Sunday, April 1, 2012

Just a Short Run - 30k (3.31.12)

I ran Just a Short Run in 2011 and on Friday night I reread my old blog post to refresh my memory on what to expect.  The race director sends out an email a few days before the event outlining everything on race day to make it a lot easier.  I remembered the really long email in 2011 so it wasn't so overwhelming this time around.  I didn't plan in advance. Ibrahim even called me around 8PM on Friday night and I had no idea what time I'd get there or what I would be wearing. The weather called for 43 degrees at the start and only a few degrees warmer 3 hours later.

I didn't have my normal pre-race nervousness but I was still nervous. My nerves this time around focused on what time to get there and when I needed to pick up my packet by, what to wear, and my injured knee.  90% of my stress/nerves were about the injured knee not the first 2 things.  I didn't write in my blog anywhere what time I went to park last year so I was guessing this year.  

I knew it wasn't like a normal race when I stayed up late blogging and looking at numbers.  It was about 1AM before I went to sleep.  I thought a couple times how I ran a 5k on 3 hours of sleep and that sucked. I guessed running ~19 miles would be even suckier but I still couldn't bring myself to just go to sleep. I wanted to blog and look at pictures. {I'm a little bit crazy.}

This year it was sold out and the email said to arrive early and clarified early meant 7:30.  I decided that meant to show up at 7:30.  I got there at 7:28.  I just missed a shuttle and it was 12 more minutes until the next shuttle.  In that time almost all the parking spots filled.  I learned later that they created an extra row so 15 or so more cars fit.  7:30 was a good time. I parked at the skate rink overflow or whatever it is called.

The weather was much better this year than last year. It was colder than the predictions but still really nice. It was 39 at the start of the race and 43 at the conclusion. It should have been 43 at the start and 46 at the conclusion.  The sun never came out.  I was going to wear my compression socks + shorts for the race. I wore pants over them and planned to throw them in my bag.  I was cold so I ended up leaving them on. My bottom half had too many layers while running but it was mostly comfortable. It only got too hot a few times.  It was the first time I ever ran with pants over shorts. 

I ended up meeting Ibrahim waiting for the bus.  Talk about timing.  I was keeping my eye out for Adrienne and RL but hadn't seen them.  We warm up and stretch.  It feels cold and I can't decide what to wear but I just go for it.   We went into the corale to find the 10 minute / mile pacer.  On our way in, we see Adrienne. I couldn't believe I actually ran into her.  Then RL shows up and he wants to introduce her to the 10 min/mile pacer. It was someone he met or talked to at Leadville 100. What a weird coincidence.   

We started out right with the pacer. About .25 mi into it, Adrienne and I went up ahead a little. Someone near us had on strong cologne and we wanted to get away from it.    Running up the big hill at the beginning was much more of a struggle than I expected.  It was a lot harder than last year.   Going down the hill it felt like I was going slower than last year.  Wow my first mile was faster last year. The big hill started in the 2nd mile and I ran it faster this year. It felt easier last year though. 

We stopped at each water stop. At some point in the 1st loop Ibrahim caught up to us.  I think he was with the 10 min/mile pacer for awhile but decided to go ahead.  I can't remember exactly but think it was about a mile and a half into the loop. 

The first loop was tough. I couldn't believe I had to run around that lake again.  My last 4 races were at North Park.  That is just too many.  I couldn't believe we had more to go.  Near the end of the first lap, people were picking up the pace, but those were the people finishing 8.1 miles. It was hard not to pick up the pace too.  Near the end of the lap, I had to stop and stretch my hip for the first time. Adrienne went ahead.  Maybe a quarter mile later I caught up to her. I had said she could go ahead but since we were so close, I tried to catch up.

The second loop was tough. I couldn't get over the fact I had another full loop of this.  For some reason it was much harder doing the loops clockwise at this race and doing more loops counterclockwise at the 50k.   i had to stop multiple times to stretch my hip. I was able to catch back up to Adrienne after.  I had to stop and stretch because my hip would hurt more and more with each step but then my stride wouldn't open right. I couldn't extend my leg enough behind me. (I don't know the technical way to describe it.) Then I'd start running with a limp.  That's when I stretched it.  I probably went pain free for a quarter mile and then the pain just got worse and worse so I'd repeat the stretch.  I was pretty miserable. 

Also at the water stops I took longer than Adrienne. Ibrahim was quick at them.  At one of them, he just went ahead.  At one point I tried to drink the water while being in a hurry and I choked on it.  I need to get my water, take a couple steps and have my breathing slow then drink a little. I drink so slow. I always drink slow so by the time I start drinking, everyone else has their entire cup gone.  I ended up drinking less than I thought I should at every stop because I didn't want that to be what held up my friends. 

Partway through the 2nd loop, Ibrahim took off ahead of us. It was at a water stop when we were slower than him.  

When I stopped to stretch, my Garmin would pause. This would make me so mad. I hate having auto pause on but I always forget about it until I'm running.  {I remembered to turn it off after the race!} Stopping to stretch numerous times only caused my Garmin to be about 45 seconds faster than the clock time. I only stretched for sometimes 5 seconds. I wonder if I would have stretched longer if it would have helped. 

I always feel injured but I realized I only get maybe 2 injuries a year but then I don't rest enough so they last over 1 month each so then I really am injured for a good portion of the year.  My hips/knee have been bothering me this time around for 6 weeks. In those 6 weeks I ran a 20 mile race, a 50k, an a 30k; That is definitely not considered rest. 
The third lap wasn't so bad because I thought about it being the last time I had to do certain hills.  I remember noting when we had 4 miles left.  Then at 3.5 left, I thought we might have a shot of getting the thing done in under 3 hours. I never thought about that before but thought it might be possible.  With 2.5 miles left, Adrienne told me to go ahead and push it to make 3 hours. I did that. After .75 on my own kind of pushing it, I noticed she was 5 feet behind me.  So much for running on my own. We were almost together.   Then I noticed myself slowing down and just running versus pushing myself like a race. I thought the end felt so far away.  The last mile coming in always feels like an eternity.  I just got it done. I beat 3 hours. (Official results)  It was close but I did it.  I didn't play bonus seconds a single time during the race. As we got up there in miles, I kind of wished I knew my mile splits because I was forgetting to add together the 4 numbers or forgetting what set of 4 to add together.  When I was coming in to finish, RL cheered for me. That gave me a little extra push to finish.  I wonder how many other people set their goal time with 2.5 miles left in a race. I was over 86% done with the race before even thinking about a goal time.  Overall I was 24th in my age group and 273 overall. Officially my pace was 9:39, but I finished ahead of the 9:30 pacer.

My garmin said 18.85 mi at the finish not 18.6.  Adrienne's Garmin said 18.85. I even lost some mileage because at each auto pause, it took awhile to get started again. 
My slowest mile and fastest mile were only 26 seconds apart (not counting the last partial mile).  I cannot believe how consistent my times were.  Last year my range was 2:26 between my slowest and fastest mile. 
This year the medal is bigger but I kind of wish the medal was circle like before.  I really wish the medal itself said the distance and not just the ribbon.  This might now be difficult to display in my shadow box I make each year.
After we hung around for awhile with Ibrahim waiting to get stretched, I had someone take our picture. I had her take 2.  Good thing because in the first picture, she cut off the top of my head.  I forgot my headband was around my neck. My race photos are going to look silly with it like that. I took that off around mile 2 too.  I took off my gloves around mile 2 and held them until mile 7 or 8 then wore them for a couple miles then took them off again.  I put them back on right before the finish so that I wasn't holding gloves in finishing pictures.

After the race, I checked Elite Runners & Walkers on facebook to see if they mentioned when the pictures would be loaded.  I didn't see anything about that but I did see that a photographer canceled and they needed someone to take them.  This bummed me out. I thought the photographers were lacking. I really hope they had people there.  I only saw 1 photographer at the finish so I might only have that picture versus pictures of me completing each lap or even pictures along the loop.

Overall I disliked this race more than the 50k.  It was difficult for more of the race than the 50k was. I had a good 20 miles in at the 50k before I struggled.  I started struggling up the hill but then was fine until mile 5 or so. My hip hurt worse than my hips or knees hurt during the 50k. The weather was nicer for this, but my aches and pains made it worse.  Also it was more understandable to be miserable during a 50k so when I was running and felt miserable at this race, I thought that made it EVEN worse.  While running my feet hurt. It felt like my plantar fasciia was stretching too far with each step. This started during the 2nd loop.  I was just full of complaints. I didn't actually voice them out loud except when I had to mention stopping to stretch. I hoped if I didn't mention them they would go away.  They would have probably been worse if I talked about them.

After the race I was limping a little.  I kept getting stiff sitting with Ibrahim. I got up and walked around. That helped.  Ibrahim said he couldn't move.  He was so sore.  He normally trains doing run for 4 minutes and walk for 1 minute. He ran the entire thing.  He was afraid if he stopped to walk, he wouldn't get going again.

I ran the entire thing except walking at water stops. In the 20 mile race, I think I took 2 walk breaks but I planned to walk:run it more and after I took one, I decided against it. Then the next loop, I repeated that.  I walked A LOT during the 50k.

Now I'm taking a full week off running.  Will I be able to do it? It's already killing me and I want to go run. Today I didn't workout at all. I figured I should rest.  That also killed me.  I need to train better. 5 weeks until the marathon.  I need to create a good training plan for me. I need to get myself healed. I have to figure out what is going on.

There you have it. Another race recap. Another really long one.  If you made it to the end, I'm impressed.  If there is anything else you'd like to know, ask away. I LOVE comments.


  1. I completely agree with you on how much harder it seems running the opposite direction around the lake... and how there have been too many races at NP lately. I went on a race sign-up bender in the fall and forgot that they were all at NP.

    I'm not sure why, but this race felt harder than the JC Stone 50k to me, too. It was such a bad running day that I'm not looking forward to writing my recap.

    Congratulations on an amazing time! Especially when you look at how much faster you were than last year's race.

    1. I hated the traffic behind me but I also feel like hills were longer going the way we went for JASR. We only got a shorter steep downhill (like at 2.5 miles in (before coming to JC stone field. down that hill there before that turn).

      I'm so sick of North Park. I also didn't realize I'd have 5 in a row there! Last year I didn't even run 5 there. I think I only ran 2 there all last year and maybe 1 ever before that.

      Thank you! I was proud. Imagine if I wasn't all complain-y and injure-y (I made up those words) how much better I would have even been. Sometimes I impress myself. It's hard to believe I had knee surgery a few years ago and wasn't even exercising for the 3-5 years before that because of knee pain.

  2. Good job, Colleen! It's impressive, running the ultra and then two weeks later this race, especially around the same loop! I don't know how you did it.

    1. Thanks.

      Yea I'm so sick of North Park. I didn't realize how bad until the race.

  3. Wow - those splits are so consistent; just about as close to ideal as it gets. Plus over a minute-per-mile improvement over last year. Even though you haven't been 100% injury-free, you've gotta be doing something right.


    1. Thanks. I still can't believe how consistent I was. Especially with how injured I was. My hip was bad. I almost quit 8 miles into it. And for me to almost quit. Adrienne helps me out being consistent though.