Sunday, March 21, 2010

J.C. Stone 50K

After spending a swim and dive season catering to the needs of the team, I was itching to sign up for a race, and actually put a race number on and go out for a run. I found a really low key event just outside of Pittsburgh and signed up to run the J.C. Stone 50K. The race is in honor of Charles C. Stone who served in the Vietnam war. The race is also used as a fundraiser for the Hampton Rotary Club. The course is on a paved five mile loop around a beautiful lake area, called North Lake. We run the loop six times, plus a small out and back section.

The temperatures were absolutely perfect for a good run. Many people took advantage of the beautiful weather and were out there running. Even though there were only 60 people signed up for the race, there were hundreds of folks out running, and cycling on the same course. I really like the fact that there were many distractions. I kind of wish I was running with Yigo. He would have loved it.

I don't have any pictures of the event. But you will have to take my word for it that it was a delightful course to race. The terrain was gently rolling. I was happy about that, so the muscles can get a little break from flat.

The race started at about low 40 F temperature. Legs stayed cold for about the first 3 laps. I decided that I needed to give my Vibram 5 fingers a little practice, so I ran the first loop in those shoes. They really were feeling good the whole way, but after a long decent into the start finish area (the boathouse) my feet felt like they needed a little relief, so I changed into the standard running clod hopper. (Mizuno's)

On the first lap, I chatted with a few people. I wanted to know what pace they plan to run, so I could reference the effort I was putting out. I did wear my watch, but the first lap included a little out and back, so it was more than 5 miles. After that it was easier to keep track of pace after each lap of 5 miles. I felt like I was running way too fast from what I normally do a marathon at the start. But since the weather was so cool, it felt easy to run.

The two runners I ran with during the first lap were running too fast for their predicted pace, so I knew that I was okay. I was thinking that maybe I would run 8:30 pace for the entire run, but since we were not running trail, it was easy to run 8 minute pace. I tried to imagine that I was running with my dog on the second lap. That was good, because I would see other runners running with their dog, and it made me feel good. On another lap, I tried to imagine running fast with Amy, since we ran a 9 miler at 7:15 pace a week prior, this gave me confidence.

After the second lap, I was running a steady 8 minute pace, and this seemed to feel good. So I continued that pace for the rest of the run. The only problem was that my second toe, which is longer than my first was slamming against the shoe, so that was painful. Then the bottom of my other foot became very painful. It was like I was running on numb feet. Yuk. Not to mention the chafe in my fat thighs. Thank goodness I preplanned and brought the bagbam. Ah - then of course my leg start to talk. The infamous quad language of...hey let's get really tight now, and pretend to cramp. Not really a full blown cramp, but enough make, every step you will feel, along with the the quad yelling, Run Forest Run!! I tried to ignore, the legs and the feet, and keep the pace.

It was a great day!

Despite the pain in my feet and the chafing, I managed to finish in an even 8:02 pace.

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