Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Brian and Kelly's Very Busy Weekend

Congratulations to Brian on his outstanding finish at the Clinton Lake 30 miler. The Clinton Lake 30 miler is a 3 x 10 mile trail loop near Bloomington/Normal and having run just one loop there last Thanksgiving I know it's definitely some challenging terrain. I certainly struggled with it. Good job Kelly on going along with Brian on his last loop. By Kelly's description she had to work to keep up with Brian and this was his last loop. This bodes well for Brian's 100K in May. Get to work Kelly, we can't have him showing you up again, he gets so annoying when that happens! (totally kidding)

It was awesome to hear that Brian performed better than he had expected! It was driving me crazy all Saturday not knowing how he was doing so I had to call before the day was over. Hey race director how about a chip mat to mark each loop and a way to track online? Oh I forgot, that would be very un-ultra like, I guess I'm one of those spoiled marathoners :-) I'll just have to drag my butt out here next time to watch for myself!

Read all about the race and see this year's results at

Brian completing his 1st loop

The next best thing to an ice bath - a freezing cold lake!

Now where would we be without our crew support? - Brian and Kelly

Okay now we aren't really done here because then Brian and Kelly show up on Sunday to the Shamrock Shuffle 8K and race yet again! Aren't they tired yet??

Congrats Brian! Its going to be a great year!

For Brian's complete race report see

Shamrock Shuffle 8K

Time: 30:00
Place: 7th Female Overall, 1st AG 40 - 44
Team Place: Dick Pond Co-ed Team 1st

Okay let's just say I didn't really know what to expect today but I was hopeful. I've been marathon training for Boston (just 3 weeks and 1 day from this race) and marathoning training does not usually make for quick shorter race efforts. On the other hand my training has been going so well and the strides I have been doing recently had been feeling effortless and smooth so I thought maybe, just maybe I might be able to pop a good race today.

The weather forcast for Sunday was dreary and cold and it was. Sigh. I don't know a single Chicago runner who isn't tired of this weather already! I bundled up and my husband and I left the house about 6:30 or so. I felt oddly calm and relaxed, hmmmm. We hit the city and found a nice little sitting room in the Congress hotel on Michigan.

By the time it came to warm up the wind has lost some of its bite and I wasn't too uncomfortable warming up. I felt light and ready to go. My adrenaline was up a bit as I anticipated that this race was going to hurt a bit but I didn't feel panicked at all just getting mentally ready for it.

Kelly and Brian showed up to the hotel and we all went to meet the rest of our company teammates at Buckingham fountain. I ran ahead and snuck in some strides and drills before meeting up with everyone for pre-race pictures. I headed off for my starting corral and Andy was to take my sweats from me from the side lines. I get to the start and I had a little mini panic. There was no way for anyone on the side lines get to the corral! They had like 20feet of dead space on either side of our corral and the final fencing before the side walk was nothing anyone would be trying to climb over that's for sure. I had no idea where Andy was nor how he was going to get to me. I took a deep breath and knew that if he didn't show up I would just have to lose my super expensive sweat bottoms and my Dick Pond team warm up jacket to the dead space and hope that somehow I would get them back. I was a little frustrated but I needed to not freak out so I did my final strides with my sweats in my hands and looking over everyone once in a while to see if Andy was trying to talk his way into the corral and eventually that is what happened. They let him in the dead space area he ran up got my stuff and off he went.

I made small talk with other teammates in the corral but soon we lined up to go.
  • The start: The first few seconds of the race I couldn't believe how furiously fast everyone was going. People were passing me like I as standing still and believe me I wasn't! I concentrated on staying relaxed and not blowing it all in the first half mile.
  • First mile 5:54.23. Perfect. Didn't even feel that bad. I was thinking that 6:05 would have been more appropriate but this felt good. There were big groups of women ahead of me and at this time I had no idea where I was place-wise. I start my plan of attack, to move up in place by picking up everyone who went out too fast and was now starting to come back to me. I take splits on my watch for the rest of the race but I don't bother to look as I keep my eyes focused on every female runner I can find ahead of me.
  • Second mile 5:58.44 By this point I had passed about 5 -6 women and there was another group in my sights. I felt strong and really aggressive. I briefly worried if I was making my moves too soon but I just didn't feel like I had a lot of time. I hear familiar voices in the crowds. I might of heard Ann and I could have sworn I heard Mac (my former high school coach). I drive forward.
  • Third mile 6:02.97 Passing more women but things are definitely hurting more. I ignore the tiredness, focus on form, keep driving forward. I want to see that 4 mile mark where I plan on trying to shift even deeper for the last short mile (for my non runner friends 8k is just short of 5 miles). I see only one or two woman ahead of me but I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get them in time. What the hell! Go for them anyway! I pass them.
  • Fourth mile 6:03.88 Negative thoughts keep trying to get into my head and I keep pushing them aside. Form is getting harder to hold as I strain to keep the turnover going at a pace I'm just not used to. I hear Andy, I see another woman, and I go for the pass, Andy yells I'm in sixth now. Sixth? I dig hard as we turn onto Michigan Avenue knowing that I don't have much more time. On Michigan I get passed (not by the one I just passed) and I refused to let her go. I dig even deeper and I lock my eyes on her back. I lose a little on the bridge but then its time for the sprint home. I'm not going to be able to get the girl ahead of me but I continue to fight just in case someone is coming up my back. I see the clock and I'm still under 30 minutes, HOLY COW! Just how fast have I been running?? Can I make it under 30? Can I? I'm throwing myself all over the place, making ugly faces with the strain of getting to that finish line. The finish line guy yells that I'm fifth as I finish.
  • Finish 30:00. Ooo so close. I was stunned! Well I guess hoping for running around 32:00 was way off base. I see Bob Lyons in the finish area and I get a great big hug from him. I'm hoping that I'm the first masters runner in (I am). I tell everyone that I finished fifth but it turns out I was 7th, but no matter I'm happy. I start walking through the finish area kind of in a daze, kind of just floating through as I process the whole thing.

Fellow co-worker and fellow Chia runner Paul once again sets a PR! Now if we could only get him to cut the cord he has with his watch and really let loose!

Brian Gaines finishes his second race in two days. His first was a 30 miler on Saturday at Clinton Lake where he ran an outstanding time on a crazy hilly trail. More on that in my next post. Kelly runs as well even after running the last 10 miles of Brian's 30 mile race on Saturday. I'm such a slacker compared to these two!!

Congrats to all the rest of the NFA crew that ran the Shuffle. It was fun to see familiar faces and be able to have people to talk with about the race come monday morning, people who were actually there!

Congrats to my teammates on the Dick Pond Racing team as we placed 1st AND 2nd with our co-ed teams. We had a lot of new faces and they all just kicked butt! Nell comes back in great fashion after a very long injury and my new friend Kristin West helped in the team standings. I look forward to getting to know everyone during this year.

Sam continues his comeback from his heart attack last summer. Way to go Sam!!

Top 25 Women. How sweet it is to run among the young!! (note the ages of those around me) . Click on results to see a bigger clearer picture.

Boston less than 3 weeks to go!!

Peace everyone,