I raced twice in Seattle over Thanksgiving weekend, and wanted to write a little bit about each race. Before I get into the races themselves, let me just say this: I love running at sea level. In the year and a half I’ve lived in Boulder, I’ve never experienced the benefits of altitude training like I did this past weekend. It was awesome, and frankly, it was just what I needed after trudging through plenty of truly awful runs in Boulder lately.
The first race was a 5K on Saturday morning. It’s a family tradition, and I couldn’t wait to run ‘with’ my mom and sister (we don’t actually run together, but we’re all there). This was also the race I was going to try to PR at, although we all know that was not going to happen. So I just decided to run hard, and see what time I ended up with. I was hoping to come in around 21:30.
I started at what felt like an easy pace (after wasting about 10 seconds fighting the crowds around me–no one lined up according to pace. I was dodging strollers and children in the first 100 yards!) and held that until the turnaround. At that point I tried to pick it up a little bit, just to see how hard I could push it. I felt great; my breathing was under control and my legs felt strong. This was the altitude training–there is no way in hell I would have felt this good if I was running at 5,300 feet. So I tried to take advantage of the elevation difference and really push it. At around mile 2.5 I kicked it up again, powered up the one short yet super steep hill, and then booked it to the finish. I ended up finishing with a chip time of 20:30, good enough for 6th place female and 2nd in my age group. Again, this was all thanks to running at sea level. My runs in Boulder have been awful lately, so running this totally time was awesome, albeit not at all representative of my actual fitness level.
The next morning I ran the Seattle Marathon’s Half Marathon with The BF’s dad. I was so excited for this race because it was basically a tour of Seattle. It was super foggy in the morning so the views of the waterfront we ran along weren’t great, but the weather was perfect and it didn’t rain once. I could not stop looking around and pointing out buildings, landmarks, and houses. I’m sure my running partner was beyond annoyed, but I was having so much fun playing tourist in my own town. Again, I felt bizarrely amazing during the run. At one point around mile 4 I stopped to use the bathroom, and lost at least two minutes on my friend. I tempo-d for a good half-mile to a mile to catch up with him, and it didn’t affect me at all. Around mile 10 my legs started to hurt, but that was due to the pavement and my lack of long runs; my heart rate never went up. Not once! It was so strange, and also awesome. I felt bad, though, because I was running along feeling great while everyone else around me was clearly starting to struggle. We stayed just a bit back from the 2:00 pace group and ended up finishing in 2:04:48. I wasn’t concerned about our time; I was just having fun running through Seattle!
So that was my weekend of racing. My legs were sore yesterday from back-to-back efforts, but today they feel fine. I hope that some fast running in Seattle will help my legs remember how to run fast up here. Marathon training starts in 6 weeks, so until then I’ll be trying to maintain a running base and building some muscle with lots of weightlifting.
How was your Thanksgiving? Did anyone do a Turkey Trot, holiday race, or other fun workouts?