Thursday, May 31, 2007

gretchen and famous rock the mile!

Yesterday on a very hot and quite windy day at the MIT track, Gretchen and Katie Famous rocked the mile. Gretchen started comfortably, hesistant to take the lead at first. First 800 was a 2:40, she says. Next 800 was a major negative split in 2:31. And all that after a killer hard workout on Tuesday night.

Famous also had a strong race -- PRing by 0.1 or 0.01 seconds from her PR from last week.

And all in all, it was great to see so many GBTC folks at the mini-meet. We raced in the midst of little kids and old folks, and just about every age in between. And I must say that some of those teenage girls are speedy little things.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I love the mile

It is probably true that I am at heart a 3K/5K runner. However, this season has been fun because I've been branching out in either direction, with a few 10Ks sprinkled in...and now a couple miles. I think I'm much better at the mile than the 10K, which is kind of funny.

I raced the mile for the first time in maybe 2 years on Wednesday. It felt really smooth...too smooth? So I'm looking forward to going out a little harder next time. See what I can hold on to. If anyone wants to join me in the mile next Wednesday, I'd love some company!!!


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Emily's Bedford 12k Race Report

Thought I'd revive the blog with a little racing story.

The start of the Bedford 12k was very tight. Sure, it was a 2-lane road. But those 2 lanes were for skinny Mini Cooper cars or something. The road was slim and there were a lot of runners. I couldn't even elbow my way to the very front; I settled for a spot where I could at least see the line through about three people's legs in front of me.

The gun went off and I nearly tripped a guy in the first hundred meters. I went out fast. I didn't have my watch on; I figured between marathon recovery, this week's not-nicely-paced workout, and lack of recent races that I didn't want to look at a watch. I knew I wouldn't pace well. I just stuck with the top three women for the first mile. We went through the mile at 5:32 (luckily Bruce Davie called out the right time; the clock said 4:51!).

I pulled ahead a little and ran with some guys for a few miles. The race went up and down rolling hills and over a dirt road. I didn't get anymore splits but I saw the mile markers roll by. By mile 6, I was tired but not dead. My legs still functioned but they felt flat - in a rhythm, a rhythm that was slowing down.

Just before mile 7, Molly Taber flashed by in her powder blue MVS jersey. My legs didn't feel great but I figured I'd throw in a surprise. I think most people pass and expect an instant win - so when you fight back and throw in a surge, it throws them off. So I surged. Then she surged. Then I surged. Then she surged. Finally after this battling there were 100 meters left.

I thought about all the reasons why I should win. It was Bruce's birthday and I was away from him for a half-day and figured I better make it worthwhile. I wanted to get the mental disappointment of the marathon out of my head with a win. I wanted GBTC to win over MVS. I wanted to celebrate the second anniversary of having my abs chopped and guts rearranged (very much related to Bruce's birthday). Anyway, I had my reasons. And I was convinced that my reasons were better than hers.

So I mustered a sprint - the full arm-pumping, leg-driving, quick-turnover sprint that is very unfamiliar to me. I can't remember the last time I whipped out a sprint like that. It's been a long time. Not even the Northeastern 10k had a sprint like this.

The sprint worked. I crossed the finish in 43:41, which I found out later was three seconds off the course record. Dangit. We exchanged "good race" comments and she threw in "you've got some speed," which is a comment I don't hear often.

GBTC ended up in second place, although we definitely fielded a deeper team. We finished four girls in front of their third and all seven before their sixth. Maybe next time...


Sunday, May 6, 2007

Westford 5K day of fun

Two or three dozen GBTCers raced today's Grand Prix 5K in Westford, MA. Laura, Brad, Gretchen, and I left Boston at 11:30am since we thought it would take over an hour to get to the race. Well, we got there at about 12:20, two hours before the race would start. To kill time, we drove around town looking for a running store so Brad could buy a pair of men's size 9.5 racing flats. FYI runners -- there is no running store in Westford. We perused the wares at the flea-market-like Puma tent sale, and Brad optimistically stopped at Olympia Sports but came back empty handed. He was more willing to wear his trusty road trainers that a pair of bright orange plastic Puma spikes or heavy basketball mid-tops with velcro. Lucky for him, though, because he proved that you don't need any high-tech lightweight shoes to have a good race.

We basked in the sun for some time before rounding up the team for a warm-up. Several of us (I won't name names!) felt iffy and sore after our Saturday afternoon session of soccer in the park. Oops. I guess runners really don't use those kicking muscles very much because my quads and shins were kind of tight today. I'll have to work on my soccer skills this summer.

The start of the race was comical. Hordes of runners swarmed behind the fluorescent yellow start line painted across a narrow driveway only about 20 feet wide. It was a madhouse. A bunch of the GBTC women who wanted a good starting position but couldn't quite find space on the road huddled on the grass to the left of the start. When the horn sounded, we trampled over big cones and around fast old men before actually crossing the start. So I'm thinking that the conditions of the start tacked on a few extra seconds to each of our times.

The race was fun! The first two miles were flat or downhill, and the course was gorgeous. It was a fast start. I was hoping to go out in 6:10 for the first mile since my legs still feel pretty dead. I thought I was right on that pace -- maybe even slower -- because I didn't feel like I was really exerting myself for the first mile, and I was getting passed left and right. First mile split was about 6:01. I'll take that. Second mile was still pretty flat, and I kept the pace even. I started catching people who blew by me in the first mile. Second mile split was 12:03. Not bad. I kept the pace pretty spot-on until we hit the 2.5 mile mark or so. That's where the course started to climb, and my legs just died. I have no power on hills. I didn't get passed by any one, but I knew my pace had slowed significantly. I really need to work on those hills. Summit Ave. repeats, anyone?

All in all, I think GBTC had a great showing at the race. The women tied for 2nd place, and Allison McCabe outkicked a New Balance gal for 3rd place. Sweet. Laura - who is still in marathon recovery mode and totally dominated our soccer expedition yesterday - ran a solid race, just 10 seconds behind her 5K Grand Prix time from 2006. Gretchen, Fobert, Christy, Audrey, Heather, and Mithu ran solid as well, although I know that their times today are not even remotely indicative of how fast they can run this distance. And props to Audrey for totally coming out and running to support GBTC today. Way to run for the team!!! I ran okay - not great - but okay. I was 20 seconds off my PR, but I'll take that on this hilly course with heavy legs.

More importantly, I had a blast today. Sure, I left my house at 10:30am and travelled for 2 hours (one-way) to get to a 5K race, but I was in the company of my favorite people ever. And Grand Prix races are always so exciting because so many fast and talented people show up. It's not every day that you get passed by men (and women) almost twice your age. Amazing.

Next race is the Grand Prix 12K in two weeks. That race is bound to be uber-competitive since all the folks that ran the marathon will likely show up for that race. After that, I might run the half-marathon in Boston on Memorial Day Weekend. Anyone want to run it with me?


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Running Out West

Scott, Bruce, and I are taking a break out in Montana right now. Scott has a break between classes and a summer of long hours in a clinic. And I needed a break from the daily grind of writing about cameras, feeding and nurturing a toddler, and running running running.

I'd been feeling a little burned out post-marathon, but I'm feeling better and better here. I don't have to run wicked early in the morning, which is nice. The scenery is gorgeous. There are lots of trails. Ahhh.

The past two days my legs felt like junk and my chest felt like someone was sitting on it. I think I'm finally adjusting to the 5,200 ft elevation. Today's run was much better. I ran some gravel roads and some big hills past a few ranches and some enormous houses. I could see across a big valley for most of my run and could see an entire storm system moving through ten miles away. It was pretty cool. I like it here but I think I'll be ready for some city running in about a week. I'm probably more nervous about the bears and wolves here than the creepy dude around my place.