Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cigna/Elliot 5K

I came home from work on Thursday morning feeling fairly refreshed after almost a full night's sleep. My dogs were really happy to see me after 24 hours. Don Fredrikson did me a huge favor by coming by to take them out Wednesday evening, and he even brought me a gift! A wooden sign that he made. That was so nice and unexpected. Thank you, Don!

I debated just taking the dogs on a walk versus running them since I had the Cigna/Elliot 5K that evening. I probably made the wrong choice, but I decided to run them up B&M Ledge and Whitton Ledge. I took it easy, but it was still close to 1000ft of climbing. 5.2 miles. The dogs appreciated it, and I have to admit it felt really good to run after my 24. It was a gorgeous, but already hot, morning.
View of Whitton Pond from Whitton Ledge

View of Mt Chocorua from Whitton Ledge

Horrible photo on Whitton Ledge
As soon as I got back, I had some coffee and breakfast and then loaded my kayak onto my car. I had to fit in a kayak paddle on this beautiful day, so I drove down to Chocorua Lake and paddled close to the perimeter (2.4 miles). The lake was really still, almost like glass. No other people out there so it was quiet and peaceful. With the cloud cover I managed to capture some good photos.

It was a nice time out there, and I wanted to do more, but I didn't really have the time since I had to leave for Cigna/Elliot pretty early. It was kind of a long drive for me to Manchester. Almost 2 hours. I struggled to keep my eyes open on the way down and regretted not bringing some iced coffee for the ride. I got there pretty early, beating the crowds and traffic, and parked in a parking deck near Veteran's Park. I was able to take my time since I was there almost 2 hours early, so I walked up to the Park to pick up my bib.
Veteran's Park in Manchester

Made me laugh.
Other than a few trips in the ambulance bringing patients to the Elliot, I haven't been in downtown Manchester since December of 1998, and I only remember going out to some seedy bar. My impression of the city was not really a good one, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how hopping the downtown area was with bars and restaurants. It changed my opinion of the place immediately. Seeing these places made me just want to skip the race and sit down with a beer. It was pretty hot out, and I really don't like evening races (even though this is the first of three in just over a week). My motivation to race was really starting to wane. I took my stuff back to my car and got ready for a warmup. I decided to run most of the course. I realized right off the bat that the first mile isn't really flat, but a slight incline. Hardly noticeable in a longer distance race, but in a 5K, it would make a difference. The second mile had some actual hills which I liked, but then the third mile was this long straightaway before turning left up a pretty steep hill to the finish. I turned off before the finish to head to my car again to make 3.2 miles at a decent 7:54/mi pace. I had a feeling this was not going to be a PR race for me today. I just wanted to run a sub-19 and hopefully finish in the top 20 for the women. After I was all set, I ran up to the start, but I was super early and started wandering around. I ended up running into Denise Sandahl and Mike Quintal, and we stopped in the Y to snag some water from their water fountain. We then ran back to the start to line up. Heather Mahoney was already lined up near the front, but behind the "elite" rope. Denise stopped in this same spot, so I did, too. We still had some time so I chatted with Denise and Heather. I knew I wouldn't even come close to either of them tonight, so I thought I might be lined up too far in front, but when I looked behind me and saw the runners, I decided to stay put. It ended up being the exact right spot for me. I spotted Darin Brown up there, too, but he was too far away to get his attention. He ended up going out fast and having a really good race. It was finally go-time. They played the National Anthem, counted down to when the live tv feed would be ready and then started the race.

As expected Denise took off way ahead. I spotted other women up there, too. Super fast. Heather hung back near me for maybe 30 seconds before also speeding off ahead. I never passed, nor was passed by another woman the rest of the race which I thought was weird. I didn't go off as fast as I usually do, in hopes of saving myself a little bit in the third mile. I have no idea if that was the smart thing to do or not, since I still tanked in the third mile, but I came through the first mile at 5:54 on the clock. Not bad, but I felt like I should have been 4-5 seconds faster. With the decent downhill in the second mile, I was able to run it a little quicker in 5:48. I was happy with that, but then we hit the third mile. I had just run it for the warmup, but it must have quickly escaped my memory because I kept expecting to see the runners ahead of me turning left. It never seemed to happen. It was dragging on and felt excruciating. I was starting to fatigue by the time we hit that uphill. And damn, what an uphill. I run hills, a lot of them, all the time, but never at 5K pace. I don't train for 5Ks, so why would I, but it is a weakness of mine. I slowed way down up the hill. Two guys just flew by me like I was standing still. I felt like I was standing still. Awful. Fortunately, it was short, but I knew it cost me a lot of time. At the top, I could see the finish line and hear Andy Schachat announcing people as they came through. I was relieved when I heard my name called because I knew I only had about 3-4 seconds until I was finished. I came through in 18:42 on the clock. Ouch. My net time would end up being 18:40. I wasn't too happy with it, but I was very happy to snag 9th woman and 98th overall. 1st in my age group 35-39. I immediately met up with Denise and Heather who both had good races. It was a PR for Heather and sub-18. Awesome. The three of us were going to cool down, but we all ended up in different directions. I waited for awhile then opted for an easy 1-mile cooldown solo. I ran some of the third mile against the racers still on the course for awhile, and it almost made me dizzy seeing the sea of people in mostly blue shirts. Pretty wild.

I ran back to my car, changed clothes then went back to Veteran's Park to watch the awards and then pick mine up. I caught up with Mike Quintal who said he was going to Strange Brew with the people he came with, so I said I would meet up with him there. Heather messaged me and also joined us. The place was packed, and I think it took almost 15 minutes to get a drink. I decided to pick something I had never heard of called Space Cake. When Mike handed me my glass, I laughed. It was a "little kid" glass which I guessed meant it was around 9% alcohol. I guessed right. Good beer, though.
Clown Shoes Space Cake
We went outside to get away from the crowd for awhile, then Heather had to leave. Mike and I went back inside for more drinks and some nachos. I opted for a "lighter" beer this time with a Von Trapp Vienna Lager. There were so many beers I wanted to try there, but I had a long drive home.

My age group award with the Vienna Lager
Mike and his friends left. I finished up my drink, paid the tab and then left. I ended up getting home around midnight. I was dead tired, but what a fun day.

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