Monday, April 28, 2008

Mud Hen 5K Race Report

Saturday April 26th marked the start of the 2008 race season for me. I was excited to see how a winter of base training (Boot Camp, Spinning, Kick Boxing and occasional swimming) would impact the first race of the season. I ran this race (Mud Hen 5K in Longmont, CO) last year with next to zero training, about one month of 1x a week Boot Camp training in 38:12. (Yes, I walked a lot.)

My goals this year were:
* To beat last year's time, where 30 minutes would be amazing and 33 minutes was the slowest I could go and still be happy.
* Run the whole way, no matter how slowly. No walking!

As I did last year I warmed up for the race with an hour of softball practice. Unlike last year, I didn't take a line drive off my shin. Also unlike last year, I rode my bike to softball practice and then to the race, which is about 6 miles from my house. While there were no line drives off the shin this year, last year's sunny and 70 weather was replaced by what I'd have to say was 30 mph winds, overcast and about 50 degrees. These are not ideal conditions. Needless to say, it was cold (really cold on my bike), windy and just overall not a very nice day. It would have been easy to turn around and go home. But I didn't.

I arrived at the park for a 10 am start at about 9:50, at which point I quickly stripped off my winter warm clothes for shorts and t-shirt. Oh so chilly. I locked up my bike and calmly walked toward the starting line, which was about .5 miles away. I arrived at the tent at about 9:57 to pick up my number and t-shirt only to find that there was no record of my registration. The support team was very kind and got me signed up quickly, a number and a new t-shirt by 10 am. I quickly pinned my number to my shirt, put my new shirt on and was tying my shoes as the race director counted down to the start. At this point I'm thinking, everything is aligned and telling me to sit this one out. But no, I'm a runner (ha), the show must go on.

I started about 15 seconds late, so I just kept time on my triax C8. About this time, I remembered that I didn't have my heart rate monitor on, bummer. The Mud Hen is around Lake McCintosh, which is a very small lake in Longmont. I don't think I recall ever seeing a wave on this lake, until today. I'd say the waves were rolling at 2 to 3 feet with white caps, it was windy! I came out strong despite the elements, feeling good, breathing easy. By the time I reached the west side of the lake, the wind was full on blow you off the trail strong. Again, an opportunity to quit or walk. No, I must go on. To my surprise, I reached that half way point in just over 16 minutes.

I rallied around the lake until I reached the northeast corner, where the wind was primarily blocked by houses, which was a nice relief. Encouraged by my time thus far, it kept me going. I could start to see the finish line and that was motivating. I kept looking at my watch and the finish. I've got 11 minutes to get to the finish. I've got 5 minutes to get to the finish.

Again to my surprise, as I approached the finish chute, 31 minutes and ticking... I stopped my watch and it read 31:20! I was thrilled, PR! I was tired and my hamstrings were aching, but I meet my goals and considering the weather, I think I would have been under 30 minutes for sure.

The first race of 2008 is in the books and I'm very happy with the result. The base training, although not running specifically, definitely helped me beat last year's time by almost 7 minutes. I'm encouraged, that with some running training, continued base, cycling and swimming training that 27 minutes might be possible? Oh, that would be great. I've got 1 month until the next race.

Next race: Bolder Boulder 10K

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