Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Half marathon PR, moving to Colorado and "going pro"

"This is a good start to your professional running career" said SR on the phone as I was driving home from this morning's half marathon. I laughed, so happy, also knowing he was partly joking.

But in all honesty, we have been talking a lot about what it takes to make a "career" out of running?  (OK OK - just hold back your urge to write "you're not fast enough!!") But more on that in a moment.

This morning did however feel ever so slightly like a day at the office. I set my alarm for 7:15 and left the house before SR and the kids were awake. He had agreed to watch them, partly because I was going to try to win a money prize. Partly because he is a great husband.

I drove about an hour and ten minutes north to Nærum
I love Sunday morning radio. There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be. It's easy.
Finding myself at the Rundforbi Stadium in Nærum, taking one of the first parking spots, I had an hour and twenty minutes to warm up.

Last week when I said that all of my goal races were ultras, I lied. I just didn't know it at the time. I ran a half marathon tempo on Wednesday but took the next three days off of running. This is a HUGE taper in my world. I did it because my hip was still bothering me and I guess I can't get faster without that healing. You probably won't believe me, but I am starting to value rest as one of the most important parts of my training. Especially because it is an excuse to do yoga.

The race du jour was Griseløbet ("the pig run") half marathon. I needed to get in the top three in order to justify using my morning on this. I needed to bring home the bacon. Judging from last year's results, I would need to PR to pull this off. It is a sizeable half marathon with 138 women racing.

I estimated I could run a 1:30, if I was lucky, considering my previous PR was 1:33:10. Then again, I had also calculated I should be able to run two 41:30 10ks + 1.1k extra... if I had a really good day. That would give me about a 1:28. But that would require digging really deep. And my belly hurt and it was windy and I could find tons of excuses!!!

I saw May-Britt Hansen with Jesper Olsen (of World Run fame) and was glad to have some friends to talk to. Then I ran into a few people from our track club in Næstved.

When the gun went off, I ran immediately by the skinniest woman I have ever seen start right at the start line and took the lead for the females.

From the beginning, I located various packs of men I could run with. This would become critical on the headwind stretches.

The first 10k I managed in just under 41:30, so on schedule to get under 1:30. But it still felt too easy. I kept feeling like I could run faster but that my legs just wouldn't cooperate. I would have actually thought the course was short if it had not been measured by hand strictly by the DAF standards. Plus all of those runners around me with Garmins beeped whenever we hit the km markers.

There were some rolling hills and one pretty steep hill and it was fairly windy, but otherwise a fast and pretty route. Much to my happiness the last 1½ km were on trails and then onto the track. I had simply run a very sensible, consistent race and set a 5 minute PR with a time of 1:28:17. This was good enough for first place :).

I still look at that time and think --- where did that come from? And at the same time, I am getting way ahead of myself and wondering when a sub 3 hour marathon will be a reasonable goal. This half marathon time predicts a 3:06 marathon, or so SR just told me.

So what did I win? 800 kr. gift card to Løberen running store. With which I bought (on the spot) a running jacket, running pants, a sleaveless running top, winter running gloves for SR and me and Natti and then 125 kr. back in cash! Also a gift certificate for a hour's full body massage (can't wait)! And a nice water bottle & plaque. Wow. Danes have it all figured out when it comes to awarding athletes.

Moving to Colorado & "going pro"

We have all read it and believed it: find what you are passionate about and just do it! So earlier this week I said it. Maybe it was because I was reading Chrissie Wellington's (great) autobiography. "I want to run for a living". SR, amazingly, loved this idea. We talked about moving to Colorado and starting a a Haight-Ashbury of sorts for ultra runners, cross-country skiers, mountain and road bikers where we have a big house and people can come and stay for theme weeks. And of course we can write and blog all about it.

At the same time, we would train hard and try to get sponsors and try to win some money prizes (there are very few in trail running & triathlon) and live a bohemic, simple life. We even found the town: Fort Collins; CO. Why? They have a Family Med Residency program I like, a good hospital for SR, a Waldorf School for the kids, a Bikram Yoga studio (so there are back-up jobs if necessary! ;)), awesome mountain trails, tri and trail running clubs.

Now SR is telling me I have to write to Geoff Roes and try to get into the Ultra Race of Champions  UROC next year and try for a cash prize there. I know it's crazy and naive and unrealistic - and that's what I love most about it!


sea legs girl said...

And I'm not even manic! Or am I?

The Chapples said...

Maybe you are, maybe you're not. But it doesn't matter as long as you are healthy, happy, enjoying your kids, SR, and your life. And it sounds like you are. Be careful with that hip...remind yourself that you just love being out there even if there were no prizes or awards and you want to be in it for the long haul. Glad to hear you are resting more.

Stationary Runner said...

Do it! If you love it, and if SR is supportive, do you have anything to lose?

If you have theme weeks, you should have some for average runners (like me!) who would love to learn and get feedback from the elites (like you!)

May-Britt Hansen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
May-Britt Hansen said...

If SR supports it, I say Go for it. Always believe in your dreams :-) And once again congrats on a great race and a wonderful PR!

SteveQ said...

Well, you know I've always been a fan of daft plans; if the two of you would stop playing at running, you could be very good at it (but you might stop enjoying it). SR's 15:55 5K time equates to a 2:36 marathon, by the way, so tell him he should get on that right away.

Danni said...

My moderately cautious words of wisdom: follow your dream but don't give up your day job just yet :-)

My other words of wisdom: visit Montana when you move to Colorado. It's only about 15 hours north. This is close by Montana standards.

P.S. Congrats on the PR and win -- that must feel so awesome!

mmmonyka said...

I know the answer to your "where did that come from"" question! Your running has been going great in last months, it was no surprise.
Congrats on the win and PR!

Do you already take reservations for your Haight-Ashbury thing (what is Haight-Ashbury)? Put me down for a few days for every winter and then few days in summer.
If you do it, I swear I am going to go pro in triathlon (although I am locked here for the next two years, so afterwards) and so I do not starve I will come work for you and be a 24/7 babysitter. What do you say?

cherelli said...

LOVE Colorado, I will come visit and stay for sure :) Wicked HM PR - awesome!

Olga King said...

Fort Collins is the place we're moving in just under 7 years. Only we're be semi-retired, not pro:)

Alicia said...

That race sounds like so much fun, congratulations. And hmmm, 3:06, who do we know who has that as a PR?;)

One thing I don't understand about you is: you are obviously a good runner. You can get faster. And you are a scientist. So...WHY are you not doing some more logical training?? If you really want to get fast enough to start winning prizes on a regular basis, you can't keep up the whole randomly-run-as-much-as-you-can-all-the-time training plan. You said you have the Lore of Running, right? I beg you to read it and come up with a scientifically-sound training plan!

And you'd better do it soon, because I have a marathon in 3 weeks and I think a 3:18:37 is not out of the question:)

Fort Collins: Divesh and I were just there and liked it a lot. We'll definitely come visit!

sea legs girl said...

Stationary Runner - the theme weeks are absolutely for everyone.

I very much appreciate the fact that you consider me elite - maybe at the regional level, on a good day, if you ask the right person.

sea legs girl said...

Danni - I bet that is a gorgeous drive --- that might make the 15 hours more manageable. I would love to visit your home :).

sea legs girl said...

Mmmonyka. I have signed you up for the winter and a few summer days :). No cost of course if you babysit. We would LOVE to have you. Congrats on your triathlon win. YOU ARE AWESOME.

Haight Ashbury is the corner of the two streets Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco where lots of famous musicians and poets lived at the end of the 1960's. Lots of drugs and love.

sea legs girl said...

Olga - I did not know you guys were planning to move to Fort Collins. How cool is that? What a coincidence! We'll try to locate some prime running trails to take you on when you arrive :).

sea legs girl said...


Yay for marathon in 3 weeks!! Which one? I will be disppointed in you if you DON'T get under 3:18!! ... And Helen's PR is just begging to be broken!

As for logial training, I have actually been doing just that for a while now: three hard runs a week, never two days in a row. Either tempo, intervals or long run. Seems to be working. It is however very important (I believe) to contantly find ways to mix it up, push harder, cross train differently, try odd races. Otherwise you can get stuck. How's that for hard science :)?

I would love to talk to you in person about Fort Collins. Are we still on for the Alps this summer?

Alicia said...

Okay, that all sounds like a good start, but I'm sure I've read recent posts where you talk about doing a couple of marathon-length runs a week, and only leaving one easy day before a race. Even in this post, didn't you say you had 3 easy days before the race and that was a huge taper for you? Plus earlier you were talking about doing intervals at a speed where you feel like collapsing at the end of the workout--and that's NOT the pace that's best for improving. You really really really should read what some of the coaches have to say in Lore of Running. I think you could be a sub-3 marathoner next race if you put together a decent training schedule!

My marathon is Metro Health Grand Rapids (Michigan). I've never done it but it sounds perfect and I've heard good things about it. In putting together a training schedule for it, I read a mountain of training articles and several chapters of Lore of Running;)

Oh we are definitely still on for the Alps! At least I am, not sure if Divesh has decided. It's gone into my calendar...

mmmonyka said...

Sounds good to me! :)

I am going to loop up Fort Collins on a map then.

sea legs girl said...

Alicia, those marathon length runs are my long runs, coupled in a week either with a tempo or intervals. Ends ip being much less miles than previously for me. I don't have it all figured out though! Good luck in Grand Rapids; it's a great city!

Kirsten said...

Life is short - go for it Girl!!