Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year's Day 5K and Hills

Happy New Year!

The weather was forecasted to be nice (high 30's) for New Year's Day, so we (Grace, Debbie, Nancy and I) all signed up to run the Inaugural Reston New Year's Day 5K.  It was a sensible 10 a.m. start, so it was definitely do-able.

I usually set "loose" goals for my races, such as "do my best", "try to run all the way", etc.  Not knowing the course, it's hard to set any specific time/pace goals.  There were about 500 runners in the race, the weather was nice, and they gave us a really nice long sleeve technical "t shirt".  So what more could I want?  Everyone was in a festive mood.

We got there early and warmed up.  I made sure my chip was tied securely to my shoe, got my ipod fired up and got in line.  Deb and I always try to get towards the middle/back.  We don't want to get run over, but we also want to be ahead of the walkers, dogs and strollers.  I wore my Garmin, just to give me an idea of my time/pace. 

The course started off through Reston Town Center and headed to the WO&D trail.  We ran down the trail about 1.25 miles and back.  I noticed on the way down the trail that it was downhill.  I tried not to think about running back up the hill until I had to.  I ran a very comfortable 10:20 pace for most of the race.  Most of the way, I ran with a man and his little boy.  The boy couldn't have been more than 5 years old and he was adorable.  He had a chip on his shoe (meant he paid the entry fee) and was wearing good shoes and running attire.  I was amazed that not only was he keeping up with his dad, he could have gone faster.  He ran the whole way.  I was totally impressed and inspired.

I also ran with a couple that he gotten married the day before.  They were wearing running shirts that said "Just Married - 12/31/10".  Everyone was shouting congratulations to them as they went by!  The most inspiring was a lady, about 60 years old, who completed the whole course on crutches.  She was the last across the line, but finished in under an hour to a roar of applause. 

The last 400 meters of the course was all up hill, including a very steep hill to get off the WO&D trail.  I ran up the hills, but really felt like I was going to heave.  At that moment, I decided that my New Year's Resolution was going to be to spend at least one day a week running hills, when possible.  I never want to have that much trouble with a climb again. 

I was very happy with my time of 32:40.4.  That is a PR for a 5K for me, even with all of the hills!

We decided to check out the course for the 5K that I am running in February and it also has a lot of hills.  More incentive to get out there and practice climbing.

I wasn't sure where to start, so I asked the advice of some of my fellow runners.  They suggested that I pick a hill and run up and down it.  On Tuesday, I did an "easy" warmup mile, ran up and down Helmsdale (a 0.5 mile long hill) 3 times and did an "easy" cooldown mile.  My 5 mile run was mostly hills.  I didn't focus on pace, just trying to keep my breathing steady.  My garmin said that I kept my pace under 12 minute miles for most of it.  I'm happy with that.  It felt good, both while I was doing it and when I was done. 

I was worried about some test results from Tom's colonoscopy (which turned out to be okay), so conquering the hill was a good distraction.  The rest of this week has been crazy busy trying to get Jessica ready to go back to school.  I hope to squeeze a run in tomorrow (Saturday) and to get a nice run in while in Nashville.  I miss my running, but sometimes the schedule just doesn't work!

Here's hoping for no snow on our journey to Tennessee!

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