Friday, September 23, 2016

My Clo Cow HM

I love cows.  So it was no surprise that I signed up for the Clo Cow half marathon.  I think I got a bit carried away at the thought of green trees, cows and glorious sunshine.  When I went to pick up the race packet, I was shocked at how hot it was!  It was baking, and there seemed to be lots and lots of hills, which made me start wondering at the wisdom of this move.  Well, I'd signed up for it, so there was nothing for it, but to turn up and run.
The next morning saw a 7am start - thank goodness, as it was probably 90*F when I finished.  We started off, and the first mile was all uphill. Right. The next mile was also uphill.  OK. And so it continued. But it was all very delightful.  I loved the early, silent morning - the soft mooing of the cows, and the screaming thigh muscles. I was very glad that I had elected to wear a hydration pack, as those uphills did me in.  True I walked a lot of them, because I have not been doing any hill training, but I have been doing a lot of run-walk, so that I am not in agony at the end of a long race.
It wasn't a big race - around 300 people, but it was so well organised. And the cheer team were amazing!  They were in it 100%.  I had a great time.
The last mile and a half, I ran barefoot.  My foot was bothering me a bit, and there was instant relief running freely.  I just wish I was ready to run completely barefoot. My feet may need a lot more training and exposure before I get to the point of running long distances like that.
This was probably my slowest HM ever, but it was one that I enjoyed the most. If not the most ever.  I was/am in a totally different frame of mind re my running. I am finally feeling excited about it again. It's taken long enough, but I am starting to enjoy my running again. And I think this race pic shows it. Typically I would not post such a pic, as I can think of all the things I don't like about it.  But there are more things that I love about it, and Sunday was such a happy, joyful run! Watch this space for further developments!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ragnar Napa Valley

So a friend of mine rang me and asked if I wanted to run Ragnar Napa in November.  I wanted to run a Ragnar Relay since forwever, but this was not the usual 12 person, 2 team relay set up. This was 1 team of 6 people running a total of 194 miles.  Ok, running a relay is not new to me, having run the Golden Gate Relay twice. This relay has us running from Calistoga to Santa Cruz for a total of 193 miles over 2 days.  It's great fun to spend 2 sleepless nights with a bunch of friends!
But running 6 legs (rather than 3), is a bit of a tall order. My friend's original team had bailed on her, so we were the only 2 and needed to find 4 more runners.  I called around, but all my friends were up for running 3 legs, not 6.  To cut a long story short, we are now 8 runners, and have to convince some of our other friends to join us. There are some new runners who have never run a relay before, but I am so excited that they will be on this adventure with us.
I recruited 4 people, and my friend Yanli recruited 4.  Once we have the teams sorted, we can plan the logistics. And I'm calling dibs on driving Van 1.  When I went down to Utah for a race recently, I drove a Ford Explorer, which was awesome!! Guess what the choice of vans is going to be :-)

So Ragnar Napa takes place over 2 days and 1 night.  One person is always running.  And while that person is running, the others in the van will follow that runner, provide aid, drinks, moral support, companion running etc.  and then the next runner will take off, as the van waits at the designated hand over spot. It's fantastic, and I am so excited at having the opportunity to run another relay this year.  Oh yes, it's going to be amazing!

Loss of speed and Race Report

I had great fun at the July 4 5K.  I wore my NASA combo outfit, and felt like a million dollars. The race however, was not without it's minor dramas.  There was only one afternoon for packet pickup which I could'nt make. On race morning, I had to queue for my number - along with those registering for the first time.  It was a total shambles! There were laptops on which people had to register.  When it finally got to my turn, the laptops logged themselves out, as the maximum number of participants had been reached.  I then had to convince the organiser that indeed I had already registered online, and just needed a number.  As all this was going on, I could hear the anthem in the background, and I was furious!  I like singing the anthem...... Anyway, by the time I got my number and rushed off, the race had already started.
So off I ran, and soon caught up with the stragglers.  Anyway, I don't like such fast starts - I had planned a half mile warm up, a few sprints, and then to start strong. Just starting like that knackers me, and of course it caught up with me, as I just could'nt find a rhythm.  Still, I had a decent run, in the heat and humidity, and I am glad I dd that race.  However, I don't think I will be doing it again.  Maybe another July 4 somewhere, but not that one.
After that race, I continued with my on-off training for Oakland's We Run This Town, half marathon.  Yes, it was more off than on training, but my goal was to finish with as little pain as possible.  Usually after a half I am in agony, and need to go to bed for the rest of the day, and everything hurts for a week. Well that day I need to be on point, as I had another event in the afternoon, and I needed to be awake and alive.  My speed really does seem to have evaporated.  But I did finish, and remain, pain-free.
But I realise that I have such a lot of work to do!  My speed is just gone and I don't even have the legs to sprint at the end.  I need to increase my mileage, but I am under strict orders from my podiatrist not to run long distances.  And indeed, a week after this half, my feet are still swollen up.  I am just grateful I can run, so I am not complaining too much, but I have to work out what to do about my pace.  I also think I need to go and see a sports podiatrist. So I guess I'm in a holding pattern.  But that's ok.  It's taking a while to get over this injury, but I'll get there. It's just that patience was never a virtue of mine!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Its the 4th of July!

Last year was a washout as far as July 4th races went. This year I am a little more organised. I still have my star-spangled running capri skirt, which didn't quite get the outing it was promised. Also, it's pretty hot here, so I am not sure I can wear this.  So far the options are the skirt plus t-shirt:


So anyway, it's a 5K, and for once I actually feel a bit more excited about it.  It has been many years since I actually felt like I'd done some work and not just turned up on the day.  It's been a long, long time since I've felt any real enthusiasm for my running. But, I am out of the funk, and I'm curious to see what Monday brings.