Monday, July 27, 2009

Exciting stuff (at least for me)

The last couple weeks have brought about some exciting running-related events into my little world. A new running store (The Runner's Store) opened up not too far away. The owner has started a running club (it's still really small right now, so if you live close by, you should come check it out Saturday mornings--see website for details). I also got an email the other day announcing a 5k race the store is putting together to support a couple Phoenix charities. The 1st Annual Laveen Fun Run will be held on August 22 at 6:30 AM at Betty Faifax High School (59th Ave and Baseline). I'm really looking forward to this race as I am currently training for a fast 5k. We'll see what I can do in 4 weeks. 19:15, maybe? 19:00??

I started work last week after an much-too-short summer break. Not so exciting, but my school district provides me with a district cell phone since I work at multiple schools, and this year, they upgraded to the iPhone 3G. Very exciting. I've done a little playing around with it (by that I mean I've spent a major amount of time, umm... "working" with it). I discovered a sweet running app called RunKeeper. There's a free version and a $10 version. I downloaded the free one, and I think it is so cool. The iPhone has an internal GPS in it and the app allows my phone to track my stats and route. The first time I used it, I was extremely surprised at how accurate the map was. There were a couple corners it cut, but once you end the session on the phone, your data is sent to and you can edit the route and view your stats online. Very cool. The paid version has a few more features than the free version like programmable workouts and audio feedback (tells you your stats, intervals, etc.). I think I would happily shell out 10 bucks if I knew I'd have an iPhone next school year. Who knows what the district will upgrade to next year?

You may remember me posting a couple months ago about me having high blood pressure. I'm happy to report that it hasn't been a problem and I haven't had to go back to the doc. At my last appointment though, the doc told me that I'll probably end up needing meds someday and that he'd probably prescribe a beta-blocker. I did some research and found out that I really don't want to take a beta-blocker because of it's potential effects on athletic performance. So, I turned to the experts at Running Times magazine. Just out of curiosity, I did a search on their website today and found this. Yes, "Reid, Arizona" is me. Pretty cool, huh? I was published and didn't even know it. Add that to my impressive list of publications which also includes a comment published in Runner's World magazine a few years ago (I didn't have my blog back then, so I wasn't able to brag about it... so I'm doing it now).

There you have it. Exciting stuff from my world.

UPDATE: I guess I was published again. Well, I don't know if you can really call it published, but my name is on the Running Times website with a question I had about vegetarianism. Here's a link.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Arizona Road Racers Summer Series #4 5k

After the Freedom Run, I was dying to run another 5k, so last Saturday I got to. This was the Kiwanis Park in Tempe, Part of the Arizona Road Racers Summer Series. I ran this race a couple years ago and remembered how humid it was. This year wasn't as humid, but quite a bit warmer.

A few minutes after I finished my last race, some passerby made a comment that I wasn't even breathing heavy. That got me thinking... I ran that first mile under 6 minutes. How would I have done if I hadn't known that? Would I have run the last 2 miles harder? What time could I have gotten? So, this time around, I was determined to not look at my watch, and just run by feel. That took some major will power as I'm pretty anal about my splits, but I was able to do it (aside from there being someone at mile 1 calling out times).

As I was getting ready at the start line, an announcement was made that there was a big puddle of water about 30 yards from the line, and that we "will get wet." It wasn't as bad as the announcer made it sound. The course was a little different this year, with no running along the canal. There were a lot more hills around the lake than I remembered, making this course a little more difficult than my last race.

There were some really speedy runners out there, so I was not expecting an age group award at all, I was just approaching this race as an experiment, and hoping to beat my most recent 5k time. When I got to mile 1, where the guy was calling out times, I was a little disappointed to hear 6:35. Was I really going that much slower? Once we got around the lake, there were fewer hills. As I approached the 2nd mile marker, I was sorely tempted to look at my watch. But I stayed strong. Unfortunately, I was so focused on not looking at my watch, I didn't think to hit the split button, so I don't know what that mile was.

From there, the course looped back around retracing our steps around the lake and home to the finish. I was able to pass several people along the way, and finished definitely breathing hard (and avoiding the puddle). My watch read 19:37. Not bad at all. Twelve seconds faster that a couple weeks prior on what I felt was a more difficult course.

I grabbed some Gatorade, watermelon, and bagel and hung out until results were posted. I finished 72 overall, and, much to my surprise, 3rd in my age group! Sweet!

So, when's the next 5k?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Provo Freedom Run 5k

Yes, I am still alive, and still running. We went out of town for a little while to visit family over the 4th of July, and I just haven't gotten back into the swing of things as far as this blog goes. Hopefully, I'll start posting a little more regularly now that we are back. Although, just last night I was talking with Lani about how my new hobby might get in the way. My cousin gave us her old piano a couple months ago, and I've started learning how to play and absolutely love it. We'll see if this turns into a piano blog. Until that happens though, I have a race to report.

The Freedom Run is a race I've done several times already. There is a 5k and a 10k. I've done the 5k several years ago, and Lani and I ran the 10k last year. I decided to do the 5k again this year since I am still being very cautious about my knee. I've been able to run 5-6 miles with no problem at all, but longer runs don't always agree with it. And besides, I want to run fast. The race started just south of Brigham Young University, the ol' alma mater, and followed the 4th of July Parade route, then finishing uphill at Kiwanis Park.

I had previously checked out last year's results, and thought that if I could run about 19:45 I'd have a pretty good chance at an age group award, so that was my goal. As I waited for the start, I was scoping out the competition. I spotted a few possible 30-somethings, but couldn't tell for sure. I had some technical difficulties with my watch at the start, but got off the line pretty quickly. I quickly settled into what I thought was a comfortably hard pace, and one of those 30-somethings came along beside me. We were together for most of the 1st mile. But when I got to the mile marker, I looked at my watch and saw 5:50, I knew I was going way too fast. Knowing I had a hill to climb at the end, I pulled back a bit.

The next mile passed with at 6:40 split. I was hoping for something closer to 6:20, but oh well. Once I turned off the parade route, the hill loomed ahead. I could see the 30-something just a little ahead of me. I've always been pretty strong on hills, but living in flat Phoenix for the last two years hasn't given me much opportunity to train on hills, so I really didn't know what was going to happen on this hill. But, one by one, I started passing people, including that 30-something. It was really cool cruising past so many people. I then turned the corner, entered the park and sprinted to the finish where I met Lani and the kiddos.

I finished with a 19:49, almost a full minute faster than my New Year's Day race, and more than 2 minutes faster than my run at the zoo, so I was pretty pleased. I didn't think it was good enough to place though. Turns out it was, actually. In fact, it was good enough for 1st place in my division. Definitely was not expecting that. I received a nice little glass trophy with an eagle and American flag etched inside.

The rest of our trip was filled with some incredible runs through my old stomping grounds. I definitely miss the hills, canyons, trees, water, cooler weather, and trails of Utah.