Tag Archives: race

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

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

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?  

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

Race Recap: My First 10K!

12 Mar

This weekend was exciting for many reasons!  First, it was Adam’s birthday.  And for those that know me, they know birthdays are big!!  I absolutely love celebrating birthdays.  I threw Adam a surprise party with a lot of helpers, and we had a wonderful time.  I also had a very dear friend visiting this weekend making it even more special.  The last reason this weekend was so exciting: I ran my first 10K!

Had you asked me last Friday morning if I thought I’d be running a race this weekend I would’ve had a resounding “um no, I have a long run” in response.  But my what an afternoon can change!  I went out to lunch with a few co-workers and one of them shared a bit about their race this weekend: a 10K race as a part of the training series for the Mini-Marathon.  It was just .8 miles shorter than my long run planned.  And, conveniently the start/finish line were only about a mile from my apartment.  The race started at 8 am and I was planning on getting my long run (7 miles) started at 7:30 am.  Can you say destiny?  I asked a few more questions and soon I was sold!

That afternoon I signed up and paid the 12 dollar fee.  And soon after registering the nerves started.  That little flurry in my stomach was the unwelcome familiar pre-race feeling. My last Indy Mini was a disaster in terms of nerves.  I was so nervous. So nervous that I made myself sick – I had a stomachache the entire race and burst into tears at the end of it; not pretty.  I hadn’t trained well enough to put that much pressure on myself. I desperately wanted to do well: it was Adam’s first race and I wanted to help him get to a sub 2-hour time.  Instead, he ended up practically dragging me to the finish line in 2 hours and 6 minutes by some miracle because I had managed to give myself montezuma’s revenge.  Ever since this race I’ve had a complex of sorts about running (racing really).  But I knew doing this 10K would help me relax about racing and get back into the swing of things.  The rest of the day I worked tirelessly to take my mind off the race.

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All signed up: My long run officially turned into a race!

Saturday morning my alarm went off and my stomach wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated.  I changed clothes (a balmy 34 degrees), ate half a bagel (daring, I know), and took a few puffs of my albuterol (I have asthma).  My plan was to run the extra mile I needed before the race just to get it over with. I took off toward the start line with heavy legs.  They felt pretty tired so I just mentally told myself to relax: this was for training purposes only!  My timing was just about perfect: 1.2 miles to reach the start.  I slowed, stretched, and just tried to keep warm until the start of the race.

My least favorite part of races: the very beginning.  Well… probably the first mile or two of a race.  I know I’m not alone in this sentiment but man, I really don’t enjoy it.  A couple reasons: my strategy is to finish strong and fast.  Therefore, my initial pace is somewhat slow and steady.  I tend to get passed in the first mile or two and then pass those same people at the end (not all of them – I wish ;)).  As usual, I got somewhat discouraged during the first part.  I had to remind myself continuously that I had a strategy and that I know my body.  I had to focus on my goals and ignore others around me.  Well, I’m glad I listened to myself.  Around mile 4 I started really picking up my pace and found myself in my favorite position: “hunter”.  By mile 5.5 I felt like I was flying.  I felt strong and confident.  Mile 5.8 I started having some issues: I had a major side cramp.  I kept up my pace as best I could and held strong to the finish line.

Previous to this race my fastest training run to date was averaged 8:38 for 3 miles.  This run happened 2 weeks ago and blew my previous 9:04 average at 4 miles, out of the water.  I was elated at 8:38 – I felt like I was king of the world!  All day I floated on a cloud: maybe someday I can get over my asthma and be fast!  During this race I thought it was possible to average 8:30 – I just have been feeling fast lately and my breathing has been giving me less trouble.  Well – I came in faster than 8:30 miles.  I came into the finish uncomfortable with a side cramp, but delighted at my time: 50:36. That’s an average pace of 8:09! Just last year I was happy when my training runs came in under 10 minutes!  I couldn’t believe it.  I hugged Adam and my friend Katie at the end of the race.  They had walked over to watch me finish and both shared in my excitement and shock.

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Super sweaty but happy!

This 10K not only gave me confidence because my race anxiety before the run was greatly reduced, but I also had a fantastic time!  What a feeling!  I’m hoping to sign up for more “short” races like this one – I’m thinking the more I race the less nerves I will experience before the race.

Do you experience nerves before races?  What have you done to stay calm and reduce race-day anxiety?