Saturday, May 12, 2012

Folsom Run with Nature 10k (May 12, 2012)

Folsom Run with Nature 10k is a special race for me.  It reminds me of when I started (just two years ago).  I have run this event three years in a row now.  I enjoy doing it as it is nice to see my progress in running in the past two years.  It is also nice to see how I and my life has changed in the past two years.  

Race morning, I put on my favorite race shirt, the Java Joggers shirt.  I head to Karen's Bakery to meet some of the Java Joggers.  They are doing their usual Saturday morning run.  I run with them for a little bit before I split away to run to the race start.  This is my warm up run.    

When I get to the library, I mosey around and find a few other running friends - Dan V., Bruce, and Fred.  I remember when I ran the race two years ago, I was new to running so did not know anyone at the race.  It was kind of lonely.  It is nice to have friends at the events I do now.  It makes these events a lot more fun.  

I watch the 5k runners take off.  I cheer Bruce & Dan V. as they take off on their race.  Then, I find Fred.  We catch up a little bit and head to the 10k race start.  

The start gun goes off and off I go.  Fred zips ahead of me, as to be expected.  I come out of the gate flying.  I have not been doing too much speed work lately so not trying to win my age group this time (though it would be nice).  But, I do want to beat my time from last year.  I am aiming to run close to 8:00 min/miles or possibly break 8's.  Right now, I am running well below 8:00 min/miles.  

I run down East Natoma Street past the prison.  As I near Folsom Lake Crossing, I can see the front of the pack.  I see that Fred is right near the first few racers or so.  Good for him!  

I turn left onto Folsom Lake Crossing and start running up the hill.  I am trying to maintain the pace but it is getting a tad warm out.  I drink water as I go and continue running up.  I am still making pretty good time but still need to push it a little faster.  I think I will try to really kick it on the down hill.  

Now, I am very familiar with Folsom Lake Crossing.  I ride on it quite a bit.  I like doing hill repeats on it with my bike.  So, it is interesting to run on it, knowing the hill so well.  I know just how much further I need to go to crest the hill.  Then, I can go flying down it.  On the downhill, I just let the legs go.  Flying down.  Though, I can tell the pounding is a little tough on the quads.  

At the bottom, I turn onto the bike trail and continue on my way.  My legs are getting tired already.  With these short races, they really work my legs as I am really pushing myself rather than pacing myself.  I only have a few miles to go so still trying to keep the pace up.  

Around mile 4, I pop a GU as I can feel the legs getting a wee bit strained.  I drink a little more water too as it is a warm day.  On the bike trail, some cyclists pass us expressing annoyance with all the runners running along the trail. Though, there were signs that a race was going on this morning. Some cyclists pass more politely.  

As I head down near Rainbow Bridge, a girl comes flying past me.  I try to stay right on her tail. But, I look at my Garmin to see I am going 6:45 min/miles.  This is a pace I cannot hold especially with the course going uphill for the last mile.  I just let her go.  I am still doing okay on time.  

I cross over Rainbow Bridge and the course starts going uphill.  Up, up, up.  I remember the first time I ran this race, I felt like it kept going up forever.  I got annoyed at each turn to see there was more up.  This time, I know the course well so am better prepared mentally.  I just push myself to go.  But, my pace drops a bit.  

I finally get up to the rodeo and have one short, steep hill to run up.  I pant heavily as I drag myself up that hill.  Then, I turn into the library parking lot.  The finish is near.  I then kick my legs up into the final sprint.  I sprint past some 5k walkers.  I hear Craig's voice cheering me as I dash into the finish.  

I finish.  Boy am I glad that is over with.  It takes a bit for me to be able to breath normally.  I do not win my age group this year as there were more faster girls this year.  But, I do run faster than last year and finish with a new PR (personal record). So, I am satisfied with that.  

For the Folsom Run with Nature 10k,

2010: 58:22 (9:23 min/miles). 228th overall. 87th female
2011: 51:53 (8:21 min/miles). 77th overall. 19th female.
2012: 49:45 (8:01 min/miles). 44th overall. 10th female. PR baby!

It is nice to see my improvement in the past two years.  Though, it is more than the fact I have gotten faster or more comfortable with racing.  All in all, I am a much happier and healthier person than I was two years ago.  

What I also like about running is that you always feel accomplished.  I felt accomplished when I finished that 10k two years ago.  I felt accomplished when I finished the 10k in 2011.  And, I have accomplished a lot in running since that first 10k race two years ago.  I have finished numerous half marathons, two marathons, and an ultra marathon.  While this 10k race used to be thought of as a "long" run for me two years ago, it now feels like a short race to me. I have come to really enjoy the longer distance races over the shorter ones.  Different mentality in them and I think I better with longer endurance things than short and fast.  

Also, because of running, many new people have come into my life in the past two years..wonderful, energetic, inspiring, positive people.  

Sometimes it is nice to take a step into the past to remind oneself of how far we have come along.  And, the journey to where one is now.  

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