Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Prison Hill "Training Race"

There are times when living in a state of unbalance can be a good thing, or at least a sign of good things. For example, I am currently in a frenzy because I have taken two days off in a row. I need to run! This is a good sign, because not all that long ago I was simply too tired, both physically and emotionally, to care if I missed a workout or three or four.

Saturday I ran the Escape from Prison Hill half marathon in Carson City. It’s a beautiful course on hilly, desert terrain; in short, a great training run. (I wrote a detailed report from last year’s race here.) I realized I really had the “training run” mentality when I arrived at the starting line with only 10 minutes until the start, and without my watch. Oops! I darted to packet pick-up and the bathroom, while “Folsom Prison Blues” pumped out of the starting line speakers. Ultimately it was perfect timing, as I was ready and waiting about two minutes before the gun went off.

Temperature at the starting line was about 45 degrees, but felt pleasant. The race director warned us that it would get hot, but it was still only 70 by the time I finished. (In fact, once I stopped I had to put on long sleeves because the breeze was making me chilly!) I employed a slightly different strategy than usual at the start because I was familiar with this course. My usual strategy is not to be too close to the starting line when lining up for a race, in order to keep myself from starting out too fast. It also means that I spend some time weaving through the crowd passing slower runners. This course becomes an uphill single track pretty quickly, after about a half mile, and last year I spent much of the first two miles trying to pass people who were walking. This year my plan was to be amongst the people who would run the up hill by the time we hit the single track. It worked perfectly, and I really felt I was going my own pace the whole time.

Since their finish line clock was broken, I had no watch on, and I didn’t feel like hanging around for the awards ceremony when they would post the results, I still don’t know what my finishing time was. Last year I finished in 2:14, and I would say I was a little slower this year. It felt great though, and I was able to go home and run with the dogs for another 3.5 miles. (They needed exercise, and I needed to tack on just a few more miles for the week!)

On my drive home over Spooner Summit, I noticed a conspicuous lack of snow. I know it must be hiding in the trees there somewhere, but I was encouraged. I am now planning my Saturday run on part of the course for the Tahoe Rim Trail races. That’s my next big race, and I really want to focus on it and do well. It will only be my second 50 miler, and it is a much harder course than the AR50, which I ran last year. Part of my training plan is to do a lot of running on the actual course. I’ll write up a report on trail conditions next week for those of you coming to Tahoe for this beautiful race.

One last sad note is that my team dropped out of The Relay. We were a 12 woman team, and if you aren’t familiar with The Relay, it is a 199 mile race through the San Francisco Bay area to raise money for organ donation. It’s the same race of Dean Karnazes fame, you know the story, where he ran the relay solo and had the pizza delivered to him on the road. Anyway, I was so excited to be part of a team, and pretty bummed that it’s not going to happen. The bright side is that it’s really better for my training because now I can run long on Saturday.

My frenzied state should come to an end with my afternoon run today. Sunday I had planned a bike ride, but was so tired from Saturday’s run(s) plus a lot of social activity, that I just couldn’t make it. I needed a day off. Yesterday I was ready to get back in it, but unfortunately had to work 11 hours. I’m just not good at getting up early enough to run before work (about 5:00). Triathlon training starts soon, so I better start figuring it out!


  1. Folsom Prison Blues... this songs rocks. After I watched Walked the Line I immediately put it on my mp3 player. That must have pumped everyone up for the race.

    Sounds like you really enjoyed the event. Training runs are not meant to be at race pace so good job!! The true benefit is just changing things up. I am a clock watcher so I always do better when I leave my GSP watch at home.


  2. Sounds like a very good 'training run' indeed! I remember looking at this race and thinking it sounded fun :)

    Definitely post about your runs on the TRT trails! Inquiring minds want to know :) I'm thinking I might try to make a trip up there sometime to try out the trails, just to see what exactly altitude will do to me!

    Congrats on the great training race!