Sunday, March 4, 2012

Will Run for Soup

Saturday morning found me on the starting line for the Little Cow Harbor 4 Miler. February was not much of a running month. I've been doing more cycling in preparation for our trip to Mallorca. I've only been running 2x a week recently so I had no expectations for this race. I've run it the last 2 years and it's a challenging race. It's not really flat where you can get 'comfortable' while you red line. It is mostly rollers where you can't establish a steady pace. I knew a PR was not even a fantasy, so I decided to use this as a workout to build my hill running strength.

The weather was weird. It wasn't really cold (yes Jen, I wore shorts), but it was overcast and ready to rain. We made our way to the starting line and waited for the horn. Once it sounded, I started easy. The first section is a slight uphill. My goal was to 'take the hill', but this first one was not it. I wanted to build up smartly. Once I got past the first little incline, the rollers began. The 1st mile is all up and down. Each uphill I hammered up and then used the downhill for a recovery. Even the last 1/4 of mile 1 is a false flat so that meant no easing up. I could feel my heart in my throat and suddenly remembered "Crap, I left my heart rate monitor home." I wanted to capture my heart rate data to see what I was doing on the hills.

The first half of mile 2 is a nice little recovery area and somewhat flat. I picked some people to run in a pack with so I would be protected from the wind. As we made our way back towards the middle school, I prepared for the next series of rollers. As I ran up the hills, I put my head down and motored up, even passing people along the way. Again, using the downhills to rest up a little in preparation for the next hill.

When I passed the school, all I could think about was the post race soup. Honestly, this is what has us coming back each year. The soup. It's homemade turkey/potato/vegetable soup. Right after a race, it's still cool out, that soup hits the spot. Mmmm, soup...... But not yet. I still have one more mile to finish up before I can get a bowl. Back to the race......

It's a downhill into the last mile. It's pretty much a mile loop around the neighborhood in front of the school. It starts as a gradual downhill, but you are tested at the end where the last ~1/2 mile is uphill and the last little bit into the school parking lot just punches you in the gut and then in the teeth. I picked it up and finished strong. I looked down at my Garmin and saw that I was about a minute or so slower than last year. I was not surprised nor worried. I thought I was right on target for where I am in the season. Actually, I have to say I was pleased with how I raced. My goal was to take the hills.

Once I crossed the finish line I went to the car to get my jacket, and then immediately went to the soup line. That first hot spoonful was everything I was hoping for. Big pieces of turkey, potato chunks, mmmmm. Wingman had two bowls!! I was satisfied with one big bowl. Can't wait until next year, but for now, back to the grind of my training.............

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