Healthy Kids 5k (20:01)

On Saturday, I ran the Healthy Kids 5k.  Last year, I ran a 20:13 and placed fourth female overall.  I had a great time last year and enjoyed the race.  My plans changed drastically last weekend, so I found myself with an open weekend and decided to go back and do it again.

I got to the race around 7:30 and it was hot.  Like most 5ks, I like to sign up race day. The temperature read 85 degrees, and I wondered why I was running.  I signed up and warmed up.  When the race started at 8:30 it was 91 degrees.

As with many local 5ks, I found myself boxed in behind young children.  They were weaving in and out, and I nearly tripped over one young female.  As the racers spread out, I found myself as the 6th person.  I hit the first mile in 6:20. It was 5 seconds faster than last week in hotter conditions.  My legs felt tired, and I felt overheated.  In summary, I didn’t feel good.

running 12

During the second mile, I grabbed water and poured it in myself. The wind was blowing off the riverfront, and I felt the wind against my sweat.  It was a combination of sweltering air and a slight breeze. It felt good.  I ran the second mile in 6:32. I was running alone, but it was fine.

I just wanted the last mile to be over. I was alone, and local 5ks don’t have a lot of spectators. I just focused on the end.  I caught one male and rounded a turn.  The third mile went into a nature persevere and a nice view of Wilmington.  There was a slight incline but nothing drastic.  I hit the third mile in 6:24. I was pleasantly surprised because I felt awful.

I crossed the finish line in 20:01.  I thought I had broke 20, but the results said 20:01.  I should have started in front of the kids I suppose. Oh well, it’s just a number and a few seconds don’t mean much.  I did, however, win opera tickets, so that was unique.  Last year I ran a 20:13 send was the fourth woman.  This year I ran a 20:01 and was the first female…you never can predict who will show up.

Running in Sports Bra

The race is 20 seconds faster than last week and on a hotter day, so it’s hard to complain about that.

I’m happy with my race and the improvement since last week.  I have no complaints, and I think in cooler weather I would probably be around 19:30.  I’m continuing to just rich on the bigger picture and finishing races injury free.  I’m not happy or sad about the race, I’m indifferent.  I finished injury free and that is all that matters right now.

Questions for you: 
Have you ever been to the opera? 
What’s the hottest race you’ve run? 

Run for the Hill of It 5 miler (34:09)

On Saturday I ran my first race post injury. It was no PR, and it was incredibly hot and humid, but it was my first race back in 10 weeks. As I type this out two days later, I feel the same amount of residual pain as if I’m running normally.  I’m still dealing with minor aches but I’ve been carefully monitoring my foot and so far so good.

To the race recap:
I didn’t have plans to run the race until a few day before.  I knew the race existed, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to race.  If I woke up and didn’t feel good, I wouldn’t run.  I made the executive decision on Friday that I would probably run.  When I woke up on Saturday morning, I was a bundle of nerves.  I hadn’t raced in over ten weeks and had no idea how the race would go. I figured if anything hurt, I would just stop. It was only a big deal if I made it a big deal. With that, I headed to Wissahickon park with just my husband and good friend J, knowing my Saturday morning plans.  Race day was extremely hot and humid. I warmed up three miles and sweat through my clothing.

The race went off right at 8:30.  The first mile was exhausting and honestly it was the hardest mile I’ve run in a while.  My legs were tired; it was hot, and I was mentally frustrated.  Why do I feel so bad?  Why is it so hot? Why are all of these people so darn fast? WTF am I even doing here? I questioned everything in the first minute of the race. I ran with a pack, and we hit the first mile in 6:30.  I was pleasantly surprised, but I knew I couldn’t hold that pace. I didn’t feel that fast but I was heating up quickly.

During the second mile, our pack began to spread out.  I was running alone and as third women overall. I had no goals for placing and my dream goal was to run under 35:00 (7 min pace). My primary goal was to finish injury free and stay smart.  Honestly, that will be my main goal for a while.  I ran a 6:45 mile.

The course was out and back.  I hit the turnaround, grabbed water and went back the opposite direction. My clothing was drenched, it was scorching, and it was hilly.  I was in a dark spot and miserable.  I finished mile 3  at exactly a 7 min pace.  I reevaluated my ankle which felt okay, and I continued.  My mental game was weak, and I felt like I had given up.

I ran the fourth and fifth miles by myself.  To be honest, I struggled through those too.  Mentally I was exhausted, physically exhausted and over it.  I haven’t raced a race that hot in a long time.  Possibly since the RNR Half Marathon.  A woman blew by me around mile 4.  She was running fast, and I knew there was no way I could stay with her.  Another ego blow but I brushed it off.  I ran both miles in 6:52.  When I crossed the finish line, I felt exhausted and tired.  I didn’t feel incredible, and I didn’t have a “Runners High,” I just felt tired.

Run for the Hill of It
Image from Flickr

I did a short cool down and went to my car. I had no idea until I looked at my blog post last year but I ran this year 30 seconds faster this year. I do believe it was hotter than last year.  Past that, I don’t have any complaints, and I’m looking forward to getting out there again.

The most important part was my ankle didn’t hurt during the race.  The race itself was both physically and mentally challenging and I was exhausted.  Not every race can be wonderful or a PR, in fact I don’t expect them too be.

Questions for you:
What’s the hottest race you’ve ever done?
Do you like trail races or road races?

Five Things that Will Make Me Love Your Road Race

As someone who races a lot, I’ve figured out what I personally like and don’t in a race.  Of course, I understand, races are never geared towards one racer, but certain qualities will lead to more runners coming back.

Similarly, some qualities will make me never sign up for your race or even recommend it.

Five Things to make me love your road race

First and foremost, it takes a long time to prepare a road race.  It takes much longer than the actual length of the run, and most directors have blood, sweat and probably tears in their races.  With the new boom of “fun” and “themed” races and regular timed races have declined. However, just thinking, there are a few key components that separate the good from the not so good races.

I’m neither elite nor a celebrity so in reality, who really cares about what I like in a race right? 

So enough about that…What makes a road race good?

Enough Parking and Bathrooms

Races should have plenty of bathrooms.  If the hosting facility does not have enough bathrooms, porta-potties should be rented.  The last thing racers should be worried about is the bathroom or the parking situation.

Swag: 

Like any runner, I like unusual things.  I have close to 50 plain t-shirts.  I donate 90% of them. If your race provides anything other than a plain t-shirt, I’m already excited.  Even if it’s a long sleeve shirt or a neat graphic, I’m more likely to wear the shirt.  Bonus points if it’s a hoodie or jacket.  Many races can get away with charging more for a hoodie or jacket.  

Good Course Marking: 

I’ve run several races that I’ve wondered if I’m running the correct way.  I’ve also run races that I’ve been directed the wrong way by a course marshal.  Last month my husband was led the wrong way at a race. Yes, I realize at the end of the day, it’s the runner’s responsibility to know the race course. However, the race marshals/volunteers should be aware.

Age Group Awards: 

In this day and age, it’s important to give some age group award or recognition.  The pure joy of a racer who receives an age group award is usually contagious.  Runners remember when there is no award ceremony.

Post Race Food and Drinks:

Believe it or not, I ran a race last summer where the end temperature was over 80 degrees, and there was absolutely no water or drinks for the runners. Luckily I had brought my own Nalgene, but that was dangerous.  Even just a few bananas, Gatorade, and snacks go a long way.

Minor details:
  • USATF Certified: While this typically applies to longer distances and those looking to qualify for Boston, having a recognized approved course often makes the difference of whether I chose the race or a different one.
  • Lead Cyclists for Both Men and Woman: If there is a lead cyclist for the overall male, I do think there should be a lead cyclist for the overall female.  The same goes for “breaking the tape”.  I’ve run races that the lead male has had three cyclists the female has none.  Do I think it’s fair?  Not really…

This isn’t an “end all” list, and it’s tailored towards aspects I prefer in a race.

Questions for you:
What makes a quality Road Race in your opinion?
What is a dream race for you? 

Cross Country 5k (19:20)

The morning after running a mile track race, my husband convinced me to do a cross country style race.  He’s into the trail and cross country races, and I’m more into the road races.  It worked out well since with cross country terrain; you can’t compare yourself to anything. If you are running through a giant mud pit, you won’t run as fast as the road.  So I was easily able to throw my expectations right out of the window…

Cross Country Race running

We arrived at the start around 8 am and warmed up. Not surprisingly, I felt tight and sore after racing the evening before. I had no goals and wanted to run.  Something I haven’t been able to do much of since running last week…

Once the race started, I found myself as the third person overall.  I stayed there the entire time. The race was smaller because there were so many races that weekend. My husband and another male were further up front, and I lingered behind.  During the first mile, I felt tired.  The mud allowed me not to worry about pace, and I thought about how beneficial spikes would have been.  I hit the first mile in 6:15 and thought, oh geez if I can maintain this it would be a miracle!

During the second mile, we went into a wooded trail section.  The course was well marked in the woods, but there were a lot of roots. Knowing my track record with falling, I knew it was better to be safe versus sorry and focused on not falling.  Around the halfway point, we went out on extremely muddy and grassy field. It was like running through a swamp.  I preferred the less muddy trails.

I hit the halfway point in 9:45. I knew it was slower than most races I had run, but I didn’t care. It was a hard course; I was tired, and mentally I wasn’t upset.  I saw my husband fly by.  He had taken the lead.

Since the race was out and back in the woods, after the turnaround got crowded.  We headed back into the woods and while it wasn’t a single lane track, it was narrow.  It was great to see other runners working hard, however, at a few points some runners were running side by side, and there was no room for me to run the other direction.  I was pushed a couple of times into actual trees.

I ran the second mile in 6:49.  To give you perspective, that’s much slower than a half marathon paced mile for me.  You have to race the terrain you are given.

The third mile left the woods and did a loop around a large hill.  I had lost track of my husband but saw the second place male about a minute in front of me.  There wasn’t anything interesting during the third mile, and my focus was to finish.  I finished the 3rd mile in 6:11 and ran a 19:20.

When I got to the finish, I noticed my husband was not there.  I knew he had a great race, and I was concerned.  I went over to the car, and he told me a volunteer had directed him the wrong way, and he only ran about 2.5 miles.  It’s a shame because he was having a great race. He ended up running a tempo run and finishing his workout while I cooled down.

Thoughts:

I’m happy with my race after running the mile.  I am, however, jaded by the disorganization of the entire race.  While it’s typically the race participants responsibility to know the race course, being told to go a certain direction by a volunteer is unacceptable.  They should have had a lead cyclist.

It was fun to get out and run on terrain I don’t normally get too.  I’m happy with my effort during the race.  I got my fill of college style racing (a mile on the track and cross country).  Eventually, I’ll hit up the roads again.

Questions for you:

Have you ever run a cross country race?

Have you ever been directed the wrong way during a race?

Track Meet Mile (5:40)

How does one recap a mile race? It took me longer to write the recap versus run the race…  

The race itself was in the evening.  I wasn’t expecting to run, in fact, I ran 11 miles that morning.  My coworker asked if I wanted to run and I thought…why not? 

The answer should have been because nothing that day set me up for success for the race.

  • I don’t run well at night.
  • I haven’t been on the track in months and the last time I raced a mile was two years ago.
  • I ran 11 miles that morning and worked all day on my feet.

None of it matters because I didn’t plan to lose any sleep over my time. I let go of a time goal.  I arrived at the race at 7, quickly warmed up and got to the track.  My coworker was ready to run hard. However, I was ready for bed.

We toed the line of the track.  I was in the open heat, which had both men and women.  Since I don’t run the mile (ever), I couldn’t justify buying a pair of spikes and used my regular racing flats.

At the start of the gun, we were off.  Being in the middle of the pack for the heat, I was positioned towards the middle of the track.  I found myself boxed in during the first lap and as the third woman behind my coworker and another lady.  There were five men in front of me.

I passed the first lap in 82 seconds, and I thought it was the longest 82 seconds of my life.  The second lap seemed to go by faster, and I moved into the second woman overall.  I felt indifferent.  I didn’t feel terrible, but I also didn’t feel like I had the actual speed to move my legs any faster.

I crossed the halfway point in 2:47.  I was happy with that but to be honest, I have no real clue whether that’s good or bad.

During the third lap, several young children were cheering.  I was all by myself on the track.  There were plenty of people in front and behind but no one in the 10-second bubble around me.

I crossed the 3rd lap in 4:15 and hoped I would be able to be under 6 minutes.  Looking back that was pretty doable, but sometimes your brain forgets how to think during a race.

I pushed the last lap and by the time I knew it, the race was over. I crossed the mile in 5:40.  It wasn’t a PR, but I was pleased with the time.  My coworker won and finished in 5:19.

road mile running

Once school is out, my plan is to get back to the track more.  I think doing speed on the track versus road will be beneficial for getting leg turnover.

Questions for you: 
Have you ever raced a mile? 
What’s your favorite track workout? 

Newport 10k (37:59)

For the past few months, I’ve been looking forward to the Newport 10k.  It was an excuse to drive up north, see a few friends and race a competitive 10k.  My 10k PRs are usually from a half marathon or extremely hot race.  It’s rare that I get to run a 10k and even rarer that the 10k is in good conditions.

newport 10k me

Judging by the weather recently, I didn’t think I had to worry about a hot race, but life surprises you. We arrived later than anticipated to the race start, grabbed our bibs and did a quick 2 mile warm up.  I would give preferred 3 miles. However, I would have missed the start.

I lined up several rows back and found myself near Rob.  Rob is a good friend and North Jersey coach.  He’s a great runner with the best beard in NJ.  After the national anthem, the race was off.

During the first mile, I realized I had no idea how to run a 10k.  I felt like I was racing a half marathon except my first mile was a 5:55. I wasn’t sure how long I would be able to hold that, but I thought eh, I’ll race a 5k and then I’ll race another 5k.

During the second mile, I found myself in a pack of men.  None of them were my husband, but one guy was breathing obnoxiously.  I decided to surge because, honestly, it wasn’t pleasant to be running near.  To my surprise, I hit the second mile in 5:54, which was ultimately my fastest mile with a small elevation climb.

My goal of the third mile was to make it halfway.  I knew Danielle was cheering around mile 4. I ran with Rob for a little bit during the third mile.  I didn’t have the energy to talk which was probably a good thing.

I hit the third mile in 6:10 and the 5k point in 18:35.  I felt strong while running and didn’t feel as though I was working that hard.  As you can calculate, my racing probably wasn’t the smartest as I ran the second 5k about a minute slower. 

During the fourth mile, I found myself alone.  I could see my husband ahead, but he didn’t know that.  I saw Danielle and Amelia where I gave a meek smile and wave combination.  Their shout was enough to give my husband a clue; I was approaching.

I hit the fourth mile in 6:11.  I knew I was fading quickly.  During mile 5, I was running stride for stride with my husband.  I told him to go for it, and he did. I hoped he would surge and drop me.

Both miles 5 and 6, got hot fast.  All of a sudden, we were on the boardwalk, and there was no shade. I hit the mile 5 in 5:57 and 5 miles around 30:10.

The last mile went around the boardwalk.  There were a lot of turns and tangents I didn’t run them well.  I got caught towards the outside of multiple turns which ended up adding .06 to my race (maybe 20 seconds or so but who knows…).

newport 20k t and i

The last mile felt like it took forever but that’s because with all of the turns and heat it was my slowest mile of 6:27. I was 12th female overall and 6th in my age group do I’m able to use my chip time of 37:59.  My husband ran a 37:46.

Thoughts:
I didn’t feel great running.  It was hot and humid as well as I didn’t nutritionally fuel well this past week.  Technically a 37:59 is a 10k PR for me, but I do believe I’m in better fitness.

Questions for you:
Have you raced a 10k before?
Would you rather a hot and humid race or pouring rain?

 

Training: 10ks and Mile Repeats

This week was a strange occurrence of weather. We had pouring rain, decent weather and then a heat wave the rest of the week.  Spring of 2016 is like playing the slot machines, and you don’t want to expect any day.

Broad Street took me longer to recover than anticipated so I didn’t race last weekend.  I didn’t expect to still feel lingering sore legs and fatigue the two weeks later too.

Since I was still recovering and my diet wasn’t the greatest, I was left in a pitiful, “let’s make it through this week then reevaluate” mental space.  It’s yet another boring training log, which I seemed to have logged a lot of lately.

With running, there are highs and lows.  My high points were both my PR at Carlsbad and my PR at the Flower Show 5k.  My low points were and still are boring training logs.  I prefer boring training logs versus injured ones.

Training:
I ran easy miles Monday-Wednesday.  There was nothing exciting to report.  My legs felt too tired for any speed, so I took Thursday off.

Running easy and resting on Thursday seemed to work because my run on Friday was the best training run I had all week.

Saturday: Newport 10k: 38:02

My goal for the race was to run a 38:00.  Technically it is a PR for me, but a few things didn’t go as hoped, so I believe I’m in better fitness.  The weather was much hotter, and I didn’t run the tangents well.  In the final mile, I ran 1.06 instead of 1.  That doesn’t seem huge, but it’s a lot of extra distance to add.

newport 10k me

I’m happy with my time, and this 10k PR will have to sit for a while since 10ks are difficult to find. My 10k PRs usually come from a half marathon split or a hot, humid race day.  Saturday was the second, and it was the first run I threw down a lot of sweat.  I know I’m capable of a faster time when I do a race again.

Sunday: 6X1 mile repeats:

I haven’t done mile repeats in about a month and need to get more turnover and power back on my legs.  To be honest, it was hard to get this done after my race on Saturday.

I’ve learned I excel with back to back workouts followed by easy running so I knew I would feel better after the workout.

Splits: 6:36, 6:12, 6:20, 6:09, 6:36, 6:06

mile repeats

It was surprisingly the best mile repeat workout I’ve had in a long time. I’m happy with my effort, especially after the week of training and racing. I felt strong throughout the entire workout.

Thoughts:

I finally feel as though I’m running well again after Broad Street.  For the rest of May, I’m hoping to eat a little better (read: stop eating like a college frat kid) as well as train more consistently.

Questions for you:
How was your week of training?
Do you have any healthy and easy to make recipes?