Running races hurt! Last weekend I ran a race that I haven't for a few years (4 actually). The Runnin' of the Green 7K is a fun one because they get 6,000 runners and it's in downtown Denver and you get two free beers which combined with Michelle's 2 free beers makes for one happy Troy! Andrea was there doing marketing for her Cheyenne Mountain 25K and 50K. She puts on a really awesome race in a great location, check it out.

Michelle was racing too, which was particularly exciting because it's her first run race in several years. Her foot is in a really good place, she has been running really well the last few months. It's been so nice to do lots of running with her recently. She's getting fast too, which kinda frightens me...I must work harder on my swim :)

You know who else has been working on her running? Annie! She is quite the little runner and last weekend was talking a lot about her "training" and how she doesn't train for races, just for muscles. That made me laugh. She got her first pair of running shorts this weekend. My long legged idget is just made to run.

I lined up about 3 deep in on the start line and hit it pretty hard from the start. I did not want to go out too fast, but it's really easy to on this course. The first mile is really down, then #2 is really up, then #3 is mostly down, then #4 has quite a bit of up, and there is an uphill kicker just before the right turn to the short finish stretch.
I also realized that I have a fear of the sub 6 minute mile. Unless I am running 1 mile or less, I am afraid of anything under 6 min pace. I need to get over this fear. I do Ironmans, they are hard, this is a silly fear. I'm thinking of changing my watch over to kilometers this year...that way the 6 minute mile is just a random number.

Mile 2 was painful and I settled into my effort level and tried to think about nothing (very hard to do when you are trying) and run as hard as I could. Mile 3 I got to go back down hill and my fear of the sub 6 returned. There was an out and back in the 3rd mile and I got to see for the first time the female leader, which was so cool because it was 2008 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist Constantina Dita. I was in awwww. She is gnarly and awesome!

I counted what place I was in on that out and back and I was in 14th. The next lady was a good 20 seconds up, and I wasn't quite sure what to do with that information. I came out of the out and back, and checked my 5K split 19:40. Uh Oh. That's a PR. I still have 1.3 miles to go. And a hard 1.3 they were.

One part that was really neat was running at about 3.5 miles against the course traffic in the other direction. On my side of the road there were just a few of us, scattered about 5-7 seconds apart and on the other side of the road there were so many people they didn't even fit in one lane of the road and were swelling into my side of the road. It was amazing, so see all those people huffing and puffing together.

I can only imagine that at the big marathons that's how everyone feels. I must run one some day just to experience that feeling of cumulative simultaneous effort. I think that would be really neat.
I also realized that in a 6000 person race, when the gun goes off I was at the front of the race. So many people running and only 106 of them were faster than me. I really felt that feeling coming in that final mile. Like I was at the front, like I was fast. It was kinda cool to actually acknowledge it while I was running.
Just before the last turn I saw Troy and Annie hanging over the guardrail taking pictures and cheering. I tried to give it that last ummph into the finish line. 28:04 was my watch time. Ouch! Mega pain!

But then of course, about 10 minutes later, the pain goes away and you are just left with the "that wasn't so bad" feelings. And then the endorphins hit you and the rest of the day is spent in happy land. No wonder we all get addicted to racing. What a high...and only after such pain!

PIC had a really good race too, top 10 in her 10 year age division and solid form start to finish. Good job Ford!
It was great to see Sandy, Richard, and the kiddos out there as well. They gave me some awesome cheers when I was on my way in, and congratulations to them (they know why)
All in all, I can tell that I am getting strong this year, things are coming together nicely. I'm feeling good and grounded (and rested with all the sleep I have been getting). This week the weather is amazing and Dirk gave us a nice big training week to enjoy all the sun.

It was really fun to get on the start line in a run race that was short and fast. I am definitely more naturally suited to the long trail racing, but I think it's good to break out of the norm sometimes and give it your all. Only 2.5 weeks until my first big triathlon and that puts a huge smile on my face.