Saturday, October 13, 2012

Prescott Fire Department 10 k

Like I mentioned in previous blog posts: The AZ fall running calendar is amazing. So many races to chose from. This weeks options were:

Melrose 5 k (2 min from my house)
Trail ChaCha 7 miler (pretty far from my house)
or the Prescott Fire Department 10 k (2 hrs away from my house)

My friends Mindy and Kris and I decided to go for Prescott. Nice fall weather might turn this Saturday into a great adventure. And it was:

Wake up was at 5 am and out the door at 5:30 for an 8 am start in Prescott. We got out of the car up in Prescott (5500 ft elevation) and it was COLD :-) Perfect. We totally looked forward to cold!!!

After registering we stood at the start line with maybe 30 other people. We expected an easier field since the race is only in it's third year and since there are so many options for the weekend but then we heard: One Olympic Trials Marathon Top 100 finisher female was in the race as well as a lady who had just one a big 13.1 race...Ooops, this will turn into a painful run. And it did. 

I went out with the first lady and we went UPHILL for about 2 miles. And I mean about 300 ft elevation gain in the first mile and 200 ft in the second including some single track. YIKES. Did I mention this was at 5500 feet?

My heart rate went up to 160 and pretty much stayed there the entire time with very shallow breathing. Should have brought those O2 masks that Mindy and Kris have from diving :-)

At mile 2 I speed up a little and got a gap. After steep downhills, more uphills and a final steep downhill (where my Garmin shoed me a 5 min/mile pace I got to the finish in in first place. Did I mention this might have been the hilliest race I have EVER done (except for the Xterra last weekend, that was about the same hilliness, just longer...and on trails) :-)

We had no idea before the race what we would get ourselves into but after mile 1 I decided to NOT look at my watch again, because this very hilly course would make for a slow time ( and it did!!!). So if your training plan calls for some hill repeats next year on this should sign up for the race!!!

I got the course record by almost 10 min (I believe) and I most likely got the toughest 10 k TT in my training that I could have asked for. We had a blast in Prescott and enjoyed a nice cool down running through the town.

Here we are with the Prescott Fire Department. Yep, that is me wearing the fire helmet in the first picture - possible switch in professions? I thought the hat was very comfortable.

Notice that I had number 112? Strangely that is the GERMAN Fire Department emergency number!!! Very weird that I, the only German in the race, get THAT number without was just the next number to give away :-)

 After the race we walked through the Prescott Town Square and had a lot of fun with local vendors. We shot some wood-marshmallow guns, saw some delicious apples and saw the craziest dog outfits in town.

I really enjoy running and I can't wait for my next race. Unfortunately I think it won't be until November 4th...until then: back to training and studying!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Rain is one of the best things that can happen in the desert. When it rains in Phoenix the desert comes alive...even if it is just a few raindrops. My front yard goes from this:

 to this...
 to this.
The same thing pretty much happens to my attitude. As soon as the temps drop and we have cooler air in the mornings I feel like I can run forever...only maybe another month or so of around 100 degrees during the day and then living in Phoenix will be fun again :-)

This morning's track workout was fantastic, thanks to sprinkles and cloud cover. It is amazing how much different interval times can be depending on an athletes attitude. This morning: Happy attitude, which meant FAST mile repeats. YAY.

2 days until Mindy, Kris and I will go to Prescott to race a 10 k. If I can repeat what I did today it will be a fast time, if not, I will just make sure to have a fun race and a great stay in Prescott :-)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Xterra AZ run series - Estrella Mnts

Since running is #1 priority right now by default (haha - thanks to school), I decided to sign up for the Xterra run series in AZ. 4 races, all 20 k long and on trails, nice people around and an entirely new adventure...

Pretty much what the race trail looked like :-) From Angi's point of view.

JR and I decided last week that one week before the race would probably be a good idea to start training on trails (aka. doing one run on trails). The running route turned out to be a little bit longer then expected and after 1:40 hrs we made it back to our house...slowly because my legs were in pain. There might have been some walking involved...

Trail running is an entirely different ball game. Athletes (me very much included) always think: I am in shape, I can run ANYWHERE. The truth its that that statement is a big fat lie. After our run I was sore for the point where touching my quads was even unpleasant...

On top of that: my understanding of trails are nice forest roads...not rocks and washes and I was in for a big treat including a mix of overall elevation gains of 1500 ft, sand, switchbacks and a lot of rocks. But I really wanted to do the race, try out trail running and I was just hoping not to come back with anything like this:

And I didn't!!! Not even a scratch!!!

The race was a blast. I wore my garmin just in case I would get lost and I had to map my way back out on the watch :-) I have to say the 12.6 miles were fantastic. Being uncomfortable with trail running makes the race very interesting, so I just tried to stay out of the fastie's ways, let them pass me and to have fun. 

The race had been fast in the past so I knew it was not going to be a walk in the park. 

The smart portion of my brain told me:

Don't go out too fast.

The competitive part of my brain told me:

Do whatever it takes to stick with the front girls.

I think I made both parts of my brain happy by racing a smart race but making sure I was in the mix. I usually seed myself in the 3rd or so row at a start like this where you go on single track immediately because I want to stay out of people's way. I think it is rude to faster runners to be trapped behind me - avoided by staying in the back: CHECK. Within the first mile I passed maybe 10 people, always keeping in mind that this is a long race and that I don't have a clue what I am doing. Turns out I was second after the start and I passed the leading girl, Kristi Johnson, within the first mile. All I had in my head was not to crash into a cactus or rocks and to have fun. 

Here is my favorite "come home with no scratches" equipment, great for all rookie trail runners like me:


Off course in purple for me :-)

Compression socks are not only for compression. Off course they are also for fashion (thanks to all the great colors) AND, who would have guessed: they make perfect shin guards!!! Thankfully they were not needed as shin guards THIS time :-) Also they help avoid get sand and dirt into your shoes, and therefore prevent hot spots!!!

12.6 miles can be long and I have to say that the many hills and the rocks kicked my butt. It is also a mental game as your brain goes from: AWESOME-attitude to $HIT-attitude within a few seconds. I tried to maintain the AWESOME attitude for most of the race :-)

After many miles of climbing followed by descending, followed by switchbacks, followed by a long sandy stretch, followed by another evil uphill the race was done. I ended up over 6 minutes ahead of second place, I learned a lot and I am super excited for the next race. Also I am sore in areas of my body that I don't even know could be activated during running :-)

Here is how I am going to prepare for race #2. I will learn and do the following:

- run downhill fast on technical trails
- do lots of high knee drills (because that pretty much sums up a trail run)
- learn how to take momentum with me 
- run lots of trails

I am so glad I tried trail racing. There are some real Mountain-goat-like-people out there and maybe someday I will be able to maneuver over the rocks like they do...maybe...Estrella was the most technical of the 4 races, so there are no excuses. Can't wait for January 6th!!!