Birmingham MLK Drum Run 5k (18:40)

Last weekend I had the itch to race.  My husband and I discovered a 5k in Birmingham.  Since I just moved to Montgomery, I had no idea about the race community, area, terrain or anything else.  But a race is a race, right?

As long as there is a time, the course is fairly accurate, and there is just more than my husband and I running, I can’t complain.

We arrived in downtown Birmingham around 7 am and did a quick warm up.  I was coming off a tough training week and knew it wouldn’t be a PR.  My legs were stiff, but the plan was to give it what I had for the day.  My coach and I wanted a solid effort for where I was in training.

My husband and I made it to the start line where several high school marching bands were playing.  (It would sense with the race title “Drum Run”.)  The bands all sounded great and it was such a unique start.  I lined up and by the time I knew it we were off.

Birmingham mlk 5k
Photo from Just4Running.com

During the 200 meters, a lead pack quickly formed ahead which included two clearly fast elites,  my husband, another female, and a few others.  I found myself in the no mans chase pack of one.  It was evident the two elites were going to jog there way to a 16 something 5k which is what ultimately happened.  They looked effortless as they pulled away.

The first mile went over a few small rolling hills in the downtown and I crossed the first mile in 6:07.  Since my legs were heavy, plus the course wasn’t entirely flat, I was happy.

I could see the lead female in front.  I felt as though I was catching her. By the second mile, the lead pack was also strung out.  There were the two elites who were now out of sight, my husband and then a larger pack of 3 people including the woman.  I passed the larger pack around the halfway point.  The second mile had less hill but more turns. I ran the tangents well.  I crossed the second mile in 5:54 and felt better.  My legs were stiff, but I felt like they were loosening up.I was pleasantly surprised with a sub 6-minute mile.

I ran the final mile alone.  I could see my husband about a minute ahead and LOLed at the idea of catching him.  There were a few small rolling hills throughout the downtown.  Even when he isn’t training for 5ks (like now), he can still gut out a faster 5k.   I counted down the last mile… by every quarter of a mile.  I wasn’t fading, but I was ready to be done.  I crossed the third mile in 5:58 and gutted down to the finish line.

Birmingham mlk 5k

The final portion of the race was downhill, and I just powered to the end.  With the downhill, my final kick was 5:16.  If only all races had a nice downhill finish. Even though I cut the tangents well, the course was a little long, and I finished in 18:40.  I was fourth overall and the first woman.

Birmingham mlk 5k

Thoughts:

I am pleased with how the race went.  When you race often, you can’t expect a PR and each race has a goal.  My goal for the MLK 5k was to get a quick workout on my legs and to explore a new city.  Both of which I did.

Questions for you:

What how was your weekend?

Have you ever raced on tired legs?

Training: 10 Degrees and 70 Degrees

Another week of training down and what an interesting weather week it was!  Sunday started off with a run in 10 degrees, and by the end of the week, it was 70. The south is obviously a bit warmer, but it’s been unseasonably warm here all week.  Most of my runs were done in 60 degrees, and by mid-afternoon, it was up to 70+.  It was definitely a shock from last weeks 10 degrees.

Sunday: Easy 7 miles (untimed)
Monday: Workout: 6X800s
Tuesday: Easy 7 miles (8:27) 15 minutes core
Wednesday: Midweek Long Run (11.2 @ 8:27)  

 

Thursday: AM: 8 miles (8:35)
PM: 4 miles (8:42)
Friday: Easy 8 miles (8:40)
Saturday: MLK 5k (18:40)


Thoughts:

After getting to Alabama on Sunday and acclimating, my legs were stiff.  Being cooped up in a car for 3 days is never pleasant, and my legs were tight for most of the week.

Workout: 6X800s (average 3:05)

The goal was to run much faster than 3:05, however, the track is actually located near a runway.  (I can’t make this stuff up!)

To give you an idea of the wind from the planes, when the planes were taking off my 800 was 3:20 (6:40 pace) and I was working hard!  Luckily, they weren’t taking off for all of the workout, and I could get a few quality 800s in as well as well as some “wind resistance training”.  It’s impossible to know the plane schedule and takeoff/landing times, so there is no point in trying to find the “best time” to workout.  If the planes hinder me too much, I’ll go elsewhere, but that is the price of living on base.

Even though some of the 800s were significantly slower than anticipated, I’m not upset.  My legs were stiff, and you have to factor in the wind (or whatever element you’re dealing with).

Easy Runs:

The rest of my runs were done in the morning with my husband.  I’ve been running around 5:30 am in the dark.  I haven’t adjusted well to central time, and I’m waking up at 4:30 am.  It’s nice to have someone to run with though!

MLK 5k: (18:40)

On Saturday, my husband and I ran the Birmingham MLK Drum Run.  Even though the course was a little long, it was well put together.  The goal of the race was to get a good workout in after a tough week of training.  I knew my body was tired and it wasn’t a PR race.

When I toed the line, my legs were stiff.  My splits were 6:07, 5:54 and 5:57.  I gave it everything I had for the day which ended up being 18:40, on a slightly long course and I am happy with the result.  I wasn’t expecting a PR, but I do know when I’m tapered I’m capable of it.

In summary, I’m happy with the week of training.  It was a quality week, and I don’t have any complaints.

Running Related Post from the week: Tips for Running through Winter

Questions for you:

How was your week of training?

Are you off work today? 

Run for Jack 5k (18:30)

My husband and I wanted to run a race on New Years.  Typically when we are out of town, and there are plenty of races.  Surprisingly there weren’t a lot of New Years Races around Southern New Jersey, so we were forced to travel.  There were a few options within an hour (all with different start times), and we decided to go for a 10:30 am race start.  Honestly, I would have preferred an earlier start, but that wasn’t a choice but there were not any.

When we arrived to the Haverford area in PA, I quickly realized the race wasn’t going to be flat.  I had hoped for a solid race effort on a flat course but that wasn’t an option either.  Now that I’m racing less, I want those races to count (which is silly).  I had a workout so I already knew it wasn’t a PRing race.

The goal of the workout was 2x5k at 20:00 min with 3 mins rest in between.  I’ve done the workout before and I will say it’s one of the tougher ones. Since joining Mckirdy trained, I’ve been racing less, and several of my races have been workouts.  It’s been an adjustment, but I do get the best of both worlds.

I warmed up on the course with my husband.  We quickly went to the restroom and made it to the start line.  The race was already later than I liked and then it was delayed by 10 minutes.  I stayed positive even though I wasn’t a happy camper.

Finally, the race went off, and I found myself as third woman overall.  I stayed there the entire time.  At first, I thought I might be able to catch the first or second woman but then by .5 I knew that was not happening.  The first mile was flat with a long gradual downhill.  Of the three miles, the first was set up to be the fastest.  I passed a couple of kids and crossed the first mile in 6:16.  I felt stale and didn’t feel great.  Running a 6:16 mile wasn’t where I mentally wanted to be.

The second mile climbed up a hill and looped past the start.  I started to feel much looser and built some confidence.  I crossed the second mile in 6:03 and felt much better about the situation.  It was a harder mile and I ran faster.

The third mile went by like such a blur.  I was running alone and had a pack of males about 10 feet in front of me.  I just focused on them.  I wanted to catch up to them.  I knew the last 400 meters finished directly uphill and I kept cringing thinking about it.

You could see the clock at the top of the hill over a quarter of a mile away.  It felt like it wasn’t coming any closer.  I just climbed the hill and staring at the clock directly ahead.

I passed one male at the bottom of the hill, but he came back and outkicked me in the final few strides.  I crossed the finish in 18:30 exactly.

I jogged to my car and went back for my personal 5k.  To be honest, I felt better running the second 5k than I did the first.  I ran alone and away from the race course.  My splits were 6:25, 6:39, 6:29.  I finished up in 20:15 and felt pretty pleased with myself.

Thoughts:

I know I’m currently in 5k PRing shape but haven’t had the opportunity to race on a flat course and good day.  I’m extremely pleased with the workout as a whole.   

Questions for you:

What is a perfect race start time for you?

I like races that start between 7:30-8:30.

How was your New Years Day?

Training Last Week: 800s and Tempos


The last week of training went by with nothing of note.  As most people know, I work in a run specialty store.  While it’s not as crazy as a department store, we still are extremely busy during the holidays.

Most of my week was centered around work (how thrilling), but I was able to get runs in too.

Monday: 60 minutes easy
Tuesday: Workout 6X800s
Wednesday: 50 minutes easy/ART from Dr. Kemenosh
Thursday: 65 minutes easy
Friday: 65 minutes easy
Saturday: Off
Sunday: warmup+40 minute tempo run+cooldown

Total: 50 miles

Easy runs were just that and uneventful.  I have nothing of note with those.

Tuesdays workout: 6X800s (ranging in pace between 6:02-6:07 per mile)

The goal was to be closer to the 3 min mark (6 mins per mile), however, due to running on the road versus the track, my times were a little slower.  I prefer to do my speed work on roads because it’s easier to get space on the road and I race on the road.

Sunday: 40 min Tempo Run (average 6:44)

My workout was supposed to be on Christmas Eve, however, due to my schedule that didn’t work out.  Oddly enough, I had plenty of time the morning of Christmas and was able to get my tempo run done before 9.

The workout itself went well.  The goal was 6:43 pace and my average was 6:44.

Thoughts:

I have no complaints with my training week.  It was a boring week of training but many weeks are like that.

Next week I’m hoping to find a New Years 5k but there aren’t many close by.  I haven’t raced since the Dallas half marathon and I’m itching for a race.

Posts from the week:
A Look Back at 2016 Running
How to Stay Motivated

Questions for you:
How was your Holiday week?
Do you have any New Years plans?

A Look Back at 2016 Running

The year, 2016, brought several PRs but is also brought one serious injury.

As I close out 2016 with my running, I thought it would be fun to reflect upon the year.  Plus there are plenty of new readers as well.  Thinking out loud, I also never expect you to read remember what happened on LOLZ blog.  Reflecting allows me to look back on the year too.

January: 

In 2016, January was probably the best month running wise for me.  I PRed in both of my favorite distances, the 5k and half marathon.

Starting the year off, on January 1st, I ran the Resolution Run 5k (18:22) and PRed in a prom dress. Resolution Run

Then we went on vacation to Carlsbad and I PRed at the Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:22.57).

carlsbad half

The rest of January was relatively quiet.  It is definitely hard to top a PR in my two favorite distances.

February:

February brought a better PR in the 5k and I PRed in the Flower Show 5k (18:13).  They threw flower petals at the start and you can clearly tell I was amused.flower show cannon

After that, I raced a few races but nothing of note.

March:

The biggest race in March was not my best race.  In fact for all of 2016, Shamrock Half Marathon was my most miserable and unenjoyable race (The Philly half is so very close).

I love the Shamrock Race series, but 10 minutes before the start, it started to downpour.  It was 40 degrees,  downpouring and windy.  Long story short, I paid the price and went from 7th place overall to 14th in the final mile.

My favorite race of March was the Phillies Charity 5k (18:27)  I ran an 18:27 and surprisingly won the race for females.  I received an autographed bat which was one of my favorite awards to date.

via Phillies facebook

April:

My most memorable race was running the April Fools Half Marathon.  While it wasn’t a PR, I did run a great race and surprised myself.  The theme of my 2016 racing season became bad weather and we had wind gusts of 50 MPH.

April Fools half

Another race my husband and I did in April was the Totally Awesome 80s run.  We attempted to dress the part and win the “best dressed” but there were many other couples dressed far better.

80s Attire

totally awesome 80s run

In April, I also ran the Broad Street 10 miler.  This was one of a few very good 2016 races for me.  Even though the weather was awful (what a trend), I ran a 10 mile best of 61:58.  I learned a lot from racing in Shamrock the month before and I ran the race in my Gortex jacket.  Bulky but I wasn’t defeated by the weather.

broad street 10 miler 1

May-August

May began a series of runs that felt like garbage.  I knew something was off and even with rest I didn’t feel good.  Later I found out I had a small break in my ankle and had a very rare form of food poisoning.  Honestly, it gave me plenty of time off and I didn’t miss running.

I spent most of the summer resting and then slowly easing back.  The summer of 2016 was my down period.

September:

In September I jumped into RnR Virginia Beach and ran a 1:31.  It was my first official race in a few months and I had no idea how it would go.  A hurricane had just blown through and conditions weren’t ideal, but I finished as fifth women overall.

Roll Virginia Beach results

In September, I also won the Flying Fish 5k which gave me one of my all time favorite race photos.Flying Fish 5k

Finally in late September, I ran RnR Philadephia and ran a 1:27.37.  It was extremely hot day and I was pleased with my improvement.

As you can tell, September was a great month, running wise for me.  I began to feel motivated that I was coming back from my injury strong.

October:

As great as September was, October was better!

I had an incredible time at the Runners World 5k and half marathon.  I attended my first November Project, ran an 18:41 5k and then the next day a 1:24.17 half marathon.  It was one of my best weekend performances of 2016.

Runners World half marathon photos me runnning

The following weekend, I ran the Base Half Marathon.  Even though it was close after Runners World, the race itself was important to me.  My husband was deployed at the time.  It poured rain but I ended up running negative splits (1:25.30) and was second overall (including men and women).

Base half marathon me running

November:

Similar to March, my noteworthy race was not because of a positive experience.  I felt terrible at the Philadelphia half marathon and ran a 1:27.  I was in shape to run faster but like anything bad races happen.  I crossed the finish line and didn’t think too much about it.

Five days after the Philadelphia half marathon, I ran a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5k and ran an 18:30.  It restored the motivation I had lost in myself.  Plus I was race number 1, which was probably my greatest achievement of the year.medford-lakes-turkey-trot

December:

December is obviously the most fresh in my mind, and I only raced once.  The Dallas Half Marathon was my only race but also my favorite race.  I ended my half marathon racing with a 1:23.44 which was close to where I started in January (1:22.57 at Carlsbad).  bmw dallas half marathon me running

I also announced that I was being coached by James Mckirdy.

Favorite Races of 2016:

Phillies 5k (18:27)

Flower Show 5k (18:13) PR

Broad Street 10 miler (61:59) PR

Carlsbad Half Marathon (1:22.57) PR

April Fools Half Marathon (1:24.04)

Base Half Marathon (1:25.28)

Dallas Half Marathon (1:23.44)

You can see all of my races here.

So what’s next for 2017?

That is a can of worms post that deserves it’s own day.  I have a lot of goals but honestly running healthy and injury free is still the first priority.  Like any runner I would like to continue to PR. I have no plans on marathoning soon and I’m happy racing shorter.

Questions for you:

How was your year of running?

How to Stay Motivated

Last Friday, I was anything but motivated.  The amount I wanted to run wasn’t just 0%, it was probably -20%.

As a runner and a running blogger, I am supposed to be motivated all of the time right?  Otherwise, I have failed at my self-created duties!

What happened that particular day?

  • I had a meeting in the morning. I’m a morning runner and the later it gets, the less motivated I am to run. Some people like to run later, but I’m not one of those people.
  • I was already stressed out from outside life factors. For some people, running is their stress reliever.  For me, I feel when I run, but I enjoy other things to relieve stress.
  • Finally, the weather was the coldest it has been all year. It’s not an excuse, but cold weather can be so demotivating.  Sometimes, the last thing I want to do is freeze in the bitter wind while running.

Ultimately around 1 pm, I found myself with a choice.  Either I was going to run, or I was not going to run.  I had my running clothing in the car and instead of going straight home to think about running, I went straight to the gym.

I can’t tell you I’ve always decided to go for a run when I haven’t felt like it but on Friday I manged to get a solid treadmill run in.

Many people ask how to stay motivated to keep running.

The short answer is: you just do.  Motivation has to come from you wanting to run not from a blog post telling you how too.

But of course, there are a few tips I have that keep me motivated to just run:
  • Forget pace and time. Just take the simple and basic sport and go for a run.  Remember why you fell in love with the sport. It wasn’t run a specific time or pace, it was just moving one foot in front of the other.  It shouldn’t feel like a chore.
  • Think about what you would actually be doing in your running time frame. For me, I know I would just be sitting on the computer and honestly doing minimal work.
  • For some people looking at motivational quotes, pictures, and social media gets them out running. That’s awesome and if that is what gets you motivated go for it!
  • For me, I get motivated through seeing my local friends and runners getting through it. If they can get through a run in the same elements, then so can I!

Remember, at the end of the day, it’s just running.  If you take a day or two off, that’s fine.  Your overall fitness is built on consistently running, not just one day.

Questions for you:
How do you stay motivated when you don’t feel like it?
What is something you’ve accomplished recently?

Dallas Half Marathon (1:23.44)

As most people know, for a while I contemplated running the Dallas full marathon.  After a twenty miler, I realized I had no interest in that and signed up for the half.  I lived west of San Antonio in 2014 and have driven through Dallas before.  My husband and I both like BMWs, and since this is BMWs first race in the US, it seemed like a fun December trip.

As time drew closer, my body began feeling like junk.  I was making intervals and workouts but not feeling great doing so.  It’s something I still don’t have an answer for.  After dropping the ball at the Philly half a few weeks prior, I had no idea how the race at Dallas would go.

Despite running a 1:24 at Runner’s World half in October, if I were faster than the 1:27 from Philly I would be pleased.  My father in law was running the full marathon and my husband, and I were running the half.  Whatever happened, it was still going to be a great short vacation.

We arrived the Friday before, and I felt sore and tired.  When doing a shakeout run the next day, I felt just as bad. The closer it got to the race,  the more I was disconnected.  Like Philly, I tried to psych myself up by posting too much on the internet.  It seemed to work.

We arrived at the starting line on Sunday around 7:15. It was drizzling rain and a little bit windy.  Overall, the weather was definitely better than the majority of races I’ve run this year (realistically that isn’t saying too much).  The first coral closed at 7:50 and I made my way to the start.

The half, full and relay all went off at the same time, so it was crowded.  I started several rows behind.  They introduced elites Meb, Ryan Hall and Deena.  I am disappointed none were at the finish line when I crossed though!  They were passing out medals, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that didn’t motivate to finish…

All of a sudden the race went off at 8:05 and it was crowded.  The race started uphill, and I still felt sore out of the gate.  I was running elbow to elbow with several people.  We made a few sharp turns and a young guy, and myself collided.  Neither of us fell, and we started chatting.  I crossed the first mile in 6:32 which I was extremely happy and surprised with.

I mentally told myself that I wouldn’t complain about a 1:25. During the second mile, I felt okay.  I didn’t feel good or bad.  I crossed the second mile in 6:20.  In halves, I give myself until the 5k to decide how my body will feel.  The third mile went without too much note, and I crossed in 6:21.  I hit the 5k in 19:57 which is always pleasing.  The 20-minute 5k barrier is a huge mental block for me.

The plan (per Coach Mckirdy) was to run the first half at a moderate pace but not too overdo it.  The course itself does have a few hills but the second half is significantly faster.  If I could make it past mile 8 and still feel good, I could crank then.

I saw my husband just up ahead at mile 4, and we ran both 4 and 5 together.  It wasn’t his day, but we ran a 6:14 and 6:12.

Mile 6 began a few uphills, and I kept telling myself I just needed to make it to the halfway and then past mile 8. I hit the 10k at 39:37 and was proud of my negative split thus far.

I found both miles 7 and 8 to be the most challenging.  I noticed two women in front of me, but I had no idea if they were running the half, full or a relay.  I focused on passing them.  The crowds were huge, and I ended up high-fiving kids and even a professional player from the Mavericks.  I fed on the crowds and ran a 6:22 and 6:27.  The half and full finally divided and there were a few men who went the full route but no women.

By mile 9 I was running alone.  A relay went by me as if I was standing still.  I hit the 15k in 59:39.  I’ve run several 15ks in Upstate, New York but never had an official time under an hour so that time motivated me too.  Each mental time checkpoint went well, and I built confidence each time.

bmw dallas half marathon me running

I could see runners about 15 feet in front but had no idea where I was overall place wise. I hadn’t seen a lot of women up ahead, but I knew they were there.  I noticed a women dressed up only  20 seconds in front and I made it my goal to try to catch her.  I wasn’t feeling good by any means, but I needed something to pull me along to the finish,  I ran a 6:19 9th mile and a lonely 6:20 tenth.

Around mile 11, I caught the woman and she asked: “do you know where the relay exchange is?”  I said I had no idea but the last one I saw was two miles ago.  She panicked and peeled off.  I felt extremely bad because she had missed it and that is a lot of extra miles to run.

Around 11.55, I realized I had charged too early, and I paid the effects during the last mile and a half. Despite the miles being downhill, my stomach began cramping, and I didn’t have anymore leg speed. I was just focusing on the end, and it began a 13 minutes left…12…11..11:59…

The last 600 meters had signs that said 600 meters to go, then 400 then 200.  It’s a downhill finish, so at 600 you can see the massive finish line shoot.  I took my mind far off of racing.  I was thinking about everything but the race pain. I hurt but focused on the expensive BMWs lining the street.

As I approached the finish line, I felt the need to fist pump as I crossed.  They announced me as “fist pumping all the way from Jersey.”

bmw dallas half marathon me running

Don’t ask why I raised my hand.  An hour and a half of racing does strange things.  I had done it, I had my run my third fastest half at a race I wasn’t even sure I would be able to run faster than the Philly half.

I crossed in 1:23.44 and as fifth woman overall.  I had no idea of my place until I later looked up race results.

bmw dallas half marathon me running

Thoughts:

I’m extremely happy with the race.  I didn’t anticipate to be able to string a race this strong at the end of the year. As I’ve mentioned in several training logs, I’ve made intervals but haven’t great doing so.  When I raced my two faster half marathons (Carlsbad 1:22.57) and April Fools 2015 (1:23.23), I felt like I was on top of the world.  When I raced the Dallas half, I didn’t feel fantastic or fabulous.  I have no complaints.  I’ve continued to recover well during the last week and I’m looking forward to hopefully PRing in 2017.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to Dallas?

When was the last time you surprised yourself?