Saturday, February 24, 2007

Race Report: Green Valley Road Race: 10 Mile Run

This was the race I picked when they cancelled the Clemson half marathon. It was close and it was a convenient weekend. What I didn't know was whether it was oriented towards serious runners; that there were only two water stops in a 10 mile race (serving only water and Gatorade) worried me. Getting my period the night before the race didn't increase my optimism about what it was going to be like.

I planned fairly carefully. I bought a pair of running tights with lots of pockets so I could carry gels. I have a fuel belt but didn't want the weight of that much water; instead I carried one of the 8 oz. bottles from the belt in the center back pocket of my tights. I anticipated that the run would be lonely. I drove the course beforehand so I would know where to turn if I was all alone.

I ate an eggs and corned beef hash breakfast about an hour and a half before the race start. It was 29 F when I got up so I wore a smartwool top and took my running vest in case it stayed cold. It still felt awfully cold when I got to the race site.

When I got to the gym where people were checking in, I was pleased to see a pretty large turnout. Last year 158 people did the 10 miler, and this year must have been similar. I just looked to see if the results were posted and they weren't so I checked last year's results. I'm glad I didn't do that before the race--the last finisher last year finished in slightly less than my dream time of 2 hours. I talked a good bit to a woman who was nervous because she had never run 10 miles before.

When it was time to go to the start I decided I would be warm enough in my tights and long sleeved shirt. I wore a cap because it looked like it was going to be very sunny and some cheap knit gloves. I carried in my pockets:
the race map
four hammer gels
a tampon
three succeed salt capsules
a full 8 oz water bottle
I saw one person with a hydration pack, nobody with a fuel belt.

I started very close to the back. There were some women I thought I might be able to catch up with after they passed me, but after a mile I had lost sight of everyone in my race. I looked at my GPS after the first mile and decided I would be very happy if I could keep my pace under 13 minutes per mile, so finish by 2:10. The second mile the runners in the 8 K (which had started earlier) were on the same road going in the opposite direction coming in to their finish. I enjoyed watching them and I said "good job" to people towards the end. The police were there to help me cross the four lane road, and then I settled down to running alone.

At about 3 miles a bicyclist came by me and said angrily "you run on the left." There had been a bicyclist in green at the start, so I assumed this was the same person and he was checking the course. I was very angry, hurt and frustrated--I had tried to run on the left earlier in the race and been told to stay on the right. I was so upset I cried hard for a while, which was possible because I was running downhill. I thought it might be hormones that I was so upset, but it felt good to get it out and I hoped the anger would make me run faster. When I got to the water stop at 4 miles I asked what side I was supposed to run on and they said they didn't know, most people were on the right (it was a clockwise course). I thanked them for still being there and they filled my water bottle for me.

After the water stop I cried a little more (which didn't work going up hill) and then began to realize that the bicyclist wasn't associated with the race, at least I never saw him again. I guess he was just a random arrogant roadie. I was glad as I got to the next few turns to find volunteers pointing the way and I thanked them for still being there. The only volunteer who wasn't still there was Jeff from Run In, who drove past me in a truck and said "turn right at the traffic light." I teased him afterwards about being the only one who had abandoned his post, and he said some runners had gone off course and he was checking to see if there were any others.

Around five miles my left knee and right quad were a little sore and I was slowing down and the race was only half done. I was worried the second water stop would be packed up, and I was going to need more water. That was the low point of the race. When I got to the water stop just before seven miles they were still there and they filled my water bottle for me and the road turned downhill and I cheered up considerably. I took one salt capsule. I was amused to be stopped by a policeman who asked me if I had seen a green Ram truck with hispanic men in it. I said not that I noticed. My legs stopped hurting and I started to feel more graceful. I had lost some time but at least my original realistic goal of 2:15 seemed possible, particularly when I didn't have to stop when I got to where I had to recross the four lane road. I was able to speed up some and I wondered if I could catch up to 2:10.

I didn't succeed, my finish time was about 2:16. But I was pleased I was able to speed up at the end; my mile splits were:
There were three or four people at the finish line who gave me a big cheer, but I was feeling more sad about being so slow than pleased with myself for a good run. Actually, I was faster than last year's half marathon--my pace for that race was 13:45 minutes per mile and my pace for this race was 13.19 (my GPS measured it as 10.21 miles). It was maybe a bit less hilly than last year's race, but my Garmin 305 shows a total climb of +585/-527. At least I didn't feel badly about feeling sad--I felt the feelings were part of the experience and didn't make me sorry I had done the race.

After the race I stayed for the awards ceremony with Patty, another member of our swim team--she won our age group! I ate a small yogurt and a piece of banana. I think gels at 2, 4, 6, and 8 were one too many; when I got to the car my blood sugar was high. But I'm not sure I would do it differently--it was very encouraging to be able to speed up the last couple of miles.

It is the first time I have had heart rate data from a race.

I assume the spike at the beginning is an error. I feel like I kept my effort up well, particularly considering that I'm using a high number for my maximum heart rate. I don't see my heart rate creeping higher for the same level of effort--I significantly increased my level of effort the last mile.

Looking back on the race, it was a pretty setting and not too hilly (I walked up three short steep hills) and I ran steadily and I would even say I enjoyed it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Actually only one person told me I had a smudge on my forehead today. I didn't think to say something about it to my class, and no one asked.

I thought we might be three out of four with ashes at our STS lunch, but the Catholics in the group hadn't been to church yet.

My triathlon group had a discussion of giving up (or taking on) things for Lent, something I haven't tried in years because it just gave me something to feel badly about. But I may try something gentle this year, trying to actually use it to remind myself to be mindful of God.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Someone told me today a prayer our bishop sometimes says:
God bless those things that can be blessed and redeem those that can't be.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

USAT Rankings

I finished 2006 ranked 494 out of 615 women aged 50 to 54 in the nation, according to USA Triathlon. My age group is much smaller than Nancy's.

Monday, February 12, 2007

natural spirituality

I went last Saturday to a conference on Natural Spirituality. Some of the groups that came together were Seedwork, The Rose, and the Hayden Institute. The idea is that Natural Spirituality is the spiritality of universal human experience, such as dreams and synchronicity, as different from spiritual practices such as meditation which have to be learned. One of the founders calls it "inner work in a Christian context," based on the ideas of Jung. The leaders of the movement see what they are doing as in many ways universal, but choose to put it in a Christian container.

I hadn't been to this conference before and didn't realize that it would put so much emphasis on dreams. I haven't used dreams much, feeling that I have such good access to my unconscious (in the Jungian sense) through imagery that I don't need dreams. But someone gave me important reassurance last week by telling me a dream, so synchronicity seems to suggest it is time to pay more attention to dreams.

Actually, what I liked better was the brief exercise the newbie group did of a group dream. People suggested a set of dream images a sentence at a time. The person who started envisioned a beach, but someone else added a hurricane. Things were washing up on the beach and I said a hand (right) washed up on the beach. People not surprisingly saw that as a negative image, but I hadn't actually envisioned it as such. It resonates for me more with the hand that comes out of the lake bearing a sword in the Aurthur legend.

Friday, February 09, 2007


This is my standard short workout ride:

I can't understand why there isn't more correlation between the elevation profile and heart rate. I looked at speed and it does correspond with the uphills and downhills. I do understand the dip near the top of the biggest hill--I stopped because my cell phone rang. Here's the route:

Sunday, February 04, 2007


There are now 381 consumer products using nanotechnology on the market. But I heard of one at the conference that startled me: a washing machine that releases silver ions that get caught in your clothes, preventing odors because silver kills bacteria. The problem with this is that silver particles in the waste water end up at the sewage treatment plant. Sewage treatment plants use bacteria to process the waste, and if there is enough silver in the water to kill those bacteria the sewage treatment system is going to be in big trouble.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

way cool

I bought a new toy: a Garmin 305 runner's GSP unit. I can download my runs from it to my laptop, and it records all kind of data and maps them:

It gets a much better signal in difficult conditions than my old Garmin 201--last year I did a similar run and even the distance recorded was clearly messed up by being around tall buildings. I use SportTracks software to log my training and it downloads direct from the GPS unit.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Monthly Totals for Jan.

swimming: 12 workouts for 16 hours 10 min.
biking: 6 workouts for 156 miles in 13 hours 11 min.
running: 13 workouts for 60 miles in 15 hours 23 min.
Total: 44 hours 44 min. Last year I averaged 42 hours a month so that is a good month for wintertime.

I showed up for swimming today despite several inches of snow and amazingly there was practice. Everyone has a snow day. It is getting slushy and I hope the roads will be clearer by late morning, as I have an early afternoon flight to Baltimore for a conference.