Sunday, October 31, 2010

Race Notes: Denver and Los Angeles Half Marathons

I wrapped up October with two half marathons seven days apart.

The Denver race was first. As usual, I was using the my Garmin 405 GPS to time my run/walk intervals.  I've had the watch for over a year and it's never once worked correctly in a race. After hundreds of runs where the Garmin screwed up, it actually worked in the Denver race. Unfortunately, I screwed up.  The night before the race,  I changed my normal run/walk intervals to give myself a shorter run and a longer walk.  I was having trouble breathing in Denver's thinner air and I figured I'd need to change my run/walk ratio.  I over corrected.  I did need the shorter run, but the longer walk was a waste of time.  The other issue in Denver was chafing of the chub rub/inner thigh variety.  Between the long walk intervals and chub rub, I had a slow day.

Los Angeles was advertised as a fast, flat course.  Lies!  All lies!  It was all hills.  None of the hills were especially steep, but it was unrelentingly up and down.  In more Garmin misadventures, I forgot my Garmin at home.  I was worried about that since I hadn't run without a GPS in several years, but it was fine.  Overall, I was pretty close to my normal race pace despite all the hills and heat.  Not bad considering I didn't have my watch for pacing.

I'm off from racing until December.  I could run the Silver Strand Half Marathon, but I'm going to skip it.  I need a little break.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Colorado and Garden of the Gods

This weekend I headed up to Colorado for the Denver Half Marathon. (Up literally, to the Mile High City.) It's been a long time since I took a pleasure trip without Steve or a friend. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever traveled for pleasure by myself. I travel alone for business all the time so it's not like I'm an inexperienced traveler. However, when I travel for fun, I always have a companion.

Since it was just me, I didn't bother to plan anything. I was staying at a B&B.  Saturday morning at breakfast I asked the other guests what I should do. They suggested a visit to Garden of the Gods. I'd never been there, I always wanted to go. Years ago, I worked a corporate sales job. I had one client whose address was on "Garden of the Gods Road". I always thought that sounded so friggin' cool.

Saturday morning I picked up my race packet, then buzzed through the State Capitol, the Denver Art Museum and the King Tut exhibit.  That's one bonus of solo travel, you don't have to compromise on agenda.  Steve has a longer attention span than I do.

After my lightening speed tourism in Denver, I drove out to Garden of the Gods and just fell in love with it. My original plan was to just drive though, because I had a race in the morning.  I ended up staying until sunset and hiking some of the trails. It was simply irresistible to hike there.  Even though there were a lot of people there it was so lovely and peaceful.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

RNR San Jose Half Marathon

I applaud the San Jose Half Marathon for starting at an entirely civilized 8 AM.  If there's one thing I hate it's a race that starts at the crack of dawn.  A late start was especially good since we attended Steve's high school reunion the night before.  At a winery.  Yum and ouch.

San Jose is a pretty town with lots of nice residential areas, but the route was sort of boring.  One thing is that San Jose has lots of lovely trees.  All those trees made my allergies kick it up a notch and it was a snotty, snotty run.   I love trees. I grew up on a tree lined street and it was gorgeous.  Unfortunately, I was snotty every single day of my childhood.  Ask my mom, she'll verify.  The San Jose Half Marathon was the same thing - a constantly dripping, severely chafed nose.  Yuck.

I met some really nice women on the run.  (Dawn and Kirsten - I'm sorry I lost you toward the finish.  Email me and we'll hook up for the Denver race!)  It was a super fun run since I had buddies to run with who matched my pace.  That never happens for me and I loved it.With some buddies to run with, I kept my pace nice and consistent.  I didn't fade out in the final miles which was an improvement over the Philadelphia race.

Overall, a good race.  I'm targeting improving my time at both Denver (October 17) and Los Angeles (October 24).