100k WC 2011

100k WC 2011

Gagarin Half Finish

Gagarin Half Finish
Gagarin Half Finish

Awards Gagarin Half

Awards Gagarin Half
Awards Gagarin Half

Cosmonauts give out the awards:)

Cosmonauts give out the awards:)
Cosmonauts give out the awards



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Next Stop- 100k Euros

Well, it's rest time now. ON the 14th I went up to Zelenograd to run the hour run that Boris Prokopiev was putting on in honor of the 20th anniversary of the running magazine Running and Us (pretty much the Russian equivalent of Runner's World). Boris always does a nice job when he is the RD and organizes things well because he does it from his heart. I just needed a fun place to go get in a speedy workout and have some fun too. Temps were 10-13C and sunny warm. I decided to go with my pink running dress worried at first the open back might be too chilly- nope I was actually HOT when I was running. The course was a 500m loop with 180 degree turns on each end that chewed up time. I finished just under 15k in 14k 690m would have been about 1:01 on the 15k good enough if I were running a half for at least a 1:25-1:26 worst case scenario.I was pacing easily 3.57-4 min /km on the straightaways but the turns slowed us all to a crawl and in my case there were 59 of them!!!!! So I was happy with my results given that bit of an obstacle. I was kind of surprised Boris did awards for top3. I just thought we were going to have a picnic after where everyone chipped in something they brought. I had brought sweets. We had the awards first then lunch. It was fun and I won, but was mostly looking for a fun place to do a speedy tempo run at what would be half marathon pace had I had the opportunity to run one.
                                                 Pix by Boris Prokopiev

Now the next story is truly one of sh!t or get off the pot. Yes, I declared my distance when it came to my turn in line to get a number at signup! I usually open my season with the Gagarin Half in Zvezdniy Gorodok. This year, I was heartbroken to see it was postponed  THREE WEEKS Later than usual. That put it SIX DAYS before 100k Euros. I love this race. It's April before it gets hotass holy hell and it's a flat and fast course. I knew I'd have to sit out the half and just do the 10 which I really didn't want to do. Coach and I pondered what to do what to do and he said it would probably be harder to bust out some 38min ro so 10k than it would be to just sandbag the half at the same pace we had been doing 10 and 15 k tempo runs over the winter at track workouts. That's about 4.10/km or 6 .40 ish mile pace. My HR was nice and low in the 140s usually when I did that -working but not busting my ass pace. So that was the compromise-run the half but sandbag with the parking brake on like I did in Kirzhach last yr the week before the 100k. That was a tough pill to swallow because it was  cool and WINDY -7-8C so not going to overheat and could run a solid time. The wind was an issue on the outbound on each of the 2 loops on the half marathon course. Coach also said that if that 4.10/km training pace was enough to hold off the next lady, then go for the win but don't go eyeballs out- just enough to get the job done while leaving gas in the tank. 4. 10 is about a 1:28 and that just exactly what I did. I went out at that and just parked instead of doing my usual pick it up in the second half and neg. split. I passed the woman who eventually finished second at about 5k into the first loop but just kept on my own pace not gassing it as I went by. I knew I was opening  up a nice gap just by doing that so I just put the cruise control on there. I did throw down a couple 3.50s in the final 2k because I was feeling so lazy out there at that pace! The first loop was 11k the outbound being into the wind but I had some guys to tuck in behind til they turned off at the 10k turnaround which was 500m before the half turnaround. In the 2nd loop I was flying solo and into the wind too on that outbound 5k. I wasn't pushing pace though just keeping in comfort, but working zone. I just kept doing that for the win. Next lady was about 4 min back. I had considered running with her most of the way then taking off in the final few km but I thought that would be kind of rude and asshole like so I just decided to run my workout pace. The other issue is if I run slower than I am supposed to be, my calves get grumpy, I needed to run MY race at MY comfortable pace.

                                                                 with Julia and Leonid

The prizes here for top3 are really good every yr. This yr I got a 25in flat screen/smart  TV which is plenty big enough for my flat. I love being able to watch the stuff I torrent right on the TV either via the flash or just hooking up the computer to the TV. I used to just watch downloads on my computer which isn't as comfortable. 2nd lady got a similar TV just smaller. So now, I'm just going to spend some time chilling in front of that TV RESTING  before the 100k. That's the secret, after doing the half last year, I ran very little in the final week before the 100 and was fine. Same thing before 50k World Cup-just easy peasy running and resting after I ran the 15k all out the week before and the half all out in 2011 pre 50k and both times I was  fine. The weather gods are promising temps not even to 10C for the 100k which is GREAT but I'm not thrilled with the rain part of that. Still, it beats HOT! Well off I am!

tv interview pre race....where I confess I am not allowed to go all out because of the 100k coming up.

Friday, April 19, 2013

At a Loss For Words

This was going to be my post about the hour run win over the weekend , but I've backburnered it for now. I'm still digesting the horrific events that took place in Boston on Monday. I actually got home earlier than usual from work and immediately tuned into coverage online. Joshua Holmes from Run it Fast probably had some of the best live reports online and I was following his posts and the livestream online. When he posted about the bombings I was dumbfounded and could not believe it. I did not want to believe this was happening. I opened up CNN and understood this was not a mistaken report. I watched the very disturbing livestream TV until after 3AM and waited up to hear from everyone I knew was running to make sure they were ok.

I have not done Boston since 2000, but lately, have been wanting to get back and do it. Qualifying is the easy part, but ponying up the few thousand extra bucks for the trip is not. I am sad now when Boston comes around because I associate one of my fondest memories of the marathon with my dear friend Kim who suddenly passed in May two years ago. I loved her dearly and miss her much as she was one of my closest friends since my college days. http://runnerchicky-runnerchick.blogspot.ru/2011/05/day-raven-just-couldnt-fly.html I would really like to get back to Boston and run it for her. I still have my medals around here and whenever I see them I think of her. So, the news of the bombings only compounded the sadness I was already feeling to begin with.

The specter of terrorism is something I have had to live with since I was a college student. I was studying in Krasnodar, Russsia in 94-95 right at the start of the first Chechen war. Our university did get bomb threats and I remember the university  being evacuated four times in the course of a month. Security at the school I was teaching English at a couple times a week was stepped up, but all you could do was just go about your business and daily life. I remember my mother being very upset by all this since of course it was all on CNN back in the States. I just told her we are all just going about our lives here and worrying will not change anything. I now live in Moscow and just a couple weeks ago on my way home in the evening while transferring stations in the metro, I was reminded of the horrific suicide bombing exactly three years ago as flowers were placed on the site of the blast in the station. I pass through this station daily and actually transfer there at least 4 days a week. I remember the morning it happened. I was lucky that day I guess, I did not have a morning lesson. Taking the subway is something I have to do to get from point A to B every day, but I was uneasy for the next several days after the bombings and understandably so.

I also remember 9-11. I was in a hurry that day and did not catch the news before I left for work. I was still teaching high school in Fairbanks, Alaska. I got to school and one of my students asked me to turn on the classroom TV to CNN that 2 planes had just hit the Twin Towers. Now, this kid was kind of a jokester and a funny guy and I thought maybe he was kidding. He was not and we like most of the school were tuned in most of the rest of the day. Now being I was in Alaska , we relied on air travel more than just about any other state. We needed it not only to get in and out but to get supplies into the Bush. I had to fly to Anchorage a week later. Did I want to? No, but I had to and, yes, not flying would just be doing what these bastards wanted us to do.

Boston was different. 9-11 was an attack on economic symbols as the attack on the Pentagon was aimed at the military structure. It takes one sick SOB to plan a calculated attack on a marathon. Seriously, attack a marathon? This one hit way too close to home. So many innocent people were senselessly  injured or killed. The matter of the fact is there is little that can be done to control a 26.2 mile course. Marathons are an open event and anyone can come and watch. The crowd support along the course in Boston is amazing. The kids love it when you high 5 them and they line up offering orange slices and bananas. This is in addition to the regular volunteers. I remember lots of kids out there watching us. It was really awesome. Large events in stadiums are also not 100% foolproof but can be controlled to an extent by security screening. I do not know, but the reports of  runners (and spectators) losing limbs after finishing a marathon affected me more than the real threat in my own backyard that is Moscow and the evil radicals from separatist regions. I think it was because running and competing and sometimes in big events  is who I am and what I do. All I can say is that Hell is a place too good for the evil bastards who do these things. I seriously hope that they do find who did this after sifting through all the footage.

The next day, I went out and did my usual 20k easy run, but I was just so damn saddened and disturbed by all of this. I prayed for those who suffered and was thankful just to have two legs to run.  I have done close to 60 marathons over my career many in larger cities.Madison, Seattle, Anchorage, Chicago, Boston, Riga, Moscow, and it disgusts, saddens, and disturbs me to think some sick SOB could deliberately harm so many innocent people. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go!

That's exactly how I have been feeling as of late. On the 23rd of March I jumped into the 3000 at the Moscow University Champs (ha speed a bit dull given that weekly long runs are now a minimum 40km and I've been doing long intervals and tempos in between) and finished a surprising 3rd. I wasn't too thrilled with the 11.16 though but I could feel my legs were a bit tired from the weeks on end of high volume. My speed was better a month or so earlier but everything now is strictly 100k training so speed wasn't as sharp.

                                                     schooling the kids in the college meet :-)
So, back to the nowhere to go topic. I am in even better shape now than I was at the end of last season and have absolutely nowhere to go to put in a solid half and or marathon pre 100k. At the very least, I had planned to find a half in April where I could shoot for smthg 1:24-25 ish while I still have some speed in my legs. Well as a result of all the bureaucratic bull that I wrote about in the previous post, I had to cancel my trip to Rezekne which really pissed me off. I had already tossed too much money into last minute finishing  my visa renewal that I decided I really couldn't afford to throw more in the toilet to get my passport back with the Russian work visa before I had to go. I just need things done and processed before 100k Euros and now they are.The Kirzhach Half has now also been moved to the 20th so I have to sit that out (or sandbag but can't go all out 7 days before a 100k). I have to sit out our 2 halves in May because one is a week after and the other 2 weeks after the 100k-too damn soon to bother. I'm thinking Venstpils in June. My manager said it's a fast course. There is also a half in Minsk in June, but Belarus is one of the few places I need to get a visa for and a 1 yr multi entry one is  270$. I have heard good things about the races in Belarus though and they have lots of good stuff on their calendar. Getting to and racing in Latvia is a lot simpler though. So, where the hell do I do tune up races in April?

On a whim, I signed up for the season opener 5k in Moscow on the 7th as a "just in case shit happens with the visa renewal and I back out of Rezekne" and lo and behold it did. I signed up and some 3 days later the 5k closed after hitting the 1000 runner cap. Truth be told, I really didn't want to do this. I'm not a very good short distance runner and finishing top 3 was out of the question even top 10 would probably be tough. Well, I decided I may as well do it as a speed workout then go for my second workout in the evening because I still needed to get in 30km (tapering a little on the length on the looooooong runs).
                                Yes, I decided to go with the blue argyle skirt today:-) Dark colors                        don't show the dirt from the melting snow/puddles...

When I woke up, I saw it had snowed AGAIN overnight and yeah it was snowing sideways and right at about freezing. Are you effing kidding me! It's just rude this time of year to see this when all we want is spring. Ugh, I really wanted to go back to bed til noon and just go and do 30-35k on the trails in the afternoon. I thought about it for a while and then decided to drag my butt over to the 5k for my first workout. Not wanting to deal with big queues, I got there to get my number and shirt at about 8:20 and it was a quick, and painless process. Next- yeaaaaaaa thank God they had a big WARM changing room aka place to be before going on a warmup to avoid freezing. They even had baggies for your clothes and shoes! Those came in handy because not knowing if there would be ice and or snow patches on the course, I arrived in my Icebugs to assess the situation and then changed into my racing flats after seeing no ice on the pavement-whew! Given the weather and legs that now have nice endurance and less speed thanks to successive 140-60km weeks I figured forget trying for under 19 and just run it by feel and whatever happens, happens. Again, a month or so ago I'd have set the bar at 18:30 +- but my legs have been a bit tired plus, my Wednesday workout was really lame and slow, a lot slower than I usually would nail this in the mid 2.50s- 12x800 but only 3.02-5 ish because I was sick to my stomach. I think I ate something on Tuesday because I had a queasy tummy all day Wednesday and into Thursday. By Friday though, I did 15x200s and felt better and even got them in the 37-8 range. Hmmmmm. Yeah, this is definitely an "I don't care/whatever" race. Julia K, and Maria M, and Tamara S were all there so I it was clearly just going to be a workout and about a snowball's chance in hell of getting top 3- not a chance as those 3 ladies don't mess around. Plus there were a few other speedy ladies around. They are all very good at the short stuff.In a 5k, my chances are slim to none against them in a 10,maybe it depends on who is having a better day. Last summer Maria M and I took turns beating each other all season, but I was toast at anything under a 10k. Tamara beat me in the 10 after I just got back from Valmiera, but I beat her before I ran Valmiera, but in the 5k or less, she's head and shoulders above me. Julia can get me at anything up to the half and there I would guess it goes to whoever is feeling good that day.
                                                          start- yes, that's Lornah!

Whatever.... Yuri Sipatov- the top official came up to me as I was heading out for my warmup and told me he'd give me elite start (umm other than Lornah Kiplagat I don't see any super elites here) to avoid getting squished in the crowd. that was nice.
 He said about 10 min before the start he'd let us in from the side to avoid the mess. That was nice. So up front it was Tamara, Masha M,Julia, Tanya P and Lornah(who was doing this as an easy run), no pushing and shoving like what happened in the 10k last fall and no problems. Off we were and I settled in at 3.45/km pace and that seemed to be where my little legs felt like parking out at. I passed a girl I didn't recognize, Tanya was somewhere not too far back either. Julia was just ahead and Masha and Tamara were long gone.  After about 1500m I was creeping up on Julia. I ran with her a bit and knew I had to just risk it and go. I can't kick well at the finish but I can gap people along the way. I passed her after 2k and started picking off some of the boys.
                                           just passed Julia (in the red top/cap) not too far back
 Just before 3k I saw a girl with a braid in back.....Masha? Everyone was still dressed warmly so you don't recognize people as easily. Oh dear, Masha it was. Masha has a ferocious finishing kick. Crap, last year I gapped her in the 10k trail run and she nearly got me in the final 300m in the stadium! Same in the 15k- I had over 30 seconds on her and she finished about 10-15 behind me. After 3k, I began to gap her hoping it would be enough to do the trick.
                                              on a mission-pics by Maria Shalneva
While doing that, I ended up on Tamara's heels just before the final turnaround before the 4k. Thank you Coach who was just a bit ahead for yelling out at me just as you turned and Tamara and I were approaching -nice of you to let her know I was there so she could pick it up in the last km just enough so I couldn't get her! I doubt I could have got her because she can kick too but It was fun trying :-).
                                                       Tamara is in the scarf-just before 4k
500m to go and I was still chucking away at my 3.45 pace hoping the other speedsters I had just passed wouldn't get me in the finish. I pulled it off much to my surprise and finished 2nd just behind Tamara. Masha was 3rd and Julia 4th. Garmin had me on even 3.45 pace showing the course at an additional 50m exactly-about an extra 10 sec(total get stuck race save for a few surges to pass and gap). My finish was 18.55 -not bad for sleepytired on a day when I desperately wanted spring. Masha was  25 sec. back. She usually goes in the low mid 18s too.                        

almost home...


The volunteers quickly rounded up the top3 and got us to the warming tent to change out and we didn't wait long for the awards. I did notice many of our veteran and masters runners who are usually at all of the races weren't around. Yeah, and I was the old lady in the top 3 on the men's and women's side. Hell, I was the only one over 30 on either side! Tamara is 22 and Masha is 23. So is Julia.

They did quite a good job of everything and I was surprised. Just after I got home, I got a text with my results and they have this nifty program now where they automatically upload your race pictures to your wall on FB. I am still getting them and it's been a couple days now! WOW! In the big races I do abroad I wait at least a WEEK for photos and hell, the 5k I did with my brother and sister in law in Chicago last fall took forever. I got a link to photos in DECEMBER after racing in OCTOBER! I was impressed by the organization and "customer service"  at this race. Will the rest of the Moscow races be this well organized? Hope so!
Link to tons more pics from the race organizers-