Week 17: Danger Zone

“Headin’ into twilight
Spreadin’ out her wings tonight
She got you jumpin’ off the deck
And shovin’ into overdrive

Highway to the Danger Zone
I’ll take you
Right into the Danger Zone” – Kenny Loggins, Danger Zone, Top Gun Soundtrack

Eye candy for today.

I do love the Danger Zone. When it comes on 80s on 8 on my XM radio, I turn it up loud and pretend my Honda is really a fighter jet. Not really but I do enjoy the song in traffic. I often think I feel the “need for speed” when running and I tried that out this weekend. Not my best idea. I can’t walk down stairs today without pain.

Saturday’s long run called for 15 miles. It was windy, cold and raining on Saturday morning. None of my training partners were going to make it to running group and the rest of the group was only running 6 miles. So, I slept in until 8:30 (the luxury) and ran the mileage on the treadmill. This is not as bad as it sounds. I propped up my iPad on the ‘mill and watched The Spirit of the Marathon during my run. This is a great documentary which follows a few elite runners and some regular folks through marathon training for the Chicago Marathon. Let’s just say it was inspiring and I might have cried when the people crossed the finish line. The treadmill has a tendency to be hard on my shins and soleus. I was sore after the run. Smurti will be mad when she finds out I ran long on the treadmill, again.

On Sunday, I ran the Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon as a relay team for Team Oiselle. We had two relay teams. I love Oiselle’s overall message and I love the variety we have on our NCFlock team. Oiselle is French for “bird”. Everything has a flying theme, which I love. I don’t think Oiselle means “flying” in that you have to be fast, more like the freedom that comes from running. So, Allie, Ellen and Andie are all part of Oiselle’s Volee, semi-professional runners who are fast. For some perspective, Andie ran the Indianapolis Half Marathon on Saturday in 1:13. She came in second. Nikki and Rachel are pretty darn fast, too. Alyson, Laura and I are mortal runners but the team is so welcoming, I never felt bad about running at a slower speed than my fellow teammates. We’re part of Oiselle’s Flock. We mixed up the teams so each team had fast, medium and not so fast runners. I’ll bet you can’t guess which one I was! Everyone was so supportive of everyone else and no one focused on time. We have a couple of other NC Flock/Volee members but they could not make it to the race yesterday. Rose volunteered for the race and was a great cheerleader.

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I had the best time at the race, literally and figuratively. I asked for the shortest leg (5.2 miles) because of my 15 mile training run on Saturday. This meant I ran leg #3. It was really, really cold. We were very unhappy taking off our layers for that picture! Andie, Alyson, Laura and I took a shuttle to wait at our relay point. It was pretty ingenious that leg 3 and leg 4 handed off at the same location so we did not have to wait alone. Did I mention it was cold? Standing around in 30 degree, windy weather for 2 hours waiting to exchange is hard but the company was good. We followed the NYC Marathon on our Twitter feeds while we waited.

IMG_2369Me, Rachel, Laura and Andie

I got out on the course for Leg 3 which was comprised of miles 16-21 at the 1:39:14 mark from gun time. Let’s wrap our heads around how fast that is: my teammates ran an average pace of with a single digit number in front up to that point. When I headed out on the greenway for my 5.2 mile out and back loop, I was on the course with the fastest runners in the race. I have NEVER experienced a race from this vantage point. By the time I usually hit the course, it is littered with crushed cups, banana peels, GU wrappers and snot wads. The volunteers, god love them, are tired; the spectators, not abundant. Yesterday, I was surrounded by men. At my usual pace, I am almost always surrounded by women, which is just fine with me. These men were fast. They were sweaty. They spit a lot. There were no cups or smushed bananas to slip on. The volunteers were into it and the crowd was loud. I got passed a lot by single runners. I got engulfed by pace teams full of men in really short shorts.

I also got fast. Inspired by the speed of my fellow runners, the flat, scenic greenway and my music blasting on my iPhone, I ran the fastest 5 miles I have ever run. It was exhilarating. It was painful. It was my IT band’s danger zone. It got very angry with me during the last 1.2 miles of that run. I am incredibly sore today. It was worth it, though. We had a great time and my speediness earned me 20th place on Leg #3 out of 91 relay runners who also tackled leg #3. I’ll take it. I got passed by my friend’s 14 year old son, whose team of other 14 year olds from my daughter’s middle school, took 4th place, overall. Nothing like getting passed by kids your daughter’s age to make you feel old. When I am still doing this when I am 80, I will be passed by Heather, who will be 70, so I guess it is all relative. Oiselle tweeted out our race picture. Pretty cool.

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So, begins the real taper. A little more than two weeks to the marathon. 23 miles on the training schedule this week. Laurie finished the City of Oaks Marathon. I am really proud of her. Jen tackles Richmond on Sunday. Our little group is seeing all our hard work pay off.

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