September 19, 2019

Weekend Recap: A Superior Weekend (Race Report: Superior 5K)

Weekend of September 6-8

I had originally planned to be in downtown Denver for some meetings Friday afternoon, after which my friend Sara and I were going to meet for happy hour. However, the meetings got canceled, and we decided to bail on the happy hour as well. While I had been looking forward to it all week, I was kind of relieved for the opportunity to not drink, eat well, and head to bed early. I wanted to be rested up and ready to go for Saturday, one of my favorite days of the year in Superior – I’d be running the Superior 5K in the morning, and then enjoying the 19th annual Superior Chili Festival and Boulder Valley Beer Festival in the afternoon! I was pumped.

My race morning started off a little more unusual than most. Although the 8am start was less than a mile from my house, I got up early so that I could meet one of our residents for coffee at 7am to discuss his ideas for a building we recently purchased. It was a great conversation – I am really excited about the possibilities for this building! I know it’s only one year into my four year term, but I think this purchase is going to be one of my proudest political accomplishments – there are some amazing possibilities for our town with this space.

Although the conversation was excellent, I had to duck out by 7:40am to ensure I wouldn’t miss the race start. I had learned that lesson this summer in the Superior Mile! Fortunately, this time I had no issues. I parked by my friend Vickee’s house, walked about a quarter mile to the start area, and even had time to hit the porta potty before meandering over to the start and saying hello to TJ, the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, who was emceeing the event 🙂

It was such a pretty morning, I took a quick pic walking over to the start.

I lined up right by the front, and when the race began, I took off as the lead female, neck and neck with two guys. I didn’t have much of a plan for this race – it was a new course from the last two years, but it was similar to Sammy’s Family Fun Run last October; just starting at a different point on the course. I had checked out my splits at that race (6:52, 6:58, 7:11), but I’ve felt very out of shape lately, so didn’t know if I could match those. It was a surprise when my first mile clocked in at 6:36 – that was much faster than anticipated, and it felt good!

I did get passed at the half mile mark by another woman, and just after one mile by another woman. But I was feeling comfortable, and that was much more important to me than what place I was in. Honestly, in small races, you never know who’s going to show up, so I worry less about place and more about pace.

However, that first mile had been a very subtle downhill (loss of 74 feet); the next two miles would be flat to uphill. Although the elevation profile doesn’t look like much, there was a hill toward the end of the lollipop loop that definitely slowed me down – probably in part because of the hill, and in part because we switched from running on pavement to running on dirt. I used to think that running on dirt / gravel was so much better than pavement because it’s soft and forgiving, but as I’ve gotten faster, I’ve actually noticed the speed difference between the two. In looking at splits, I can usually pinpoint the exact place the terrain changes! I’m not sure if that’s because my body can’t run the same speed on pavement, or if it’s that I’m conditioned to take trail runs easier than I take road runs, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

The downside of the dirt? I ran through a patch of mud, and it felt like 5 pounds of it got stuck on the bottom of each of my shoes. I spent the next quarter mile trying to scrape my feet on the pavement / veering off to try to scrape my feet on the grass, to no avail. My feet felt like lead balloons! This was not what I wanted to try to keep up a fast pace. Eventually, though, most of it came off, though not before I got passed by another woman (actually, a teenage girl… who turned out to be my friend Jill’s daughter) just before the 2 mile mark. Bummer! I really wanted to podium this race, but I was currently one place short. For now, I kept her in my sights and hoped that I could overtake her at the end.

I headed through the underpass from Autrey Park under Rock Creek Parkway, and started climbing the hill on the other side. I knew this would be the last “big” hill of the race (it climbs 80 feet in about half a mile), and I was relieved to get to the top. As I came down the other side toward the creek, I remembered the time I was biking to Autrey Park with my friend Chris and her family and there was a big snake blocking the trail… I hoped that wouldn’t be the case today!

When I crossed the two mile mark and knew there was only a mile to go, I tried to pick up the pace, but I still got passed by another guy. Meanwhile, the girl in front of me started slowly pulling away. Darn it! I was pushing decently hard, though, and proud of my efforts.

With about half a mile to go, we crossed the creek once more, and started heading uphill, toward Superior Elementary. Oh no… we felt so close to the finish, and I hoped we didn’t have to go all the way up the hill to Eldorado Drive! Luckily, we instead took a left at the trail intersection, and I knew the finish line was close!

But wait… was it too close? My watch was only showing 2.7 miles, but it looked like we had a lot less than a half mile to go. We headed down the hill, and I picked up the pace a little bit, but I also tried to conserve a bit of energy for my final kick. Too soon, I realized the finish line was looming ahead, and that the course was going to be short. Bummer! I pushed hard to make the most of the distance I had left, and crossed the finish line just as the clock flipped over to 21:00. This was only five seconds slower than my PR, but I was pretty sure the course was short. Plus, I had been unable to pass any of the three women who had passed me, so I hadn’t made the podium.

TJ was at the finish line, and he told me congratulations on getting third place. I told him that I was pretty sure I was in fourth place? But it gave me a glimmer of hope. I caught my breath, grabbed a water, and walked over to the check in area to catch my breath. The race had an electronic kiosk where you could check your results, and sure enough, when I looked, it was showing me in 3rd place. I didn’t know what had happened (was it possible one of the women who passed me wasn’t in the race and was just out for a run on her own?), but I’d take it! And after chatting with a few other runners, it sounds like we all had clocked the course about 0.1 mile short.

I hung around for the award ceremony, and in the meantime, chatted with a few neighbors. Some I knew, but others I didn’t – they approached me telling me they had voted for me (thank you!!) and with questions about some decisions we were making. Nearly a year in, it still feels weird to get recognized by people I don’t know, though it at least doesn’t surprise me when it happens in town. And I guess getting recognized at a running race, when my campaign brand / logo / slogan was all about running, is especially to be expected 🙂

In all, I was pretty happy with how I did. I wasn’t expecting anything near a PR, and while the course was short, another tenth of a mile would have taken me about 40 seconds – which would still put me just short of my Sammy’s finish time last year, and only 45 seconds slower than my (sea level) PR of 20:55. And I hadn’t felt like this was really an “A race” where I had great conditions and did my best! I have honestly felt really out of shape the last few weeks, but every time I test myself with some actual metrics (a timed hike, an Orangetheory class), I find that I’m much stronger than I thought.

Go us!

Race stats:
Distance: 3.1 miles
Time: 21:00
Pace: 6:46/mile
Overall place: 10/160
Gender place: 3/77
Age group place: 2/24

Speaking of Orangetheory… that was where I headed next. With a beer festival on the agenda later in the day, I knew I’d want to burn a lot of calories in preparation, and I figured it probably wouldn’t be too much to do that after the short 5K. However, I hadn’t expected to run so fast – this was definitely more of a race effort than I anticipated.

I went into the OTF class planning to just see what I could do. It was a fun switch class, where we never did more than four minutes at a time on the treadmill (here’s the workout if you want to try it yourself). That turned out to be perfect for me! I normally don’t like switch classes, but with this one, the floor and the rower sections were pretty cardio-heavy, and it worked well to use the switching time as my break and then push hard for the whole interval. I ended the class really proud of myself and my effort, and thrilled I had gone for it after the race!

On my way home, I stopped in Louisville to get my kitchen knives sharpened at a pop up event; unfortunately, I hadn’t realized that I’d have to drop them off and come back in a few hours. This put a bit of a crimp in my plans for the day! After dropping them off, I swung by the grocery, dashed home to quickly throw some chili ingredients together in the crockpot, showered quickly, headed back to Louisville to retrieve my knives, and then made it home just in time to clean up the kitchen and get out the door. Unfortunately, I failed to heed the sharpener’s instructions to be careful – in my haste to wash my knives and get out the door, one slipped and sliced deeply into my thumb. Oops! I couldn’t get it to totally stop bleeding, but I bandaged it up tightly, tossed extra bandaids into my purse, and headed out anyway.

While I arrived at the beer festival later than I planned (VIP could get in at 1:30pm and I didn’t arrive till 1:50pm), I still didn’t see anyone I knew yet, so I had plenty of time to get my tickets, settle in, and eat something for the first time all day. Hooray for the buffet in the VIP tent! This year’s spread had more variety than in year’s past – cheese platters, Mexican tacos / nachos, Italian pasta with meatballs – and I gratefully enjoyed a big plate to try to offset the beer I was about to drink. Soon after I grabbed a plate, I started seeing people I knew – some of the other trustees, as well as my friends Sara and Torrey, who had come up from Denver for the event.

Although I love the Superior Beer Fest, this year wasn’t my favorite year; I think I spent a little too much time lounging in the VIP tent rather than walking around enjoying the festival itself. Also, for the first time, the main part of the festival had a covered tent with tables where people could sit, which for me is one of the biggest reasons I buy VIP instead of regular; next year, I’ll probably just get regular tickets. I still had fun though!

And what a beautiful day!!

One thing that didn’t change this year, though, was that I never made it over to try the chilis at chili fest. Instead, after the festival, Sara, Torrey, and my friend Karlin came over to my house to eat the chili I had prepped in advance while we watched college football. As long-time readers know, I’m a fair weather football fan, who cheers for whoever my friends are cheering for… so this Saturday, I was making the hook ’em horns gesture all night long 🙂 It was a fun night!

The next morning, I needed to run back down to the former Land Rover to get my car where I had left it parked from the festival. I really didn’t feel like running, especially since it looked sunny and hot out (it had been hot the day before, too)… but when I actually opened the door to go out, I realized it was much cooler than it looked, and it was actually the perfect running weather. Knowing that, I forced myself to do a loop around the neighborhood rather than just running straight to my car, which meant that I covered about 4 miles instead of 1. Much better!

And on my run, I got a text from my friend Chris inviting me to go hiking with her family. I had a lot of work to do that day (I had intentionally kept my Sunday plan-free for that reason), but I couldn’t resist saying yes, and we ended up having a lovely morning hiking around Flatirons Vista. This is normally one of my favorite trail runs, but with my sore calf, it was nice to hike it for a change, and Chris and her family were tons of fun to chat with on the trails!

Love this scenery. Love these kids.

After that, though, it was time for me to stop procrastinating – I needed to settle in at home for several hundred pages of reading to prep for a public hearing Monday night about a proposed development in downtown Superior. Between that and prepping my actual work for the week, that consumed the rest of my Sunday!

Well, that and a bit of cooking. YUM!

In all, this was a very Superior weekend indeed 🙂


2 thoughts on “Weekend Recap: A Superior Weekend (Race Report: Superior 5K)”

  1. Hi Laura, sounds like a really good weekend & congratulations on the podium finish. I managed 3rd place (for my age group) in a local trail race earlier this year too. Like you I thought I’d been knocked down into 4th by someone passing me on the final straight, so I didn’t hang around for the prize giving and went off to a friends bbq instead. Later that day I was told by someone who came late to the same bbq that I’d got 3rd place. Seems that the guy that overtook me was much younger than he looked.

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