Downsizing Don – 07/04/2012

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY TO EVERYONE!!!

It’s been quite awhile since I updated.  So just to get you caught up, I’ve been training a lot.  I’ve done a 10K race, a 5K race and a sprint distance triathlon over the last 5 weeks.

Let me start by telling you about those races.

BOLDER BOULDER 

The Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day in Colorado was the first race I did.  It was a 10K (6.2 miles) race through the streets of Boulder.  There were about 70,000 people in this one and it was a lot of fun.  Despite the large number of people int the race, I never felt like it was in any way disorganized and had trouble figuring out where we were supposed to be or when my wave was starting.  Kudos to the race organizers.  Overall, I would rate the event as a 5 out of 5 for enjoyment, organization and fun.  The race itself is through the streets of the city and its neighborhoods.  The folks in Boulder are very supportive with people along the course cheering us on.  Homeowners setting up hoses to mist runners as they go by, cheer on racers, playing music (recorded and live – the father on guitar and son on drums playing various classic rock songs in front of their house was just one of my favorite examples of this), belly-dancing . . .really, there were belly dancers at a couple of points in the neighborhood section of the run, and even some handing out various adult beverages or cupcakes or oranges or bananas to those wishing to indulge in that sort of thing.

As for our performance in the race, I ran with a couple of friends (Julia & Jamie) I went to college and after school lived with in Chicago (not roommates, but really good friends).  We decided, with some many people in the race, we would stick together throughout the race so we wouldn’t have problems finding each other at the end which was sure to be a mass of people.  So to start the day off, we got up and had a light breakfast of scramble eggs.  Julia’s husband, Adam, drove the three of us from their house in Longmont into Boulder.  The closer we got to town, the more obvious it became this was a major event.  There were people parking 3 miles from the starting line and taking a shuttle in to the shopping center where the racers were to congregate for the start of their race.  He was able to get us to within about a half mile of the start and then he went home to wrangle the three kids while we made our way with the throng to the start.  Adam would pick us up after the race when Jules called him on the cell with where to meet.  Julia registered us for the race and put is one of the jog/walk waves.  Which is good as none of us were what one would call elite runners.    We found our wave easily enough and started right on time.  As we waited for our wave to start, we noted that while most of the participants were in typical running garb, many were dressed in costumes from tutus to wedding dresses and tuxes along with any number of other goofy outfits, including one couple dressed up at Mario and the Princess from the Nintendo franchise.   Of course, there is always that quick start when the adrenaline gets you going out of the gate, but we tried to keep that in check.  It wasn’t that hard as Julia hadn’t been able to train a lot in the last few weeks leading up to the race.  She had suffered from walking pneumonia and had only just recovered about a week prior to the race so her aerobic capacity wasn’t what it had been even 6 weeks earlier.  We walked most of the race with jogging sprinkled in . . .except for Jamie, who jogged slower or faster depending on our pace. . . .but she’s kinda short so . . .(you got a problem with me calling you short, Marchi?  COME AT ME!!  😛 ).  We finished the race just just over 90 minutes, which is a fast paced walk.  Not a spectacular time, but not terrible considering the walking wounded.  The finish is in the football stadium at the University of Colorado where racers enter through gate 14, run down onto the field level (which is covered to protect the turf) and run a half-lap around to the finish line.  It must be noted here that the three of us are University of Oklahoma graduates and all three of us were wearing OU hats.  As we approached the entrance to the stadium, Julia was hurting a little when I turned to her and Jamie and said, “We are Sooners and this is the University or Colorado football stadium.  Sooners do not WALK onto the field level of this stadium.  We OWN this stadium.”  This pumped us up a bit and we entered at a light jog for our half lap to the finish.  The stadium was about 3/4 full with spectators and other racers from earlier waves who had already finished.  Somewhere around the 40 yard line, a guy was hanging over the hand rail and yelled “BOOMER SOONER!” at us as we passed.  We responded in kind in accordance with tradition.  

Once we finished,  there was a bit of a bottleneck out of the stadium and up to the building where we dropped off our timing chips and picked up our post race “snack packs,” but in no way was it a poorly planned stage of the race, just a lot of people.  

Overall, this is a race I highly recommend to runners of all levels.  

HEALTHY PLANET, HEALTHY PEOPLE 5K RACE

I ran this race on June 9th at the Rocky River Reservation in the Cleveland Metroparks.  It was a very laid back atmosphere at this one, with about 400 participants, on no huge fanfare, it was a much different atmosphere than Bolder, but still a good one.  Everyone started in the same wave, no need for multiple start times.  Everyone just sort of spaced themselves out through the starting area where they thought they would be near the end.  Just a simple litle 3 mile race through the park .  .right?  35-40 minutes and done . . .right?  What I didn’t realize was that right at the 1.5 mile mark of the race, there is a staircase that runs from the bottom of the valley where the reservation is located up to the top of the ridge . . OH BOY!  I had been going at a decent jog up to this point, but by the time I got to the top of the stairs, but heart rate was up at 165 and the huffing and puffing was a good way to describe my breathing pattern.  No surprise, everyone around me was in the same kind of shape by the time we got to the top.   Then came the fun of running back to the bottom of the valley through trails with lots of nice tree roots to hop over along the way.  I was able to finish this one in 41 minutes which is about 5 minutes slower than I wanted, but then again, I wasn’t expecting to climb that freakin’ stairway either.  This one was a fun race, though for different reasons than the Boulder race.  It was just a nice little Saturday morning workout with a challenge thrown right in the middle.

AKRON CROSSFIT SPRINT TRIATHLON

I ran this one on June 24th at Munroe Falls State Park.  This was a sprint distance race consisting of a 400 yard swim, 12 mile bike and 5K (3.1 mile) run.  I didn’t know until race morning that this was not a race sanctioned by USAT so I’ll have to pick up an extra race before the season ends to get my national ranking . . .no matter how low that ranking may be.  The swim was in the artesian spring fed lake at the park where we swam and out-and-back parallel to the beach.  During that leg, I was coming up to the buoy marking the turn-around and there was a bit of a bottleneck of racers, so I went to tread water to avoid running into anyone and my feet hit the bottom.  I was in about four feet of water, which I couldn’t tell while swimming as the water was pretty cloudy.  I noticed several other racers walking at this point.  I walked about 10-15 yard worth which was nice to get my heart rate down, but considerably slower so I just started swimming again.  The bike leg was what is referred to as a lollipop lap – you go out of the park in into town then turn left and run two laps in town and then back to the park where you came from.  The run was a 1.55 mile loop in the park itself that you run twice.  I was able to finish this race in 1 hour 42 minutes.  I was targeting 1 hour 35 minutes, but one of the hills on the bike route got me a bit and slowed me down costing me the time I wanted.

Since the race on June 24th, I’ve only done some light training.  I guess I was a bit burned out.  Last weekend I got in a 90 minute bike/run brick with the split being 45/45 for that one.  Now with the Cleveland triathlon coming up in just over 4 weeks, it’s time to get back into full training mode.  

I’ll see you out there on road.