Thursday, March 18, 2010

Running hard... or hardly running?

Neil and Gina run St. MalachiWhile Cleveland had a most unmiserable winter this year, I haven't had the best cold-season training. I pulled off the Pittsburgh path and gave racing St. Malachi much criticism. How could I race five miles when I was having trouble breathing (from the cold/plague that will never end)?

The answer: have fun.

Neither Neil nor I felt up to the races last Saturday. But how could I not race St. Malachi? It was my first race ever in 2007. I've run it every year. And it's for a great cause. Plus, the ranks always fill up with the coolest runners I know. Getting to see them, really is enough to run the hilly race.

If that didn't get me to the near West side of Cleveland, however, running a race with Neil for the first time would. Even if I had known what the weather would have been.

I hung with Salty, DaisyDuc and ESpeed (indoors) before the race, and only warmed up trotting uphill to the start with Neil. Wimpywimpywimpy ran high with me that day. And I was OK with it.

Before the race I had promised Neil that we could run the first mile hard, see how we felt and run the rest however we wanted. So, when the race kicked off, I led the muddy way through a mile one that I remembered being much more downhill. Neil started the day sniffling with cold/flu symptoms, so I tried to spy behind me from time to time to make sure he wasn't too far behind. He pushed through the snot and ran a great first mile.

Even with the backlooking and three stops for Neil to catch up, I ran mile one at 6:50. Neil crossed at 7:14.

Mile two ran closer to 8, and then Neil started feeling really bad. So, we slowed down and cruised the last 2.5-3 miles. He ran a consistent pace; I sprinted the hills and waited at the top (if I wasn't going to get in my tempo, I'd at least do hill repeats!). Yes, I picked up plenty of dirty looks.

At least they weren't from Neil. He pushed through his sick to run a very respectable 45 at his first St. Malachi — we had a little track meet sprint up the final hill to the finish, and he beat me by a bunch. Then we came home, ate bratwurst my dad delivered from the West Side Market (he was an awesome cheerleader too), and spent the rest of the weekend getting all resicked.

I think we're finally getting better by now. My nose-breathing is around 80% by now, and Neil's getting his normal voice back. We're eying some late-April races to redeem ourselves. And have yet more fun.