Wednesday, March 24, 2010

St. Patty’s Day Dash

Well, it has been over a week since I ran it, but let’s just call it reflection time. But this blog is more about reflection on my journey rather than a real time newscast, right?

It was a beautiful day in sunny, edge-of-spring Seattle. No rain, clear and bright, but mighty chilly. Michelle and Ellen and I met our new running buddy, Daria, down at the site and prepared during our wait with a few yoga poses. You could call them sun salutations but I always forget, do you swing your arms in or swing out as you come up, so my hesitation makes them less . . .fluid. Note to self - practice those.

So, did anyone mention that the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day was also daylight savings? Our leg of the race started at 8:50 but we wanted to be there at 8:30. We also thought it would be more efficient (and green) to take the bus. Let’s catch the 7:45 at the park and ride. Pick up Ellen at 7:00 to allow plenty of time for traffic, that means get up at 6:00 to get ready. Oh, remember it was daylight savings time? That was really 5:00 am! Now, I have been up that early for Black Friday shopping but never to run. It felt good though.

Ellen had us all dressed up in green tutu’s and Michelle had bought us green gear for our heads and shamrock garter belts. I wore mine as an arm band. There were so many great costumes and show of green spirit. My favorites were the three guys who were wearing nothing but green undies and running shoes!

How about the running? I am not going to lie, it was tough. I was right to be concerned about running on concrete. My shins were feeling it right away. But it was a pretty cool feeling to be running on highway 99. The sea of people was amazing! I had no idea this was such an event! So, I had some difficulty keeping my stamina with having to maneuver through so many people. Plus the first half of it was uphill. Ellen and Daria pushed Michelle and I to keep going. We would each shout out landmarks to either start or stop running, like “bus stop” or “trash can” or “no parking” and we just got to know what we meant. We all stuck together!

When we got to the turnaround point, we stopped for a stretch. We were on the south side of the Aurora Bridge. Never have I seen the world from this perspective. I wish I could have stayed to savor the view of Lake Union from so high up. But my coaches kept us moving.

Downhill was better but towards the end my shins were pretty sore. A funny thing that I noticed though was that longer strides hurt less. I don’t know why that is but towards the end, I was able to run a couple of stretches by utilizing this new knowledge. But finally, I had to let the other girls run on ahead of me. I just couldn’t push myself to run those last few feet. They went on ahead and I took a little time but I got there. They were waiting for me at the end and cheering and encouraging me to sprint to the finish line and I did it! 3.8 miles, which isn’t much more than what we run each weekend but it is more and I feel like I did better. And I felt good that I did it, even if I knew I was going to pay for it with sore legs for a few days.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's happening . . .

Running around Greenlake is so great. Michelle, Ellen and I have been running on Saturdays for the past few weeks. Well, we run a good portion of the time. I am still working on my distance and I still have shin splint concerns. However, running on the gravel and using the ice after is really doing the trick.

So anyway, Greenlake. We were running last weekend. Ellen is great to run with because she gives us achievable goals – run to that tree . . . we are going to start again at that trashcan . . . stuff like that. It is very helpful to have her pushing us and having her there makes me push myself too. Usually we stick together, Ellen tells a story because Michelle and I can’t talk while we run yet. But last Saturday, Greenlake was very crowded and we had to weave around people as we ran. As I ran this particular small stretch, almost alone since Michelle and Ellen were behind me a bit, I told myself I would run to “that tree.” Well, I got to that tree and I realized that I could keep going. Not only could I keep going, but it didn’t suck. I don’t know how far I could have gone (probably not too far but who knows). I noticed that Michelle stopped and Ellen was a ways back with her puppy so I stopped too. I won’t say that running is a piece of cake now but I do feel good that I feel like it is clicking for me. 13.1 miles doesn’t seem quite as impossible anymore!

Michelle and Ellen and I are running in the St. Patrick’s Day Dash on Sunday. It should be fun, there will be green costumes for the run and a beer garden at the finish line. It’s not much longer than the route around Greenlake but my big concern – Concrete! The whole route will be on hard surface. I’m going to give it my best shot. Wish me luck, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!