Sunday, October 16, 2005

Luke's Locker/Koala Health & Wellness 20K

Doing a bike ride and a run back to back sure highlights the simplicity of running. It took me half an hour and a sherpa-load of stuff to get out the door for yesterday's bike ride. This morning took 15 minutes and one little plastic bag. Yes, there's a reason I often balk at going on bike rides. I can be out the door and done with a run in the time it takes just to deal with all the stupid bike gear!

Okay, so I was up at 5:45 am, after going to bed around 2:00 because I was waiting up for Dan, who had gone Tejano-clubbing with his professor and classmates as part of a music appreciation assignment. (It's a Tejano music class.) Even without much sleep, my legs felt a little better than they had the night before. Not really springy, but not like concrete weights, either. So that was good.

I had to circle a couple of times before finding a place to park downtown, only to find that the box to put your money in wanted $6 instead of the formerly-ubiquitous $5. I had a $5 but no ones! Luckily I was able to get some quarters and I was in business. I tried to give my savior her choice of Hammer Gel flavors as trade, but she wouldn’t hear of it. Thanks, girlfriend! May your good deed this morning come back to you a hundred-fold!

I now had about 45 minutes until the race start at 7:00, so I walked the few blocks to pick up my chip, tied it to my shoe, then wandered into a hotel to use the restroom. The hotel staff were being very nice not to kick us all out. I made sure to wipe down the wet counters in the restroom, and I hope everyone else was similarly conscientious so we will be welcome again next year. Heck, I'll wipe down their floors in addition to their counters if it means I don't have to use one of those disgusting port-a-potties!

It was still about 20 minutes to gun time, so I wandered back to the car, applied a little body glide where it would do the most good and applied a heavy coating of menthol cream to my knees and IT bands. Now that I was all set, I made my way toward the start, getting there just in time for the announcements, which were mercifully short. Then came the national anthem, which I did not help sing because my nation deserves better.

And then we were off!

I can't really say much about the race because it was pretty uneventful for me. The hardest part was just holding myself back because I really wanted this to be a training run, not something I pushed hard on. With as many crampy spots in my hips and knees lately and my history of anterior tibialis tendonitis during marathon training, not to mention my history of injuries on this race, I just wanted to do a nice, steady pace, not too easy, not too hard. But that's so difficult to do when people all around you are excited and testing their limits! The announcers keep calling lower and lower minute per mile times at each mile marker and it's hard to pull back and not just go for it. I got a little help in my determination to take things easy when my hip started nagging at me around mile ten. It wasn't painful so much as it was just giving me the odd little whisper and nudge, as if to say, "Hey, remember me? I'm still here!"

Yeah, thanks.

But by that point the race was almost over. I picked up my pace very slightly on the last mile and a half and called it a day. I wanted to laugh when a volunteer at chip removal wanted to know if I could lift my foot high enough to set it on an upturned bucket so she could clip the plastic tie. I guess a lot of people really did run hard today if she was asking that question! Then again, I heard a lot of huffing and puffing in the first few miles. That always worries me. I have to bite my tongue not to turn and point out that if you're struggling at the 5K point, SLOW DOWN!

After I got my chip removed, I got my bottle of water, found the shirt tent, got a size small (hooray!) and signed up for a massage. The line at the massage tent moved quickly but that was because the complimentary massages were so short-- only about five minutes. I don't even know if it really helped much.

I wandered around the post-race area for a little longer, hoping to see some friends of mine who I'd seen out on the course, but I couldn't find them. No big deal. It was 9:30 and time to go home. I went by the finish line on my way toward the car and helped cheer a few of the back of the packers in. Funny, but their time wasn't much better than my first 20K time, four years ago. What a difference a few years of training and experience can make!

I'm satisfied with my time of 1:54. It's not great, but it's about where I wanted it to be under the circumstances. I rode hard yesterday and I'm still recovering from last weekend's 17-miler and hip/ITB debacle, so a 9:12 pace over 12.4 miles is quite acceptable.

What a busy weekend! I'm a total slug for months and don't sign up for a single thing and then I go do an organized ride and a race in the same weekend. I guess we don't do anything in moderation in this sport, do we?

I'll be back to my usual slacker self next weekend, though!

And I'll end this post by congratulating Shelley on her Ironman Kona finish and Nancy on her Baltimore Marathon! You ladies rock!


nancytoby said...

Thanks for the nice mention, and WELL DONE on your race! Yay!!

PuddyRat said...

I can totally relate to your reasons for wanting to run and the effort it takes to get out the door for a bike ride. Once I'm on my bike, I love to ride, but just getting to that point is such a chore.

Good job on your race.

Shelley said...

Thanks...good race girl!!!

Wil said...

Way to kick butt, woman! You are one fast bunny ;)

Jessica, a Houston Runner said...

i happened to get little sleep too and still ran great...funny how that can work OK with running but not getting to work on time, lol:)

Cliff said...

Great run. Good time and u ain't even pushing it. U got a big rabbit :) Looks like a cat with big ears.