Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sharon Woods Run It Forward 5K

I’ve logged a lot of miles around the lake at Sharon Woods and on the short trail along the gorge. It’s a beautiful park, and the oldest one in Hamilton County opened in 1933. It was build during the depression by over 500 workers as part of the WPA.

If I'm not mistaken, we crossed this today. 80 years later!

There is an annual 5K fund raiser for Cancer through the park and around the lake but it’s always one week before the Flying Pig. I’m skipping the Pig this year so this was my chance to run it. The course is a combination of road, paved trails, dirt trails, and hills. Technically easy, but the hills made it challenging to find a pace.

The gorge trail

A winter pic, but a good example of "road" course

I have never run a “traditional” 5K before and I’m not sure this one is considered traditional. Perhaps it is the nature of the event, fundraiser for a great cause, it was very different than my typical trail races. My first clue was the bag of goodies I got when I picked up by Bib.

Holy smokes! At trail races they may let you buy a shirt if they have your size.

My second clue was this morning at the sign up shelter. It was stocked by Panera, a local bagel shop and a local donut business. The food, coffee, hot chocolate were amazing. I was a bit confused by the people eating the food before the race but they were probably signed up as walkers, not runners. 

It warrants mention that they also had a building near by with first class bathrooms. No woods today for this boy! Tee shirt, donuts, bathrooms, I’m starting to think this 5K thing is pretty cool.

So on to the race. I quickly found my pace on the steady half mile climb at the start. I could actually see the leaders for the first mile, which is not normal for me. As it turns out, one guy who’s ave pace was about 6, had left everybody else. I passed a few and a few passed me for most of the race. 

About 2 miles in a guy came up and ran with me. It was great running with him and helped me focus. The pace was increasing on the gradual downhill to the finish and my breathing was now one for one with my cadence. I started to slip and he encouraged me to keep the pace and even sacrificed time to stay with me. We started sprinting when we saw the finish, but I redlined about 50 feet from the finish and slowed a bit.

My garmin showed a 7:40 ave pace but my official pace was 8:20. Either I need a new watch or the course was long. I’m thinking I need a new watch J

My new friend crossed 4 seconds before me and won his 40-44 age group and I won mine. He was 14th overall and I was 15th.

So maybe not a race that draws the top runners in the area, but with great food, great bathrooms, great course and wonderful people supporting a great cause, this one is a keeper. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ault Park Switchback

The popular Dirt Days Series stopped at the very pretty and popular Ault Park today. I suspect most park visitors take in the river views, take pictures of the manicured greenery and throw Frisbees for their pups. On this day a few hundred runners took on about 4 miles of trails, some easy, some technical, and some “straight up” hard, literally.

Still recovering from the dreaded plantar fasciitis, it’s my first race since last Fall’s Stone Steps. I am only training 20 miles a week at this point so I’m a bit nervous about injury and fitness. I plan on adding 5-7 miles a week to reach 60+ by Stone Steps this year, so this will be a good test.

The crowd was a mix of “typical” trail runners (trail runners are not typical), and a few trying their first trail race. I would like to have seen their faces when they saw the first steep and long climb. There was also a very wide range of ages from 11 to 66. It’s cool and a bit disturbing to see a 70 lb, 11 year old kid flying down the trails, all legs and arms. (from the rear, that is)

I managed a top half overall and led the group of half-a-dozen geezers. (60+ = geezer) So a pretty good day considering I was cautious (on decents) and winded (walked some climbs), but the legs, and foot were ok.

I wandered over to the finish line and cheered on about 30 or so finishers. I love to do that, and I know they appreciate it. 

Sue stopped by on her way to play golf
Race Director talks, I'm admiring my new compression socks

RD still talking, now I'm cold.
Would be warmer with hair.
Around the field to space before trails.
Already a lock on middle of pack.