Monday, November 22, 2010

Delusions of Grandeur

The Colder Bolder, the 5K race I am hoping to run well in two weeks, has a clever pitch. They place runners in heats based on their finishing times at last May's Bolder Boulder 10K, setting up the tantalizing presumption that anyone in the heat can cross the finish line first, because we all finished the longer race around the same time. "You can win this race!" the postcard they send you proclaims.

I had a great 10-mile run on Saturday. My average pace was 9:13, with an 8:24 for the last (downhill) mile. The last 2.5 miles were on campus at the University of Colorado on the Colder Bolder course, which starts downhill, features a couple of steep-ish climbs in miles one and two, and then, for the last mile, reverts to downhill and finally flat. I felt so good at the end of this run that I started to wonder, "Could I, who have never won a running event outright in my life, actually do that in this race? Could I walk away with one of the coveted Snowman trophies?"

Ah, runner's high and the daydreaming it spawns!

History, alas, suggests that despite the marketing I am not going to win. My heat is for 54:00-55:59 Bolder finishers. I looked at the top three Colder Bolder finishing times for that heat for the last four years, and in each case the winning runner has finished under 22 minutes. Looking at the top three times, I do think, should I have a very good day (as in sub-24 minutes), I might crack the top three. But as I said, it would have to be a *very* good day. (I actually looked at the finishing times for all of the heats and found that the winners were consistently much faster than their BB times predict. Maybe they run the BB with their elementary school kid or their aging parent? Such sandbagging!)

So given that the glorious victory is just a fantasy, what will my strategy in the race be? Well, the last 5K I ran where I was happy with my time was the Flat Out 5K in May, which I ran in 25:22, an 8:14 pace. So I plan to try to equal that pace on the first mile of this one, beat it on the second and really smoke it on the last mile. I'd love to see a number with a 7 in front of it for that last one. An average pace of 8 minutes a mile would give me a 24:51. So that's what I'm making my goal. And I recognize that, though it would represent progress for me, it won't be a top three finish.

Maybe next year.... :^)

Meanwhile, just in time for Thanksgiving, I'm going to be working more on my eating. The Nancy Clark guide for marathoners arrived yesterday, so I'll make it my evening reading this week. My biggest problem is clearly planning. When I plan, I do well. When I don't, disaster ensues. This happened yesterday, when I failed to plan for my lunch at work (I work Sundays), and found myself en route with only ten minutes to spare before my noon start time and no lunch to eat ahead of three hours on the reference desk. I got to work and snarfed down one of those horrible noodle cups from the vending machine and a peanut butter cookie someone brought in--and that was my decidedly non-marathoner lunch. Gotta do better than that.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, and my family's plan to hit a local restaurant buffet for the big meal, I'm hoping to put one of my nutritionist, Martha's, concrete pieces of advice into practice: fill half of my plate with veggies and fruits, one quarter with protein and the other quarter with "good" carbs like brown rice or sweet potatoes. I will try (but can't promise) not to go back for seconds. And I will run the Turkey Trot 5K or its equivalent that morning before the pumpkin pie makes its tempting appearance.

What am I thankful for this year? My and my children's (so far, fingers crossed) good health. My running, which even when not fast makes me feel so good. My wonderful family, who all make me laugh, especially my awesome husband. The roof over my head, the paycheck in my pocket, the beautiful place I live (purple mountain majesty!) and the people who inspire me.

Just two more hard workouts in the 5K plan, and then things start easing up ahead of the race. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


  1. I vividly remember one of my goals not so terribly long ago was to break 25:00 for the 5K. I failed a few times. Then, it seemed I skipped over the goal entirely, moving to a different level of running. Lowering my 5K pace was a cornerstone of my marathon strategy. Without it, I don't think I'd have done what I did. Best wishes and a Happy Thanksgiving! --Alex

  2. Thanks, Alex! I'm actually running a Turkey Trot 5K tomorrow also, though I'm going to try to treat it as a tempo run rather than a race (need to do a warm-up and a cool-down mile on top of it). Happy T-Day to you too!

  3. Terzah, Hey! How'd the turkey trot go? --Alex

  4. Hi Alex! I stuck to my strategy in the Turkey Trot 5K--chip time was 26:01. My Garmin said I ran 3.3 in that time (are Garmins sometimes wrong? I though I started it right at the start this time). Weirdly, I was disappointed, even though this wasn't my target race. I had visions of writing a blog entry called "Turkey Surprise," in which I described my triumphant and surprising sub-25 victory. Didn't happen. I guess it's better for my training, and keeping me humble, but nonetheless....So I'm keeping my eyes on the prize: Dec. 4. Did you race yesterday, even just to get out?