Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Worm" And Fuzzy

Regressive Countdown - Week Fifteen -
10/03/11 - 10/09/11 -
Week Total: 25.5 miles -

Houston Marathon training has officially started. Because I am swamped with work I will not be able to join my running group in Green Lake, so I will be training alone with my own plan, which will be based on Furman (what’s new). I will do my best to hit Furman’s paces for key workout #3, and I will add some mileage with easy runs. I will be closely monitoring how off my PMP (Planned Marathon Pace) is and will adjust accordingly. Trial and error, right?

Week started with a couple of very short and easy runs as I come from three weeks of resting; then, my favorite workout: Intervals.  Plan called for 4 x 800 at 5K –30 pace, which is 8:15. I averaged that for the first three 800. The last 800, however, started at 7:50; 300 left to go I did 7:25, 200 to go 7:00, 100 to go 6:30. How did it feel? As if my heart was going to burst out of my chest.  And that’s exactly why I love speed workouts, because I know I give it all… !!!

Scheduled long run was a 15-miler, and I was planning on doing it the way I love to do it, with a race. Also, the only way that I had been able to hit Furman’s pace is in races.

The race was in Elma, about 100 miles from home and I doubted about going. It seemed painful to drive 200 miles “just” to run 15 miles. I wanted to sleep in as I had worked a lot of hours during the week; I was so tired that I went to bed at 6:30 Friday night and fell asleep right away. The good thing is that I slept 12 hours!!! As the race would start at 11 am I would have plenty of time to get there. The decision was made, when at 7am I asked to myself: What is better? To drive almost 4 hours total to run a nice race, and have my social gathering with runners? Or, to run close to home at a sloppy pace and have available more than 3 hours playing stupid computer? Better for me was to hit the road.

The road to Elma, once I turned west in Olympia toward the beaches, was beautiful. I had never driven that highway which was all flanked by thousand of evergreens. It made the drive an outstanding one. The race would start and finish in Vance Creek Park which is a small beautiful park surrounding a pretty man-made lake or pond (Bowers Lake, and Lake Inez). I registered, and met, of course, known people (Kristin) and talked with others about our favorite subject.

The same people that organize the Rochester races, Bob and Kristina Salazar, put this race together. I love them because they are very small races with events for all: Marathon, Half Marathon, 10 mile, 10K, 5K, 1mile, Olympic Triathlon, Sprint Triathlon, and Duathlon. Yes, all this at the same time, and at the end, all of us gather to have nice food and talk about how did it go, what’s next, and what have you.

I planned to run 2 miles prior to the race, but talking with people here and there I consumed some of my time and only ran 1.4 miles (the perimeter of the lake was 0.6 miles, and from my car to the lake 0.1, so I ran two loops). I planned to run another loop after the race.

The course was out-and-back, flat, and I went calm and without hurry. Plan was to run average a 10:30 min/mile pace as my long run. Temperature was warm, in low 60’s, but in the way out we had a nice 5mph breeze that acted as a personal fan. Of course, I knew what it meant; I would be hot in my way back.

Because I have never ran this course before I had the “wondering” factor, and the wonder began from the start when I saw for first time in my life these big fuzzy “worms” along the route. It was a Sun City, Yakima Half Marathon déjà-vu; exactly a year ago. Is this a case where worms go once a year, the second week of October, to cheer the runners on? Are the Eastern Washington naked slugs because is a desert, and Western Washington fuzzy because the rain?

These “worms” were beautiful: black, orange, black, all dressed up for Halloween. They were fuzzy, which makes them right away no-worms, but caterpillars, but as the first impression to me was a worm one, worm they were! I continued my race just looking for more worms. I saw tons of them. I was so curious, that I knew as soon as I got home I would go to Wikipedia to learn about them.

Race was good, the volunteers fantastic, nice to see the marathoners (saw Kristin a couple of times, their course was out-and-back twice), but nicer knowing that I didn’t have to run the whole distance. I had good negative splits, though I confessed I got several times lost in my “worms” thoughts. At the turn around my weather prediction was correct. My personal fan was gone and I was hot. About mile 8.5 I poured water on my head and face; talked a little with the volunteer and her nice little boy who had his private camper in the trunk of mom’s car. Continued my race, and pushed the pace speeding up about 20 sec per mile. I passed a marathoner who told me “You make it look so easy”, I turned my head and told him: “That’s because you are running 26 and me “only half”… I ended well at 10:24 pace; ran another loop around the lake to complete my 15-miler; got my trophy; ate a black forest ham/cheese sandwich; enjoyed the post race party, and happily thanked for making the decision to drive that far.

As hubby was fishing in American Lake, located in my way to home, I stopped, he picked me up at the boat launch and we went for a gorgeous boat ride with majestic Rainier in the background: Great ending to a race that was "Worm" And Fuzzy. 

The "worm", actually a beautiful caterpillar: Isabella Tiger Moth

Kristin at mile 25.5
Hubby and his friend coming to pick me up at the launch
Majestic Rainier from American Lake

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