Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Milestone Weekend

I know, it’s rather unusual to be writing about my weekend on a Wednesday, but I’m slowly getting into the blogging routine. Last weekend was certainly one to write about with several notable events to report.

The fun started Friday afternoon when I met Jen and Julie for a social 50 min run. I’ve been slave to the treadmill for many weeks now, but with daylight savings in full swing, we decided a “girl catch up time” run was in order to kick off the weekend. It was fun to be outside again, and share the stories of the week. Jen had a pretty eventful week, but I won’t go into her story here…needless to say, she’s staying strong and will get through it and be in better place soon!! Julie had just returned from a fun trip to Bellingham, WA, so it was wonderful to share in her enthusiasm for fun travel and family. I am so thankful to live so close to such a wonderful group of training buddies!

The milestone events started early (6:45am) Saturday morning at Lifetime Fitness: 5500 meters on the ‘Plan’ for the morning, so I was mentally prepping myself for the longest swim session of my life. Kerry was up for the challenge and Julie H showed for her milestone workout as well.
500 warm up, 100 back, 1500 strong, 100 back, 2x 750 strong, 100 back, 3x500 strong, 100 back.
Everything was going well until I hit the 2nd 500 of my last set. Wow, did I start sinking. My 500 pace dropped 10 seconds from the earlier 1500 pace. I guess that’s what happens when you go for a new swim milestone. I made the 5500m swim and then it was recovery time in the hot tub with Karl, Julie and Kerry. There, the 2nd milestone of the weekend was born…It was a bright sunny morning and it was glorious to see the sun shine brightly through the windows at the club. We all had a 2 hour trainer ride on our schedule for the afternoon, so we were discussing ways to make it more enjoyable. With serious spring fever, we decided it was “the day” for the inaugural MN outdoor ride. Yes, this was a great idea (as we were in the hot tub with the sun shining brightly), but let me say that it was still under 40 degrees, with some sort of wind-chill. But we made up our minds and there was no turning back to the dreaded trainer! Although it took us a good 30 minutes to dress appropriately and get our bikes ready for outdoor riding, we finally pulled out on the road and it was official. It was deemed a “small ring ride’ but of course, we kept it moving along nicely. We lasted about 80 minutes, and then decide it was time to retreat to the warmth of our house. Although very chilly at times, it was GREAT to be outside again. Way to go Team!!

Milestone #3: The Human Race 8K in Saint Paul. I did my first short running race of the year! Pure running races have always been extremely daunting for me, but I really wanted a benchmark for my running fitness, and this was a great race course for that purpose. The race started at 1:20pm so it was challenging to stay fueled, but not eat anything that could haunt me during the race. The SCS team was there, so it was fun to catch up with them before the start. The gun when off, and we all took off with the masses. It was my goal to go out steady and negative split the 5 miles. My first mile was ~6:35, so I knew I had room to pick up the pace. I felt steady at this point, and hit mile 3 at 19:30. This was a little slower then I was hoping, so I really tried to dig deeper for the final two miles. Kerry and Mark were just ahead, so I desperately tried to reel them in. I managed to catch Mark, and yelled “get ‘r’ done Mark, less than 2 miles to go” (this is noteworthy as Mark always makes fun of me for being mute when I race). Anyways, I knew I had to pick up the pace in order to break my goal time of 32 minutes. I finally raced the last mile with a 5:50 split and finished in 31:48. Yes, Kerry stayed a few seconds ahead to maintain his undefeated (vs. me) running record. A large group of us did a nice 45 min cool down run along the Mississippi, then if was off to Noodles for dinner and chatter. Thanks guys for all the fun stories. I’m so excited to get the season going to enjoy more group training and racing.