Whenever I am in town for New Year’s Day, and not at a bowl game with the Oregon Ducks, I like to do Club Northwest’s Resolution Run 5K. The course at Magnuson Park is relatively flat, the runners are always in good spirits, and the 10:30 a.m. start time allows you to toast in the new year the night before.
There’s also a chance for every runner to dive into the cold waters of Lake Washington en route to the finish line. Call me chicken, but I never partake of this Polar Bear Dive option. However, in 2011, about two-thirds of the runners did.
The 2011 race was the biggest ever — more than 2,000 runners altogether. It was sunny and dry, but chilly out, and the course conditions were anything but optimal. Icy spots blocked off by orange cones were prevalent throughout, making it a slower run for many and a potentially dangerous one for injured runners like me. However, I saw no spills or mishaps, as runners seemed to be good sports about making room for each other in traipsing around the cones.
I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to run this race or walk it. I’ve chronicled my ankle injury in other posts; and soreness and stiffness in my ankle forced me not to be able to run since doing the 12Ks of Christmas on Dec. 19. I did power-walking and the elliptical machine, but no running, in the nearly two weeks leading up to Jan. 1.
Combining that with my daily series of ankle exercises, I felt my ankle get stronger each day. On Saturday morning, before the race, my ankle felt ready, if not altogether pain-free. The true test was going to be being able to run from my car to the starting line nearly a mile away. Well, I had to; I was going to be late for the start otherwise. I felt a bit gimpy in that pre-race run, but well enough to run. And I got to the starting line with five minutes to spare.
For the race itself, everything came together. Well, almost everything. My new, well-cushioned Asics (purchased from Footzone on Dec. 29) felt great! My ankle was loose and didn’t bother me much. I ran careful but harder than in recent months. But I was winded and spent from not having run in a couple of weeks. Yet I persevered in that hard last mile and finished in 32:24 (10:27 per mile pace) — much better than the 37:16 I did in the Jingle Bell Run 5K on Dec. 12.
Granted, this time is nothing like my pre-injury times of 24:59 for the Resolution Run in 2007 or 25:48 in 2008, or even the 29:38 I did after my hamstring injury in 2009. But I am encouraged. I will continue my mix of walking, running, elliptical/cross-training, and ankle exercises, and plan to do the Valentine’s Day Dash 5K around Green Lake on Feb. 12. Another marathon? Hopefully, this late spring or summer.
Full results for the Resolution Run and Polar Bear Dive are here. Congrats to Jen Gaudette, a Microsoft colleague, who did the Polar Bear Dive (5K plus the dip in the water) in a fine 24:25, and to Colleen Moffitt, a Seattle public-relations professional who I met on Twitter prior to the race, who finished just ahead of me in 31:44. My apologies if I missed anyone else I know.
While we are on the subject of 2011, here are some of my fitness goals for 2011:
- Run at least 500 miles. This is down from the 870 miles I did in 2010, the 1,203 I did in 2009, and my peak of 1,500 in 2007, but times have changed. I’d love to do 750, but we’ll see.
- Run at least one marathon and one half-marathon. Plus do other assorted races that I feel like doing.
- Walk at least 500 miles. A new goal; this doesn’t count trips to the bathroom at work.
- Walk a 5K in under 45 minutes. This is challenging; it means a low-14-minute walking pace, which I need to work on. My best right now is 45:51 (14:46 per mile) for the Pumpkin Push 5K.
- Walk a marathon in under 7 hours. Another challenging goal, requiring a pace of under 16 minutes per mile for 26.2 miles. I did the Seattle Marathon Walk in 7:31:03, but that includes jogging about three miles.
- Do the elliptical machine or stationary bike for at least 500 miles. This is an effort to do more cross-training in 2011.
- Stick to a fitness plan that also includes weight training, stretching, ankle exercises and more. Meeting with a trainer on this plan this week.
- More salads, less meat. Already at work on this.
I may add to this later.
Till next time.