Saturday, September 8, 2007

OK, so *THAT* was hard!!!

Wow, you guys. I seriously had the most difficult race to date today!

It was the Soroptimist/Arcata Fire Department 5K in Arcata, CA. This is the same town that hosted the hilly Tim Brownlow Memorial Run last month.

I was hoping beforehand that the course would go through downtown Arcata where it's flat. Much to my chagrin, the map of the course showed it would go east from the downtown area to the Arcata Community Forest. Now, this area is beautiful (redwoods everywhere), but the downside is the course was pretty much uphill the entire first half. And about a mile of it was on dirt trails in the forest (and half up steep hills), which I am not accustomed to running at all.

I knew before we started there would be no PR this race. I was thinking I would be happy to finish under 35 minutes.

So we all gather in front of the Arcata Firehouse before the race kicks off. About 120 people total did either the 5K run or a two-mile walk. This race raised money for a new firehouse for Arcata, which they told us will be built in the next few years.

At 10 a.m., they cued the firehouse siren to go off, signaling the start of the race. Oh, before we started, I ran about 1/3 of a mile to warm up. Good thing I did, because almost right out the gates we started an uphill climb. This climb continued from F Street to 11th Street. On 11th Street it went downhill a little, only to go back uphill again. OK, so far, so good, despite the hills. We made our way to Union Street, down Union a little way to the entrance to the park. This is where it started getting rough. The road starts going up these steep switchbacks that just go on and on and on. Lots of people started walking by this point. I kept plodding along, thinking the road would go back down soon. Wrong.

I don't know how long it took, but eventually we ended up at a trailhead that led into the forest. And the hill just continued. I'd say about 1/4 mile at least of trail was one continuous uphill climb. At one point, I did have to walk because running really sucked at this point. Plus, the dirt and tree roots provided tricky terrain, especially since the area was completely shaded because of the redwoods.

FINALLY we reached the top of the hill and started our descent. That was the one good thing about this course: the second-half downhill. Of course, I was pretty tired, but once my legs started feeling the downward momentum, I just followed their lead. I guess that part of the race flew by, because we were headed the same way we had come and I knew it wasn't that much farther.

As I neared the last corner before the finish, I saw Tim (with the camera) and the kids waiting for me, as well as the photographer for Six Rivers Running Club. I smiled and waved for both cameras (which were on opposite sides of the street) and turned the corner. I was so happy to see that finish line!!! My finish time was a lot better than I had hoped, especially since I walked a little.

Oh, and the organizers served the BEST PIZZA EVER after the race. It was provided by Don's Pizza, Donuts and Deli in Arcata, and I can only say this pizza was totally worth all the sweat and pain. LOL! It was truly gourmet pizza. I had a slice of the Pesto Veggie pizza, while Tim had some Gourmet Spicy Chicken. I seriously cannot remember having a better slice of pizza in my entire life. I think if I lived in Arcata, I would eat there all the time. :-) OK, I sound like a commercial, but it was seriously that good!

Just a couple pics:

Me waving like an idiot:



Race stats (unofficial):
Distance: 5K
Time: 34:18
Pace: 11:02 minute/mile

Here are the official stats, just posted:
Time: 34:21 (bah!!)
Pace: 11:03 minute/mile

50th out of 59 (not so great, but not last!)


Marcy said...

AWESOME JOB CHICA!!! Wow that sounded like a tough one!! Cute pics of the kiddies!! I love Kara's hair!! It's so darn cute!! I can't believe how big she's getting (as well as Matty) Look at you all fit and trim!! Looking GREAT!!!

Becky said...

Good job! I see you had your game day shirt on :) Hook 'em

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Hey I think you did great. I would have been dying on the terrain, both uphill and dirt and treeroots? Eek.

You looked fabulous!!

Mendy said...

You should be thrilled with that race! especially considering the circumstances. Uphill races are no joke, and you made under the time you wanted to!!! That's awesome!

Cute pics of the kids, they're adorable!!!! and what a champ your hubby is in snapping cute pics of you!!!

David said...

Great pics, and way to beat your estimated time! Looks like you had some great weather for the race, too.

J~mom said...

Oh boy, that is how my last 5k was. I do not like hills!! None the less your time looks fantastic (I would give my right shoe for it) and you look happy in the pic! The kiddos are adorable!

Congrats on an awesome race!

Mary Gee said...

Sounds like you did a great job! I would have definitely been last. Pat yourself on your back sister!

Wes said...

Uphill and trails can certainly make a race more interesting, but as long as you had fun (blah!) LOL, that's what's important! Great pics of the kids...

The One and Only Tigger said...

You did awesome, the hills can be tricky unless you are training for them on a regular basis, but who wants to do that. Does that pizza shop deliever out of state?

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

Good job on a tough course. Eric is right, if you are not specifically training for hills, especially continuous hills that go on for a mile or more, you are going to have a tough time with them in the race. It sounds like you had a great attitude with them and it make a big difference.

Great job!!

Nikki said...

Congrats! YOu FINISHED and you RAN :D

Great Job Michelle!

Laurel said...

You are really looking great girl! And your kiddies...awwwwww!!!

Great job on the race!!! I just ran a ton of hills while I was in Cali and wanted to KILL J for talking me on them.

We were going up one and when we were done I told him the whole time I was thinking "not-so-nice things about him"


Hills suck.