Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pigtails 50K

Are you, dear readers, getting tired of these race reports? It's about the most exciting thing in our lives. If I didn't write about this, what would I write about? Next weekend is actually a race-free weekend , so maybe I'll have something else to report out. Until then, it's on to the race report...

The short story is this: hills, lots of them. 31 miles, time, I think, was 7:20. I had hoped to top my original time here - a 7:08. It wasn't too far into the race though, before I decided that it was more important to end it feeling good. I've had enough of races where I feel awful at the end, or even worse, sick for hours after. Instead, by letting go of that time goal, I finished feeling great. My left hip/ITB were giving me some grief for the last loop, but other than that I was good. I've been having off and on problems with my hip/ITB since the snow marathon back in December. It comes and goes, seeming to flare when I run faster than normal. I did just that at the track Thursday night, running six miles at a 10:40 average pace (including walk breaks). If I hold myself to more like an 11:40 pace, it doesn't bother me at all. Given all that, I chose to walk this morning when everyone else went out for the run - my hip actually felt fine, but I thought I should let it settle down for a day or two.

So, anyway, Pigtails 50K. Three 9.6 mile loops, mostly trail, lots of rolling hills. Then a 2.2 out and back to get to 50K. I signed up for this race thinking I'd be running it alone. Last week Jane emailed to see if I wanted a ride to the early start, and said she'd run the first loop (in the dark) with me. Cool! Now I only had two loops to do on my own. Thursday night Rick decided he'd join me for the first loop too. Then Jamal decided to run the whole thing with me. Friday night, Jenn said on Facebook that she'd be running the first loop too, Jessica posted in her blog that she was going to run, and then right before bed, Margaret called and asked about running the last two loops with me. How cool was that? Going from no running partners to six in just a few days?

The run was great - the weather stayed cool and dry, the icy mud thawed, there were lots of friends out on the course, and we were all feeling good. On the last loop we talked about how we'd just dump our stuff at the aid station and head right out to get the out-and-back done. When we came in there was quite a crowd of cheering runners, and I knew if I stopped it'd be hard to get back out, so I threw my water bottle down by the drop bags and took off. Here's the video - I guess I was quicker than the others expected!

video

(That's me running out, Jessica running after, Margaret hugging people and Jamal waiting for her)

I went through one of my periodic processing points yesterday. You know, the one where I worry about my speed. I think maybe because I run so many of the smaller local races with a lot of fast runners, and because in that crowd, I usually have DFL nailed, I start worrying about being too slow. I have to work my way through the same thought processes each time (and yes, Rob, I think of your lectures about speed work). It comes down to this though. I have gotten faster, but can't seem to hold the speed over the long course. I've hit the wall awfully hard more than once and consequently felt sick for hours after. I've discovered that letting go of those time goals gets me across the line ready for more, and in fact, will even let me do it multiple days in a row. So the question becomes, how important is it to be faster? Would it make a big difference if I carved a half hour off my time? And, as always, I conclude that no, it's not worth it, it wouldn't make any difference at all, and I wouldn't love it as much if I did. So there you go. Not fast, but persistent. Not fast, but the ability to endure. Not fast, but enjoying the journey. Not fast, but crossing that finish line anyway!

25 comments:

robtherunner said...

It comes down to what you want out of your own running. If you're out there to have fun and be able to participate in multiple runs on a regular basis then maintaining and finishing doesn't take a whole lot of training. If you hate training then I suppose this is a good thing. If you want to improve and reach your potential then you're going to have to change the way you train. Whether it be more miles, tempo work, speed work or what have you. Just don't think that I'm going to lay off my lectures because I know you're content with your running. That just wouldn't be like me. How was that comment?

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

So sorry I missed you guys yesterday. Oh- and you can count on me as a running partner for a while now too...especially through Pac. Rim. I am glad you finished feeling strong and with lots of running buddies.
Jenny

Anne said...

Rob really nailed it. Some people are much more competitive with others than themselves and vice versa. And some don't want to remove the fun of running by making it a more serious endeavor. And, no, we're not tired of your race reports, Michelle -- never!!!

scott keeps running said...

Still running, I see. :)

Wes said...

A friend of mine finished 12th out 20 in his first adventure race yesterday. He said, and I agreed... It's all about the finish.

Sarah said...

You have to run your own race, so to speak. You've naturally improved just putting in the miles. If you're happy where you are, I say enjoy it! : )

Juls said...

Cute video

justrun said...

Congratulations, again!
Also, you and I seem to have come or to be coming to the same conclusions about our running and the speed at which we do it. If you don't "need" it, then why do it? Works for me!

bagelsong said...

I am beginning to like the idea that feeling good trumps finishing fast. You are my inspiration for that. They need to have a loooooong race with a max speed limit of 11min./mile so that you can truly show what you're made of!

jessica said...

Michelle, I had a great time running with you. It is about having fun and enjoying the moment. We just get to have more time to chat than others. Thanks for the video, I think I might have be delerious at that point - anyway - great job at perservering. 50k is really, really far. Have a speedy recovery and enjoy some family time.

Bret said...

DFL is way better than DNS. Those are the folks that are missing out. You got to the line and you finished the race. You are doing what such a small percentage of the worlds population does. Be proud of how many you do. And yes feeling good after the race makes this so much more fun. I have quit running a more than a few times after a race when I was feeling so bad and its not any fun. We do this as a sport and a hobby. It is not our profession so we don't need to kill our selves. Good job on the race. And enjoy your weekend off!

Thomas said...

I can assure you I will never get tired of your race reports.

I guess, Rob's right, it's up to you and what you want to get out of running as regards to speed work. Enjoyment comes first, the rest is mere detail.

olga said...

Rob is funny:) While I am all for "whatever rocks your boat", for me I know if I am writing about it (or talking about it) - it bothers me. Food for thought. Whether you do or do not decide to work on speed is up to you. You do not have to justify your decisions. Good run, and rumor is, you looked like you haven't run more than 5M at the finish!

Donald said...

I think the speed vs consistency/longevity debate is one that every ultra runner has after a while. I know I still miss my fast marathon days sometimes, and wonder how I ever did them. I think as long as you're getting satisfaction out of what you're doing, that's the most important thing.

Journey to a Centum said...

For a girl who wouldn't do a lap on the High School track back in the 70's when some of these lil' pups where still in pampers I think you are kicking ass!

If it isn't fun then it isn't living!

wendy said...

I just adore your husband - what a great comment!

Anyhow, on to my own comment...SOME of us think YOU are very speedy. ;-)

I always figure I'm not in any danger of winning the race, so no need to worry about how fast I'm going, as long as I finish before the course closes. Now, hoping to improve is another thing...you are definitely logging lots 'o miles these days, so if that's not fulfilling you, then I say start searching for what will. But you sound pretty danged happy so far, and I daresay you should be pretty pleased with how well you've been doing! Besides, you really have improved, haven't you!

Annette said...

As a fellow slow runner - I know how that mental game goes. However, you're right - it's better to run the pace that's right for your body. What you're accomplishing in distance is amazing. You outrun many of us in that respect.

Irene said...

There's something very freeing about letting go of that time number or the next PR, even though getting a PR is icing on the cake. I've just discovered that it's nice to just run a race to run it, for the joy of running.

Congratulations. :)

Darrell said...

Fast, schmast. Who cares? You are running consistently and enjoying every minute of it. Isn't that the best part. What's faster going to get you but that sick feeling. I say keep on running, racing and writing up these reports. We all enjoy that.

Laura H said...

Nice report - I wish I was able to be out there with you! I agree with Eric and others too - it's about what is fun for you! And you've got WAY more endurance than most of the population out there - don't forget that!

Jack said...

Great comments, nothing new to add. Just be yourself, which means run your way not the way anyone else things you should run. A happy runner is a runner who will still be out there when everyone else has stopped running.

Sunshine said...

Thanks for stopping by. I'm thinking about what to write here. In the meantime... good to read about your happy running... good to see your smiles... awesome to see some of those pictures.

Ovens2Betsy said...

I was surprised about those hills! Mind you, I only ran one loop, but they really slowed me down. It's a great course though; I'll be running it this June.

lizzie lee said...

Never get tired of your race reports... That's why we come back. I am glad you forgot about your time and finished feeling great. I hope your ITB feels better....

Steve Stenzel said...

Wow! Nice job!! And only a few minutes from your course PR and finishing "feeling good!"

Way to go!!