Sunday, March 30, 2008

Some Days You Got It, Others.... know the saying. Today was the Capital of Texas 10k, or if you live in Austin, "Cap 10k". This is supposedly the largest 10k in Texas, as today they were expecting 16,000 people. And it is yet one of the many that we can jog down to the start line in about 5 minutes from our house.

It starts right on Congress Avenue bridge, just near downtown. I am doing a half-marathon next weekend, so at first I thought I shouldn't race this. But with all the hype in town around it, I figured what the I signed up on about Wednesday and away I went.

The start was at 8:45, which is a nice 'later' start for a running race. I woke up to a lovely 70-degrees and 95% humidity! It seems to always do this on running race mornings in Austin; yesterday it was 50. Ah well, everyone has to deal with it. I jogged down to the race around 8:00 or so, and ran into my friend Richie, so we warmed up together. My legs felt ...ah, not so great, a bit heavy but I hate to make excuses so I brushed it off.

Right at 8:45, we were off! My mantra was 'CONTROL' on this one. It is a very tough first 3 miles, as we run to downtown (gradual uphill), make a turn and then really hit some big rollers from miles 1.0-3.0. According to the elevation map, it is 'all dowhill' after this but is is most definitely not. I went out in 5:30, just about 5-10 seconds behind the lead women, in a good position. I really felt pretty good, controlled. We made the turn and hit the hills, where I still felt pretty strong. It was by the mile 3 marker which I came through in 17:30 that I really started to get tired, as my legs just felt spent. I was 'on pace' for about a 36-min race, but I knew the rest was not easy by any stretch. Between miles 3 and 4, I was flat out hurting. I tried to stay positive, but I think the humidity really started getting to me and I knew I would have trouble picking up the pace (or even holding it). I figure everyone experiences this in a humid, hilly race, but then 3 guys swiftly cruised by me...damnit.

At this point it was 'don't quit, don't quit'. It is really tough to see a good race slip through your fingers, and as hard as you push, it just is not happening. The mile 4 and mile 5 marker could not come soon enough at this point! I was in 4th place for the women and then I was passed just after mile 5 by a women who I had passed at mile 1, and from the bridge on (last .5 miles) I just wanted to finish. I crossed in 37:15, which was about 15 seconds slower than last year.

So...what can I take from this?
My immediate thoughts are these:
1) You suck, what the hell? You are trying to focus on running and what is this shit about?
2) What happened out there...were your legs still tired from the training week? Was it the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band show Friday night? (there has to be a reason right?) :)
3) Freaking 5th place! Yuck! You wanted to go a 35+ or low-36 minutes...WTF?!

My rational, 'what can you learn from this' thoughts are these:
1) Learning experience. Took out a very tough course in 5:30, yes felt good but may have been too fast...continue to try to take races out slightly slower and be like Chris Kimbrough, build, build build.
2) It is what it is. This is a great training day, and in the BIG picture this is not a bad race. Just not what you had expected.
3) Every race will not go your way. Period. This is life, deal with it, learn from it and move on.

So now I will focus on next weekend. The frustrating thing about being an athlete is that we put a lot of time and energy (mental, physical and emotional) into what we do. So, when things do not go our way, we tend to (or at least, I do) 'beat ourselves up' a bit. I think this is ok to an extent, but it is stepping back, seeing the bigger picture not only to a season but to life and movin' on. So that is what I'll do. Yes, I would like to have seen a faster time but ultimately does that define me as a person? Definitely not.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Daisy 5k: Boy Chase Girl

So today was the Austin Runners Club (ARC) Daisy 5k here in Austin. I guess this is typically done around Mothers Day, but it was moved back as part of a Sprint Series (which I will not be doing...5k is a full on sprint to me!). It started near Progress Coffee, and near the new Rogue Equipment store here in Austin. The race went off at 8:00 am, and upon 'Map My Run'-ing it, I found it is only 3 miles from our house and 2 miles are on the trail. So since I would never do a 3-mile warmup for a 5k on purpose, I figured what a great way to force myself to!

I was up at about 6:00, had some toast and coffee (since I would be running 9+ miles for the day). I left my house around 7:00 and boy did my legs feel heavy! As in, 'just got off the bike' heavy. No spring what-so-ever. Hmm, this could be interesting. But it was a pleasant early morning run so I took it for what it was, enjoyed the long warmup and arrived at about 7:30.

This was a pretty low-key race, though they did get 700 participants. A perfect morning! Well for me could have been about 20 degrees cooler, but it was still pleasant. I talked to Carmen Troncoso before-hand, Carmen is 48-years old, about 95 pounds and a badass. I believe she is coming off of a pretty long lay-off from injuries, but is getting back to form so I knew that she'd give me a run for my money. Literally...there was $200 for the first across the line, however the women went 3 minutes before the boys. And of course, we heard that there were 2 guys from UT (U of Texas) who had shown up. Go figure, when they put up money, people show! That was OK, though, I'd just have to run like someone was chasin' me from the gun...because, in fact, they were. :)

We started and Carmen was a bit ahead of me for the first mile. I felt decent though it was tough, we rolled through mile 1 in just under 5:20. Wow! Keep on this. (yeeaahhh....) I passed her just after that, though she was running great, and told myself to keep it under control. This was max speed for me. Much to my surprise, I hit mile 2 in 10:38...WOW! I do not think I have EVER come through 2-miles in this time, averaging 5:19 pace. I began some calculating but at this point was tiring and realized this could be a PR! However, something happened between 2 and 3. I think that that mile was long. Just kidding...actually most likely a) I tired a bit and b) we were going uphill, though it was hard to tell. I saw the finish and it was quiet, so I figured I was doing OK, not necessarily 'had it in the bag' but wanted to keep this pace and finish strong. I decided to do a quick 'check ' over my shoulder with about 50 meters go to....DAMN....he is too big to be Carmen. The boy(s) had caught me. Actually, just one guy. I dropped the bomb and we sprinted for that $200, but he out-toed me (or in Laura Reid's terms, he out-nosed me) 2/10th's of a second!! Gotta be kidding me. But a race is a race and it was a hell of an exciting finish. Just wish my feet were a bit bigger...isn't size 9.5 big enough?

All in all a great race put on by Muna Mitchell!! Thanks Muna and all involved, we even got a daisy at the end which I loved because, well, this is the flower of my wedding! I just love daisies. I jogged home and actually felt better as I went, which goes to show me that I still think that I have good speed right now just not necessarily a lot of flat out, top end speed. I hit up a great yoga class at 11:45 and called it a day!

...Actually, it is South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin and living in the hub of it all, decided I should go check out the scene. I was out for about 2 hours, heard some good bands and I am freaking tired. I am back home and it is not even 6:00 yet. How pathetic am I? I may get a second wind, or I may end up sitting on my porch, drinking some beer and watching a movie with my cat Shackleton. But, I am ok with that. :) Thanks for reading!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Down Time

This week has been 'just a week'. Nothing too terribly exciting to report, I have been hitting up these 3x2k run workouts on the track and LOVING THEM. I do them on Tuesday mornings, after a long run on Sunday and an easy day on Monday, so despite being in a haze at 5:45 AM, once I get moving I usually feel pretty good. I have been coupleing a harder bike ride that afternoon as well, which works good, I am trying to find a balance of swimming and cycling but it not taking away from the run speed right now. I have also been keeping my long Sunday runs HILLY which too, I love. So, training is training right now. I plan to run the Daisy 5k tomorrow, put on by the Austin Runners Club. This is a boy-chase-girl format, so the women go off 3 minutes ahead of the guys. And, there is prize money! So in this kind of race, you really have to go all out after the gun goes off to hope you don't get caught. Should be a fun time, I passed up the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. I just felt the travel was costly and it was only 3-4 weeks after AT&T, didn't want to be stupid. A 5k outside my door sounds a bit more reasonable. I had a friend Noelle Wilhite come into town last weekend for 2 days, what fun we had! We hit up The Broken Spoke to see an awesome show, and a lot of kick-ass country dancers (2-steppers), and on Saturday we went to Barton Spring and swam for about an hour. She kicked my butt in Stacy Pool on Friday doing sprints (for fun) but I was able to 'pay back' Saturday doing 400's in Barton Springs. Noelle was a great sprinter and breaststroker in college, it was so much fun to swim together! She'd be a great swim buddy if she'd only move to Austin.... :)

Work is going well with the new job, it is nice to be in a very positive environment and be given 'tasks' and things to accomplish. As nice as it is to be a 'full-time athelte', I guess I have been there-done it and it is a sweet life but I find myself wanting something more, especially something more to show at the end of the day. And, I know that I do not spend my whole day training, either! So this is a great situation as I am utilizing my skills, being challenged and being proactive with a company that is really moving forward and wanting to make an impact. I like that. :)
Derick is at a wedding in Florida this weekend, so it is some good 'Kelly Time' (well, now Kelly-Shackleton time, our cat). I tend to savor it when I am alone, sure after awhile it may get lonely or quiet, but even with South by Southwest (SXSW) going on in Austin, I still tend to become a hermit when I am left alone. That can be good and it can be bad...but for what it's worth, I use it as time to catch up on things I never seem to find time to do. Clean up the house (it is always 'dirty'), read more, do more yoga, watch movies Derick would NEVER watch, and really just relax in general.

That is about it on my end! Things are moving along as usual here...if anything exciting an earth-shattering happens soon, I'll be sure to write about it. In the meantime, please be safe on the roads riding. Even though most people I know race bikes and know the risks they take, I am hearing more and more about road cyclists/triathletes getting tangled up with cars. Best rule of thumb, do NOT expect that cars will obey the traffic laws! And do NOT always expect that they can see you, either.
Thanks for reading!
*Picture is myself and Derick along with my good friend Laura Reid (Svhilik now) and her husband DJ, we were outside of a coffee shop in Nashville, Indiana over Thanksgiving. Thanks for the pic, Laura, I miss you!*