Sunday, December 10, 2006

Champagne and Jingle Bells - A Race Report

This weekend was a good one. Last night Jim and I went to our first Holiday Party of the season. A good friend and fellow co-worker had a Champagne Tasting party! It was a wonderful time with good food and some tastey and some not-so-tastey champagnes. Knowing that I had a 10K to run the next morning kept me in "tasting mode" as opposed to "drinking mode". It was a wonderful party and semi-formal so we got a chance to dress up a little! A good time indeed and a great way to kick off the Holiday Season!

Today, I got up at "O'Dark Thirty" (aka 5:50AM) to meet my good friend Keri for our second annual Jingle All the Way 10K. We ran this race last year and it was my first 10K in 2005 following a long break after my Marine Corps Marathon finish that season. I ran the event in a time of 1:20:13 last year and was perfectly content with my 13:00 mile average pace while under the influence of "Interferon" treatments.

This year, however, I am 6 months post-treatment and have been trying to "find" shades of the "old athlete Holly" in the new "CANCER-FREE Holly". Part of that search includes losing the 40 pounds that I managed to find over the last 18 months and finding the sub 11:00 minute miles that I know I am capable of.

Last weekend I ran a 5K, to gague where I was and was pleased to find that without too much trouble, I could still maintain some kind of 12:00 mile pace while run/walking. So the goal for today's race was to be more structured on my run and try not to take additional walk breaks and see where the clock stopped.

At first, my plan was to run until I could not run any more and then drop into a 5/1 Run/Walk Intervals. Keri, who has run by my side in races for more than a year now, pointed out that I seem to do better when I start with an interval plan. It didn't take much considering to realize that she was right and so we decided that we would run the race together doing 5/1 Run/Walk intervals and above all, "Have Fun".

As we walked to the race start, Keri's phone began making dialing noises from inside her fuel belt. As she pulled it out to see what it was doing, my cell phone in my fuel belt began to ring! Her phone called mine! Probably trying to plan an escape from the early morning chill. We had a good laugh over that but I didn't think to turn off my phone, thus every five minutes, my phone would "beep" at me to indicate that I missed a call. It would take about 4 miles and several beeps to realize that it was my phone beeping and not the strange tone of some runner's watch around us. We got a good chuckle out of that!!

So the run was a familiar one. Keri, myself and 1,698 other runners in jingle bells heading down and around Haines Point and back. "Jingle Jingle Jingle, All The Way", indeed! There were great holiday hats and costumes of all kinds. We saw Santa Clause, elves of various types, a juggler and even a gal in black racing tights and a holiday G-string...(she needed the tights, it was too cold for less!)

Keri and I fell into our own pace just after the rise of the only small climb on the way out to the 5K turn around. By the 5K point we were solidly on track and doing well. Keri kept the conversation lively and I did my best to chat too.

Around Mile 4.5, I suddenly began to feel very tired and a wee-bit cranky. That is when I realized that my Gu was still in my race belt. I quickly pulled it out and added a minute to our mile by taking a walk break to eat the GU. I imagine if I had remembered it at the 5K turn around, I never would have had that brief bad patch. Still Keri stuck by me and said not a word when I apologized nearly 3 times in a row for needing to slow down.

The last mile went smoothly with no more interuptions. As we passed the Mile 6 marker and could see the finish line, Keri got her second wind and asked me if I was ready to "Go Lance Armstrong" yet?

"Going Lance" on somebody is how Keri and I refer to the sudden burst of speed that can kick in when you realize you are almost done AND you might be able to pass a person or two on your way in.

At that moment, I was feeling good but not up for "Going Lance" so I told Keri to "Go for it and have fun and I would meet her at the finsh line." I watched as Keri slowly picked up her pace and began to pick off runners one at a time, coming in at the end along with another fellow runner who she said saw her come up beside him and said "All right, you ready? Let's Go!"

For me, I just kept my pace nice and steady and focused on the finish line and smiling for the cameras. Of course over the last 200 feet with the finish line so close, I found that little extra bit in me and did a "mini Lance"... with a big smile and thumbs way up as I crossed the line in 1:15:12 for an average pace of 12:07 minutes for the 10K distance. A full minute per mile off of last year't time!

(5/1 Run/Walk Intervals Used)

Mile 1: 11:16
Mile 2: 11:51
Mile 3: 11:53
Mile 4: 12:10
Mile 5: 13.01 (*oops, GU stop)
Mile 6: 12:36
Mile 6.2: 2:36

After the race, Keri and I met her "Team in Training" friends for a brief "Hi and how was your race?" chat, grabbed some water and a bannana to share and then walked back to the cars. On our way we stopped and fed the seagulls at the reflecting pool some very hard, cold bagel from the post-race buffet. It was a riot to see the seagulls slipping and sliding across the ice past the bagel pieces. We even talked briefly with some asian tourist who were asking about the seagulls and taking pictures.

Later this afternoon, I stopped into Keri's for a Holiday Cookie-Making/Poker Party to celebrate Keri's Birthday (which is tomorrow!!! HAPPY B-DAY KERI!!!!) and I enjoyed meeting some new folks and indulged in some good food.

The weekend was a good one and I really feel like I have some good base building as I start getting serious about my training for the 2007 season ahead! I am very motivated and excited for the potential for the Myrtle Beach 1/2 Marathon with my Sisters in mid-Febuary. It feels like it is going to be a good year!

Now I have my eyes set Wednesday night's Christmas Light Run with Keri, Nancy and *Jeanne*. It is going to be a "Caroling good Holiday Time in the Nation's Capitol!"

Live STRONG!!!


TriFeist said...

Way to go Holly! Another great day back at the races. You'll drop below 12 mpm in no time.

Flatman said...

Way to go, girly!

runr53 said...

Great Job on the run, now the question is, how far into the year can you leave the bells on your shoes, hmmmm??? Run Good!

kerihadley said...

thanks so much for spending so much of my bday celebration with me. way to go on ridding yourself of 5 min on the race course.