Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Road Not Taken

When I’m running, I often ponder parallel-universe situations. Like what our life would be like if Jack and I had stayed in San Francisco instead of moving to Portland. What it be like if we’d had kids at a younger age. Or had two kids instead of three.

So this morning, it was natural that my mind veered to the alternate reality I could have been living today: racing a half-marathon instead of going for my own 10-mile run. Oh, was I ever glad I’d opted out of the race! I decided not to do the half-marathon about 10 days ago. Long story, but the main reason was money: I’d missed the early registration window, and I wasn’t ready to pony up the now-higher entry fee. I had some “am I slacking off?” angst while making up my mind, but as soon as I landed on my decision, I felt wonderfully liberated. Suddenly I didn’t have to do a track workout the next morning (I ran, then lifted weights instead), and I was able to run slightly shorter on Sunday than I would have otherwise.

And now it’s no regrets. Last evening, as we ate a protein-heavy dinner on the deck, I thought, “oh, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about carbo-loading!” When Daphne took forever to calm down and fall asleep last night, my mind flickered, “at least I don’t have to stress about having a full night’s sleep.” And as I grabbed a single packet of gel before heading out to run for 90 minutes, I delighted in not having to figure out my energy needs in a racing situation. As I took one last swig of water before happily heading out, I was reminded of one of my favorite scenes from “The Simpsons,” when a character says, “man, if this is happening here, I’d hate to think of what’s happening in Euro Itchy and Scratchy Land,” and the screen cuts to a dreary, deserted amusement park in France. Not exactly sure why, but as always, I chuckled thinking about that line.

Now my focus shifts to the Hood to Coast Relay at the end of August. My second leg of the race is almost all uphill, so I’m going to veer away from the track and do hill repeats instead. Onward…and upward.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Speedy Sarah

Wave your hands in the air and give it up for me: I ran 22:19 on Saturday, averaging 7:11/mile. I placed 31st overall out of 816 runners (all women), and I was the #1 Athena (150+ pound woman--I'm 5' 11"). Woot-woot!! Seriously, I am stoked.

The playlist that got me revved up:
"Sun Children" by Nickodemus
"Disturbia" by Rihanna
"Love Sex Magic (feat. Justin Timberlake)" by Ciara
"Piece of Me" by Britney Spears
"Right Round" by Flo Rida
"Gimme More" by Britney Spears
"Stronger" by Britney (what can I say: Britney's beat gets me movin'!)
"Heart of a Champion" by Nelly & Lincoln University Vocal
"Don't Stop Believin'" by Glee Cast Version (the song I'm currently addicted to!!)
"Gold Digger" by Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx

Crossed the finish line only 13 seconds into "Stronger," but I listened to rest of playlist as I cooled down, savoring an orange popsicle and my runner's high. It was a great race and I had a great time. My finish-time still feels unreal to me--it's 75 seconds speedier than my previous best for a 5K--since I don't consider myself "fast."

Guess I should really listen to those peppy "Glee" cast members and always remember to "don't stop believin'."


Monday, July 6, 2009

Looking To Set a 5K PR This Saturday

Marathon-schmarathon: I'm going short this weekend! My eyes are fixed on my 5K this Saturday. I'm on the East Coast visiting relatives (does that qualify as "vacation"!?), and I got in some awesome, focused training runs at my inlaws in upstate New York. A challenging 2.5-mile warm-up run, then I came upon a track I had all to myself for 5 x 800 meters, with first and third 200s at 3K pace, then 2nd and 4th 200s at 10K pace. It was humid and I was drenched by the time I returned, but I felt victorious. As we all know, it's tough to do a track workout solo, and it felt like there wasn't another living soul within shouting distance, let alone trotting around the track.

Then on Sunday morning I did a confidence-boosting tempo run on a delightfully flat rail-trail. I told myself I would do 30 minutes at 8:00 pace, and I ended up averaging 7:55-minute miles for the half-hour. Woo-hoo! I have faith adrenaline and competitive fire can knock at least 25 seconds per mile off when it comes time to run race-pace. My current 5K PR is 23:33, which is a 7:34 pace. I banged that out last June without any specific 5K training, so I feel I've set myself up for an even faster time.

That 23:33 finish would have placed me 21st in last year's version of the race I'm running on Saturday. So my goal is to crack the top 20. At the end of all my recent runs, I've fired myself up to bring it home by envisioning myself dueling with another runner. I tell myself she's the 19th-place finisher and I'm currently in the 20th slot. I turn on the juice to pass her in the final meters of the race. Here's to hoping I do as well in the real race as I do in the imaginary one I keep playing out in my head!

And, hey, if you happen to be at the race in Hartford this weekend, look for me and say hi. I'll be sporting a SkirtSports black running skirt, light green Nike running tank, and brand-new Nike LunarGlide+ kicks.