Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I have so many things for which to be thankful. Of course all the usual stuff, family, job, etc. All of which can be gone in the blink of an eye so I try to be thankful every day and not wait for one specific day to give thanks.
I slept in until 5:30 which is pretty darned late for me. My alarm was set for 5:55 so I wasn’t missing out on much sleep. I’m just happy Dino, Romo, and Kooper didn’t try to wake me up at 3 or 4am. Today I would be hitting the pavement early for a 4.5 mile run with my son, niece, and several thousand of my friends. The Drumstick Dash is a 4.5 mile race in Broad Ripple. This year there were over 8,000 signed up. I’ve always thought this would be a fun race, but every year I was either too busy cooking or out of town. Not this year. After feeding the dogs and cleaning muddy feet I sat down for breakfast. I opted for the usual old fashioned oatmeal with prunes and natural peanut butter. About half way through I started feeling nauseous. I stopped eating, drank some water. Thankfully the feeling passed and I finished eating.
The race wouldn’t start until 9, but I knew the parking would be a problem in Broad Ripple so I thought we should leave around 7am. It was actually 7:15 before the wheels were turning. Then the entrance ramp to 465 north from 10th street was closed so I quickly calculate a reroute in my head. No problem, traffic was light and we made it there in time to still find a spot in the Broad Ripple High School parking lot. Plenty of time to use the porta-potties and build a good case of nerves. Ever since returning to work in early October my training hasn’t been very focused so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was hoping to be able to average 7 minutes per mile. With this large a field, I knew the start would be pure chaos. The organizers were prepared though with large pace signs to help people self seed. I was standing right next to the 7:00/mile sign. Unfortunately there were a large number of people ahead of me who either can’t read, don’t know what pace they run, or just aren’t considerate of others. Oh well, I’m just out here to have fun right?
I zigzagged my way through the crowd to a first mile time of 6:54. Perhaps a little fast, and with the slow start I knew my actual pace at that moment was faster, but I felt good so I figured I would just try to maintain. At the 2-mile sign my watch said 6:45. Still feeling good, but I thought I better take it easy in mile three to save some gas for the last mile and a half. At the 3-mile sign my watch says 6:38. I guess I just don’t know how to take it easy. Now I’m starting to have negative thoughts, as in negative splits. Running negative splits just isn’t something I do. What I usually do is burn myself out early so that I can spend the latter part of the race trying to recover enough to be able to count the people passing me. I can see the 4-mile sign. The seconds are ticking away I’ll have to hurry to beat my last mile split. I just make it at 6:37. Now only a half mile to go. I’m focused, high cadence, short stride, slight forward lean, controlled breathing. I complete the last half mile in 3:03. I feel great! Earlier while eating breakfast I thought I might be spending the day getting up close and personal with a porcelain bowl. Now I’m on top of the world and for that I am indeed very thankful.
This photo is one of my favorites. It’s from the 2009 Mini. This is around mile 7 or so and by the time this image was captured my race was already over because of a pulled calf. I was limping my way to the finish. It wasn’t my worst time for a half and I wound up getting a nice gear bag from Brooks for being the fastest ID member in the over 40 age group (probably the only one running that day).
So, last Saturday I was supposed to run the Owen-Putnam State Forest 50k. Well a not so funny thing happened on the way to the race. I was driving west on I-70 when all the sudden there was an object in the road. Not sure what it was, tool box, cooler, I don’t know it was dark blue and I didn’t see it until it was too late to avoid hitting it. I think it probably fell off the small pickup that was ahead of me but who knows. From the comfort of my drivers seat it didn’t seem as though it had done much damage. It was very dark and our exit was just up ahead so I decided to not stop there on the interstate to inspect. The car was still running well when we exited the interstate, so we kept going. After a few miles the check engine light came on and very soon after the engine just died. It was still very dark and almost immediately a guy in uniform on his way to weekend guard duty stopped. He had a flashlight and we could then see that the radiator had been badly damaged. I called a tow service to come rescue us. About two hours and $160 later we were back in Avon at Terry Lee Honda. There wasn’t much else I could do at that point so Tom and I headed down to Morgan Monroe State Forest and ran two laps of the Low Gap Trail. It was a beautiful day for a run in the woods. It turns out that the engine was completely fried. The repairs should be finished by Wednesday. Small ding in the front bumper and a slightly used replacement engine… just over $5000. Thank God for insurance.
That was the low, now for the high. Yesterday was the final DINO Series race for 2009. Ft Harrison is perhaps my favorite DINO course. It has hills, rough rocky ankle twisting trails, horse crap, even a creek crossing. And since it is an out and back course you get to cross the creek twice. On this course it is not a question of will you roll your ankle it’s a question of how many times will you roll it and how bad will it hurt. It hasn’t rained all week so the creek was only ankle deep this year. I went out pretty fast but felt pretty good at the turn around. I was starting to fade on the return, but passing everyone still heading out was a bit of a mental boost. The hills on the return were killing me, but I was still running well on the flats and downhills. With just over a half mile to go there is one last hill, not very big, but I was huffing and puffing by the time I reached the top. I glanced at my watch and thought I might be on record pace. There’s no point in finishing with gas left in the tank. The downhill side is smooth grass and I was flying down it. The last half mile is mostly grass and flat. You can actually see the finish area from before the last hill and through the entire last half mile. I was pushing as hard as I could. I crossed the finish line at 1:06:00, I’m certain this course isn’t quite a full 15k. Still that’s a PR for this course by almost 2 minutes. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do that had I run the 50k the week before. I have been worried that I’ve haven’t been getting in the speed work I need to, but yesterdays race is lifting my confidence a bit. I have a 4.5 mile road race coming up on Thanksgiving Day. Then December 5th is Tecumseh where, if the conditions are right, I’ll be trying to beat 4:30. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I think I rolled my ankle about three times.