Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ready For Varsity

Autumn Leaves is a low key event in nearby Champoeg State Park. New Race Director Bret Henry and his wife Gail did the local ultra community a great service by resurrecting this race after a one year hiatus in 2009 and some problems in 2008. The course is a very flat, 6.25 mile loop mostly on paved bike path, but with about 1.5 miles of gentle trail each loop. The 50 mile runners, 50k runners, early starters, and (at 10am) 10k runners in combination with an out and back section made for a run where there were always people around, but not so much as to feel crowded. The course is billed as perfect "for your first ultra event or for the experienced ultra-runner to get that PR you always wanted." I fit a little into both categories as this was my first ultra after taking most of September off, but because it was the "easiest" course I have ever run, I also wanted a PR.
The RD's: "The beautiful Mrs. Henry and that guy" (those are Bret's words, not mine!)

I think in a race with two or more ultra distances, the "main event" is always the longest one. Ultra runners operate on a "more is better" mentality, so I think the competition/participation tends to center around the long event, but for me, the 50k was the right option. I joked all week that I was only running the JV event. That was not to belittle the 50k, but I just wanted to keep the race a light-hearted affair and not make too much out of it in my head. Also to keep things light hearted I decided to play along with the "costumes encouraged" aspect of this pre-Halloween race. So I broke out the costume box (doesn't everybody have one of these?) and found an old dress from a 60's party. My pre-race activities included finding all the right accessories to complete the look. I even spray painted my shoes white! Unfortunately, the shoe tech materials don't take paint well so the shoes turned out more "Nurse Ratched" than pseudo-white vinyl awesomeness, but A for effort, right? ;)
Go Go Girl! Get it? Cause I go, go! I know, genius, right? ;)

The first lap needed a headlamp for navigation and served as a warm-up. I was in 5th or 6th place behind a handful of guys, at least two of which were 50 milers. My second lap was significantly faster and I worried that I would pay for it later, but I managed to stay pretty consistent for the rest of the day. I moved up steadily throughout the day and finally caught the second place guy on lap four. The last lap was fun because all the 10kers started about 5 minutes before I completed my 4th lap, so there was a lot of new energy on the course for my final loop. Plus, the 10k back of the packers were really displaying their Halloween spirit and I traded a few laughs with several other decked out ladies when I passed by. Now why weren't there any guys or more ultra runners in costume??
Who hired these clowns?? Just kidding, Geof and Larry!

The first place guy in the 50k was a 2:20 marathoner from Eugene (a town that seems to be over-flowing with 2:20 marathoners!) who was running his first 50k and didn't have any problems going 5 miles beyond his usual distance. He was definitely out of my league and kept me from enjoying an overall victory by pummeling me with a 3:21 finish. But I surprised myself with my pace and even ran my second fastest marathon ever (3:13) en route to a 3:51 finish time. My time was 8 minutes ahead of third and it broke the women's course record by 31 minutes. Mostly though, I am just psyched to feel like I am running well and enjoying it again!

For you gear and equipment types out there, here is a list of the high tech stuff that I wore to achieve my 50k PR:
- The Original Inc, 100% polyester dress in fluorescent orange. Surprisingly comfortable, though I'd recommend this for cold weather only as polyester doesn't "breathe" very well. However, when I run in tech fabric I usually smell like a homeless person by the end of the race (TMI??), but the polyester was stink free! I was pretty shocked by the washing directions: "dry clean only." Seriously, who dry cleans polyester?? Fortunately, it has withstood multiple machine washings with no ill-effects.
- A new pair of sock sleeves (aka Benmoes), K-mart, $2.00, some assembly required. I needed to combat the cold but not detract from the over look. I think the words "war is pointless" and the peace symbols on the converted socks added a special touch, tough it may be a bit of a faux pas to mix the iconic 60's styles of the go go girl and the hippie. But I figured I had a little bit more leeway since I was born in the 70's.
- Joe Boxer hot pink gloves (K-mart, $1.00). Classic ladies magic stretch gloves in a bright new shade!
-Hot pink hair band (K-mart, 3/$2.00), to match the hot pink gloves!
-Injinji knee high compression socks (Free Western States schwag)
- Spray painted (white) Brooks Adrenaline Shoes. As mentioned, this didn't exactly achieve the effect that I was hoping for, but even more disappointing was that nobody seemed to appreciate that I had sprayed my shoes. C'mon people, where is the love??
My post race attire still needs some work.

Happy Halloween!


Lori said...

I'm laughing because I saw a photo of you on the "Run Oregon" wrap up for Autumn leaves, and I had to come over here to your blog for the scoop on the outfit. You look awesome! I'd be surprised if no one asked you what spendy company you purchased it all from, because it looks like you spent a lot of money.

Okay, and now I'm not laughing I'm shaking my head. Leave it to you to pull off such an awesome performance after taking all that much needed time off. Congratulations!

Ronda said...

Love it! I didn't get a chance to say, "Hi" or wish you luck...but you really didn't need any luck. :) I was too busy herding cars. Glad to hear you're back in action. Nice job on your CR and Overall placing. Love the costume and I would have liked to have seen the shoes. Congrats!

Sarah said...

Congrats! Your energy sure inspired me out on the course! (I said "Go Pam" a few times when you passed.)

I have to laugh because I thought you were wearing one of those newfangled high-tech running dresses. : )

Pam said...

I guess my costume was a bit of a failure, because several people weren't sure if it was a costume or not! I wanted to be goofy, but I still wanted to be able to run seriously, so I didn't want anything too pouffy, restrictive, etc. But still I thought this was such a ridiculous combo that it'd be pretty obvious.

The dress was my sister-in-laws from 1999-ish. I think she bought it in all seriousness, but she was over it a couple years later. I rescued it from the Goodwill pile because I appreciated its polyester splendor. It has been in the costume box for seven or so years, but this is only the second time I have worn it. But it brought me good luck, so I may have to break this out every Halloween! ;)

Sarah - Thanks for your cheers. Congrats on your own PR!

Anonymous said...

Your back!!! & moving at a pace that's making you smile!

Raille said...

what, no mention of my orange and black awesomeness?!?

Pam said...

Sorry I left you out of my report, Raille. I did appreciate that you started in bright green and ended in bright orange.

To make you feel better, there is somebody who included you in her race report: ;)

April said...

Are you saying everyone doesn't own a costume box....that's funny I do too, I just assumed everyone did!

amy said...

Yay Pam! So happy to hear you're back! Let's get in a run together soon--definitely looking forward to some WS training runs with you this spring. Congrats on a great race! And I love the dress. Looks like something I would wear to work (I've been told I don't always make appropriate choices, but what fun is that?).

saschasdad said...

As for those knee high Injinji's being free...didn't you have to pay something like 300 bucks to get them for free?

Great job on the p.r. and huge c.r., Pam!