Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Summer Runs and Races

Besides the little "half marathon per month" streak we have going this year, Jason and I have had many other races and runs in the mix as well. It's been a fun, hot mess, and we are having a blast. One new development in our lives is that Jason is the new XC coach for a local private school.  He is very excited and I am excited for him.  I think he's got the perfect balance of experience, knowledge, competitiveness, and humility to be a fantastic coach. This summer he's been running with his team to get to know them a little before the season starts in August, and I've been doing the same with the girls team.

XC Runs

We love getting to know the kids and their families.  So many great people and so much running potential. On Tuesday nights we find ourselves at the local cross country park where the Huntsville Track Club hosts 1 mile, 2 mile, and 3 mile xc races. Jason and I take turns running these distances with the kids, while the other watches Eloise and Matthew. I'm getting a little trail-like experience (more on that later), sometimes a double for the day, and the kids are having a blast meeting other kids and being outside. We will also be doing a Thursday night run at a local greenway, in which I will get a little jogging stroller action while running with the girls.  Things have gotten busier, but in a really good way.

As far as races go, since the Hillbilly Half Marathon earlier this month, I've run the Madison 10k, and the Firecracker Chase 5k in Fayetteville. Both were hot and my times weren't that great, but they were both good training runs, and I really enjoyed participating. I think running hard in the heat has been good for me, even if the result wasn't overly speedy. Sometimes it's hard to stick it out through these sweltering summer months, and I have to keep reminding myself that these finish times will improve eventually, and the perseverance is and will be worth it.

The start of the Madison 10k...apparently this is how I feel about racing in the summer heat.

Finishing the Madison 10k
Jason, however, is seeing some results now, and he had an awesome 10.2 miler at the Firecracker Chase last weekend.  It was hot, humid, and hilly, but he smoked it, finishing in 1:00:25 (5:55 pace). I ran the 5k because I didn't want our babysitters (my dad and aunt) to be out in the heat too long with the kids...although maybe it wouldn't have mattered since it only took Jason an hour to finish the 10.2 miler. He was very happy with his time and I was happy for him. I couldn't help but think he deserved a really good race after the Hillbilly half debacle. 

Jason running up a hill in the Firecracker Chase 10.2 mile
Finishing the Firecracker Chase 5k - 24:02

Our next half marathon, # 7 in our streak, is this weekend, July 2. We are headed to Pikeville, KY to run the White Lightning Half Marathon, which is a trail run. The pictures on the website are beautiful, and I'm actually looking forward to it, despite my history with trail very distant, clumsy, and somewhat bloody trail running history. 

What trail running looked like in 2010...

The last time I ran a trail race was in 2010 at the Northface Endurance Challenge 50 Miler. It was my first 50 mile and I thought I was well-trained, but that mountain chewed me up and spit me out. After that I didn't have much desire to leave the good ole asphalt again. Until now. Jason found this half and thought the awards were cool (moonshine jugs), so he wanted a shot at winning one, and I said why not. I may find out why not, but I'm just going to go, enjoy the views, run grandma pace and try to finish before the cut-off time (5 hours). I've debated taking my phone and taking pictures or calling my mom to chat, but I've never carried my phone and that seems like it would be more hassle than helpful. Unless I get lost...or attacked by a mountain lion...

So we shall see. Whatever happens, I am really looking forward to it as the half marathon streak adventure continues. I can't wait for another date with my handsome fast-running fellow, and if I survive the trails of Kentucky, you can bet I'll write about it here.

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