Monday, February 8, 2010

What to do?

Inspired by other running blogs, I decided to start my own. My hope is that by doing this, it will motivate me to run (and explore) more than I ever have.
2009 marked the first year I was able to keep up running year round. With two young kids at home and my belief that child raising should be the most important thing in your life, running was relegated to something I would do if I could fit it in. Luckily, I have a job that gives me the freedom to run on my lunch break. Still, I find it hard to get out and run on a cold and windy day, or a hot and humid one, etc. Last year though, there were 3 other guys in the office who began running pretty regularly. This got me out more and more. They were hesitant about running trails at first - concerns about turning ankles - but I turned them all into trail runners, or at least preferred trails to roads. One guy in particular ran with me the most and despite being twice my size, we run at about the same level. We would push each other at different points in our runs. Also, I was motivated to run through the summer for the first time. And longer distances than ever.
Last September I did my first real trail race - the Pisgah Mountain Trail Race in Chesterfield, NH. I did the short raace - 22K or 14+ miles - there is a 50K version as well. I was really nervous knowing how hilly the course would be. My brother lives right on the course, and I have hiked and run in the park a dozen times before. The race went really well. I was running up hills that others were walking up and never felt too bad. It was a lonely last 5 miles with no other runners in sight. I wish I had pushed it a little harder and finished in 2 hrs 15 minutes. But, I loved it. I definitely want to do this race again this year, as well as a couple other trail races.
In the fall I started pushing myself even harder on my runs and frankly got burnt out by the time late November came around and it was time for the Lil' Rhody Runaround. This trail race is in my backyard, and it is a family tradition to run it, followed by a Thanksgiving dinner. My goal was to run 7:00 minute mile pace for the 8 mile race. I gave it all I had, including my first nasty fall, but finished at 7:17 pace - still I shaved 2 minutes off my previous best total time. I would love to get to 7:00 pace this year.
So, what else to do this year? Maybe see how fast I can do a 5K or 5 miler? I wish there were more trail races in RI. My coworkers are running half and full marathons (road), but that doesn't really interest me. I like running for how it makes me feel mentally and physically. Races stress me out. But I really liked the Pisgah trail race - everyone's friendly, I loved how long I was able to run, and it was a great course. We'll see....

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