Friday, July 22, 2011

So move your feet from hot pavement and into the grass

Holy July. I know most of the US is dealing with a horrible heat wave. I do not miss that. Not at all. July is also causing me to be on a total sports bender. First, the Women's World Cup. Now the Tour de France. With the time difference, I've been getting up pretty early to watch live. It's really hard to not see what happened (thanks interwebs) if I wait to watch a replay. Oh yea, and throw in some World Series of Poker (no really, I watched for hours) and by the end of the month I'm going to have a huge sports hangover.

In my own little sports world, I'm continuing with my Thursday night races. As I've stated, these are low key hand timed races so I usually don't know the actual results until several days after. Last week, the fast girls took the week off. It was also what I think is the harder direction, which I like less. I was 5th over all and first in my AG with a time of 34:10 (4.5 miles).
This week, I think I may have been 5th or 6th and I'm not sure if super fast 40 something was there, so AG unclear. 33:35.
I did, however, run what I thought was a smart race. This direction starts with a slight downhill. I know I've gone out too fast in the past. Sure enough I looked at my Garmin (which I generally don't race with but since these are really tempoish runs with no mile markers, I use it) and it said 6:44 pace. I don't run that fast so I slowed myself down. I took note of the women around me, a few high schoolers were off the front and 1 or 2 I thought would blow up (1 did). I was very close to a women who's bested me before so I know she's generally a bit faster, I decided not to stay with her. Just before mile 2, my friend Anna caught me. We we were both close to the other woman (who Anna has named flowy shorts). For a while we were all in a little pack. I decided to keep the pace steady and not react if shorts was going to go. We ran side by side for at least a mile. Then, she tucked in behind me. And I mean RIGHT behind me. I couldn't see her at all but I knew she was there. I was like, ok, I'll pace you for now. It's very difficult to try and be subtle about peaking back when someone is running behind you like this. With a mile to go I noticed she was drifting off a bit. I peaked back to see where her and Anna were. A little day light between all of us but I didn't want to take any chances. I didn't want either of them sneaking up on me. I keep the pace steady and decided at a half mile, which is a gradual incline, I'd go.
No more looking back if they were going to catch me, not much I could do about it at this point. I figured I had enough of a gap on them. I did have a funny moment when I was closing in on the guy in front of me with about 100m to go. He turned back, saw me, and of course not wanting to be chicked at the end, took off.
I crossed the line very satisfied in my tactics. Not a PR, but a smartly run race.
As far as over all standings for the series, I'm holding on to first in my AG. Though I missed 1 race and know I will miss 1 more. THere's a woman who's run all of them so she is just lurking behind me in points.

Since moving, I've obviously had to learn new running routes. I haven't really found any right out the door that I'm totally in love with. Where I live in SF is very hilly and there's lots of concrete. My body is not loving this. I'm developing a bit of a shin ache. It's not pain, it doesn't hurt when I run, it aches a bit after. I would like to not have this please. I'm icing and stretching (not as much as I should) where a dorky compression sleeve, and will throw a new pair of shoes into the rotation. I'm going to look at softer surfaces to run on and less hills, both a challenge as the trails near my house are hills. I hate crap like this.

This weekend is Ironman Lake Placid. Ya know, the Ironman I signed up for. I have moments of wishing I was there but the reality is, I'm glad I'm not. It's going to be hotter than satan's gstring and who wants that? Plus, I also would have had to, oh, get in shape. And fly across the country. And do the Ironman. So best of luck to my friends who are racing. If it's really hot, please be careful. That Lake Placid weather is crazy. All my other friends running and racing in the pits of hell, please do be careful. Hydrate, slow down, run on the dreadmill or take a few days off.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Loves got the world in motion

That last few weeks have been HUGE sports weeks. For those who know me, I am a huge sports fan. As we speak, the Tour de France and the Women's World Cup are happening. Both odd, not hugely followed sports in the States, but both so exciting to watch. For me, the World Cup is really exciting. I grew up playing soccer and it will always be my first love.
Yesterday, the US women beat Brazil in a game that will go down as one of the best ever played. There is a long history between these 2 teams and you could not have made up the way this match went down. Due to a red card, the US played a player down for more than half the game (if someone gets a red card, they must leave the game and can not be replaced). This resulted in Brazil taking and scoring on a penalty kick (I'm giving a very brief summary of what actually happened) Brazil scored in extra time to go ahead 2-1. Then in the 122nd minute of play, extra time in extra time (there are no time outs so when a player gets injured or there's a delay, the ref adds time on) this happened:

This sent the game to penalty kicks and the US won. This happening 12 years to the day after this happened:

A moment I remember as if it was yesterday and a moment I think truly changed women's sports, and the sports bra, forever. I heard a stat yesterday that after the women won the World Cup in 1999, the number of girls playing soccer quadrupled. How amazing is that? Now the US takes on France on Wed. in the semifinals. SO EXCITING!

And now on to slower, older, less amazing chicks in sports, namely me. I missed Thursday night at the races the week before last because Loren, Bea and myself we off exploring beaches. Tough work, I know. I returned this past week with my friend and fellow NY transplant Anna. Anna tends to call me speedy, but she's full of crap and she was either 2 steps behind me or 2 steps in front of me for the entire race.
As the series has gone on, the group has gotten faster. A few weeks ago we saw the addition of some high school girls out there running 6:40 pace. They've been coming back and battling it out with each other. I'd love to see this but, um, I'm a bit far behind them. The margin this week was 2 seconds. In my absence last week, someone else in my age group joined the mix. She was back again this week and bringing her 6:45 pace. So yea, there goes my AG wins! I know it's all about who shows up and she's showing up and I can't even see the back of her head in the race. That's all fine and good. I'm still holding on to the over all AG lead for the series (for now).
As for how I actually ran, I was 2nd in my AG, 7th woman with a time of 33:49. Anna was right behind me in 8th, also 2nd in her AG. I've been running this race consistently and getting in a speed workout which is what my intention is so success.
I'm starting to look ahead to the San Jose half which Loren and I are running in Oct so I hope to get my running into a more serious gear. I admit it's been tough with the move and all that to really focus on running seriously. Having something on the calender helps, but I am also enjoying having some pressure free time to get to know my new home.