Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's One Day Run

December 31st marks not only the last day of the year, it marks the start of the New Year's One Day 24-hour run in San Francisco. This year's racers began their ultramarathon at 9a.m. on December 31st, 2010, and finish their run at 9a.m. on January, 1, 2011 -- and I may or may not have detoured my regularly scheduled run to cheer on these superathletes. I cannot in my wildest dreams even begin to think about running for an entire day. I love running, but I also love eating and sleeping and sitting.

Admittedly, the first person I had my eyes peeled for was ultrarunning's favorite dirt diva, Catra Corbett. Catra's posts on Facebook told me that she was going to be in my neck of the woods, and given the small field for the 24-hour race (and the fact they were running 1.06-mile laps around Chrissy Field Lagoon), I figured I'd have a great shot of seeing her. Not only did I see, her I got to talk a bit with her while she refueled at an aid station.

A and Catra!
Catra even invited me to return later this evening to run a few laps with her! As the sun goes down, she said that's she wants the most company -- I can't blame her! My scheduled NYE plans may have to take a break until next year ... I am not sure I can pass up running with Catra during the first minute of 2011!

I also spotted Andy Kumeda, who happened to be "winning" the last time I checked the runner's updates. I was amazed at Andy's pace. This guy was speedy, and he was looking very strong after he hit his 26th lap. It wasn't even noon when I saw him; he had 1 marathon under his belt and still 4 (or so) more marathons to go.

Andy Kumeda leading the way.
Not a bad view for 24 hours.
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you have an eventful but safe evening, and a happy and healthy 2011. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Race Recap: Christmas Classic Miracle Mile

After reflecting on my blog posts from this year, I somehow realized 2010 was a good running year for me.
  • 2010 was the year I was picked up as a Brooks ID member and became a Marathon Maniac.
  • It was the year I went through 3 pairs of running shoes, wear tested 4 pairs of road and trail shoes for Brooks, and ran/raced more than 1,700 miles in a couple different states and on varying terrains in said shoes.
  • 2010 was the year I PR'd in the 5k, 10k, and half marathon. It was the year I ran my first 7k, 5-mile trail race, and marathon.
As I looked back on my 2010 races and onto holiday race options, I noticed I was missing a key distance on my running resume: No where have I actually logged how quickly (or slowly, depending on which day you ask me) I'm able to race a single mile.

One mile. The distance by which I split every single leisurely run and race down to. The basic building block of my all-time favorite hobby. Sure, I can tell you what my fastest mile split is during any distance I've raced, but I cannot tell you how quickly I'm able to run a single mile alone.

So as I prepare to leave 2010 in the dust, I stuffed one more PR under my belt and tacked on another new distance to my resume. Today I ran the Christmas Classic Miracle Mile and completed my 2010 race schedule with a smile -- and a prize!
Like most shorter races out there, this race was a fundraiser -- this time for a local women's shelter. It had no timing chips, no photographers, no National Anthem, nor a starting gun. It was people writing checks to a heartwarming homeless shelter, spreading a little holiday cheer, and running through Golden Gate Park on this rainy morning.

I lined up toward the front of the pack hoping I wouldn't get tangled in the mess of people who run 4-minute miles, but also not stumbling over those who walk 20-minute miles. Unlike most races where we establish ourselves in the pack within the first mile, I had no time to figure this out. I decided to err on the side of caution and move ahead, allowing plenty of space around me for people to pass. The announcer honked his car horn as the signal to start, all hell broke loose, and before I knew it, I pretty much saw the finish line a few strides after starting. What a nice feeling. :)

Waiting for the start.
Obviously this is the shortest race I've ever done, and all I have to say is ... that mile was probably the most taxing on my legs! I started off in a sprint and felt my right quad strain right away. I pulled it back a little bit, but tried to lengthen my stride to cover more ground. When I saw we had .25 to go, I picked it back up to a sprint again. Done and done! My time was even good for a third-place finish in my age group! I ended up getting a commemorative winner card and a gift certificate to See's Candies.

The winna! Kind of.
While waiting around for awards, the nicest little lady come up to me and asked me how I did. She was also curious if I run more races in the area. I told her what little I knew of the races in San Francisco and a bit about my running background. While reiterating the same questions to her, I learned she just started racing a year ago and has already completed her first marathon -- which, of course, she didn't really train for -- and she finished in under 5 hours! She finished this 1-mile race about 20 seconds behind me (getting 2nd in her age group!), and then went on to double up and run the 5k race that happened afterward. This little lady has a bright running future ahead of her!

She and her dad also run a lot of the DSE races in San Francisco and she asked if I'd ever want to run any of them with her -- of course I had to agree.

And a very happy birthday to my new running buddy, as she turns 15 tomorrow!
1-mile split: 6:22.07 -- an automatic PR ;)
Air Temp: 57F, rainy

Average Pace: 6:22 (9.52 mph)
Overall Place: 39 out of 79
Age/Gender Place: 3 out of 8

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On, Wisconsin!

I had an awesome Thanksgiving back in San Francisco (setting 2 PRs within 3 days and having a huge boost to my confidence that I'm running decently on the hills out here), and I just returned from spending the last 10 days at my parents' house in Wisconsin for a belated Thanksgiving/early Christmas with my family. I had a very cupcake-themed holiday celebration and I actually enjoyed nearly every minute of it.

First, I made these little beauts for the fam-damily (completely vegan and totally amazing)...
Then Ron sent me a nice little image of cupcakes he found, with a note that they reminded him of me! I definitely don't mind being associated with these sweet treats...
And then Rad Runner went on to host an amazing one-of-a-kind giveaway that involves this gorgeous little running machine. Go check out her friend's work for other beautiful figurines!
Could this holiday have been any sweeter?


I recently started a speed-training program for the next race I'm running, so I got to spend plenty of my vacation time running in a frigid storm... the same storm that took down the Metrodome's roof and left my brothers and me shoveling 20" inches of snow from my parents' driveway.

While I did get to do a few slow and steady outdoor runs on packed snow and thick ice...
I spent most of my time running in my friend's workout room at her apartment...
On the treadmill at my dad's middle school...
And in the weightroom of the building I used to work in. Now that's what I call a vacation!

So what race am I training for?

During my recent Nuun giveaway, the Giveaway Gods smiled down on me and I won runner's rambles' 13.1 Marathon - Los Angeles giveaway. I debated even entering since it's not in my backyard (and I never win anything) but I still entered, and crazily, I won.

Soooo, ladies and gentlemen, on January 16th, 2011, I'm registered to run this fun race...
I'll be staying with this fun girl (who is also running it!)...
And this fun guy and I are going to have our fastest half marathon yet! Or, our first half marathon yet, since he seems to think I ditched him at the U.S Half Marathon even though he's the one who started in front of me. ;)
Moral of the story: I'm really looking forward to a speedy run in Los Angeles in a few weeks, and an even funner party extravaganza weekend with my cupcake-loving runner friends.

Happy holidays!