2010 …. WHEEEEEE!!!!

4 01 2010



Mike Mc & Lizzy - 5 p.m. and freezing!


 New decade … New resolutions …   

I’ll figure that out later.  


Resolution Run 5K: 

6p – 12/31/09 

2009 was a rough year for a lot of us, but the door is now closed on it.  How I closed the door was doing the Resolution Run with my dear bud Mike McB.  I’ve not seen Mike much this year, so we decided to do this race together.  It is only a couple of week before Disney, and after 2009 injuries, I didn’t want to risk slipping in the ice around Washington Park.  Mike wanted to get the dark, icy, and cold 5k done in 1:00:00 … yeah an HOUR.  Try again!  I probably would have frozen!    

 I was trying out some new warm weather pants I picked up at the Performance bike shop … review will come soon.  I don’t think I’ve ever worn so many layers: heavy jog bra, “find your happy pace” race shirt, two Disney long-sleeved race shirts, zipper shirt, AND jacket!!  

.  I came up with an idea to keep him from leaning over on the side where he’s toting from … he has to build it!  was requredMike slipped slightly at the beginning and we think his air became disconnected when we were in a knot of people.  Mike toted his air on what looks like a modified luggage cart.  Only one cannister


All Done ... Slightly Frozen!


I started out with a local film camera trained on my rear end!!! My “shorts” say “Life Energy Intelligence”.  I  cheered  on those around us.  Only the first 100 people are timed, so if you are slower than a 7:35 minute mile … you better make your  own  fun!!We got across the icy mess of a  finish line in 00:52:34.   Mike did great!!! 


I will keep up with my posts …. promise … but my laptop keyboard is driving me nuts! Next Race: Walt Disney World Goofy!  

EOW 5K 00:36:43

16 08 2009

coin2201.jpg image by erpedenPotts, of the wonderful Pott’s Trotters, has a race series called the End Of Watch Memorial Series. It is a fundraiser for those memorial benches of fallen Aurora, Colorado police officers. It’s a good hearted effort. Sometimes the families of the officers are doing the event listed under run, racewalk, or fitness walk and the whole thing is very low keyed. It is timed, but not chipped, and the route is a smidge hilly through the local neighborhood – but begins and ends at the Aurora Police Department.

There were changes this year, and fortunately Marianne M. (fresh off her 5, 10, 20 K wins in Finland) was doing some warming up to tell me what happened. Usually, the event takes place in the munipal building right at the front of the police department. This year, they’ve moved Potts to a courtyard on the side and I think it works out a lot better. The start now has a downhill slope and out of the parking lot … of course that means when you’re trying to finish, you’re going back up-hill at the end. Ok – Bolder Boulder!

It was nice to see folks. Turned out I was missed at the Georgetown race and that made me smile. This was my first race using the FastTwitch shoes, ortotics, and nearly 2 months of chiropractic on my knee. Seeing first Mariann then Michael Blanchard, I knew that the highest finish I could make would be 3rd overall … and when I saw the wonderful gentleman Darryl, I knew if I could hold 4th, I’d be happy! Bob Carlson was bopping around – kicking it at 80+. I figured he’d spot us at the beginning and end but not out on the course … and it appears I was right.

The beginning of the EOW series has a memorial to the fallen officer our fees are going to. Doves are let fly and it’s a very pretty rememberance. Runners start 2 minutes ahead of the walkers. Racewalkers start toward the front and fitness walkers just float along in the rear. Ok, so how are we told apart? It’s on the application and Bob pretty much knows the handful of us who were competing racewalking. I’ve only done a couple of her races where there were obviously jog/walkers who signed up for the “soft option” of “walker”, but they were carefully moved.

It was nice to talk with Darryl, Michael and Marianne. I’m still on the shoe hunt, so I’m asking a lot of questions.  I warmed up the legs a little and definitely did warm up exercises. Since I’m not really one to warm up the legs for anything under a 10K, I have to remind myself that I race better when I do! I train better also!

When we took off, I deliberately put myself behind Michael … I didn’t want to be on that toe line – to give them their flying start – but didn’t want to be behind others. I started off with a jump and by the time we turned the first corner, I knew I was solidly in 4th. I had kept up with the three front folks just long enough to put some room between me and the rest of the walkers. As I watched the speedy three take off, I let them. I didn’t feel like I even wanted to try to keep up. Good first step for me — actually walking my own race! Yippeeee!!!

The first kilometer to mile was clunky. There’s no other way to put it. I am not very smooth right now. I feel like I’ve got tired with a flat spot on them. I think if I got in the habit of warming up more, I’d have the clunks worked out before the race starts. I already knew the first mile was geting the kinks out, so no problem here.

I mentioned that the course goes up through a neighborhood … it does. It’s kind of a rolling hill course. You start off going down the street to the neighborhood and then roll up through that neighborhood with associated flats here and there, but for the most part you’re going up. I’m not sure exactly where I was, but I kind of wanted to stop for a sec. It made no sense as I wasn’t tired etc. My legs felt fine but I felt low energy. Ok – need to eat good food and more of it. Simple as that. Also, I need to make my training more fun so that when my head says “aww hell, Shep, this doesn’t matter …” I am able to put that aside and keep plugging onward and upward (in this case).  The bummer is after the water stop (roughly mile 1 and change), you turn a corner and go directly up to where the turn around is. The kids at the water stop were standing right in the course line which would have pushed me out into the street to go around them. I was, as I say, by myself, so I let them know I was going directly through. Not many people had passed me at this point, but I was really warm. I got about 1/2  a cup of water down my back with the majority splashing the back of my calves. I couldn’t quite see where the turn around cone was, but I was being passed by runners coming down. I didn’t really recognize many. As I got closer to the turn around, I saw the three racewalkers ahead of me. Michael came down first, followed by a very intent Mariann. Darryl looking like a dapper man in his Bing Crosby-esque blue fishing cap, came down – smiled at me, slapped hands and said “There she is! Looking great!” Was nice.

I probably mentioned in a long ago post that Darryl was one of the first people I met at a competition. It was a Pott’s Trotters race, and it was cold. My very first one for her – so I have to say it was maybe December. I’d gotten very used to starting at the back of the runners as a too-fast-for-normal-walk-groups-but-too-slow-to-be-mixed-in-with-runners person. I didn’t fully get that the Racewalkers are actually started 2 minutes off of the runners. As I took off, I heard Potts SCREAMING “LIZZY!!! LIZZY!!!” and I had no clue what it was all about. I heard go and I went. It turned out she was trying to get me to come back. Darryl was wearing a long pair of pants and that blue hat … and just glided on past the struggling-at-mile-1 me saying “You’re doing fine Racewalker!” First person to ever call me one. Of course, he effortlessly glided right on past like smoke. After the race was over, he met up with me at the finish. It appeared his beloved wife hadn’t come to the race. He talked with me about post race stretching, catching my breath, recovery, water and cheering other people on. Just an amazing guy. I never forgot him. Then I didn’t see him and, I’ll be honest, I thought he’d died. Nope – I even got to meet his wife at this race. Having Darryl there made me feel like I truly was “coming back”.

I was searching for the turn around … I saw a bunch of cones by a police car and aimed for them until the copper pointed out the YELLOW cone to go around. Oy! I watched my knees as I tightly turned around it and headded back down the hill. I saw Darryl’s wife and said “go to the yellow cone!” After the race was through, she said she didn’t get what I was saying until she saw it and it helped! One would think I would have jammed the downhill. Strangely, I didn’t. Not sure why … I just thought it was more important to try to keep some sort of even pace. I probably made up some time, but my legs were feeling a little heavy. Gulp of water because I realized my mouth was dry and headding off into the last bit of the race.

The bummer on this race is the knowledge that probably much every mile is uphill. I came off the long hill and turned right onto the roadway leading back up to the police station. I just told my legs to “spin your wheels” and I motored up the hill. I was really warm. I guess I don’t handle warm all that well. I was also sweating a lot. Going up the hill. Roll the tootsies. My “big” and “second” toe on my right foot have been giving me trouble and they were acting up. I’m wondering if it’s got to do with the orthotics or what. I was paying attention to how my feet were feeling in the FastTwitch shoes. They’re pretty yum.

I was, as I say, all alone. There wasn’t a huge turn out, which is really sad for Potts, so I just had to keep myself motivated. I laughed knowing that the rest of the course was going to be up-hill and said “Well, Lizzy, you’re at the Bolder Boulder with fewer people around!” As anticipated, Bob was under a tree just before the end. He called out my time, which was nice and said “Second Female, Fourth Overall” I barely heard him, but it was appreciated. I knew exactly where I was. I just have to get used to calling numbers etc at me. I only passed one gal, who was a jog/walker, from the running group, so I knew everyone was done. I came around the corner and saw the START sign … a friend of mine from the Rocky Mountain Road Runners was there yelling “COME ON LIZZY!!! You’re almost done.” I have no clue how good/bad/indifferent I looked, but I knew I wanted to be done because I really was hot. My buddy doing the music knew that I’ve been off for the majority of the year with injuries and this was my first race back for me. He put on Heart of Rock and Roll the minute I came around the corner … past the Chick-fil-let cow (kind of surreal by the way) and I laughed. (If you don’t know, Huey Lewis and the News were from Marin County – Mill Valley, the town next to where I grew up.) Arms do your pull, legs roll it up the hill … keep it legal please … because just off to the left of the clock was a tall gentleman in a blue fisherman’s cap … Darryl. 

I’m not going to lie – I fixated on that damn clock out of the corner of my left eye all the way up the hill from the moment I could read the numbers. I was bound and determined to be back under 40 minutes. That really hurt in June! Ok – so I wasn’t feeling well, screw it! It hurt because I’d not been that slow in a while … at least in a race! 😉 I crossed knowing there wasn’t a 4 within the first 3 digits of the clock: 00:00:00 … so in the hours or first spot on minutes … So – seeing my friend there and getting in under 40 minutes. Very happy indeed!

I did come in a “distant” fourth, but I’m just fine with that. I kept motoring on. It did remind me a lot of earlier 5k’s. I know I can do the distance, but it was hard for me to smooth out.

So, next race: Virginia Beach Rock and Roll 1/2. Going out to have fun and see where I am racing 13.1 miles in these new FastTwitch shoes.

Stadium Stampede 40:18 … for a 5k … with a bright lining

22 06 2009

I really didn’t want to do this race. I didn’t want to do it not because of anything more severe than being rather pissed off with myself. Since I have held myself to rather high standards – impossibly high standards at times  – I just didn’t want to further embarrass myself after the disaster of See Jane Run. I’m very serious about how I was feeling, and even wrote DMcG to use that nightmare as my ground zero to build the next schedule from.

I’ve had a lot of things on my mind and my most frustrating, as you can easily imagine, has been that I’m just not seeming to get over this damn knee thing and it’s affecting everything … because I’m letting it. That and other stupid stresses that I simply have problems accepting because they make not only  my life more difficult but are only short-term fixes … I know a lot about short-term fixes … with my walking, let’s face it, I’ve been short-term fixing myself for the past year.

I have spent a lot of time talking with Jack and Jake (friends who study sports psychology and interst in nutrition etc) … and it’s been rough some of the things that I’ve found out … and hidden behind, but I’m really done with it. Determining “mind virus’ ” and wiring, rewriting and restarting … fine and niffy … but that doesn’t stop the freaking pain that crawls up my leg at very inopportune times and the feeling like I’ve got a mountain of rocks building between my shoulders.

So – a bit of a chat with Da Coach … surprising him by promising that I’ll try another long judged race mid-kicking myself patter … he’s chosen October … ok … let’s get me there … dumping everything out of my schedule pushing toward my September –> January races … ok – that took care of “taking action” on myself …

However, I did say I’d do the Stadium Stampede even though I didn’t want to.

The thing is I get to see Lynn and Mike Mc as they are a part of Huff & Puff (the race is for St. Joseph’s Hospital). KristEn B. came out of Wyoming for her first ‘real’ 5k in years. When I got up, I realized that wearing black would be a huge mistake and, for some reason, I tossed my little rescue inhaler in my tinsy gig bag.

The course for the Stadium race goes up and around the Invesco football stadium, down to the bike path, one way out, over a bridge, back on the other side of the Platte (?) river, little up to the stadium, around the warning track of the stadium, up over the speed bump to the finish line and you’re done. It was fun last year, but I was in better shape … kinda … ignoring pain more.

Problems started when putting the chip on my shoe. There was only one zip tie and, honestly, I didn’t toss my spares in my tiny gig bag. Didn’t think of it. I ended up lacing the thing into my shoe thinking “I hope I have no problems at the end.” I saw friends and it was noticed I wasn’t wearing my usual water belt. It was hot, but I could use the water from the aid stations if necessary. I was going to just have fun and leave it there.

KristEn and I wandered about together as I explained, more or less, how the race worked. She knew I’d be there at the end cheering her in, so there was no problem. Since they were starting walkers and runners at the same time, I wiggled my way in right behind Darla and Becky. I’d seen Bob in the beginning so I didn’t think I needed to have my bib marked again for spotting … but fortunately Becky noticed that the spot had fallen off and the girls pointed out where I could get another …

Um … two problems and the race hadn’t even started … Relax … have fun … your friends are going to be in front of you … you’re here because you paid for it and to shake things out.

Yeah … right.

No matter what I told myself, KristEn said that I get this slightly glassy hard eyed look when I need to get to the line. She’s seen it at both the stair climbs and said it was probably there at the Gorilla Run, but I’m in full mask! I didn’t think about it … but I guess she’s right.

I’d not really warmed up well at all and that mountain between my shoulders hurt. But I was NOT going to stress it …

Race starts with that up-hill around the Invesco Field. Last year, the runners and walkers started separately, so I wasn’t surrounded by a bunch of fast runners. Becky and I waved at Darla’s back and got going. I started feeling a strange feeling in my chest and told Becky to get in front of me. I spent the first 1/3 of the race staring at her back then didn’t see her until an hour or so after the end.

Going up and around, I was getting strangely winded. It bothered me and I looked at my watch (which I’ve turned off the pacing beeping to pay more attention to what I’m doing) and I was starting out too fast. Ok … slow down …

A couple of kilometers in (yeah, I’ve got the watch set to ‘mark’ kilometers — whatever you think about Garmin’s, I do just about everything solo, so I need some sort of guidepost.) I was really not feeling right. Legs were behaving, shoulders loosening up, but I felt like I was either stomping down hard on my right (the bad one) or not being able to lift up the left properly … I’ve been complaining about this feeling since mid October, but even after seeing a chiropractor for a bit, it didn’t seem like it was getting better.

The real problem happened when I got a huge lung full of cottonwood tree fuzzies. OH MY GOSH! That blew my mind and I kept walking, but was hacking. Ok – so this is the third thing, right? I knew I had to keep moving forward because … uh … my inhaler thingie … it was in Mike Mc’s truck.

QUIT GLARING AT THIS POST!!! I’ve already been soundly reprimanded! I just don’t think about carrying it because although I’ve had “near” attacks, I’ve been able to get myself together. Also, when I was living with the asthma attacks previously, the only thing that truly worked to get me calmed down and breathing were the Asthmacort (sp) cortisone inhalers and I really don’t want to go down that road again …. anyway, I can’t get a ‘script for it.

One of the many things Jack, Jake and I have been working on when my head starts to take me down the road of mentally beating myself up for no particularly good reason are incantations. Yeah – an old thing, but it’s what we used to do when I was skating or we were all running and cycling. It really is just self talk to break the pattern of whatever is going on. There’s a simple one that I have been using when I’m stuck on a treadmill because it’s to freaking hot out or I just need to force myself to do some miles — which I always feel better after doing, but with the other distractions, I literally … uh … forget!

Spitting out cottonwood fluffies, having a guy trip over the chunk of sidewalk that bit me last year and grab on to my shoulder to keep from landing on his face, and having a small child – no fooling – stop dead ahead of me AGAIN … I let my mind click in to my couple of incantations and thought “just finish this pup and cheer in your friends, Lizzy!” Leg felt ok … incantation … still feeling like I’m a limping water buffalo … stronger incantation … shoulders feeling good … incantation … smiling … 😉

Feet kept propelling me along. Even though I felt like I was lopsided, I think my form was pretty good. I was able to relax a bit as I was starting to be able to breathe a bit better and I felt like I’d picked up speed. No land speed records this race … just getting through uninjured. Ok … I’m down with that.

4 kilometers down … incantation …

Deep breath in and it went NOWHERE. I felt like the brick that I’d been toting with my legs had come to rest on my chest. Oh CRAP! What is going on here? Keep calm … inhaler in Mike’s truck … since this is part of a hospital, there’s probably good med at the end … end this series of bad races with a trip to the med tent … Ok … just finish … you’ll be fine.

Up the little hill to the stadium … I knew *exactly* where I was going … fixate on that … across the street … mind the railroad tracks … CRAP! Another guy didn’t mind his feet and nearly took me out … hit the cop instead … He was Ok … I guess I’m getting back to being me on the race — yelled to make sure he was OK … he said he just wanted to catch up to me! 😉 Just try Runner Boy … I know where my finish line is and I want there … uh now.

Runner Boy caught up to me as I was hugging the edge going into the stadium. You go through the back driveway, around the field – or straight across if you see the line – and then up through the other driveway, hard right and you’re done. I hacked and smiled as he said “Caught you!” I smiled again … hacked … and said “Try again” and somehow sped up. I knew I was FAR slower than any other 5k I’ve done in a very long time, but I was really happy that my leg was feeling ok. I was very concerned about the fact that I was finding it harder and harder to breathe …

Yes, Sports Fans, I was headding head first into my first full blown asthma attack in a number of years and not exactly happy about it! 

I passed a gal who had been jog/walking ahead of me for most of the race at the last few feet of the race. That push that I just do as a matter of course probably started to put me over the edge. I quickly scanned to see if I could spot Becky and just gasped for air and hacked. Ok – I could handle this … Just keep standing …

The kid who was to clip off the chip just stared at my foot. I started hacking and said “Could you please untie it?” Very stupid look on his face as he said “Uh – why?” I felt my heart rate just jump – and I usually have it pretty high when I race so that says something and the ability to breathe became less and less. I found myself folding over toward the ground. If there had been 100’s of people – or even 10 coming in with me, I could understand he needed to get to the next person, but I was in distress. My Fathers’ Genes came through as I said “FINE – I’LL GET IT!” as I ripped the thing out of my shoelaces … hacking “OK – WHERE IS MED???” With an even more stupid look than before “Uh … I donno.” He pointed me over to his friend and I gripped his arm so hard I probably drew blood, but I was starting to have my vision tunnel. He pointed to an ambulance. So Bambi here – one shoe untied – started to stumble over.

When I got there, it was empty. I couldn’t believe it — third time I’ve gotten to an ambulance and it’s been unmanned … I guess God thinks I can handle things. I kicked off my shoes so I didn’t trip and remembered the Huff & Puff area where my friends filled up their oxygen tanks. If I could get there, I’d be closer to the inhaler and maybe someone could keep an eye on me while I tried to get my lungs together.

I started over and two women spotted me. One worked for the event who had seen me hula-hooping previously and the other had come in about 5 minutes before me. I was starting to recover, but was looking at my heart rate which was still entirely too high … damn HRM watches! I think it was because I was truly scared more than the attack itself. Once over at Huff & Puff, a wonderful gal – I have forgotten her name, but she had a knee brace – took charge of me. She gave me the Evil Eye when I said my inhaler was in Mike’s truck and after an issue with finding a pure air tank for me (which would have been too strange), she had a rescue inhaler and had to practically force  me to take puffs and hold them as deeply as I could.
I know that I got moving before I probably should, but I wanted to get my inhaler in my pocket and little bag out of Mike’s truck. I also wanted to scream, but didn’t have the air to do it. I felt weak, light headed and frustrated because my leg had behaved more or less, I’d behaved by taking it slowly, and now my lungs took this time not to behave. CRAP IN A BASKET! I was not interested in feeling sorry for myself, I just wanted to go hide and beat my head against one of the supports of the freeway! But – I couldn’t do that … I had friends still out on the course and I wanted to cheer them in.
I got back under the covering of the Huff & Puff booth, showed the nice Nurse Lady that I had my inhaler and even took a deeeeeeeep hit off it smiling and she laughed. I also saw my friend Mike Blanchard and wanted to see how he’d done. As Darla commented as the race started – many of us were walking wounded. Michael had a problem with his back, but I knew that wouldn’t get in his way (it didn’t. He won the thing like Darla did for the women). He said “Lis – you’ve got to check out these Massage folks!” His animation was what I needed and I wandered into the expo area with him. I said I’d had the first asthma attack in a long time, and like he did when he said “DNF is better than DQ if you’re injured!” he reminded me that with all the water, this was a nasty year for allergies and the cottonwood trees got him too. I don’t usually think about allergies because what I’m allergic to you rarely find being a complication in a race.
Splut, splut, squish! We walked across the sopping wet grass to the Exercise/Chiropractic/Chair Massage folks … it wasn’t Colorado School of Massage where people were starting to gather. Mike left me in their capable hands and wandered away.
I stood, squishing into the mud wearing my socks, in front of Dr. Joshua Doktor — Seriously, Dr. Dr. – who towered over me by at least 6 inches … which is saying something as I wasn’t sinking that badly into the mud! I’m used to the “sales pitches” that happen at expos … heck, I’ve hawked friends’ businesses or places I’ve worked for over the years … but there was something different here. We started talking, and I seriously got the feeling that this wasn’t just another chiropractor who was trying to grow his practice with athletes, but someone who actually understood athletes and the mindset. That’s been a problem with me and doctors … I’m not interested in fluff & buff, meds, short-term fixes, or maintenance for forever. I’m a lot more proactive than most patients and am willing to do the work necessary and go through the pain because I want to be FIXED thanque-very-much!
I took his card and said I’d think about it as my turn with the chair massage happened. The poor gal tried to get in to my shoulder and asked if they’d done the electro-check on my neck … nope. Well, Dr. Dr. was free when I was done as was the machine … OOOHHHHH machines, programs, gadgets, data! … and he explained what he was doing. After the first reading, his comment made me think there was something a bit amiss, but I was far more concerned not with the long black lines but the short red one.
Dr. Dr. – “Have you had a car accident?”
Lizzy – “Yup. 20 years ago last May.”
Dr. Dr. – “Nothing more recent?”
Lizzy – “uh … just stress.”
Dr. Dr. – “ummm…” (calling his partner over)
Lizzy – “Uh … when do you want to see me?”
Dr. Dr. – “Um … Tomorrow morning.”
Lizzy – “Should I bring my shoes?”
Dr. Dr. – “Yup.”
We laughed. I told him I was concerned about the red line and he said “You’re little red line is ‘good’ the big long black ones are the problem!”
So … It’s appearing that why I went to this race was to have a few things kicked in to gear …
1. Carry the damn inhaler … short race, long race … I’m under a lot of stress while off-loading the crap of my past and moving forward AND there’s a boatload of crap in the air … carry the damn inhaler!
2. It’s time to get things properly repaired. Standing in front of him, Dr. Dr. noticed things that surprised me. He and his partner are interested in athletes … normal people too, but athletes who are interested in being the best they can be … and since they’re growing their practice, they’ve got the right attitude … not the stuffy doctor one.
So – the race was slow. I felt like a lumbering ox. I checked off another of my fears – panic and asthma attack of sorts at a race. I got to hang out with Becky and Darla for a bit. Becky and I frequented the Coors tent (regular and diet … what the heck, free) However, I was bummed that I didn’t get to see Lynn, Mike or KristEn come in – but KristEn knew there had to be something off because I would have been there … so it’s great to have friends … and now I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
I guess this means that any way I look at it … I win.
PS: KristEn and I finally got a chance to hang out. It was good to be around someone since I still didn’t feel right and was hacking here and there. We went to Brooklyn’s, which is probably the only place down there. Actually, not too bad … still covered in Cottonwood tree fuzzies through the open door. One of the barflies was trying to hook one or the other of us up with the bartender – a nice guy, but I’ve gone out with bartender/proprietors and I’m in the market to get me where I want to be, thanks! As we were the last two cars out of the parking lot, there was a question that we wouldn’t get out. I took the lead and we got out just fine … Thanks KristEn!

Pulling out of the Stair Climb & Super Bowl 5k

2 02 2009

Ok – this hurts … but probably not as much as my right calf has been since the end of November! I realized yesterday that I would have to pull out of the Run the Republic Stair Climb. I’m bummed, but I agree with DMcG that I’d truly be crippled for the series of races I really want to do through 2009.

I made this decision around mile 2 in yesterday’s Super Bowl “Lizzy-Blew-The-Calendar-And-Isn’t-In-Surf-City-But-Doing-A-Local-5K” 5K. Usually, I get myself psyched for a 5k the same way as I do for any other race – 5k –> Marathon (I’ve never done a 50K, but I could say 5K-> Goofy) … I make sure I’ve been eating and training properly, get things set out the night before and go. This time … well …

It’s been a strange restart for 2009 — back from the Goofy then right in to the thus and such at the University. Friends getting laid off from amazing jobs, and my biffing the beginning of the training for the DMNS … followed by making travel arrangements for the weekend after the Surf City race. I think it was my Guardian Angels (yes plural) conspiring to get me to take a break off my legs! Of course, however, since my training – gym, water, etc. – is one of my two favorite releases … I was going a bit … spare.

I signed up for the Super Bowl 5K mainly because I’d not done really much of anything – training or racing since Disney. Yeah, that is a good thing, but I also was feeling really sluggish and needed a little kick before Surf City. When I realized that I’d blown the dates for Surf City, I was more than slightly upset (as a couple of friends who got the voice-cracking calls from me as I was trying to calm myself down) however I also saw the good in it all. AND I had something to do.

I woke up to a right calf that was really painful. On a measure of 1 to 10, it was about an 8.5 on the pain scale. I was massaging it while going through my e-mail and facebook. It was feeling a great deal better by the time I finally was getting out the door, but I’d promised Da Coach that if it didn’t feel better than that, I wouldn’t race.

The interesting thing, however, was that I felt a smidge off my game all morning. I didn’t really eat properly … limping around the house … couldn’t find the race number … wasn’t sure where I was going … Ok – this was going to be interesting.

When I got to Washington Park, I realized just how different it was. I had *no* idea where the start was! I guess I’m used to the way they have things set for other races, that I was caught slightly off guard. There was a “rock and roll” church service that is at the high school there instead of the check in being indoors. Hum … ok … good thing I got there early, hu?

I found the check in well inside Wash Park. Creigh Kelly was putting out the cones for the race and I asked him if it truly was judged. He said that as long as a judge decides to show up, it is judged … um … ok. Note to self: Find Bob Carlson or another racewalker who knows him. Chips were to be picked up at the check in. The last two times this has happened, my time has been completely screwed up … I’m still not a big fan of Creigh’s company because they’ve not taken walkers seriously over the past couple of years … Ok, whatever. I also met up with a buddy of mine who does the music who had the map of the race. No real problem … I just don’t train in Wash Park because it’s usually loaded with people.

Chip on foot, I went back to the car to see if I had a pair of gloves and to drop off my spare clothes. BKB races have been bad about any sort of gear check … ask The Eagle – a pet peeve of his! I carefully warmed up my legs, and knew that this would not be a speed race, but more of a check in at altitude one.

When I got back to the start, I saw my buddy Becky Gerze. She and Joe, her wonderful husband, are great folks. I play leapfrog with Becky … she’s better at the short distances and I’m appearing to get the longer ones. I knew this race she’d be in the lead for the whole thing. Together we were spotted by Mike Blanchard (speedy racewalker) who has been great at helping the novice me out. He said he’d seen Bob and to go find him!

Bob Carlson is 83 years old and a kick really. He’s also been around for forever, the publisher of Front Range Racewalking newsletter and been helpful. He knows both Becky and myself, so we were able to look on his sheet. I got to know Bob a bit at the Stadium Stampede last year when I asked about speedy females in the walking … he smiled and said “You’re Lizzy Shepard!” He also remembers my name is Lis with an “s” … always makes me smile. As he was writing down #81 Lis he said “Really just you and Becky for fast women. You’ll be fine.”

When the race started, I did what I tend to do on a chipped race … move toward the mid-back so I don’t start out too fast. For this race, this was more important because I really wanted to walk my own race and get a feel for things at altitude. Literally a minute before the start, I realized there was no front pad and my time would be x seconds over due to this! I got within 3 seconds of the start line … and my final time reflected it.

Yes – I started out too fast. I knew it. My lungs knew it. It was a chilly day and I’ve not worked out outside since November. I slowed it down, reminding myself that this was “just a walk in the park” and spotted Becky – about a minute ahead of me. Interestingly enough – we finished about a minute apart by our watches.

There’s a difference between a 5K and a 1/2 Marathon. In the 1/2, I’ve got time to “recover” from starting out a smidge too fast. There’s time to settle into a comfy pace and have something left for the end. I was working on focus, feeling my legs and not giving a fig about what was going on around me. I was a bit irritated by the four people who started in front of me who had been talking with their friends saying that they were registered as walkers because “we’ll probably just walk most of it after we’re done running the first mile or so.”

Pet peeve #1 – registering as a walker because you’re potentially walking more than running. Bite me!

I got around the bottom part of the “lake” (let’s face facts, folks – they’re ponds!)  and everything was OK, but my calf felt, well, thick. There’s no other way to put it. There was a bit of wind coming off the “lake” and I was in a skull cap and long sleeved tech shirt. I passed the folks that had been in front of me in my pink skirt … “aren’t you cold?” I looked over and said “Nah – I just keep walking …” By the time we hit the mile 1 marker, I pretty much knew that I wouldn’t be doing the stairclimb.

One of the things that I’m working on this year is not adding more distance to my races. Tangents – I might not be good at them yet, but I’m getting better at finding my line in a crowd. In talking with Mike after the race, it appears he and I were among the few who took a huge tangent coming out of mile 1. There weren’t any cones keeping us to the left – wide road – so instead of my adding many feet, my Garmin had me at 3.13 miles instead of the usual overage.

I know the backside of the course pretty well. It’s little hills that just show up when I don’t want them! I think it had a lot to do with my not feeling terrific about this race and training issues. The water stop was just before Mile 2, but I’m not taking water on a 5k unless I need it – afterward, however, it is a different story. I was, however, popping Shock Blocks to keep my throat wet.

Just after that I heard “Go LIZZY!” It was Joe Gerze on one side with his camera and Bob Carlson on the right with his notebook staring at my knees and feet! Just what I needed actually!

Through the start line, with Becky still about a minute ahead … I hit the little bit of wind and was thankful for my specs being photo-tints … changing with the ambient light. Bottom of the pond and I said “Ok – that’s it – I’m not doing the stairclimb. This calf has to heal!” I went from my starting pain level of 5 up to 7 and feeling tight.

Get up to mile 3, do the little hairpin and be done with it. I realize right now I just suck at 5K’s!

As I was coming up to the hairpin to the end, I saw Becky make the turn. Huge cheer for my bud. She looked terrific! I came around the corner myself and realized that my legs felt so thick that I wondered if I’d have the energy for that finish line kick without getting DQ’d at the end!

My buddy on the mic has been really supportive of me and helpful getting me across the line in a couple of hard for me races. I spotted Bob at the last corner … ok … it’s not in your best interest, Shep, to start running, K!

The funny thing for me is that I’m realizing how much I click into my head. This race, my head worked against me a couple of times and I could tell myself “Yo – get over it! You did the Goofy … this is a piece of pie!” When I was at camp, Dave kept talking here and there — “talk to me, Lizzy … what’s going on …” since I was in a lot pain there too, I was just trying to keep myself together! Hearing Bob say softly “you’re doing fine you’ve got 2nd place.” … I said “Thank you” instead of my typical comment to my coach “bite me!”

Coming down, there was my bud on the mic “Here comes another racewalker – Miss Lizzy Shepard!! Come on – give it that kick!” Something else, can’t remember – but I gave it that kick. Nice to have friends, hu?

What I need immediately when I finish anything is water/powerade/a friend to fixate on. I tend to give everything and this race had me spitting like a camel. I looked to the right where there was a water jug and a HUGE line of folks with cups. … oh please! Becky and Joe spotted me and it was big congrats all around! We found Mike and the four of us hung out for a bit – finding snacks and drinks.

It appeared, surprise-surprise, that there was a problem with the walk standings! Mike, who although not at his best was pulling an average of 9 or so minute miles, was behind two other people … pardon me? And they were women … ok – don’t get me wrong, but um … no. Joe had watched all of us come along and said there was no male or female racewalker or fitness walker ahead of Mike. In the case of Becky and me, we were 1 and 2 on female racewalkers (for this race – all the speedy sneakers didn’t show!). I wandered over to see the standings, and am so used to looking in the runner ones, Mike had to walk me back over and show the little list of walkers. It was then that he found he would have been beated by 2 women and 1 male and after him neither Becky nor I were listed. Bob was sorting it all out.

Ok – some of you readers aren’t racewalkers or runners who don’t know how it works for us –> but usually there aren’t age groups for the walk category in these local races. For runners they’ll go three deep both female and male from age 10 through 90, but for us it’s first/second/third female and first/second/third male. This means that Becky and I were “competing” against one another … So – when someone signs up as a “walker” and picks their paws up and run … well … those of us who don’t … it’s kind of a bummmer.

Bob handled it.

I wasn’t intending on staying around for the award. I expected the speedy sneaker females to be there or the, sadly, usual mess with walk results to happen. Since Bob was there and I was with friends … I stayed.

Michael Blanchard, of course, came in first male. They did the female results and Becky apparently knew the gal who came in third – maybe I do also, not sure! I was second – $10 off a purchase of $15 or more from a Littleton Runner’s Roost. When Becky was called, we passed each other and high five’d. We’re a team out here!

Michael and Bob gave me some hints for my 20K:
Bob: “Just don’t start out too fast and keep your form like I’ve seen it and you’ll be OK.”
Michael (among other things): “Just don’t get DQ’d!!! And take your energy drink every 2k!”

I got to the car, calf feeling actually pretty good and started re-thinking my pulling out of the stair climb. I’m doing it with really good friends and I love this feeling … then I got home and walked up my stairs … I was OK … nice bath, shower, nap until a friend picked me up for the movies. I was still OK, but he was really good and asked if I truly wanted to walk over to the theatre. Yeah – I was OK, but it was nice to have a friend ask. I was able to stretch during the movie, however when we were walking back … and my stairs … TWINGE … that was it.

So – Superbowl 5K – Watch: 37:15 official 37:18
Casualty: The Stair Climb

Next Race — 20K Huntington Beach in March

A thought on 5k’s

24 09 2008

I was thinking about 5k’s this morning. I remembered when I was entered in the 2006 Boulder Backroads 1/2 Marathon questioning my sanity. The sheer thought of running 3.1 miles gave me the willies and here I was shoving myself into 13.1 miles of walking. Since then, I’ve done a handful of things but, for some reason, those 4 mile and shorter races just … get me!

I was staring off my balcony talking with a friend trying to understand why this was the case … why do I have more problems with shorter races than longer ones.

“Because you’re a lunatic, Lizzy.”

I’ve always thought that stating the obvious isn’t helpful – humorous, but not exactly helpful.

When I was copying down the lap times, I let myself crawl back into each race in my head. 5k’s and lower – I just go as all out for as long as I can through the whole thing. I don’t think too much about it because I have the ‘luxury’ of shaking myself out in longer races.

Personally – I’m looking forward to being comfortable in all lengths of races … there was a time that a 5k made me shake … and a marathon looked daunting. Every distance has it’s own challenges. I just don’t want to get ‘locked’ in to one or the other. However, I’m sure there’s probably something that my body is ‘built’ for … other than drinking coffee, eating Belgian dark chocolate … and listening to Jazz.