Friday, March 27, 2009

Something's Gotta Give

I ran a PR at the Bayou City Classic 10K. I'm really pleased - it was by over a minute-twenty.

But I still can't seem to get up in the mornings. It is Friday, I've only run once this week. The rain has proven too easy an excuse. And I don't feel like working out today, at all. I never do on Friday. And then I never end up doing it on the weekends. And then each week starts over where I swear I'll be better and I am good on Monday and Tuesday, but fried by Wednesday and barely hanging on by Thursday.

Beyond the working out, I'm not happy. Work has been stressful (hence the lack of blogging). I'm to the point where it is difficult for me to give a shit, and that isn't a place I want to return to. To top things off, my normally wonderful boss is suffering from grief that is beginning to look like depression, and she needs me, but I can scarcely lift myself from this funk.

In my personal life, I tell my husband what I need, but he doesn't seem to be willing or able to provide it. I take refuge in books, and it pushes him farther away. And so we circle, like fighters in a ring, each feinting, but never closing the distance between us.

I think I may be teetering on the edge of depression myself. Something MUST give. But I don't know what. I don't know. I feel powerless to choose or change my path, and frightened to let the chips fall where they may if I do nothing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

From Park to Park to Mutt Strut Runway Race Report

After the Park to Park 5 miler, I felt a little lift in my extreme lack of motivation. I mean, that wasn't much slower than my PR, so maybe there was hope for me...

In the following week, I focused on getting in good runs, including a nice little 6 miler on Saturday that felt *good*. Got in 3 runs in the next week, and we were up to the Mutt Strut 5K race on the runway at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

Mutt Strut: I'd like to say that this will be my last year doing this one, but since it is on the runway and my hubby loves him some planes, I doubt it.

I'm just fed up with it, though. To start, they advertised on their website that if you didn't want a T-shirt it was free to run, or you could make a donation. I asked for no T-shirt (got a pretty full drawer anyways!), but was charged the full fee (which I was going to donate anyways, thank goodness, or I may not have had it on me) and the volunteer seemed totally confused by my lack of wanting said T-shirt. Not the volunteer's fault, but if you are going ot advertise it on your website, train your volunteers, please.

Then, they totally underestimated the number of people they'd get. They went on sort of a media blitz in the weeks leading up to the "race" and the mutt-strutters were out in force. Because of this, they decided to start the race a half hour late, when it had gotten quite warm on the runway.

They started the runners first (SMART!!), then walkers, then anyone with a mutt. I had forgotten my Garmin, so was just going to try to run by feel. It was almost 80 degrees, and windy. First mile on my watch was 8:11. I was pleased with that. Second mile 8:22. Also pleasing. I was running with the second chase pack, which for me, is waaaaay farther in front of a race than I'm used to. There was the leader, then a fairly large first chase pack, then a little gap, then the pack I was in. Unfortunately, we turned into the wind for the last mile, and I died. Oh, and also, most of the mutt strutters decided to turn around at the 1/2 mile mark, and made a huge crowd to run through, slowing runners down. Final time was 27:06 (gun) by my watch.

My suggestions: they really need to go to chip timing. They need to start the strutters 30 minutes or so after the runners to avoid the congestion. They need to anticipate the size of their race better, and train their volunteers better. And finally, they need to post the friggin' results!! It is now 11 days after the race, whose website promised results would posted "shortly" after the run, and no results. NOTHING annoys me more than a lack of results.

Again, if you are looking for a flat course, you couldn't find a flatter one than the runway at the airport. This event could just be having growing pains, but I'm not convinced... not sure I'd recommend this one any more, unless you just want a jaunt with your dog. In that case, it would be great!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Park to Park 5 Miler Race Report

I seriously contemplated DNSing this race. It really shows the extreme lack of motivation I've suffered from since the marathon. Preston couldn't go (had to work), it was semi-chilly and I was worried that I'd have clothing/temperature issues without P there to give me a coat at the end, I was going to have to drive myself, find parking, pick-up my packet, run, ride the Metrorail back, and drive home... it just started sounding like too much.

But I did it. Thank goodness that I am such a tightwad that I can't stand to waste money, and thank goodness I almost always pre-register!

I left the house around 5:30, hoping to hit downtown around 6. I am still a little grumpy with the race director on this one - participants could park free in the Toyota Center garage, but they didn't put that on the website, so if you picked up your packet the morning of, chances were that you had already paid $10 to park in a surface lot (as I had). Annnyways...

Discovery Green park is actually pretty nice. I've been hearing about it for awhile since my place of work has a facility there, but I've never been there.

Got my packet. *Thrilled* to notice that there was a bag check. No freezing for me at the finish line!!! (Another thing that would have been well-advertised on the website.) Went back to my car, stowed my stuff, then waited around until about 20 minutes before start before checking my jacket and lining up.

The start was a little different from last year, when we were coming from Minute Maid. I was using this race as a test of my fast fitness after the marathon. I knew that I'd be slower than last year, when I ran a 44:14 for 8:50 miles, but I harbored a vague hope that I wasn't terribly slower, despite my lack of training since the marathon, so I decided to go out for anything sub 9's, and see how long I could hold it.

The first two miles came rather easily. At 3 I was starting to struggle to hold my pace just a bit, and I remember thinking that if I was in a 5K I'd be done already! I also remember glancing down at the Garmin and knowing that I'd have been pleased with my 5K time (27ish minutes) if I was done. This gives me strong hopes for some of the 5Ks I'm going to be running for the rest of the spring season.

I slowed down a bit in the 4th mile, but still kept it under 9. Then we made that big right hand turn that I remembered from last year, the one that basically means 1 mile to go. I kept trying to tell myself to push it because I was almost done, and it worked until I hit the gravel in Herman Park, but then I just didn't have anything else left to give. That was combined with the extra caution that the surface change caused in me - I'm not sure why, but the gravel felt really slick to me, and I was vaguely afraid of falling.

Finished in 45:03 for 9:00 miles. 51 seconds slower than last year. 15th of 39 in my age group.

Looked at last year's splits, and I basically started slow and sped up through the race (despite a vague memory of slowing on the gravel). This year I did just the opposite: started fast, and slowed down. I'm sure that I ran a better race last year, but ultimately I think I could run a faster race if I could just find my pace and peg it like I did at the Trolley Run last year. That is what I was trying to do this time around, but I just didn't quite have it in the legs to pull off.

Over all, I'm really quite pleased with this result 5 weeks off the marathon. More importantly, I feel like I've got a little of my mojo back. I don't think that I can break my 5K PR or anything on March 7th (my next race), but I don't feel like I'm going to run a 30+ minute 5K either. And after I run that 5K, I'll have 4 weeks to the Bellaire Trolley Run to train for speed so I can really bring it to that race.