute and I hammered the last few hundred meters finishing 11 seconds behind TM in 2nd place overall (Run time 34:21, fastest actual run for women). As I finished a guy with beer at the finish line announced that it wasn't over until you chugged a beer so I cracked one open and started chugging while waiting for my girls to come in.

I didn't have to wait long and had only gotten down about half the beer as I saw Solar and Daisy pushing to the line, Solar had a slight lead and Daisy looked good. Even though Solar was on my team I had to holler for both my gals, but was happy that Solar edged Daisy out (I need some shoes!) CV wasn't far behind and then came our inspiration in Salty running it in with GP to the announcer exclaiming how Salty was running for two and putting us all to shame!

Got in a very short cool down and took a photo with Solar. Yes that is mostly sweat, but I did dump two cups of water on my head.

Had a few more beers and chatted with my friends and my hubby while we waited for the awards.

Award time came and Solar and I crushed it winning first female team! We were only a few seconds slower than the fastest coed team so I would have to say we rocked it! We had a few more beers and chatted before calling it a night. Another great race in the log book, and another fun night with friends that will be remembered for a long time to come.

2008 NERC XC Series Race 2

Last week I continued in my efforts to try and get a sub 20 on a 5k cross county course. Having run 20:18 the week before and knowing that last year I got faster every race my hopes were high that I could finally get a 10 year monkey off my back and go sub 20 on a cross course (don't ask me why but I truly don't feel sub 20 "counts" until I do it on a cross course. Mostly because in high school that was all I had run, and I know I can't compare road times to my high school cross times, and I had run 20:03 my sophomore year at states but never broke that barrier.) This race series is awesome because I can go out and test myself on a cross course, for next to nothing, and sort of relive those days of high school when I was racing every week, most weeks more than once a week. Marathon training really doesn't leave much room to race short stuff every week so I am excited this series falls at a time when I can afford to take my focus off endurance and play with my speed a bit.

Tuesday I got to work early and ate an early lunch then a light dinner around 4. Hopped the bus home and drove over to the cross course. Got there in time for a good warm up. I headed out along the front half of the course thinking it would eventually connect to the back half and I could run the dreaded finish hill but just in time I realized that assumption was wrong and I turned around and made it back just in time for a few strides and a quick change into my trainers while Salty flashed photos before I headed to the start. Me legs felt tapped and I just generally felt tired. My arms were semi trashed from a Monday upper body session and I just wasn't sure how I would perform. Add to that about 4 times the number of runners as the week before and I wasn't sure of my chances at sub 20.

A few minute delay and the gun was off. I don't pay any attention to anything around me the first half mile of this race. The gazillion high schoolers all go out like bats out of hell with many of them dropping the pace before we are even a quarter mile in. But there were so many of these crazies this time around I really couldn't get in my own groove at all. I was boxed in all the way through the first mile. Despite this I was able to move up on most of the female field and by the first mile there were only 3 girls in front of me. First mile was slowish. 6:28, 2 seconds slower than the pace I would need to go sub 20. I gritted my teeth as I knew I would have some work to do to keep that pace.

The second mile of this course is just a bear. I'm not sure what it is but I just can't seem to go as fast as the first mile here usually. I passed by the 3rd and 2nd girls within a few minutes after the 1st mile marker but couldn't see if any other women were in front of me. You run through a field on a bridle type path as you head from the first mile, lots of sun shining down on you and then you head back into the woods where you cover the earlier path you took, a few rollers here, and a steep gravelly downhill before a sharp turn and bridge which are a bit wicked to navigate. You exit the woods and turn onto a paved path directly in the sun. The volunteer here is great and always lets me know what place I am in. He informs me I am second woman and I start to eye the field in front of me, but can't pick out any pony tails.

It is still relatively crowded but it is all guys now. We hit the water stop and I grab water to dump over my head. Apparently I strong armed it a bit as I crushed the Styrofoam splashing water all over. Oops! Salty yells at me that I can catch first. I am pretty sure she is full of it, but I hammer anyways because I know that is what it is going to take to break 20 after the first miles split. After the water stop you are back on the long grass and winding your way around towards the 2nd mile marker. There is a guy who directs traffic as you cross over the park entrance and he always yells out splits. Usually I get very frustrated with him because the times he yells are usually closer to what I want at the 2 mile marker which is still about 30 seconds away. :) He yelled 12 something and I knew that meant I had some work to do. To go 19:59 I wanted to hit 2 at 12:52, I am a bit shy of it, clocking another 6:28. (Which is still my best split on this mile ever)

That means it is time to go to work. The next mile has a slight downhill grade or is flat for the majority, traversing over dirt mixed with foot bridges then you hit the last quarter mile or so and it is a winding uphill to the finish, not steep but long enough to really grind you out. Remembering how burnt out I was on that hill the previous week I knew I needed to find some sort of balance between wasting myself hammering the downhills, but still taking advantage of any extra speed I could grab. A guy commented to me as I went by, "Hey, didn't you win last week?", and I replied that "Yep, I did but this week there is someone way ahead of me" and he told me to "go get her"!

The nice thing about that slow first mile was that I was actually feeling strong this mile and I did just try to catch up to as many people as I could. I never did see a ponytail though as I came to the hill. The hill definitely slowed me down but this time it felt more like running through grass, rather than running through quick sand and I kept pushing knowing it would be close. A high school boys coach was shouting for him just before the 3 mile mark that he would have to push if he wanted to break 20. I wasn't sure how much push I had and it made me nervous! I knew if I could get to mile 3 by 19:20 I had a chance. I pretty consistently run the last .1 of this course in 38 seconds. Of course I look down to see the split and the mile split (6:21) is covering my total time, uggh. So I just hammer as hard as I can. I can hear Salty screaming that I can do it and I watch the dreaded clock and I never see 20 before I cross, which means I've done it, despite seemingly going into slow motion those last few steps. 19:57 and that monkey is finally off my back for good. And I believe that is my first ever negative split 5k!

Quick celebratory photo with Salty before I locate my husband and get in a cool down walk with him then a quick jog with EH, got my 1st age group ribbon (1st was a 16 year old in 19:27 ish) taking 2nd overall female and we headed out to Bakers Square, where I miraculously decided I did not need pie!

Stayed tuned for the final race recap of the series in the next few posts!

Weekly Rundown Catch Up Post- 7/28/08 - 8/17/08

Training (and life) has been a bit sporadic since the 50k. I am finishing up my last week of "freedom" here before jumping into a 12 week training program for Richmond. The past 4 weeks I tried to get in some speed work either on the track or racing just to get my "fast" legs back before heading into an endurance building block. Partially to have a little fun before getting serious, and partially to get an idea of where I am at speed wise.

I think we left off on the 27th of July which was the day of the century ride.

Quick Run Down since then

7/28/08 - 8/2/08 Recovery Week and Burning River Madness

Monday- Rest
Tuesday- 7.6 miles with 800 meter time trial on the track
Wednesday- Unintended Rest
Thursday- Bike 14.5 miles marking the burning river course, ran 5.5 miles
Friday- Rest
Saturday- Rest (If running an aid station is rest)
Sunday- 8 miles pacing Meghan in the wee hours of morning, 1.85 miles out and pack to pace in last runner

8/3/08 - 8/10/08 Just trying to get the miles back up and have fun racing, vacation week so I slacked a bit

Monday- 6 miles trails easy
Tuesday- 2 mile warm up, 5k race, 1 mile walk cool down
Wednesday- 7 miles easy
Thursday- unintended rest
Friday- lazy, golfed 9 holes (cart) and kayaked 30 minutes
Saturday- 6.85 mile run easy
Sunday- Cheering at GCT ran 18 miles, all different paces with random stops to cheer etc. Right knee was jacked up after this

8/11/08 - 8/17/08 Building miles back up to get ready for the start of Richmond training

Monday- 6 miles easy, thorough stretching afterwards, icing knee
Tuesday- 2.5 mile warm up, 5k race, 1 mile cool down walk, 1 mile cool down run
Wednesday- 8 miles easy
Thursday- 2 mile warm up, 8k race, .5 mile cool down
Friday- 6 miles easy
Saturday- 16.25 miles, 8:44 pace
Sunday- 6 mile easy

Knee is still iffy but a million times better than last Sunday. It feels a little stiff at the desk during the day but loosens up during runs and ice and recovery rub have it feeling tons better.

And now that I am all caught up on that hopefully I will have some time to get out the two race reports from this past week, but right now I am heading out for the last 5k in the NERC XC series.

Burning River 100 Mile Volunteering- Boston Store

All Decked out and ready to help those runners.

Last year I headed up the aid station at Merriman which is 93 miles into the race, we were late in the race and runners were thinned out but we had a fiesta theme and livened up weary runners as they made their way on through the final miles of the course. This year I was put in charge of a busier aid station at Boston Store that runners hit twice. We went with a Luau theme this year but don't worry Pedro was ready to play his part again and even sported a coconut bra!

I lined up more than 30 volunteers to help man the aid station this year and the goal was to have as few drops possible at our station while getting these runners through miles 56 and 60 as quickly as possible while making sure that they hydrate and eat. At miles 56 and 60 as opposed to mile 93 we wouldn't be out there quite as long as last year, but runners would be closer together earlier in the race and we would have many more runners since most of the runners will make it to us before having to throw in the towel.

I decided to get to the course about an hour before the fastest shot at the first runner coming through (or our best guess at it anyways). My first crew of volunteers was set to show up at the same time. Things got a bit chaotic as we set everything up and then finally settled in to wait for our first runner. My volunteers were awesome and really did a great job getting everything set up and ready for runners to come through. (Note to self next year get there 2 hours ahead of time to give yourself one hour where you can go through drop off bins and get everything organized by yourself so you know exactly what is there and where everything is. It was impossible to give tasks to everyone and keep everyone busy during set up and do the things I wanted to do to make sure we were organized. Bring an extra table, the set up here was a bit rough we had to put coolers and stoves on the Boston store porch) We had a brief scare when I realized we only had sheets to check in one mile marker, and not both but thankfully my trusty volunteers found a copier on site and got new sheets all set for our second runner check in.

It wasn't long before we heard the cowbell announcing our first runner was on his way. Tim Clement was in and out in the true fashion of a lead runner. Many of the front runners really don't need much help, they have top notch crews and they know exactly what they want, even 56 and 60 miles into the race. Everyone had assignments ranging from grabbing drop bags, checking in and announcing approaching runners, food upkeep and serving, drink supplies, traffic control and runner handlers doing pretty much anything and everything a runner needs. I had lined up three shifts of volunteers so that no one had to work too long if they didn't want to. We had a little chaos as the first shift led into the next but I tried to keep everyone calm and happy while we got things back in order.

Since I had so many volunteers I was free to help out wherever I was most needed. Totally fits my spastic personality and tendency to bounce from place to place. Next year I need to remember to wear something with pockets. I kept stopping to do something and leaving my cell phone and or camera in that place where I stopped and having to go back and find them. I also need to make sure my notebook has no loose papers in it. I had printed everything I needed during the day including volunteers shift duties, predicted pace charts for Meghan, permits, maps to other stations, etc but finding the exact paper I needed each time I went to the folder proved to be an exercise in frustration. In addition to helping out where needed the captain is in charge of policing crew and pacers. We didn't have too many issues this year thankfully and for the most part crew were very good about staying out of the way. Kids can be hard, especially when the crew loses sight of them. It sure isn't fun having to tell kids that no that food isn't for them its for the runners, but some one's got to do it :) Next year maybe we will set up a game area for kids to play in away from the stations activities.

As the night wore on I started trying to make sure everything was set for Salty to take over if I had to leave to pace Meghan. Depsite being pregnant Salty had graciously offered to take over for me if I had to leave early to pace. We got a call from Chelle around mile 70 and they were lost so we weren't really sure what pace they were on or when to expect a call. My family picked me up a chicken wrap at Applebees so I scarfed that down and tried to hydrate as well as caffeinate so I was ready to roll out.

Chelle ended up wanting to pace longer so I was able to stay at the station until we were all closed down. As it got darker we tried really hard to keep the weary runners going. My dad and one of my volunteers put out glow sticks to help the runners see the path at night. I walked with a few runners out to the start of Pine Lane to make sure they knew the way. We had a bit of a scare where we thought we lost a runner but thankfully he made it to Pine Lane and went on to finish the entire race!

We only had one runner over the cut off and he bowed out graciously with an injured ankle. All in all I think we had 15 total drops at our station. Since we are hit twice we will say 7 to 8 for each time through, considering the miles we were at I think we did very good. Paul offered to give our final drops a ride to the finish and after tearing everything down Salty and I made our way to O'Neil Woods to cheer for Meghan and start my pacing duties for the evening. My dad took my car to the finish so that I would have a way home at the end of the night.

HUGE thank you to all of my volunteers. You were all amazing. And special thanks to my mom and dad, my sister and her friends who drove all the way from Michigan and stayed at the aid station to help all day except for a few hours when I told them to go get dinner. I really am more blessed than I can even fathom.

Race Photos

Burning River 100 Mile Volunteering-Course Marking

This year marked th 2nd annual running of the Burning River 100 mile race. While I love ultras I am not yet crazy enough to try and race 100 miles, so in order to give something back to this community I love so much I try to help out as much as possible at this event. I think it is a great race that really highlights the amazing running scene in and around Cleveland and it takes a lot of people to get this race off the ground and running.

Volunteering efforts start long before the race weekend. People have to get together to make sure the course mileage is correct, permits have to be lined up, course markings need to be made, volunteers for race day need to be lined up, food and drink need to be purchased, shirts printed, medals made, and the course needs to get marked.

This year I helped out with course marking, captaining an aid station, and pacing a runner the final miles of the race. It was a lot of hours but I loved every minute of it.

My volunteer efforts this year started with helping to mark the course. I was approached by fellow blogger Meghan to pace her the last 8-15 miles of the race. Since I have never run that section of the course I decided to focus my volunteering efforts on those miles to get familiar with the course. The Saturday before the race I went out with DH, RH, and a few friends to mark from the Chuckery to the finish. Marking takes a long time since you can't really run and we try to have streamers always visible, so there is a lot of stop and go. But with our large crew we handled the section pretty quickly averaging about 30 minute miles.

Course Marking Photos

Most of our marking did not get vandalized on this section but when marking up to a week ahead of time you risk people tearing down markers. There was plenty of that this year and many volunteers had to go back all week to check markings and remark when necessary. Thursday night I went out with DH and we marked the towpath from Bath to Memorial on bikes then ran the trails to O'Neil to check on markings. We went so quick that we did Friday nights markings too and I saved myself the worry of leaving DH without help on Friday. It was fun to help and I was glad I got to see this section of the course so I would be ready to pace Meghan.


With hardly any mental prep and an on the whim decision to get this F*&(er over at lunch time last week I headed to the track with Salty and Daisy to find out just how fast I could run for two short laps on the track. I have some very ambitious (if not impossible) goals over the next four years and to get moving in that direction I need to start to get an inkling of an idea just what my max speed is. i.e. if I can't run "x" time for an 800, mile, 5k, etc. I won't be able to attempt "Y" time in a marathon type deal.

I know I am not going to magically hit these speed goals overnight so last Tuesday was my first attempt to just see where I was at. It was hot and I had just done a century ride two days before but I figured what the hell, lets just get it done and see what shakes out. Decided to do it at lunch so it wouldn't be looming over my head all day and Salty and Daisy were kind enough to come out and keep my splits and try to keep my speed up.

We did about 3 miles easy, I ran 1 mile by myself and then picked them up. I wasn't feeling extra speedy but I had my flats on and Daisy and I did 3 or 4*200 pick ups to get ready. Then we lined up in the 4th lane (this track is short so to be legit you have to run 4th lane). I headed out on my first lap, likely too fast since I haven't run an 800 all out since high school. I didn't look at the watch at all preferring not to know until I was done. First lap hurt as I picked up Daisy and we headed out for the second lap. She took the 3rd lane and I could tell she was holding back but I just couldn't respond with anymore than I was giving. The last straight away I gave it everything I had with Daisy and Salty hollering at me but I had no clue what they were saying. Finished up in 2:41, 5:22 pace.

It wasn't quite as fast as I was hoping for but it is faster than I thought I would do if that makes any sense. First quarter was about 78/79 which I usually can't do so I know I am getting nearer to where I want to be. It was fun (after I was done) to be out on the track with some of my gals testing my limits. Definitely got me fired up to get to work. I'd like to get this time down nearer to 2:30. I believe I ran a 2:34 in middle school and that was my fastest ever so I would like to crush that :) Baby steps towards the insane goals swimming in my head. Next step sub 20 at the xc meet on Tuesday ;)

Sweet Corn Century Ride

Just one week and a day after the Buckeye 50K I was signed up for my longest bike ride ever. My previous longest ride was at WIBA in 2006, about 70 miles. Since Steelhead Half Ironman in 2006 I haven't done a single tri and I haven't really been on my bike much. I still ride, I commute to work, and I throw in a few rides with friends, but nothing like I did in summer and fall of '06. Guess you could say I got a little tri'd out after the half ironman and realized I was having a lot more fun running, so my bike time hasn't been a priority. I feel like triathlons are getting to be a bit expensive and I can always go back to them once my running starts to slow down. I still enjoy getting out with my tri friends, but it just isn't my focus. (Guess I've changed quite a bit the last two years)

So despite all that I am in the CTC Beast series (in first place by the way ;)) this year which involves some tri or at least multisport events. My schedule actually wouldn't allow for a tri this year but I did end up doing a duathlon, the open water swim, and the century ride so I don't feel like such a poser. It's all running events from here on out though! So I showed up Sunday morning feeling extremely under prepared, having only done one day where I rode more than 24 miles, and that was two 15 mile rides separated by an hour or so at the pool. Not exactly ideal preparation. I was worried my back and butt were going to be a wreck after that much time in the saddle and I had given myself the option of dropping out if it got too bad.

For some strange reason at almost every cycling event I do I tend to attract random strangeness. This could be some crazy cyclist who cuts me off multiple times, or dudes that ride with you just for the view of your chest, or just people without great social skills. What can I say, it's great ;) This ride started out no different, I won't go into too many details as I wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings but lets just say I was extremely nervous that this cyclist was going to end up riding near me all day, and was very grateful that it ended up just being at the start and finish of the ride that I had to deal with the awkwardness. (We are talking farting extremely loud with no apologies, and getting well within personal space limitations to "chat" about scars, and that isn't even the half of it) I pumped my tires and sunscreened up as fast as humanly possible and rushed over to the registration table.

Found my posse who I was sure would be gone well within the first 20 miles and we got started. Unfortunately before the ride could even really begin we had an accident and Brian went down fracturing his wrist badly. Not how you want to start your day for sure. It is actually amazing no one else went down. Sending you speedy healing vibes Brian! Your luck has got to be heading for an upswing!

So with that fiasco the girls eased off the pace and were a lot more careful around turns, allowing my slow ass to actually keep up until we hit the hills. I didn't actually think they were too bad but it was obvious I wasn't trained for the ride and I dropped pretty far behind anytime we hit the inclines. But since the race had aid stations set up every 20 or so miles I was still able to ride with some company for many parts of the day.

My running fitness must be good because I never got tired. My lower back was sore but everything was fine as soon as I finished. I even thought about going for a run afterwards but opted for dinner and beer instead. I was pretty happy to have averaged 15 mph and I didn't have to walk my bike at all, although I did have to use my granny gear way more than is respectable. Oh well, I never had to get out of my saddle at least!

All in all riding 100 miles wasn't so bad. But I'd much rather be running :) (And Beth I didn't quite double my mileage on the bike for the year, but I think maybe I had done about 200 miles total before this, so pretty darn close!)

Photos in a previous post

NERC 5K Cross Country Series- Race 1

So let's start with most recent events here! Last night I went out to run with some high schoolers. The local Northeast Running Club puts on a small xc series every fall to help xc kids get in shape for their season. For $3 you can't really pass up the chance to tweak your 5k time, good learning experience and fun to see all the young ins go out like bats out of hell then slowly come back to you.

This is a cross country race, I did it all three times last year, first race went horrible last year around 22:31, then the next week 20:46, and third week 20:17. The start is grassy and slightly up hill then you head into the woods across a bridge and onto a short pavement path before heading downhill on a bridle type path and then back up a short steep hill and on your way out to a field. The path here is tiny gravel, and without spikes I am sure you are losing a lot of your effort here. You are on this surface for near a mile before heading back onto the bridle type path and then back to the grass. After mile 2 you head back into the woods and then onto a dirt path mixed with boardwalks. The elevation drops for about a minute before you pop out into a field again before turning and running uphill the final few minutes. AK typical cross country course, a mix of everything.

For the Burning River I was up on Saturday at 8 am and I finally crashed into bed Sunday around 5pm. I slept like the dead until about 9 AM Monday morning. Monday we mostly relaxed, played some disc golf, went to the movies, and I got in a 6 mile trail run. My pace was slow and I realized I was obviously a bit beat still. Yesterday I got caught up on dishes and we played some games, I was yawning a lot but finally a hot cup of tea snapped me out of it and then we headed to an early dinner. Couldn't decide what I wanted and went for a spinach and mushroom stuffed pizza. It was a bit greasier than I anticipated and may not have been the wisest pre-race choice.

My parents decided to stay and watch the race before heading back to Michigan and my hubby came to watch too. I wanted to win and I also wanted to break 20, but it was hot and humid and on my warm up I just felt sluggish so my hopes weren't too high for either goal. Got in about 2 miles and a few 30 second strides with Beth and JA and then headed to the car to change into my flats and took off my short sleeve. I did feel lighter as I rushed to the bathroom and the start. Maybe there is something to this warming up in heavy shoes and wearing warm ups then donning "racing" shoes and stripping thing.

I wore my garmin but decided not to pay attention to it and just run by feel, taking splits manually and turning off the autolap function. Every trail run I have done with the garmin has come up short of the mileage I have expected. Not sure if that means I have just been living in a dream world, or if the garmin struggles in the woods. At the Buckeye 50k, my garmin was over a mile shy of 31, and I know that course is pretty close, so I have my doubts about its accuracy. I think it is close, but I am guessing it struggles with the hills in the woods or something. Last night proved to be no different hitting the first mile my garmin had 0.93. I know that the race director has wheeled this course several times so I just find it hard to believe even one mile would be that short (at the finish a man with and older garmin did have the same distance as me so who knows), if you want accuracy I guess you need to run on a track!

First mile I just tried to keep it even. Didn't really pay attention to any of the girls ahead of me, there was only one I recognized from other local races and I knew I should be able to run with her so I slowly made my way up to her passing the rest of the girls along the way to the first mile. Hit the mile marker at 6:16 which was fine by me, I was targeting anything between 6:07 and 6:26 depending on how I felt. I wanted to give myself a chance at a PR if I was feeling good and sub 20 if I wasn't. (Evil Garmin called this 0.93 and 6:46 pace)

I pulled away from what I assumed were the two lead girls at the mile marker and just did my best to hold pace. My breathing was pretty ragged, seemed like my lungs were burning an awful lot but my legs felt decent so I tried to hold on as best as I could, using any downhills I could, trying to be aggressive. Confirmation that I was the first woman came a little before the 2nd mile marker, I grabbed a cup of water and drank half and dumped the rest on my head as I hear my mom yelling for me and then my husband. I was feeling pretty rough and tried to smile but I don't think I got much of one out. Mile 2 was 6:36 (.97 and 6:50 pace from the evil garmin). 20 seconds slower wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear and I knew sub 20 was going to be rough with the final hill looming.

Over the next mile I did my best to take advantage of the downhills. Not too many runners around so I did my best to catch up to the kid in front of me. I hammered the downgrade here figuring I needed to take advantage of it but as I caught him and said good job he started to pull away and I realized I may have pushed too hard to take advantage of the elevation. We turned to climb the final hill and it felt like I was running through quick sand. Just utterly zapped I knew if any gals caught me it was going to be ugly. Just pushed as hard as I could looking eagerly for the 3 mile mark. Could hear my mom yelling and did my best to look happy but again I don't think that happened. Mile 3 was 6:47 (.97 and 7:00 pace by th evil garmin) and I knew sub 20 was not happening. (Bummer)

Hammered in as I heard David and my dad cheering and watched the clock with a grimace, and then my silly garmin as it flouted that I had only gone 2.95 and still wasn't even close to sub 20. Bah. I was pretty fried, drenched in sweat and my stomach was cramping, likely from the pizza but also probably just from the heat and being so trashed from the weekend. I drank some gatorade and then headed back to cheer for Beth. Stood around trying to get my stomach back in line and chatted with some friends then me and my family did the one mile fun run. I power walked with my mom and we got back in time for the awards. I got a little medal for my efforts (as Beth said my boob was rusted in it) and Beth and JA both got age group awards. Considering the past few weeks and the weekend leading up to this I am pretty happy with the effort. Hopefully next week I will get the sub 20 XC monkey off my back :) If any one has any opinions on the garmins performance on trails I would love to hear them. All I know is that run certainly felt like 3.1 and not 2.95.

Big thanks to my parents and my hubby for coming out to watch. Maybe that was just what I needed to finally win a race this year :)

Pictures and video links here in case you don't feel like scrolling down to the previous post!
NERC XC Finish (Thanks to my hubby for the photos and video!)

NERC XC Photos

Falling Behind

Wow do I have a lot of blogging to catch up on.

Short List

1) Sweet Corn Century Ride

2) 800 meter time trial

3) Burning River Volunteering and Pacing


5) Plan for Richmond Marathon Training this fall

I am on vacation this week. Staying at home cuz we are broke! So hopefully I will have some time to post but in the meantime here's some fun links to Burning River photos and some photos and video from tonights 5k.

Burning River Photos

NERC XC Finish (Thanks to my hubby for the photos and video!)

NERC XC Photos