Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hello St. Louis

I really liked this race - hills and all.
A lot catching up to do since my last race. 
I ran the Vestal XX (20K) on June 15th. It was one hilly race, but I did awesome. I was hoping for anything under two hours and finished very strong with a time of 1:50:26. Only a few hills were tough.  The first six miles were the hardest, then it was mostly downhill for the remaining six and a half. No problem at all. I passed a lot of people after mile seven.
Then Monday I boarded a plane for St. Louis, MO for work.  I was hoping to find a 5K race to run on the weekend (today), but really didn’t see anything. I’ve been running in the neighborhood around the hotel in the evenings.  It’s nice out here. Neighborhoods have a speed limit of 20 which is great for runners. The farthest I’ve gone is four miles because shortly after I arrived, a heat wave moved in and it has been over 90 degrees every day.  I have to be at work by 7:30 which leaves no time for a morning run. There are treadmills in the fitness center, but it's summer and I don't want to run inside unless I really have to. A little heat never killed anyone.  Well, maybe that's not true, but I've been keeping my runs to a half hour and try not to go too fast.
Today I am going to be a tourist and have planned a trip to the Arch and the zoo and maybe check out some running stores in the city because I like running stores. I don’t need any running clothes or accessories, but it’s fun to look.
I’m in St. Louis until Thursday and then I get to fly back home.
I really don’t like traveling. I hate flying, rental cars, suitcases, hotels, but I am trying to make the best of it. My rental car is a 2013 Dodge Charger and I was scared to death of it at first, but now I rather like it. That pushbutton start feature is very cool.
Well, got my old running shoes on and I’m off to see the arch. This will probably be my only day for sightseeing (have to work tomorrow) so I’m going to see as much as I can.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Real runner?

The Humane Society 5K race was great. I set a new PR of 24:05. I’ve run this course many times and it’s fairly flat except for two small hills at the very end. I thought I slowed down on the hills, but apparently I did not. I got caught behind some slower runners at the start, but I passed a lot of fast runners (all guys) toward the finish. A time of 23:something is in reach. Wow.

I managed to beat this 15-year-old at the finish line by one second!
Sunday I decided to do a very grueling 12 mile run. I live in the hills now and no matter where I run, there are hills. If I run west, I have some moderate hills. If I run east, I have some monstrous hills. Well, I ran east. And it was hard. I did pretty good for the first six miles. That’s because there was more downhill than uphill. The return trip was the opposite, of course. More uphill than downhill. One of those hills went on for 2.75 miles and qualified as a hillclimb of 3 on MapMyRun. By mile nine, I was exhausted. Halfway up this one hill, I decided to walk and drink the last of my sports drink. I walked for about 30 seconds to give my legs a break, then started running again. My pace on the steep hills was terrible - 12s and 13s. I probably could have walked it faster. At mile 11 it was all downhill and I found some energy to get back to a reasonable 8:30. What a run. My total time was 1:58:55 with an average pace of 9:54.

My reason for running this hilly course was to see if I have any business running the infamous Vestal XX next Saturday. I have waffled back and forth on this race. It is a 20K race and is the toughest race in the area. The first half is mostly uphill and the second half is mostly downhill.

I graduated from Vestal high school and back then, this was a race for “real runners”. It still is. There are no walkers or casual 5K runners in this race. Am I a real runner?

After yesterday’s practice hill run, I compared my course to the Vestal XX course. Guess what? My course was much harder. The Vestal XX doesn’t have a single hillclimb rating and the last half is much easier than the first half. My last half was almost twice as hard as my first half. The Vestal XX is a half mile longer than what I ran, but I should still be able to complete it in under two hours.

The preregistration deadline is June 12th. If I put my application in the mail today, I should be good to go.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Back in the country!

Yesterday was national run day. I managed to get in a 4.2 mile run before the rain started.

I have a new hilly running course to tackle. For the last seven years, I’ve been living in a small apartment in the “city” and sometimes going home to the country on weekends. Well, no more of that city stuff. I’m back in the country to stay. I’m working from a home office now and there’s really no reason for me ever to go to the city again, except to buy food and run in races.

It’s hilly, but I like it. Very little traffic, deer, owls, rabbits, and beautiful views that go on forever. And no, or very little garbage, or people to contend with. No sidewalks, but I can run down the middle of the road if I time it right.

I’ve been wondering how I’d do on the hills and the answer is pretty good. My “end of the road and back” route takes me up a small hill, then up a gradual hill for two miles, then I turn around and run up one steep hill, then downhill all the way until I get near my house and have one last hill to tackle. So far my pace has been around 8:40. I’m happy with that. I have yet to run any big hills, but I’m planning a long run for Sunday and there’s no way I can avoid them.

Tomorrow I have a 5K race. Two small hills at the end. I’ve run the course several times and hope to break 26 minutes. I also hope not to run in the rain. The remains of hurricane Andrea are headed this way. At least it’s summer!