Monday, December 10, 2007

winning & warm weather

Yes, two of my favorite W words: Win and Warmth. This past weekend I got them both! First place female at a local 5K on Saturday... and then, trail running in a tank-top and shorts with friends on Sunday. Has Christmas come early?!

Seriously... it's DECEMBER, and the high for today is 76 - that's degrees, my friends! We're talking upper seventies here! Hum, I feel like I might be coming down with something. Maybe I should stay home from work today?

Extended Forecast: Tues through Thursday
Low: 55° High: 76°
Low: 55° High: 77°
Low: 58° High: 70°

The 5K was a YMCA run event in Anderson, SC. I was running with my friend, David, who had signed me up. Ha ha, in looking at the results, I think he was trying to gain some points for the "home team." Hey you Anderson Local... I'm from Greenville and proud of it! Let's get this straight.

It was nice to leave for a race at 7:00 am (as opposed to the 4:00 triathlon wake-up calls ;). Got to the Y and stood in line at packet pick-up... where I got number #222 (oooh, good number). David was interested in learning more about warm-up / cool-down methods, so we went for a short jog. Typically at these 5K's, he does like I do at a swim meet... get to the race site, socialize, wait for your event, climb up onto the starting block (dry), and kick it into full speed once the gun goes off.

So we warmed up for about 10 minutes, stretched, and then hung around waiting for the race to get underway. It was not a large crowd... but, you could spot the more serious runners in the group.

Finally, feeling like I was about to burst (for some reason, I get claustrophobic before these road races... in triathlons, the crowd has spread out by the time you begin the run), the race began. I positioned myself behind a lady who took it out fast, and was wearing Nike Vaporflys - a sure sign that she has some speed. As we made it out of the YMCA parking lot, two high school aged girls came up on my shoulder. They cut in front of me, slowed slightly, then sped up each time I came up on their side. Well, after a few attempts... I finally mustered up a short burst and passed them on a hill. Spectators were telling me "second female" as I ran by. I could see the lead female about 100 yards ahead of me - and when we hit another hill, she seemed to slow a bit. So, as the course hit a few more - longer, gradual hills - I gained good ground. I passed her, on an uphill, around mile 2.

This was the 1st time I've EVER lead in a road race. I don't care if it was a rather small, local, YMCA, 5K: it felt great! Then, suddenly, the finish came into view. Man, it's been a loooong time since I raced anything in under 20 minutes. At this point, even in an Olympic distance triathlon, I'd still be in the water.

I made it to the finish line in 19:27 - and was greeted with the words, "and here is our first female finisher." They tore off my number (where is SetUp Events & their chip timing system when you need 'em?) and then David came in, just over 20 min. Not wanting to stand around, we set off for a cool-down jog. Two miles later... we headed into the YMCA for the post-race pancake breakfast: the real reason I agreed to run the race! Who doesn't like a 5K, with long sleeve t'shirt, and free pancakes?!

Here's where the story gets a bit confusing. They awarded OA male... then, proceeded to hand out male age group awards. (go David - we dominated the 25-29 AG). But, when they announced the OA female winner - it wasn't me? Hum, evidently an 8 year old girl had taken me down - in 18:15. WHAT?! Everyone applauded as they handed little miss speedy midget the nice, framed, Christmas picture (OA trophy). Well, damn, good for her - I thought about asking for her autograph, 'cuz when an 8 yr. old can run an 18:15 5K... she's got potential.

Well, I laughed it off and took my AG medal. It was a great race and I was happy with my time. Next, off to Commerce for some outlet mall Christmas shopping. And, fyi: they cleared up the OA Female award in the online results post. Phew, I didn't get smoked by a 3rd grader!

**some necessary information to understand the following story**
Robin and I have been having fun with our long Sunday morning runs - at Furman University and up Paris Mountain. Well, her husband Keith, and their friends Dustan and Jason wanted to get in on the action. Having not run much (if at all) since IM Florida, Keith needed to ease back into things. So, the guys asked to run trails at Paris Mtn. State Park.

Emails were flying throughout the day on Friday. Trash talk, men vs. women, piggy back rides, slinging beer cans, beer wench, a sudden "winter cold illness"... GAME ON! I was ready to take these guys down.

I don't know how/why I agree to such silly things - but Robin and I decided to do our planned run: up/down Paris Mtn (via road), about an 1:10 run.... and then meet up with the guys for a 40 minute trail run. I was sure the "warm-up" on Paris Mtn wasn't going to help the female cause in our battle of the sexes, but Robin and I still felt confident.

We started our run in shorts and long sleeves... but, even before hitting the mountain, she and I had stripped down to sleeveless tops. It was downright BALMY on December 9th! We were dripping sweat going up that incline. I later learned that it was over 70 degrees. And this is why I LOVE South Carolina.

Even though Robin and I ran slow, I'm proud that we can carry on a conversation while running uphill for 3 miles. Great run, wonderful company, beautiful views, muggy weather, YIPPEE!

After our 1:10 run... we got into our cars and met up with Keith. The state park was busy with people hiking, picnicking, mtn biking, running, etc... YES! It IS December. Dustan and Jason were right behind us and the trash talk resumed.

Keith led as we took off on a single foot trail. Although my legs were tired (5K race + run up Paris Mtn), I wouldn't have wanted to be doing anything else. Running awesome trails with fun friends. We went out 20 minutes, which took us up a really steep / root-filled climb. So, when we turned around I had sudden flash backs to running in Boulder, CO (good memories, eh Jen?). Bounding down the trail, I forced myself to keep up with the boys. Unfortunately, my teammate wasn't as confident in her downhill abilities ;) No worries, she quickly caught up when it evened out a bit.

I was behind Keith, our leader, and the pace remained comfortable on the way back - but, somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered his comment about about the girls being beer wenches... so, I staged my attack. When I saw, what I thought was the parking lot, peek into view... I bounded around a tree and shot in front of Keith (btw, I am already dreading the next time I ride with him - I'm dead meat). Off I ran at 5K pace, trying to pick my feet up and over rocks/roots/leaves. About 200 yrds later, I realized what I'd thought was a parking lot was really a road. Oops, we had about another 1.5 miles to go. OUCH! Dustan and Jason were breathing down my neck. Then, they formed a tag-team. Jason would push me to a sprint - then he'd die off - and Dustan would run ahead. This madness went on until I could sprint no longer. Luckily, Robin had saved some energy... so in the end, we came in #2 & #3. Fun times.

By this point I was ready to eat my left hand. We agreed to eat at the Atlanta Bread Company, which was thankfully just outside the park. Now hear this: We enjoyed our lunch OUTSIDE! That's right... my sweaty friends and I ate our sandwiches while enjoying the above 70 temps.

Not even the two layers of caked on sweat and grime could hamper my enjoyment of this beautiful day. Thanks EVERYONE for an AMAZING Weekend!

Winning + Warm Weather = Sweet Satisfaction


Sarah said...

two things I love two. way to go Ash.

Anonymous said...

BLah, blah, blah Ashley! I mean NOT on the 5k win, but on the WEATHER. I can't believe you called me on Sunday and were running in shorts WHILE I frooze my ass off at a 5 mile race in sleet, snow and ice. Who is the loser here? ME.
:) congrats on your race! Jenny

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Congrats! Way to go on your 5k - it's a win in my book! People who haven't gone through puberty don't get to beat us! (But she's still amazing, nonetheless!!!). I know what you mean about feeling claustraphobic during road races... not cool. Very bad for those two girls to pass and then slow down.. but you showed them! Congrats on a fantastic race.

Ashley said...

ok, I have to let everyone know... the 8 yr. old did not really run the race!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

OHMYGOSH! I'm SO SORRY! I'm MORTIFIED! Phew! I'm happy that the little tyke didn't beat you - I was going to say... we've got a future olympian on our hands! Yikes! Well, at least she got to cherish the last 100 meters with her dad - very special. Hope that she enjoyes her "prize" - besides, you've got loads and loads anyway... :). Sorry again for the confusion - I feel a bit sheeeepish. Bahahahah1

BreeWee said...

Fun post! I am stoked for your win! Imagine, some off-season wins... You are definetly headed for some BIG 2008 wins! I was feeling you on 2nd place to an 8 year old- BUT glad to hear it was just a timing mistake! We have these middle school girls here that swim 18 min miles in the open water and are amazing! I always lose to them :) Enjoy the warmth!