This weekend was the Pear Blossom Festival in Medford. I forgot to add it to my check list of races I am doing this year. How could I forget?? It’s THE race of Medford. 10 miles, out and back, fast, flat, one tiny hill. This year, there were 1580 finishers for the 10 mile race and 1118 finishers for the 5K (results). Add two more races with the Mayor’s 1 and 2 mile. Literally, thousands of runners, their families and friends cheering them on, line the streets in Medford.
I registered for the run thinking of it as a training run. I didn’t want to do a “race”. If I started aching, I’d back off, after all, I’ve mainly been training on trails and this was 10 miles of pavement. The morning started off ok, but the last ten minutes before the race didn’t go so well. I stood in line for the women’s bathroom, but it was too long and I had to dart off to the start line. Then, my headphones weren’t working with my ipod. Great. Is this a sign of things to come? I scanned the crowd after the guns (yes, real guns from the cavalry) went off and found Tim and Sue Tecmire (who were kind enough to offer to watch our boys while both Aaron and I ran) and handed off the ipod.
Now, time to calm down and run.
Run, I did. I felt great. Better than great. Just after three miles, I was already at a 5K PR (26 minutes or so). I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw 25 minutes on my watch. Slow for many, but that’s fast for me. I’m a 9-10 minute pace person, not an 8-9 minute pace. The fun part was I still felt great.
I’ve come to love out and back races. I think is very inspiring to watch the top placing runners battle it out in the middle of a race, watch their form, look at their faces, and cheer them on, all while I’m running too. First place was still a battle when I saw the men, Aron Rono (a 27 year-old Kenyan who is a 21 time NAIA All American in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field) turned up the heat to win with a time of 49:49. A cheer for Ashland local Hal Koerner of Rogue Valley Runners (winner of the 2009 Western States 100 - who recently announced he was running for mayor!). Ashland's Jen Shelton (you can read about her in Born to Run – perfect timing for me that I’m almost at the end of the book) won it for the women, decked out in a Pear swim suit, in 59:50. A high-five to my husband, Aaron, who finished in the top 30 with a time of 1:01.50, and I was almost at the turn-around. The way back was hard. I was tired, but I still felt overall ok and pushed it out to the end to finish with a time of 1:25.59. That’s an 8:36 mile pace and an almost four minute PR over last year! 163rd out of over 800 women running the race, it was a good day.
Rono at the finish (courtesy of www.mailtribune.com)
Jen taking the lead for the women (courtesy of www.mailtribune.com)
The day after the race – today – my legs are stiff and a bit sore, but overall ok. Thank goodness for friends. We were scheduled to do an 18 mile run today in training for our 50K. Brooke, Kouba and I all had child duty as our husbands were all in different places. Brooke and Kouba both did 11 and 13.5 miles respectively on the treadmill, and I met up with them for the last six miles on the roads. The wind was strong and my legs felt like tree trunks, but it was nice to get them going again. I had planned to do another 10 miles today, but life happens. The golf tournament that Aaron (and Brooke’s husband, Jason) were at went hours longer than they thought. I had an hour to run (Kouba had only 45 minutes left and cut out after four miles) and we did six. That works for me. Tomorrow is a day off to rest the legs and then, back to the training plan (see previous FAQ post).
Pear blossoms and runners (courtesy of Pear Blossom Run)