Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bedford 12K and 3 Things Thursday!

Sooo I raced again last weekend!  Kind of on a whim [when was the last time I signed up for a race day-of?], and despite some knee and Achilles issues that had been bothering me all week, I decided to head up to Bedford, NH with my running buddy Kelly for the Bedford Rotary Memorial 12K. Hello, checking another state off the list AND a new distance? Yes, count me in, even if the race pretty much served as a rude awakening as to the fact that as it turns out you actually DO have to run more than 30 miles a week to succeed at longer races - who would have thought? Hah. 

I was up at 5:30 and out the door in 20 minutes, headed down to Brighton Center where I was supposed to catch a 6:11 bus to Watertown Yard where I was going to meet Kelly....except that bus just decided not to come.  Neither did the one that was supposed to come at 6:20.  Major transportation FAIL!! I also saw a bus blow right by a lady standing at the bus stop on the opposite side of the street, so apparently the drivers of the 57 line were just not on their A game on Saturday morning.  I wound up successfully meeting Kelly and we drove out to Bedford.  Exciting times for me since I have never in my life been to NH!  Haha yes so it was pretty thrilling...the town was gorgeous and the high school track was a sight to behold - nicer for sure than plenty of college tracks I've seen [ahem, Ripon...haha]  Registration was a breeze, and I was OK with not getting a shirt after seeing the extra large size/hilariously awful eagle design on the front.  

I never really got nervous or entirely processed the fact that I was racing I guess.  Kelly and I went off on a 20 minute warmup and I was feeling kind of crappy, but I was really only mildly concerned.  We got back near the starting area and met up with a whole bunch of GBTC women [who are all fantastic, nice, and FAST as hell...and I think I've finally been convinced to join the club for real, yay].  The start was kind of awkward, there was really no line on the ground or cones or anything as far as I could tell - everyone was just kind of in a big blob, then the gun went off, and we were running.  There was no chip mat at the beginning either, so I had no idea when to start my watch - my guess is 5-10 seconds went by before I went over the "real" start haha.  The start was a pretty big downhill and being me, I went out way faster than was smart for my current fitness and the distance.  My first mile was 6:45 give or take and clearly, I wasn't holding on to that since I'd run a slower average pace for less than half the distance the week before.  And yet I pretty much decided to disregard the fact that I really, really wasn't in shape to go out for a PR, and that I'd run 7.5 miles or more like...TWICE in the past month and a half since Boston...nope, just gonna go for it.  So mile 2 was 7:04, but the problems were already starting.  The course was gorgeous, but the elevation profile posted on the website is also VERY deceiving.  It makes it look basically flat, with one big hill at mile 3 or 4....ummm...that's a giant lie.  Literally, the entire course was rolling hills - not huge hills or anything, but just relentless hills that beat my lazy, reservoir running legs to a pulp. 

Mile 3 was 7:23 or so [you can tell this was an on-the-fly race when I don't even have my splits written down anywhere haha] and that was pretty much the end for me.  I was totally donezillas.  Which was kind of unfortunate because 4.5 miles is a decent way to try to run fast when you kind of blew all of your energy before even the halfway point haha.  The hills were killing me and my legs were shot.  It was really nice in a way though - since this was a 100% no pressure race situation, I didn't really worry about it too much.  It wasn't FUN struggling the last half of the race, and I definitely spent a lot of time wishing it was over, but it wasn't like a feeling of "oh my God, I suck".  Mile 4 was 7:45, mile 5 7:58, yikes.  Right around the 5 mile mark a GBTC woman [confusingly, also named Kelly] came up on me and we ran together for a bit.  She passed me soon after but I tried to at least keep her in my sights - I think she ended up finishing like a minute ahead of me, and I'm confident if I was actually in shape we could have run together for sure. 

More and more hills, it pretty much seemed like the race was never going to end.  12K is kind of a weird distance - I'm probably biased because I went into it not fit for a race of that distance, but it just seemed SO much longer than a 10K. Mile 6 - 7:42....are we done yet? Mile 7 was 8:10ish [clearly I had kind of given up at this point....bad bad Audrey]...but at least now I knew that there was about half a mile to go, and about 400 meters of that were going to be run on the gorgeous, fabulous, track.  As soon as I stepped on the track I was filled with glee - literally, I have not set foot on a track since October.  That's the longest I've gone in 8 years without feeling the bounce of rubber under my running shoes. I got excited and actually managed an acceptable kick.  My finish time was 56:28 - 7:35 pace.  There were adorable little kids handing out Otter Pops at the finish - best. idea. EVER!  

So not an overly thrilling race, but a good experience nonetheless. I can't say I was super jacked about my time, but I do think that I couldn't have expected much more given that I haven't been running any distance that would put me in good shape for anything over maybe 5K since Boston.  I think a small part of me thought that since I ran a solid 5K last weekend, I could run a solid 12K this weekend...but 3.1 miles is MUCH different than 7.5 miles. I think it was a good thing though - definitely a good kick in the butt like...okay, naptime's over...time to get back to racing shape.

OK - that was probably the shortest race report you've ever read on Run Like A Llama! I think I procrastinated so long on writing it because really I didn't have too much to say about the race - I am not in shape really to be "racing" but it was a fun time and I enjoyed it as a workout anyway. :) Now onto the real 3 things of 3 things Thursday. :)

1.  The Bedford 12K was my last race as a 22 year old...this past Tuesday I turned the big 2-3!  Unfortunately I spent a lot of my birthday working, but afterward the BF and I went to the aquarium, strolled by the ocean, and grabbed appetizers and drinks in the North End.   After a somewhat ridiculous experience trying to take the bus to the restaurant we were going to go to for dinner [long story short: restaurant closed at 10, got on the bus at 8:30, somehow missed the stop/stop wasn't announced, ended up at a random orange line station nowhere near the restaurant at 9:30...] we decided to just stick to what we know best and have dinner at Publick House, followed by a couple more drinks at American Craft. [Yes, I live within walking distance of not one, but two excellent beer bars...feel free to be jealous].  Delicious food, fantastic beer, and of course the best company ever - it was a wonderful evening. :)

2.  Speaking of birthdays, it's kind of related to my next thing.  I got a fun birthday package from my mom which included not only orange Nike Tempo shorts [the best running shorts ever]....but the WHOLE Boston photo CD!  I was super surprised - I kind of wanted the photo CD since I would rather have the pictures on my computer anyway, but the prices were so crazy I would never have asked. But my mom is amazing and decided to get it for me - definitely a fantastic memento of my first Boston!  Sooo now that I have them all for my own I can share some of them with you :)

Finish Line!  I am shocked - SHOCKED - that I am actually smiling.  That smile says THANK GOD it's over

This one really makes me laugh...what the HELL am I doing with my face? It's funny because I vaguely remember being at this point in the race [somewhere on the endless expanse of Beacon Street] and MAKING this face - scrunching my mouth up and just trying to fight through the pain.  It cracks me up that it was actually captured on film.
Home stretch - note the classic head tilt/grimace look that appears when I'm literally on the verge of collapse :P

15K mark - I was already struggling by this point, and I attempted to make myself look strong/happy for the camera.  Did it work?

This picture kind of makes me laugh as well, because I spent the whole race running on the right side of the road except for like ONE mile at the end.  I think I veered over there because someone was handing out fruit punch Gatorade, which sounded way better than lemon lime at that point. I also was trying to hide because I was dying...don't ask me how moving to the other side of the road accomplishes that haha

I think this one is my favorite.  Making the turn from Hereford onto Boyleston, and I can SEE THE FINISH!

There are a bunch more pictures besides those, but those are just a few highlights.  Very fun & exciting birthday present!

3.  Remember how I haven't really been doing anything worthwhile with my life since moving to Boston? Well my time of rest & relaxation is almost over, because Monday I am starting the 3 year journey towards becoming a doctor of physical therapy!  I am kind of nerdily excited to go back to school, although I'm sure there are going to be points where I just regret the whole thing.  It's weird starting at a school that's NOT Madison too, but it's good to be stepping out of my comfort zone, and obviously I already have an advantage having lived here for the better part of this year - no getting lost in a new city for me!  Mostly I'm just really excited to be starting towards an actual career, as opposed to just a random job.  So basically...exciting times in general. :) 


Anonymous said...

i love that last photo (as well as the 2nd one hehe) you look so STRONG and HAPPY -- when i made that turn i was like "hell no, why is the finish so far away?!" haha

and awesome race. running in NH is no joke, i don't think there's one inch of space that isn't a hill so you majorly kicked some booty

J said...

Happy Belated 23rd Birthday!! Did you go to the Boston Aquarium? I went there like 10 years ago and it was awesome. I need to go back...I need to go back and visit Boston too!!

Your race pics are great! And great job on the 12k! Those hilly courses are not fun!