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Race Recap: Geist Half-Marathon

21 May

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Another medal! She’s a beauty!

This weekend I ran the Geist “Race Around the Reservoir” Half-Marathon.  It was my second half marathon in two weeks, and I had an awesome time (truly I mean it)!  I went into this race a little apprehensive: my motivation was down, and I was really concerned about my knees.  I ended up running the half with a friend I work with, and it was a lot of fun.  We went quite a bit slower than I had planned, but in the long run (no pun intended) it was great for both my spirits and my knees.

The Prep

4:50 am: In the morning I woke up about an hour and a half before we needed to leave and had plenty of time to get ready.  I did this with the Indy mini, and I love the calm that having extra time provides.  After eating half of my bagel (I have to leave something to run back to!), strawberries, and banana, I tried a new race activity.  I drank coffee!  I’ve read online that caffeine can actually improve performance (especially if you’re not used to using it on a regular basis).  Check out articles here or here.  Because I gave up caffeine on January 7th (I’ve had it a handful of times since), I now qualify as a “non-regular user”  WOOT!  I’m thrilled.  I had a big addiction to it.  Anyways – because of this, I thought it would be a great race routine to drink a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea the morning of a race.  In my last half I did caffeinated tea and it was great.  This time I was staying at a friend’s house and went with the coffee.  I was a little nervous about trying something new on race day – but because I wasn’t going for a PR I thought this would be a great opportunity.  It was delicious, warm, and a fun little treat.  It also had the added benefit of getting things moving gastrointestinal-ly (if you know what I mean.).  This is a trick I will continue to incorporate into future races.

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Delicious and effective!

6:20 am: After dressing, taping my knees, and going to the bathroom 6 times, I was ready to go!  Adam was a doll and dropped me off at the start.  This was fantastic because there was no parking at the start – I would’ve had to wake up earlier for a shuttle (yeah – I love sleep, thanks Adam!).  I knew my co-worker, Katherine, was running the race and we planned to at least start together.  I’m a bit faster than she is, but thought it would be nice to run a couple miles with her.  Or at very least have someone to stand next to at the start.  We found each other and after one last stop at the porta-potties, made our way to the corrals. Because this race was so small you could self-select your start time.  We stood near the 2:00 mark.  After chatting with Katherine a bit more I realized that I really wanted to help her achieve a PR of 1:58.  I knew that I could get that time and I also thought it would be a smart thing for me to not go for the moon and cause too much damage to the poor knees.  My PT would be proud of that decision!  I had my PR, I wanted to get Katherine hers.  A bit of foreshadowing here: Katherine ran her first full marathon 3 weeks ago (for you non-runners, it typically takes about a month to recover from fulls, especially for non-professional/new-to-marathons runners.)  I told Katherine my plan: run negative splits starting out at 9:00 min/miles and slowly increase the pace after mile 8.  She said it sounded great – though I didn’t have to stick with her, “You’re faster than me, so no pressure to stick together!”  I thought about it and said, “Well, let’s start out together and see what happens.”  I have confidence in Katherine as a runner – I truly believe she’s faster than she thinks she is!

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Excited and ready to go at the start!

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You can sort of see the lake and bridge – it was lovely!

7:00 am: Soon the gun sounded and we were off!  The race started on a bridge over the reservoir (aka lake) and it was truly a gorgeous scene!  The excitement really started flowing through me: I was feeling great.  I was so happy to be out running – my energy really surprised me given my apprehension earlier in the week.  Katherine and I easily stuck together and nailed our first mile coming in a little under 8:30.

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In our spot ready to go!

The Race

Mile 1 (8:25): Okay, doing good.  Yikes – a little fast.  But I always start out a little faster than I plan.  This is good.  Crowds are good but under control.  Plenty of space…feeling good!  Decent weather.  I need to pee.

Mile 2 (8:50): Hmm, I really need to back-off.  I don’t want Katherine to start out too strong.  She’s usually over 9 minutes, I need to stick more to her.  I think I’m going to do this whole thing with her.  At this point I feel I could go even faster…but…is that really the smart thing to do?  My PR is going to happen in the fall.  This race is about fun.  Stick with Katherine and let’s make some magic for her!

Mile 3 (9:03): Man alive – I need to pee!  What is going on here.   We’re doing great!  Perfection pacing.  Wow is it humid?  Does it seem humid to you?

Mile 4 (9:29): Hmm.. we’ll need to pick it up a bit more.  It’s okay – I’ll correct for the next one.  There was a water stop in there (Katherine walks through stops, I typically grab and run). Should I run ahead?  I feel really strong – I know I could go faster.  Hmm.  Katherine doesn’t seem to be particularly enjoying herself or looking amazingly strong – I’ll stay.  We can do it!

Mile 5 (9:50):  GAH!  No.  Okay well – there is still time to recover.  Not all is lost.  We are having fun.  Let’s see if I can slowly push Katherine a bit faster without her noticing.  She’s not feeling as strong now – increase motivational thoughts!!  Mission build up Katherine!

Mile 6 (10:06):  NO!  Another water stop.  Gah – losing so much time on the stops.  Hmm.  You know.  I’m thinking 1:58 is no longer a possibility.  I don’t think PR pace will be possible.  Katherine’s allergies are really giving her trouble and it is clear her legs aren’t recovered (I wouldn’t expect them to be).  Motivate motivate motivate!  Random runner tells me I need a microphone to share my motivation with everyone.  Pass huge hill.  Keep circling back to Katherine and running backwards to keep moving/continue to cheer her (I didn’t want my knees to freak out by stopping).  Probably annoying other runners with my obvious energy and enthusiasm.  Dang – I’m that girl.

Mile 7 (9:23):  Much better.  We can do this.  She’s got this.  Keep encouraging, keep encouraging her!   Still need to pee.  Lordy is it humid!  Hmm.. did I even take a gu?  Oops.

Mile 8 (10:00): Yeah.. so let’s just have fun with this one!  At this point let’s throw time out the window.  Kelly you don’t care about time, you don’t care about time.  But seriously time doesn’t matter at this point.  Let’s get Katherine the fastest time she can get and stick by her!  She isn’t feeling great and now is not the time to leave her.  Let’s tell Katherine the story of how I met Adam. :) New technique: distraction.

Mile 9 (10:31): If I sprint now I could still squeak in under 2:00.  NO.  Must. Not. Leave. Katherine.  Continue telling the story of how Adam and I met.  Random runner says they want to stay near us to hear the story.  Man – we’re going a little slower than expected, but I’m thoroughly enjoying my role as “motivator.”

Mile 10 (10:33):  Wow – I didn’t realize how fast I’ve gotten, because I’m actually, dare I say, bored with this speed!  (Silent cheer to self!!  Don’t say aloud – focus on building up Katherine.  But seriously – I can’t believe I just had that thought!  I’m becoming a better runner!  Yay! ).  Solidify 1:49:59 as goal for fall half in head.  Continue building up Katherine.  Pass Adam!!  Hello!!  Adam – cheer for Katherine!!!

Mile 11 (9:52):  Are we seriously still out here?  I’m kind of over this.  Start telling the story of wedding plans to Katherine.  Both of us perk up.

Mile 12 (11:00):  So close we can taste it!!  Starts drizzling. I guess this is better than just pure humidity.  Keep pushing her – she’s doing great!!  A little bit of walking at this point but that’s okay!  Just encourage her to keep moving forward.  Almost time for breakfast.  Mylanta I’m starving.

Mile 13 (9:15):  Boo yah grandma!  Katherine- we saved some in the tank for this… you ready?  “Yeah!”  Sprint to the finish!

13.1 (8:45):  Victorious!!  We did it!!

Finish: 2:08:07!

After our finish we walked to collect water, our medals, and food.  Major sadness: they were out of food!  They only had cookies left over.  Serious bummer.  This race had a corresponding 5K and I’m guessing all the 5K-ers ate it all up!  Little stinkers.

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They ran out of food – but I still found some free chocolate milk!

I grabbed what I could and we made our way out of the finisher’s area.  We ran into Katherine’s Mom and I told her how proud she should be of her daughter.  I’m still incredibly impressed with a 2:08 half only 3 weeks after completing her first full – it’s pretty amazing!  We didn’t get Katherine’s PR, which I’m very sad about – but we did have a good time (at least I did – Katherine might say otherwise ;)) .  And I’m very glad I stuck with Katherine.  It was a great experience for me to try my hand at pacing (turns out I’m not that great) and motivating (turns out I may have a hidden talent at this).

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Aww!! Sweetest card on my desk Monday morning!

Katherine also saved me from myself.  For that I’m so grateful to her!  Sunday I woke up with some stiffness, but knees only in minor pain!  The slower pace kept me injury free and smart.  If I had been on my own I probably would’ve pushed and pushed and ended up doing something stupid… like trying to beat 1:51.  Now I’m barely sore and totally happy.  After the mini it took 3-4 days to feel human again!  After the Geist finish I actually ended up jogging back to meet up with Adam and friends…I couldn’t have imagined doing this at the mini.

Key Lessons

  • I enjoyed drinking coffee before the race.  It got things moving and didn’t upset my stomach.  I’ll keep this habit.
  • I liked acting as pacer/motivator.  In the future I would make sure the time we’re going for is reasonable given conditions, training, and tapering. Also important to know what motivates your pacee.
  • Running back-to-back half marathons is totally doable as long as one is an easier “fun run.”  I’d definitely do this again, but only if one of the halfs was with someone else and that someone else was considerably slower than me.  Racing two half-marathons in such close proximity would’ve been difficult on my body.
  • Racing is fun.  Running is fun.  Sometimes focusing on someone else allows you to think about how amazing running and racing is.  Corny but true.  I didn’t really have time to think about how much this hurt or that, focusing on Katherine kept me distracted and I just soaked it all in!
  • I can’t wait to start working on speed more.  I’m ready for my 2 weeks off of running to be up and use the summer to get stronger and faster!

The rest of the weekend was amazing with a friend’s graduation party and more wedding planning (looked at wedding bands, got closer with ceremony stuff, and looking at hotels/group blocks, analyzed photographers more).  Let me just say – I was so thankful I didn’t sprint the race… I wasn’t out for the count and got to enjoy time with friends.  All’s well that ends well!  This race was fun, exciting, motivating, and really has whet my appetite for a new PR.  I couldn’t believe how “slow” my old usual time felt.  My previous two halfs were 2:06 and suddenly 2:08 felt like I was crawling?  This was an incredibly inspiring experience.  It really is possible to get faster with training and this experience was proof.  This week I’ve already started scoping my race for the fall.  I had an awesome run this weekend and can’t wait for the opportunity to do it again!

Happy running!

-Kelly

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Half-Marathon in the Morning!

17 May

Happy Friday everyone!  Hard to believe the week is almost over.  And even harder to believe that I have a half marathon in the morning!  This will be my second half-marathon race in 2 weeks and let’s just say I’m a little nervous.  This has definitely been a very good learning experience (or a learning what not to do experience) :)  I came up with this brilliant back-to-back half plan about a month ago.  I tend to get race anxiety and thought “Hey!  Another half – this will be a great way to reduce my anxiety!  I’ll have another ‘chance’ to break 2 hours if my first race goes poorly.  Oooo.. and I can join the ‘Month of May Club’ and get a t-shirt if I do 2 halfs in May.”  Goodness, what I’ll do for a ‘free’ t-shirt.  Thus my brilliant plan was born.  Now that I’m a day away, and not quite recovered from my first race, I’ll give you the pros and cons (for me) of doing back-to-back half marathons.

Pros:

  •  I already know I can get the miles in.  After all, I just did it.  Right?
  • Hypothetically I have another chance at getting a fast time (note: not going to happen in a million years).
  • I enjoy racing; neat to have another race! (this is true, not sarcasm)

Cons:

  • I am tired – physically my body is just not 100%.  I still feel muscle fatigue – often.  I just feel like I can’t do what I did just a few short weeks ago.
  • I am missing the pre-race anticipation.  I already went through that and 2 weeks isn’t enough time for me to get excited all over again. Yeah debbie downer, I know!
  • I’m bummed because I’m going into this knowing I won’t be fast.  That’s kind of deflating.  My runs since my half have been slow.  I mean, full minutes slower than usual.  Yeah – multiple minutes.  And the kind of runs where you think ‘man can I even finish this short run?’  I know running isn’t all about speed, but lately that has been a goal of mine, so it’s disappointing to not realize those goals.
  • I’m not as motivated.  Due to above reasons I just don’t feel as excited and motivated to run this one.  It’s essentially an after-thought of a race.
  • I have injury-anxiety.  My knees aren’t doing amazingly and I’m worried about over-use.

Okay – clearly you can see where I’m at as far as readiness/excitement for the race tomorrow.  Man – I am such a whiner!  But it’s not all bad!  It’s just a matter of wrapping my mind around the fact that for me, tomorrow is not going to be a speed-oriented race.  It is going to be a chance to do a nice long run on a beautiful (hilly) course.  It’s a chance to proudly wear a bib and be out on the course with many other runners.  It’s about the opportunity to run: that’s not something everyone has the privilege to do.  Tomorrow is about relaxing, having fun, and knowing that this isn’t going to be my PR.  And that’s okay!  Sometimes I think racing is all about expectations.  I’m trying to set the appropriate expectation so I walk away feeling excited and not disappointed in myself.  I got a 1:51 two weeks ago.  And that’s awesome.  No one can take that away.  If I run a 2:15 tomorrow it doesn’t take away my 1:51… it just means this wasn’t a speedy race for me.  I don’t think it’s healthy for me to think that every race is about a PR.  Setting goals is awesome and you can bet your bottom dollar I will have some goals for my fall half.  But the goal for tomorrow: enjoy running!  It’ll be my last long run for a few months at least (thanks knees!) and gosh darn it – I’m going to have fun!!

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I get to run this lakeside beauty of a course!

The Plan

Well… here’s the thing.  I don’t really have a plan.  HAH!  (Yeah – I know, am I feeling well?). I haven’t studied the course.  I haven’t marked my water and gu spots.  And you know what: I don’t think I will.  Eek.  Yeah, scares me a little bit.  But honestly it’s a small race, I’m not going for a PR… so I sort of just want to go out there and relax!  I’m going to see how my body feels and wing it. I’ll let you know how that strategy goes.

The Course

It’s hilly, around a lake reservoir, and supposedly beautiful.  It’s one of those ‘your spectators are people drinking their coffee and walking out to get their morning paper in their bathrobe’ kind of races.   Haven’t done one of those in awhile – sort of looking forward to the change.

The Prep

Adam and I have some awesome friends that live right on the course.  We’ll head up there tonight for an evening of fun and hopefully a relaxing morning of cheering from the house for them.  This part of the race is amazing – I can’t wait to run by them!  Tonight I’ll do my usual spaghetti, ice my knees, tape my legs, say a little prayer and hope for the best.

The Goals

  1. Have fun – relax and enjoy
  2. Finish the race (yep, this is a real concern)
  3. And last and definitely least: going for a 2:00-2:10 finish

It’s a little too early to say “I’d never do back-to-to back again” or “I wouldn’t recommend this.”  I think it is all about training.  For me, I’m realizing this wasn’t maybe the smartest plan.  But I know many people who do this sort of thing often and have great success.  I’m sure I’ll have some opinions tomorrow concerning whether I’ll do it again ;)  No matter what: my race will be a great start to another awesome weekend!  Man alive, I love May.  Have I mentioned it’s the best month ever?!

I hope you all have an amazing weekend!  I’ll be tweeting my results (good or bad!) so you can see them here on the blog homepage or follow me on twitter @racesrepsramble :)

-Kelly

Top Tips for the Indy Mini-Marathon

14 May

For locals, the One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is more lovingly known as “The Mini.”  It is the largest half-marathon in the country with 35,000 participants.  For the past decade, the race has sold out, and it is wildly popular here in Indianapolis. There is also a corresponding 5K, which is a great option for those not quite ready for long distances.   If you are thinking about running this race (or are getting ready to run the race) here are my top tips.

  • Arrive early.  This race is huge. There are 35,000 runners, but that doesn’t include all the 5K runners, spectators, and media.  If you have to park, make sure you arrive with plenty of time to find a spot and get to the start.  You don’t want to let things get down to the last minute.
  • Mentally prepare for the track.  This is the Indy 500 track – it is not your college running track.  It’s meant for cars, not people…so it’s much longer than you think it will be.  If you go in there knowing it’s around 2.5 miles on the track, it will be much easier mentally.  The first year I did this race it really caught me off guard that it’s just so long.  This year, I was prepared and really enjoyed the track.  Sit back and relax – you’ll be out there a long time.
  • Make sure you submit seeding if you run faster than 2:30.  A race with 35,000 participants is pretty huge.  I mean, it takes the back corrals about an hour to cross the start line (that’s not even the finish line!).  If you are a runner and interested in your time/pace, it’s crucial to submit proof of your speed.  This usually has to be submitted about 2 months before the race, so plan in advance.  There is a real difference between corral E and corral X.  Many people walk this race and are put in the later corrals with the other walkers.  If you want to run it, get your seeding done and in early!  You can submit another half-marathon or other race times.  Here is the chart with times:times
  • Don’t miss the bricks. One tradition for Indy 500 winners is to ‘kiss the bricks.’ Well – runners in the race can stop and kiss the bricks too!  The sad part for me – I’ve done this race twice and not only have I not kissed them – I haven’t even seen or acknowledged them!  It’s something really unique about the Indy mini, so it’s definitely worth noting even if you don’t want to stop.  You can join the ranks of all the Indy 500 winners!
  • Run on the left (if you’re going for a PR). This year I stayed predominantly on the left (unintentionally) and realized it tends to be the “inner” part of the course.  A lot of the turns and the track veer to the left.  After sticking pretty closely to the left this year I feel I have found a solid strategy for future minis.  Call me crazy! One thing to remember is that the “left” is often the passing lane for many – be sure to follow nice racing etiquette and don’t stay on the far left if you’re not using it for passing.  I tried to stay “one lane” from the far left and that worked well for me.
  • Run in the grass. Along the track is some deliciously soft grass!  Give you legs a break and run on the inside of the track in the lawn.  I didn’t spend too much time on the grass, but just a few minutes of it was a nice change of pace for my legs.
  • Plan for spectators.  Have I mentioned the mini is huge?  Yeah – so huge that you will miss your spectators if you don’t know where they are!  Specifically know roughly what mile-marker and most importantly the side of the road they will be on.  My ‘fans’ were at mile 5 on the left and that seemed like a popular spot and relatively easy for them to navigate.  I’m so thankful we decided ahead of time or I would’ve been very disappointed to miss them, or be stressed searching for them the whole time!
  • Wave to everyone. Okay this might be my biggest secret of Kelly racing history: I wave and thank supporters.  Consistently and cheerfully.  It might seem crazy to “waste” energy doing this.  But holy moly – it’s amazing how energizing a returned smile can be.  Plus the more energetic you look, the more likely spectators will look at your bib and cheer your name.  Seriously – works like a charm every time.  I’ve done this in every single race (yes even the nightmarish mini of last year) and I don’t see any reason to stop now.  If you’ve never done it, give it a whirl!  You’d be amazed how you can brighten up a random spectators day!  Specific to the mini- the course has to go through some poorer parts of town to get to the main event: the track! Because of this many spectators sit on their porches and don’t really realize runners are paying attention to them.  It’s so heartwarming to see them enthusiastically wave back when they realize runners are happy they are out!
  • Anticipate crowds.  Just like any major race, expect crowds.  Expect lines for porta potties, race pictures, and parking.  Budget extra time getting to and from the race and you’ll have a much smoother and stress-free experience.  The 500 festival does an awesome job so they work through lines and crowds very efficiently, but it’s still a lot of people!
  • Don’t miss the Chocolate Milk. Wow – fantastic new discovery this year!  They give away free chocolate milk at the after-party.  Yeah – talk about big tip (you’re welcome).  The trick is that the milk isn’t in the finisher’s shoot with all the other food and goodies.  Once you leave that area head around to the right and there is a whole booth dedicated to chocolate milk!  It was everything I could’ve hoped for.
  • Pick up your results. The mini has a results tent in the after-party where you can pick up a sticker with your results time and details.  I grabbed mine and stuck it on my bib for a great keepsake.  It was quick, easy, and an awesome way to personalize my bib!
  • Have fun! You’re racing on the Indy track with 35,000 other runners!  What an awesome experience.  The most important tip: have fun and enjoy.  This is a race you won’t soon forget!

Happy racing!

-Kelly

Have you ever run “the mini”?  Do you have any tips?

Race Recap: Indy Mini-Marathon!

6 May

What a weekend!  Wow – it was one of those busy, running-around, packed full, but truly awesome weekends.  I had such a great time at the race but also had friends in town visiting, a wedding, and plenty to do in between.  Don’t you just love weekends like that?  I must admit I’m pretty exhausted from all the excitement, but it’s definitely ‘good’ exhaustion.

This Saturday I successfully ran my second Indy Mini-Marathon.  And a true success it was –  in every way!  Friday night I managed to have a relaxing evening at home.  I ate my traditional meal of spaghetti – yum, yum, and yum.  I laid out all of my clothes and supplies (knee tape, inhaler, bib, etc.) on the dining room table.  I drank plenty of water and did the X-Stretch video (from P90X).  It is a relaxing, slow video that just focuses on stretching.  It was a great way to do something, but feel calm and ready.  After icing my knees I headed to bed (nice and early – score!).  Adam was a doll and waited up for friends coming to stay at my place for the weekend.  They were running the race as well.   I had a full apartment with many inflatable beds and it felt like a slumber party.  Thankfully I snoozed right on through their arrival and didn’t wake up until morning.

The Preparation

4:45:  Hmm… I’m awake, but my alarm doesn’t go off for another 40 minutes.  I guess I’ll just play with my phone to start waking up.

5:00:  Well, I might as well get up at this point because I’m not going to be able to fall asleep. I’m early!  I like extra time :)

5:00-6:00: Very quietly creeping around the house. Everyone was still asleep!  I made some tea and had breakfast to get that process going nice and early.  The tea I drank was caffeinated.  I read that drinking caffeine the morning of a race can boost performance if you don’t regularly consume caffeine.  It also is a diuretic and I was hoping it might help get things through my system faster.  It was a delicious breakfast and the right amount of food (though probably too much beverage with 2 cups of tea and a cup of water).

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My race day breakfast.

6:00-6:45: Everyone else starts waking up and getting ready.  At this point I’ve had lots of water and already was able to go to the bathroom – great sign of success.  I’m feeling relatively calm, but excited too!  I finish getting ready by taping my knees with KT tape.  I followed the instruction videos on their website and felt pretty good about my tape work :)  Before heading off to the start we take some group ‘before’ pictures and make our way outside!  My nerves start kicking into gear at this point.

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All taped up. I guess I went for the rainbow look? Clearly I’m super into running fashion.

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All set and ready to go!

7:00-7:33: I did a half-mile warm-up jog over to the start line.  I started doing this before my 10/15K and really liked the habit.  It allows me to warm up my lungs but also check to make sure my shoes aren’t too tight and everything is ready to go.  I’d highly recommend this practice – though I used to be against it as I wanted fresh legs.  It’s been really successful for me and I will probably continue it for all the races I can.  With my friends in a different corral, we said our goodbyes and I made a beeline for one last stop at the porta potty.  The line wasn’t too bad and was moving.  Soon it was my turn and afterwards I quickly made my way to Corral D – woah, so far up!  Volunteers checked my bib for the correct corral placement and I lifted up my throw-away t-shirt and proudly displayed my “D”.  After getting accustomed to miles in the 10’s, moving up to corral D was hugely exciting as a runner in the 8’s.  I felt like I joined the big kid club.  It was one of  many moments during the race where I paused and thought back on how far I have come!  Such a neat feeling.  I made a friend while anxiously awaiting the start.  We chatted some, and having that distraction really helped to keep my nerves in check.  Up to this point I was certainly anxious, but a more normal level of worries/nerves.  I had trained for this moment!

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At the start. I look so calm and collected! Hah!

7:33: And we’re off!  It took me about 2 minutes to cross the start line and I focused on remembering that number in case I needed to do some mental math later (not my running strong suit).  The music at the start was pumping, and I couldn’t help but smile as I crossed the start.  This was it!!

 The Race

Mile 1 (8:40): This is fun!  I’m feeling great.  I love running.  Hmm… usually I start out way too fast (in the low 8’s) – I’m kind of surprised at my pace.  I should probably start kicking it up a bit more?  This is so great!  Not too crowded up here – I could get used to this ;)

Mile 2 (8:38):  That’s a little better.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Keep it under control and you can fly at the end.  Hmm… I kind of need to pee.  And wow – is that hip pain?  That’s a new one; kind of early in the race for pain.  Just keep swimming.  Ahh water!  Don’t talk about water.  I really think I need to pee.  Why did I have another cup of tea??

Mile 3 (8:43):  Well shoot, I guess I’m just on the slower side today.  Goal #1: Have fun!  Should I stop and pee?  What is going on with my hip??

Mile 4 (8:23): That’s more like it!  Let’s just ignore the knee and hip stuff – I feel GREAT!! (If I say it enough times it will be true, right??) I’ll get to see my cheering squad soon!!  Just one more mile until I see Adam.  I guess I should start moving to the left side to see them better.  Should I pee?

Mile 5 (8:36): Adam!!  Hi!!  Feeling great.  No knee issues, body is cooperating.  It’s almost Speedway track time – bring it on.

Mile 6 (8:24): Track time.  Hey almost half-way there!  Feeling strong and so far so good.  Maybe I’ll stop to pee at the next one?

Mile 7 (8:16): I actually really like this track.  Let’s start picking up the pace and passing a bit more.  Feeling a bit emotional.  Don’t cry!  So much relief, excitement, and happiness that I’m here running.  That’s a beautiful thing.

Mile 8 (8:22): Track is almost over – then it’s all just heading back downtown.  It’s almost go-time!  You can start safely picking up the pace.

Mile 9 (8:10): All I have to do is run home and run to Adam.  Time to start picking it up.  I’m right on track to beat 2 hours.  If I push it, I could be in the 1:50:00s. This is one of my last times to enjoy running for awhile.  Soak it up!

Mile 10 (8:12): Excellent progress – keep pushing it.  Almost there.  Maybe I’ll just wait to pee??

Mile 11 (8:04): Wow!  I’m seriously almost done!  Now it’s really time to kick it.  I will be done soon.  (A little mental math) Holy moly – is it possible for me to get in 1:49:00s??  Okay it’s time to chase down that goal.  Unleash the beast!

Mile 12 (7:55):  Chase that goal!!  Moving as fast as my little legs can go.  Roads narrow, congestion of people.  Start my “On your left!” campaign.  I’m flying!!  Cruising by people.  Where’s Adam?  He’s supposed to be around here somewhere.  I’m on a 1:49:59 mission people!!

Mile 13 (7:42):  Heaving, breathing heavily, starting to feel pain. I think I’m being the annoying heavy-breather runner now.  Oh well – don’t care, can’t breathe.  Must finish fast.  I’m really not used to running in the 7’s.  I should probably do some training runs with these paces.  Wow this straight away is deceiving – I still have a while to go.  Push it!  Focus.  My muscles hurt!  My muscles never hurt while running – only after.  I must really be pushing myself.

13.1: Make. It. Happen.  You’re almost done!!!  (See time clock not close to 1:49)…well mental math is not my strongest skill – still I’m in the low 1:50s!!

Finish:  1:51:05.  Wow!  Am I seriously done??  That went faster than I thought it would.  Let’s let breathing return to normal.

Phew!  It was an awesome race.  Shortly after I finished it dawned on me that not only did I break two hours, I crushed my old time by about 15 minutes!  What a feeling.  I knew I could be faster than 2:06, but wow!  1:51!  Holy P90X!  I’m still taking it all in days later.  After I finished I collected my medal, goodies, and stood in line for a finisher’s picture.  I left the runners’ area and met up with Adam and his Mom.  They were both ecstatic!  They watched me cross the finish line and said they had an awesome time out cheering.  I was the first of our friends that finished (woah, you read that correctly), so it was nice just having a bit to chat with them.  Hearing about the race from both perspectives (runner and spectator) was fun and we traded stories.  I was still feeling pretty decent and stretched out.  Soon our friends started coming out and we had a great time taking pictures and sharing congratulations.

Finishing this race makes me happy that now I’ll be able to just relax for my next half in two weeks (yeah… who had that brilliant idea??).  The course for my next half is quite a bit hillier and I likely won’t be fully recovered from this race, so likely won’t be seeing the low 1:50s for awhile.  It’s a good feeling knowing I can just relax for that one.  But…this race also made me question – how much faster can I go??  It really has me inspired to incorporate speed work into future training to see what my full potential really is!

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With my beautiful sign

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We finished :)

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With my #1 fan

After hanging around the post-race festivities for about an hour we headed home.  At this point I was really starting to not feel well.  My body left everything out on the course, and it was starting to catch up to me.  After slowly walking home I rested, ate a bit, and took a shower.  I felt better, but honestly for the rest of the weekend I definitely didn’t feel amazing.  Thankfully I’m feeling a bit more myself today.

The rest of the weekend was wonderful with a friend’s wedding, birthday lunches, time with friends, and lots of excitement.  It was a non-stop couple of days!

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All cleaned up for the wedding Saturday night.

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This was the fanciest wedding I’ve ever attended. Absolutely gorgeous!

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The three runners! We still managed to get on the dance floor.

The wedding was absolutely gorgeous, and it was fun getting all dolled up after such a sweaty morning.  Three friends there also ran the race and we were out on the dance floor a few times during the night. I was impressed our legs held up!  It was pretty hilarious – when we left Adam was helping me down the stairs (okay practically carrying me) and I wanted to shout to the few people staring/judging me: “I’m not drunk!!  I just ran the mini!”  Alas, it gave us a couple chuckles.  Nothing like a 1:51 half to really put you in a great mood!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend as well!

Happy running!

-Kelly

Did you race this weekend?

Race Rematch!

3 May

Well, tomorrow is the big day.  Tomorrow I will run my second Indy Mini-Marathon.  My stomach hurts just typing that!  Right now I’m a bundle of excitement, nerves, confidence, worries, and anticipation.  This will be my first half marathon in a year (I pulled out of one in October), and I can’t wait to see what happens.  My goal is to finally hit sub 2 hours.  My two other half times were 2:06:00 and 2:06:01.  I don’t think I could’ve done that if I tried!  I hope to finally break the 2:06 streak.  This time the race is different.  I am more prepared.  I am more fit (thanks P90X!).  I am healthier.  And most importantly, I am more confident.  My outfit is picked out, my bib is picked up, my knees are iced, and I have my game plan for tomorrow.  Indy Mini – Bring it on!!

This race holds a special place for me because it’s the first race Adam and I did together.  It also holds a little anxiety-filled piece of my heart because it was one of my worst races to date (excluding my Columbus full marathon…  no training = wanting to die).  The Indy mini is the only race I’ve ever cried during and sobbed hysterically afterwards (yeah drama much?).  I am determined to create better memories of the Mini tomorrow.  I am determined to overcome what happened last year.

Why am I so anxious for this race?

Well, that’s just it.  Last year, anxiety literally killed me during the race.  I was excited for the race – I had high hopes that I could help guide Adam to a sub-2 first half marathon.  After all – I was the experienced runner.  I was going to be the rock for him.  We would laugh and run, make great memories, then run through a field of flowers and rainbows.  Early in the morning we were suited up and ready to go.  Even then, I knew something wasn’t quite right.  My stomach wasn’t really taking to breakfast, and I hadn’t been able to go to the bathroom.  The anxiety started setting in.  What if I couldn’t go to the bathroom before the race?  What if my stomach doesn’t stop hurting?  Well as you can imagine this sort of thinking just made my stomach hurt more.  I tried to stay calm as we made our way over.  After a quick successful stop at the porta potties I had a renewed sense of hope: maybe this was just pre-race jitters!  We hopped into our corral and remarkably ran into our two close friends running the race (in a sea of 35,000 people).  This was a huge boost and we had a great time before the gun went off.  My stomach wasn’t doing great – but I did feel more confident I would recover.

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Our fake “finish-line” photo taken at the start line before we began the race.

Soon we were off!  The beginning of the Indy race is pretty congested, but also incredibly thrilling.  Adam and I dashed and darted around runners trying to navigate as politely as we could while staying near each other.  Mile 1 and 2 came and went, but by Mile 3 I knew this was truly going to be a battle.  I told Adam I really needed to stop for a bathroom break.  I kept going back and forth and finally he said “Kelly, just stop!  You will feel better and then we can just continue.”  I followed his advice.  But alas, no luck at the stop.  I couldn’t go!  What the heck, body??  So on we went.  The miles kept dragging on and my posture kept hunching over my stomach the farther we went.  Miles 6 and 7 are around the Indianapolis Speedway (the race track of the Indy 500).  I hit my low point on the track and kept urging Adam to leave me.  I wanted him to have a great run and I was a sandbag pulling him down.  He cheerfully kept encouraging me and telling me he was sticking with me.  I started to get a bit grumpy towards all his perkiness, and after a not-so-nice exchange of words and some tears we continued on in silence.

My stomach was still killing me and I was a black hole of negative energy.  I felt so guilty that I was ruining the experience for Adam.  Around mile 10 I knew I’d be able to finish and I started perking up a bit.  Just a bit.  We kept painfully and deliberately pushing towards the finish and soon it was within sight.  Adam grabbed my hand and literally pulled me across the finish line.  Some days later I could watch the finish line video and chuckle at how pathetic I looked.  Adam holding my hand like a sick child dragging me behind him.  At the time I was happy to be done, but heartbroken, absolutely heartbroken.  We collected our medals and started walking a few feet back.  I just started sobbing.  Not only did we not get the sub 2-hour race I desperately wanted for Adam, I ruined it.  I still hurt and I ruined the day.  I was pretty inconsolable for a few minutes.  Let’s just say lots of running and pressure can quickly take you to an emotional place.  Soon Adam was able to get through to me and I started feeling a bit better.  We stilled managed to get a “B” in terms of what we were hoping to attain time-wise (We had a sliding scale of goals set). We grabbed some food and ended up meeting with some friends at the end of it.

Even now I’m not 100% sure that I didn’t get food poisoning or Montezuma’s Revenge as I dramatically titled it in the days following the race.  But in my gut I know a big factor was my anxiety.  I put too much pressure on myself and either made myself sick or exasperated an existing stomach issue.  Either way, I let my disappointment get in the way of positivity and making it a great day.  It was a good lesson to learn.  As much as pace is important and it’s wonderful to have goals, I never want to let myself get so down for doing something so great.  For goodness sake I ran 13.1 miles!  That is an accomplishment, whether I shaved those 6 minutes off or not.  And the reality is: we didn’t train for a sub-2 hour race.  I should’ve stuck with more realistic goals based on my training (Another important lesson).  Last year during this time my asthma was causing a lot of trouble and I was traveling weekly for work.  I just didn’t make my runs a priority.  It makes sense – you get what you put in.

What about this year?

Fast forward to today: the night before my rematch.  My chance to have a happy and successful race.  Yes I have time goals, but I will not let myself get on the train to negative town.  My most important goal is to enjoy and have fun.  That was my biggest lesson from last year.  Because after all –  I’m running a half marathon tomorrow baby!

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Getting ready to head into the Expo!

Yesterday I went to the expo and had an awesome time.  I grabbed my packet easily and sure enough my bib says Corral D.  Crazy.  Still convinced that’s an error.  Adam and I wandered around the expo and I picked up some tape for my knees, new bottles for my fuel belt, and an awesome sparkly headband (score!).  It was a great success and not too crowded.  I could feel my heart pounding when I was heading into the expo. I’m hoping I can stay calm and anxiety free tomorrow.  I trained for a successful race – I just need to remember that.  I made a game plan for fueling/water stops so that’s all decided as well.  All that’s left is running!

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Red circles are water stops and blue stars are 1/2 Gu.

If you’d like to track my progress you can sign up for that here.  The Indy Mini has race tracking available for all participants.  I love it – my family across the country is already signed up to get updates.  How sweet is that?  Additionally you can follow me on Twitter (@racesrepsramble) as I signed up to automatically tweet my splits.  You’ll see the tweets here on the homepage too.  Isn’t technology amazing?  Enjoy the weekend!

Wish me luck!  And fingers crossed my knees hold up!

-Kelly

Do you get race anxiety?  Have you ever wanted a race rematch?

Back-to-Back Half Marathons!

18 Apr

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In the spirit of keeping on keeping on, I signed up for another half marathon!  I’ve been hemming and hawing about it for a few weeks now, but I just decided to go for it this week.

The awesome:

  • It’s near me.  Close races are always convenient.
  • It’s on the smaller side, which will be fun after doing the largest half marathon in the country.
  • It’s around a reservoir; I’m guessing lovely views!
  • No pressure – the mini will be done…this one is for fun.

The con:

  • And this one I’m pretty worried about: it’s only 2 weeks after my other half.

I know, I know…all you marathoners out there are thinking ‘I do that mileage in my sleep.’  Well this marathoner is thinking – woah I really don’t want to hurt myself.  I’ve been feeling pretty strong lately (thanks P90X!), but I don’t like to push my luck.  I think 2 weeks is just a week or two shy of what I’d feel comfortable with to recover fully, but I think it’s doable.  I am going to going to do the second half-marathon as a chance to do something fun and relax – I’m not expecting any PR.

I’ve been thrilled with my running lately, and why not seize the opportunity to do another race?  With Adam moving to Nashville in June, I won’t have many chances left to have my #1 fan in tow (though my mom might object to that title ;)).  Summers are always crazy busy for weekends and there are usually far less race opportunities (at least close ones).  In the fall, there are 3 or 4 all right back to back so this will be a good time to see how many I should sign up for then.  I’m also hoping that knowing I have another race soon will keep my anxiety low on race day for the Mini.  It’s not “hey this is your one and only chance to do well,” so I’m guessing this will keep me more calm and allow me to set appropriate expectations for myself.

The Mini is almost here!!

Just a little over 2 weeks until the mini-marathon, and I am beyond excited.  I got my race confirmation in the mail yesterday and my corral placement.  It makes it seem that much more real.  I am up really close in corral D – which seems like potentially an error (for real people – I’m not that fast, come on!).  Though I was in E last year.  Moving on up ;)  I can’t believe my chance at a rematch is almost here.  I’m feeling good about going into it confident and prepared.  Last year’s mini was a pseudo-disaster…more on that another time.  Let’s just say I’m looking forward to kicking booty!

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Signing off for a bit…

And last but not least, Adam and I are off to a real vacation tomorrow!  We are thrilled for a little R&R and time away.  We’re going to work hard to stay accountable to enjoy our vacation but not completely and totally fall off the P90X (healthy living) bandwagon.  We’ll just do our best!  We are packing some snacks just in case we can’t find anything healthy – that should help…right?  Our goals also include getting in 2 short runs and a couple rounds of ab ripper – though we are postponing P90X for our vacation (a calculated decision based on where vacation and the mini fell).  Things will be quiet for the next bit – see you when I get back!

-Kelly

Have you run any races back to back?  What are your tips for a speedy recovery?

Race Recap: I Run This Town 15K!

7 Apr

Hooray!  I completed the race!  Friday night I feared the worst with two bags of ice strapped to my legs.  Lately my knees have been causing all sorts of trouble, but I’m thrilled to report that yesterday they cooperated.  I had a very successful run and felt pretty strong throughout.

The “I Run This Town 15K” is a part of the training series for the mini-marathon I’m doing May 4th.  It is a fantastically organized series, and I have enjoyed both the 10K and 15K events immensely.  They have helped me believe in myself, and I know I will have more confidence going into my half-marathon.

Saturday morning I woke up excited, but also a bit anxious to see what was going to be possible with my knees.  I started my half bagel in the toaster and went to the bathroom to get ready.  I ended up cutting it pretty close on timing.  Because I live so near to the start line I kept thinking “oh I live so close, I’m fine.”  My bagel was pretty much the last thing I did on the way out the door.  Yeah – rookie mistake.  I only had a bit of stomach jostling during the race, so I lucked out.

I also had a tough time deciding exactly what to wear.  It was in the low 40s but cloudy, and I had my outfit picked out – but gloves?  or no gloves?  hat?  just an ear warmer?  I ended up going with light gloves, a long sleeved cotton shirt, and shorts.  With everything settled I headed out the door.  I needed to complete 10 miles so I ran the mile to the start line to get my extra mileage. The closer I got to the start, the more I noticed I didn’t see anyone for the race.  No bibs, no runners, no people stretching with a warm-up jog around the canal.  For the 10K, runners were everywhere, so my nerves kicked up that I might be missing the start!  I turned the corner and to my relief things hadn’t started yet – everyone was just already in line.  After making my way up to the start I checked my watch- 7:59.  For a 8:00 am race.  A whole minute to spare.  I was golden.

The training series races don’t have corrals, so the beginning is sort of hectic.  It can be frustrating to have walkers and very slow runners right up at the front.  But then again – I could be slow to the person behind me, so it’s all relative.  I tried to pick somewhere near the front, but not too far up.  I settled upon a spot and awaited the gun.

We were soon off and the first few miles felt great on my knees.  In fact, I was quite shocked at how little I felt any tweaking or issues of any kind.  The temperature was pleasant enough, but quite windy and overcast.  There were points that I was wishing I had pants…so the gloves were a great choice.  Mile 1 clocked in at 8:22.  I reminded myself to pull back.  My goal was between 8:30-9:00.  After all, this was a training run and I’m already dealing with injuries.  Mile 2: 8:26… that’s better.  I continued to feel strong though and my pace remained in the low 8:20s.

My normal race strategy is to control my start and leave juice for the end.  Therefore, during the first few miles I give myself a couple of milestones to keep from pushing it too early.  I had until mile 7 to control my pace and keep consistent.  At that point I could begin to push a bit more (if my knees felt great).  Then, at mile 8 I could really start going to town if I so desired.  This strategy kept me excited and motivated for the last few miles, but also in control of the adrenaline and desire to run.

During this race I had a funny moment that really reminded me of my age and experiences with injuries.  One of my favorite mantras when I did full marathons was  “Pain is only temporary, pride is forever.”  I would often chant this repeatedly in my head along with several other mantras.  I picked up the tactic from a marathoning book and always really enjoyed it.  I hadn’t done it in awhile and started saying to myself, pain is only temporary, pride is eternal.

Pain is only temporary, pride is forever. 

Well really Kelly – that’s a lie.  If you injure yourself good enough, you could really have that injury plague you forever.  So maybe let’s keep away from the pain part and just run the best you can.  

After my little inner monologue I laughed to myself.  Pride was no longer a good enough incentive!  I started thinking about the other half of my bagel and Adam at the finish line and that seemed to work too :)

When mile 8 hit I couldn’t believe it – I still felt strong!  I had a lot of juice in the tank and my knees were giving me no issues.  I still tried to control my pace as I knew I was already ahead of my goal of 8:30-9:00.  Throughout the race I used one Gu and split it among three different aid stations.  This strategy seemed to prevent the stomach sloshing/cramping I had during the 10K.  I’ll probably use this strategy for my half.

Rounding the corner, I had the finish in sight!  I was soo excited to see Adam (and my half bagel of course).  I wanted to yell and shout at him “Look!!  Can you believe the time?  Can you believe my knees!”  I was still in such shock, I wanted to share in my excitement.  Adam had instructed me to remove my headphones when I neared the end, as last time I was oblivious to them cheering for me.  I was feeling well enough to keep my eyes peeled for him.  I kept looking and he was nowhere to be found.  The finish line was small so I knew he wasn’t there.  Was it possible that I beat him to the end??  I crossed with a smile on my face – quite pleased with how I was feeling: not dead!  In fact, quite strong.  I was very happy to be done, and it was awesome knowing I could’ve cranked out a few more miles.

I collected my banana and water, still in disbelief Adam wasn’t in sight.  He’s never late!  I texted him, both delighted I was early enough to beat him (I couldn’t wait to hear his surprise), and irritated that he didn’t see me cross the finish!  I didn’t have to wait long as I saw him immediately after leaving the finish line area.  His face said it all: disbelief, happiness, surprise, pride!  It was so great to have him there and share in the excitement that not only did my knees not fall apart, I had a great run!

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Better late than never!

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I did get something – a bag, sweet!

After stretching a bit we walked home, a relief to my knees (which of course now started cramping up and screaming).  My knees weren’t all that happy with me but I iced, stretched, and stretched some more when I got home and soon felt better.

The results were soon posted and I found out my average pace was 8:14 with a total time of 1:16:45.  Nothing short of amazing!  I also placed 10th in my division out of 152 – another fun bonus.  2013 is the year of sub 9 races…something very new and thrilling to me.  I really attribute a large bit of this change to P90X.  I can’t wait to see what May 4th will bring – fingers crossed for a sub 2-hour half!

Adam and I had some celebratory Pei Wei asian for lunch (don’t worry – we consulted their nutrition guide and didn’t totally blow the P90X plan)  and had a great rest of our Saturday!  I just keep thinking back to my race and it makes me smile every time!

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Deliciousness!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

-Kelly

Have you ever totally surprised yourself in a race?  

15K In the Morning!

5 Apr

Tomorrow’s the day!  The day I hope I can just cross the finish line! :)  The I Run This Town 15K is a part of the mini-marathon training series and takes place tomorrow morning.  I participated in the 10K about a month ago and had an awesome experience.  My pace was fantastic (like unprecedented-for-me fantastic, see my post here) and I felt strong – I was thrilled I had decided to do it.  I picked up my packet today for the 15K distance and I’m ready to go!  However, I have good news and bad news.

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Do I look ready or what?

The Good:

I’m happy to report low to no race anxiety.  That’s fantastic news for me.  Normally before a race I get so nervous that I make my stomach upset and affect my run.  This has happened for the past couple half-marathons (particularly the mini-marathon last year) and I’ve been trying to combat it more lately.  It’s super unpleasant (take my word for it) and takes a lot of the fun out of racing.  I’m happy my stomach isn’t churning tonight!  Unfortunately the low race anxiety is due to the fact my mind knows I won’t be performing in peak non-injured condition.

The Bad:

I have an ice pack on each knee and will be thrilled if I can finish the thing!  Never mind any pace goals!  My knees are back to giving me trouble.  I pulled out of a half in October due to knee pain, and it is back to haunt me again.  I’m doing my best by icing, hydrating, and taking some pre-race advil.  This evening I’m staying in and having a quiet night to better prepare for tomorrow.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed and just hope for the best at the race.  Send me your positive vibes in the morning as I could use all the help I can get!

Happy Friday and enjoy the weekend!

-Kelly

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Yeah, this is a bummer.

Just Signed Up: 15K!

29 Mar

Well folks, I just signed up for another race!  I’m thrilled about this one as it is a part of the same training series as my 10K.  Most conveniently, it is only 1 mile from my apartment – score!  Also, the race itself is only 1 mile shorter than my long run for the day.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Originally I thought I’d be out of town, but plans changed, so I am all signed up and ready go.  I’m a little nervous, as I want to be careful with my expectations, specifically with speed.  Of course I’d like to go fast, but I don’t want to get injured before the real race in May (the mini marathon).  I also don’t want to get discouraged if I’m slower than my 10K a few weeks ago- yeah remember that lightning-fast-for-Kelly-unheard-of-pace of 8:09 (I still don’t believe it)?  I keep going back and forth between wanting a repeat and not wanting to do something quite that crazy.  I think my goal is somewhere between 8:30-9:00.  I’d walk away feeling really happy with times in that range.

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The race is next Saturday and is in place of my long run – so no real extra prep needed (that’s easy).  I’m hoping this race will help with the race day anxiety I usually experience.  To me this race is another opportunity to practice my eating, breathing, fueling, and waking up, to feel extra prepared for the mini.  This is my first half-marathon (or full) where I have done shorter races as a part of training, and I must say I really like it.  The little milestones along the way really keep me energized and motivated.  It’s a strategy I will definitely try to continue in future training plans.

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All signed up and ready to go!

Looking forward to the race and here’s to hoping the weather will be half-way decent. :)

Happy Friday!

-Kelly

Race Recap: Shamrock Run!

18 Mar

Okay – so this wasn’t really a race race…but there was a start/finish line and a chip so I guess it counts!

This past Saturday morning (right after Match Day – rough I know!), Adam and I ran in a 4 mile Shamrock Run and Walk. I haven’t run something with Adam in quite some time so it was great to have him out there with me.  Additionally, he hasn’t gone on a run himself in many months so I was also a bit nervous.

This run was also a great opportunity to celebrate St. Patty’s Day!  Truthfully it’s one of my favorite holidays – but right now I’m in a musical which is making my schedule pretty hectic.  Doing this race was our way of celebrating St. Patty’s Day, and we joked, celebrating in a P90X approved fashion.

Conveniently, the start/finish line was about a mile from my apartment so we jogged and got a nice warm-up.  I was also doing this race as a part of my 8-mile long run.  Doing these mini races has been a really fun way to complete my longer runs.  We got to the start with just a minute or so to spare and jumped in line with all the decked-out leprechauns and green tutus.  It was quite a sea of festive people; there was no shortage of exciting people-watching.

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The gun went off and we took off around the circle. I gave Adam specific instructions that I didn’t want to complete my run in the record 8:09 pace of last weekend’s race.  That pace was unheard of for me, and I wanted to be cautious.  I didn’t want the race excitement to get to me and push faster than would be safe.  I’m a little paranoid about injuries!  Ideally, I wanted to be between an 8:30 and 9 minute pace (given I had to run a total of 8 miles).

The course itself was really very neat.  It started downtown and went to another close neighborhood and looped back.  Another reason I was interested in this race it would allow me to explore a new part of town that I don’t usually run in.  I have definitely added this to my potential trails for long runs!  The weather was beautiful- sunny and around 40.  This actually caught me off guard. I have been running in gloves and a hat for so many months that I didn’t really know how to dress.  I ended up going with pants and a t-shirt, and Adam did shorts and a long sleeve.  Both of us felt pretty good temperature-wise, so it was a good choice.

Adam did great, but I could tell he wasn’t feeling amazing.  His knee was giving him trouble, so it wasn’t the most enjoyable run for him.  Last spring Adam was running much stronger than me, so this was a sure sign that my running and fitness has improved.  We stayed together and had a nice brisk pace. I was able to maintain a somewhat one-sided conversation – another sign that my asthma was under pretty great control.

As we neared the downtown again we just had a mile to go.  I was hoping to pick up the pace (that’s exciting I had more juice in the tank!), but Adam’s knee at this point was really giving him a lot of trouble.  We kept a constant pace and happily neared the end!  With a smile on my face we crossed the finish line.  I felt like I had plenty of energy left, which made me super happy.  Also – it was good because I still had another 3 miles to run.

Afterwards we stretched, claimed our hard-earned banana and water, and walked around downtown for a bit.  After a short break I headed off to complete my run, and Adam walked home to make breakfast.  Yet another successful long run/race hybrid!  Next week will actually be strange with no race…well, yet.  Who knows what Saturday will bring!

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Running together for St. Patrick’s Day!

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The canal dyed green for St. Patty’s!

Hope you all had a fantastic green holiday!

-Kelly