Saturday, February 25, 2017

Chilly Willy Run Series - Flannel 5K

Chilly Willie Run Series - Flannel 5K - February 25, 2017
time = 25:28
pace = 8:20
placed 2 in my age group (40-44) out of 25
placed 18 in women out of 212
placed 43 overall out of 324
link to strava data

why do i do this to myself?!?  i SWORE... literally SWORE... that i would NEVER race in winter again!  i blame the recent 60º weather for my lapse in judgment.  i mean... it seemed like a very good idea at the time of signup... let's run a race in freaking FEBRUARY for christ's sake!

sure... what could go wrong?

um... let's study that question for a moment.

turns out... a few different things.

so it was 18º with a wind chill of 5º at the race start.  that isn't cool (no pun intended.  ok... maybe pun intended).  i arrived at naga-waukee park in delafield, wi about an hour before race start.  it's a good thing too because there were no bathrooms at the start/finish.  the park is broken up into "picnic areas" and the start finish was at picnic area 5.  when i arrived i headed to the bathrooms and they were LOCKED.  yup... locked.  so i headed over to the tent and asked about that.  they said that bathrooms were available at picnic area 2 (which is directly at the entrance to the park) and down at the lake which was also a bit of a trek from the start/finish.  while this was inconvenient it certainly wasn't the worst thing in the world.  i drove down to the 2, took care of that peeing business, and drove back up to 5 and parked.  just after i parked i saw dave and made him get in the car to talk.  it was hella cold!  so we chatted for a while and then saw (and said "hi" to) jeff  who was volunteering and taking photos for the race.

approximately 15 minutes before the start we left the car so that i could warm up and dave could find some others he's friends with.  i ran up and down a little bit of the road and mentally thanked jeff for telling me to come with screw shoes.  the pavement was plowed and pretty clear of snow, but there were still a good deal of slick spots and areas still covered with snow.  i should have known that this was going to cause problems...

about 5 minutes before the start i headed over to the corral.  i like to be in the front so that i don't get frustrated with getting caught behind slower people.  i know that people will pass me, but i just like to get out in front and get out of the way.  so i started near the front and that's where i saw another instep running team member, andrea, so we talked a bit about the weather and our shoes.  maybe now is an appropriate time to say that if i hadn't gotten my race comped through instep for being on their team i probably would have flaked and not gone at all.  responsibility (and possibly guilt) are strong and motivational drivers.  i run for instep on their trail team as well as for oiselle voilée.  for that reason i sometimes get comped entries to races where i can represent instep... this was one of those races.

dave & i just minutes before race start - pc: jeff crosby
just moments before we took off - pc: jeff crosby

the gun goes off and we start running.  the wind is gusty and makes everything a lot more challenging and so much colder.  i feel pretty good, but right away the cold is affecting my legs.  i can feel the waterlogged dead weight feeling coming on, but i press on and try to ignore it.  i feel like i'm running pretty well and i guess i should be since the first portion of the race is essentially DOWN HILL!  while this makes me pretty happy at first i then remember that what goes down must come up... at the bottom we loop through picnic area 2's parking lot and head back up said mentioned hill.  by now i've seen a few people slipping and sliding and i hear a guy behind me say that someone fell.  i've slipped a few times and my legs are getting heavier and heavier... so heavy, in fact, that I STOP RUNNING AND WALK A FEW PACES!  

what in the ever loving fuck?!?  yup... i'm not even a hair out of mile 1 and i'm freaking walking.  there is nothing more humiliating for me in a 5K than having to walk.  i mean, it's only THREE miles for christ's sake... what is wrong with me?

so i walk a couple of paces and then start running again.  i'm surprised i can even pick up my legs at this point... they are so damn heavy.  i focus on putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.   there were several turns on the park roads and an adjacent neighborhood and then we ran downhill again to the lake.  as with before... what goes down must come up.  *sigh*

andrea fell back right out of the gate because of the slipperiness of the roads, but she moved up on and passed me around this time.  i only walked (again) a few paces but man... it sure plays with one's confidence to have to do that.  this is the first 5K i've EVER had to walk in.  EVER!  i think the fact that we started at the top of some hills was a bit unnerving for me because we started with a significant descent and then a very slight differential between that and having to head back up right away.  it was absolutely a challenge (two times over) that i was ill prepared for.

i was feeling pretty down about my performance at this point and really just trying to keep picking up my legs and putting them back down.  i knew i only had about a mile left so.... i kept pushing and really just thinking about why in the world this felt so hard.

finally, the finish came into view... i saw jeff again (taking pictures) so i put on my photo face and waved.  as soon as i passed him i went back to looking like death.  i ran through the finish incredibly relieved to be finished as i simultainously cursed the time clock which was ticking off the finish time well past what i deemed acceptable for myself.

dave was waiting at the finish with a congratulatory smile and kind words.  we went straight to the tent for the promised hot cocoa and to wait for the results.

it was a pretty spectatular turn out for a race held on a not so spectacular day.  i will try very hard to remember why i loathe racing in cold weather after this race.

this race series hands out awards for the most average runner of the race.  so the man and the woman who run exactly the middle pack pace win an entry to the "average joe" 5K which i think is really awesome and fun.  those were the first awards handed out.

next they did overall winners and then age group winners.  i always like to stay and see if i've placed in my age group.  the announcer gets to my age group and calls out my name as the 3rd place winner! yay me!  so i receive my medal and the person called as the 1st place winner of my age group is my friend cortney (i didn't think we were in the same age group so i was surprised).

dave and i left after that.  we were supposed to go run lapham (i had 10 miles on my schedule), but i was so cold and disappointed after my race that i didn't want to run at lapham.  plus dave is considerably faster than me so i didn't want to hold him back since my body is currently walking on the heaviest of railway ties.  i mean... lead weights.  iron beams. tree trunks... you get the picture.  they were damn heavy and subsequently S.L.O.W.

i headed home and ran another 6 miles on the treadmill instead.

after my shower and eating i looked at the official results only to find out that they were different than what was announced on site.  i had actually come in SECOND in my age group because (sure enough) cortney was NOT in my age group.  i contacted the race director and he confirmed that the posted results are correct.  this is where the rest of my "what could go wrong" disappointment regarding this race comes into play...

i was disappointed to learn that he was aware of the issue with the results, but chose not to do anything about it right away because it "only affected a few people".  i am a pretty serious and competitve runner and even tho' i did a pisspoor job at this race the results... the CORRECT results... are very important.  i didn't freak out or act like an ass when given this response... i just said thank you and sent him my e-mail so i can get the correct medal.  i don't want to be a jerk about it, but this is the second time this has happened to me with this race director.  the first time it was (thankfully) corrected right away so i left with the correct medal and had pictures retaken with the correct medal... now tho'... i will have pictures with the wrong medal and it's disappointing.  it sort of makes me wary of running their races.  i understand that there are A LOT of things that go into planning a race, but honestly, i think that the results are of the utmost importance.  i suppose there are some people that wouldn't care if this happened to them, but if there's even one person who cares about this then the race director should care about it also.  i would not want it to happen to someone else even if it isn't really that big of a deal... more of a minor inconvenience.  anyway... that's the race report and my experience.  if you like winter/cold weather racing then i recommend it.  the course was insanely challenging and totally worth it.  i think it's one of the most difficult 5Ks i've ever raced (and all 5Ks are truly difficult).  oh and the shirt... it was cute.  tech t with a flannel filled state of wisconsin.  the race director also said during the awards that next year they'll have ACTUAL FLANNELS! that alone might make me do it again... lol!  i mean... c'mon... a flannel race shirt?!?  that's pure gold.

Monday, February 20, 2017

60º in FEBRUARY?!? i'll take it

we have had some ridiculously beautiful weather for the past week or so now.  it has given me the chance to run on my favorite trails.  slow but beautiful given the amount of mud, standing water, and ice lurking about.  i started training for iceage 50K on monday (2/13) and the runs were nothing short of extraordinary!

i ran in the sloppiest of conditions over the weekend... it was perfect!  there is nothing i love more than trail running.

lapham peak - wednesday 2/15
lapham peak - sunday 2/19
so much mud!  the ascents were easy peasy... the descents not so much... had to be very careful.  it was a lot of fun
the slipping down ice wasn't so fun, but what can ya do?  keep on keeping on... that's what!  there was a section of trail where the ice went edge to edge for maybe 10 yards or so... down hill.  this was a bit scary because as i was bombing the edge my right foot landed on the ice... i was unable to correct and ended up slippin' and slidin' down to the bottom.  i'm proud to say that i stayed upright the whole time in spite of the trail trying to take me down.  that'll get your heart pumping!

so because i've been feeling so awesome, and the weather has been so great i decided to take advantage of a couple of races that InStep Physical Therapy & Running Center offered to the Trail Team (which i am honored to be a part of).  today i signed up for a 5K this coming weekend.  unfortunately, it is looking like it will be only a high of 30º instead of this lovely 50-60º we've been experiencing.  this is still warm enough for me to feel good about racing.  plus it's in delafield and on a trail so it's really a win/win all around.  i'm going to rock a flannel to make it official too so there's that!  given that it will be cool i should be comfortable enough in the flannel to make it worth the weirdness of racing in one.

there is still time for you to sign up for this race... in fact, i'm pretty sure they have race day registration.  come one come all!  

this was on saturday (2/18) on IAT from the nordic trail head... it was such a beautiful day!

i've also been going to crossfit semi-regularly beginning back january 1st.  i had a week there i was sick so no running or crossfit from 2/3 to 2/10.  i hate when i have such a large break in training because i (erroneously of course) believe that i'm losing fitness.  i feel so good when i'm hitting all my weekly goals.  it also helps keep my mind right.  i've been unemployed since 9/15/16 and it is at best frustrating.  running and crossfit have helped me stay sane during these difficult few months.  it is so important to stay positive.

lapham peak on sunday was glorious!

i also signed up for beartrax 20K today.  i was supposed to run it last year, but ended up dropping out of almost all of my races due to whatever weird thing that happened to my left hamstring.  this race is in one of my most favorite places, lapham peak.  lapham peak is where i began this trail running adventure, and therefore holds my heart as my favorite trails to run.  it is where it all began...

if you're new to wisconsin trail running i highly suggest coming to run this race (or any race at lapham for that matter).  this park is really runner friendly with a mixture of wide groomed ski trails, and then the IAT which runs through and is more technical and adventurous.  this race tho' is only on the groomed trails so i think it's good for someone who wants to try out trail running, but might be a little apprehensive.   prowl the peak 5K (possibly now defunct) was the first trail race i ever participated in.  it was definitely an experience and one i wouldn't trade for the world.

looks like i'm back in the saddle which is a glorious place to be.  with any luck 2017 will shape up to be a banner year all around.  big things in store for me this year...