Greetings, Boston friends!
How I miss you all so so so much. I have arrived in California and now am really missing you all. I miss dawdling on the track on Tuesday evenings after the warm up but before starting the work out. I miss meeting at the Starbucks in Central Sq. on Saturday mornings for long runs in JP or Fresh Pond or the Newton hills. I miss playing soccer in Amory park. I miss hitching a ride with my teammates to New England summer races that are bound to be hilly, hot, windy, and humid and more than likely a combination of those feature. I miss meeting Ted and Emily and Audrey and Jeremy at 5:20am for an 11 or 12 or 13 mile run through Medford and Winchester and the smelly streets of East Somerville, where it always seems to be garbage day. I miss running in Boston, and I miss GBTC.
But alas, I have finally made it to Berkeley and the Bay Area. I left Boston less than 24 hours after racing the Newburyport 10 miler on July 31. As predicted, it was a hot, hot, hot race. Somehow my legs did not feel good until the 7th mile of that race. I did the first mile at 6:15 or so and then the next 6 miles were quite slow and painful -- something like 6:40s or 6:50s. And then all of a sudden I felt good at mile seven and started running 6:15s and 6:20s again. Weird.
But after the Newburyport 10 miler, something really yucky happened to my legs. The IT band in my left leg totally tightened up. At first I thought it was just post-race fatigue, but the pain lingered. I flew home to my parents house in Illinois the next day, and my angelic mother (who is a physical therapist) did massage and ultrasound on my IT band and legs regularly. I was icing and rolling on tennis balls and stretching and everything. My first full-blown running injury! Luckily my IT band is feeling about 75% better. Yay!
Running in Illinois was brutal. It was so hot and humid. Everyday I was home the humidity hovered between 75-90%, and the temps were in the high 80s and low 90s. I usually ran in the forest preserve by my house (which I just discovered this year) and would come back looking like the windshield of a truck - bugs and dirt stuck all over me from the humidity and moistness. I didn't even mind the bugs and humidity as much as I minded running alone. How boring! For the past three weeks I have run all by myself for the most part, and it's such a change from running with Emily and Audrey most mornings and running with the team on Tuesday nights and weekends.
Unfortunately my running has not been going that well this summer. A race I ran in Chicago confirmed this. I raced the Chicago Distance Classic half marathon on August 12. I was excited about the race and wanted to run at least as fast as I did last year. I started out at the right pace and ran 6:28s or 6:29s for the first 7 miles. But then around mile 8 the heat started to get to me and I lost the mental edge and my legs cramped up and everything fell apart. I could barely run 6:50 pace at this point. All I wanted to do was have someone airlift me to the finish. But I somehow made it to the finish line after weaving all along the Chicago lakefront and its many twists and turns and finished in an unremarkable 1:27:50 something. Grrr. So much for running a 1:25.
A few days later, I took off for California. I arrived on Wednesday night and so far have run along the San Francisco Embarcardero, up the 20% grade hills in Berkeley's Tilden Park, and all through Golden Gate Park. This morning I attended my first practice with the Impala Racing Team. Runners must attend at least four practices before they can be extended an offer to join the team. There were about 15 women at today's workout, and they all seem very nice and quite fit. I had the pleasure of running with so many talented people: a Stanford student who's already qualified for the Olympic Trials 5K with a time of 15:50 something; a 43-year-old woman who just got her fourth Olympic trials marathon time (she ran a 2:43 something in 2006); and a bunch of women for whom running sub-6 minute pace for a 10K or 12K is pretty easy. Although I was not the slowest at today's hilly trail fartlek workout, the coach told me that the team already has 4 women who've qualified for the Olympic Trials in the marathon, and there are several more racing fall marathons this year who have a shot at 2:47. I'm clearly not looking for a Trials-qualifier, so I'm not sure where I'll end up with the Impalas or if I will be offered a spot on the team. But I'll just cross my fingers and hope for the best and wear my GBTC racing gear in the meantime.
So other than that, my life has been boring, and my mileage has not been as high as it should be. I am still trying to find some decent running routes around me that don't have such huge hills that I must slow to a 10-minute pace. But it's been tough. I'll just have to learn how to run those hills! But for all of you who know how much I avoid the trails, you'll be proud to know that today I did about 75% of my 19 mile run on trails and grass. My knees are thanking me.
So this post is very long. Sorry. I haven't spoken to many people since I've been in California so I suppose this my way of "talking." I miss you all and hope to hear about your running adventures on the blog.
and by the way, congrats to all the Falmouth finishers. Where are your racing stories? and Emily, i LOVE the hair cut!