Tuesday, April 01, 2014

March: 178.77 miles

It normally kills me to be this close to a new record high month and not go for it, but this month I felt good with what I had run.  I had a solid 6.8 miles in the morning and was happy with that and the month total overall.  It's like a new me!

Friday, February 28, 2014

February: 182.61 miles

Yippity skippity!  Another month done, another high one month total.  It feels especially good knowing this was also the shortest month of the year.  Amazing!

I've been running very well, trying some new things and pushing myself in different ways.  I'm loving the challenge that this sort of training brings.  I'm excited to see what this means for the races I have lined up in the coming months!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

January: 181.77 miles

Most miles in one month!  Ever!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cascade Half Marathon

I knew the Cascade Half Marathon in Turner, Oregon (near Salem) would be a great race for me.  The last time I raced that distance was in October 2012, so well over a year!  It's my favorite distance to train and race so I was super excited to be running it again.  I had also been running strong -- both in terms of pace and overall mileage.  I started a running streak in November (the day after Thanksgiving, the 29th) and I really think that has a lot to do with my improved running.
Anyway, lots of strong miles and no injuries gave me the confidence to run Cascade well.  My previous best was at the Foot Traffic Flat HM in 2011.  Finish time there was 1:44:57.  The thing about that race though is that the course measured short on my watch.  So although I had this great new PR for the distance, I didn't really feel like I had earned it.  I don't remember how far short it was, but I know my finish time would have been another minute, at least.

The Cascade HM is an awesome race.  It's the perfect size for me with only 429 HM finishers.  The route is flatter than flat and has very few turns.  The race is in a very rural part of Oregon so nothing but wide open country.  There was considerable fog and the start temperature was 32*.  A little cool, but otherwise perfect running conditions for me.

The first half of the race I paced off two high school aged boys.  They were tall, lanky and easily ran the 7:30-7:40 pace.  They were probably members of the local high school xc team, the group that benefits from this race.  Last year the school was able to purchase several new pieces of gym equipment.  In a town with population 1853, I can see how this race is a huge event and huge fundraiser.  I love that.

The boys (I called them my "show ponies") started to lose me at the turn around point.  At this point I also noticed that my watch was not measuring the course the same as the mile markers.  It appeared to be long.  I've raced enough to know how to run the curves.  I do everything possible to run the shortest distance and in a race with so few people, this was very easy to do.  At the finish line, however, my watch had the course at 13.4 miles.  And I started my watch 5 seconds into the race so I really probably had something just over that.  Crazy.

The second half of the race was run equally strong and consistent but the pace did slow a little here and there.  With just over 1.5 miles to go, Paula Harkin (owner of Portland Running Company) passed me.  I knew she ran a 1:40 last year and was probably on pace to do something similar so that kept me moving along.  I'm not going to lie: that last 1/2 mile was tough.  Throughout the race I repeated to myself:  Be Fearless. Be Confident.  Those words kept me running a "comfortably hard" pace throughout the race.  Yet, you wouldn't know the last bit was tough because I crossed the finish line at a 7:20 pace.  Crazy. 

I know it's almost impossible to race a distance the exact distance they say it is.  It just isn't.  And I've run in races that have been long (Del Mar Iron Girl's 10K showed up as 6.54 miles on my watch -- .34 over!?) and since I run as much as I do, I know during the race when a course is long.

The Cascade HM course was long.  And I find this so frustrating because I had been running so strong and came into this race ready for a new PR.  Yes, it was a PR even with the official time but not the 1:42 I wanted so badly.  According to my watch, I made my goal and ran a under 1:42!  But, not officially.  Boo.

After the race I approached a woman who had out-kicked me in that final stretch to tell her Good Job.  She had passed me right before the turn-around and I saw her in front the remainder of the race.  I could see she was slowing beginning around mile 8 or 9 so I made it my mission to catch up and pass her.  I did just that somewhere late in the race but then her kick at the end was stronger than my kick and she flew past me, finishing just 7 seconds before me.  Later I learned she is in my division.  Oh, that stings!  Especially since that was the second race recently where I've been out-kicked in the final stretch.  At the Corvallis Fall Festival 5K, a woman in my division came flying out of nowhere to beat me by 5 seconds.  Ouch.

Overall, I loved this race.  I love the ease, simplicity, route, seeing a school benefit...  It's very well done and with a cap of 1,000 participants total, I can see word spreading about this fast and flat course and it's popularity increasing.  I think it already has after Runner's World profiled it.  Next year I'll need to be sure to sign up as soon as they open for registration!

Official finish time: 1:44:26
Pace: 7:59
Division Place: 5

However, I'm taking this race off my own watch.  I killed my previous best and am super happy with my efforts, even if the official time doesn't reflect it.  New PR for me! 

Cascade Half Marathon: 1:41:14
Pace: 7:47
Fuel Notes: one GU gel 10 minutes before race start, one ShotBlock around mile 7, no water

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sunday, November 03, 2013