Running, Training

Double Bridge Run 15k (58:41)

Double Bridge Run 15k (58:41)

Last weekend, my husband and I raced the Pensacola Double Bridges Run 15k.  We heard from various people the Double Bridge run was a fun, well put together race.  I hadn’t raced a 15k in a long time. They are more common in Upstate NY while 10 milers are more common in New Jersey. The Double Bridge Run Presented by Publix is a premier 15k in Downtown Pensacola which runs down Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. It’s one of the more beautiful races in the country I’ve done, and runners and walkers get a full view of the Bayfront Parkway, Gulf Breeze, and Pensacola Beach. The 15k races point to point over the Bridges across the Pensacola Bay.

Due to our schedule, we weren’t able to leave Montgomery until 5:30 pm.  We arrived in Pensacola around 9 pm, checked into our hotel and immediately went to bed.   I woke up around 4:30 am, got ready for the Double Bridge Run and headed to the shuttle by 5:30.  The only race I’ve also used a shuttle was the Phoenix Full marathon.  Since my hotel was essentially at the end of the race for the Double Bridge Run, the shuttle drove us the 15k backward.  Once we arrived at the Double Bridge Run 15k start, we realized how cold it was.  Originally the weather was supposed to be 55, but it turned to 38 and windy.

The hour before the Double Bridge Run, there was little to no shelter from the wind.  Even through my layers and jacket, I was both miserable and freezing.  If I had known about the Double Bridge Run start conditions, I probably would have driven to the start, sat in my car and taken a taxi back after the race to get my car.  It would have been a pain, but I wouldn’t have been cold.

The restroom lines for the Double Bridge Run were long, and I found myself in line 5 mins before the start.  I was lucky my husband dropped my bag off, and I sprinted into the corral less than 30 seconds before race start. It was nowhere near ideal, but I made it to the start.  Out of any race, this one cut it the closest.

Because my adrenaline was pumping from nearly missing the Double Bridge Run start, the first mile went by quickly.  I was running in a pack of people including my husband.  He planned to take it “easy” the first half of the Double Bridge Run and then finish strong the second.  We hit the first mile in 6:17.

During the second mile of the Double Bridge Run, the pack began to spread out  I got my bearings of the area, and I found myself 5th woman overall.  I passed a couple of women and grabbed water.  I was hoping for Gatorade, but it was water only.  I crossed the second mile in 6:24.

Double Bridge 15k me running

We entered “3 Mile Bridge,” which is exactly as the name indicates.  A three-mile-long bridge.  You could see the first “hill” up ahead.  Since there are no tunnels, the bridge hill is what allows Navy ships to pass through, so it was pretty steep.  I crossed the third mile of the Double Bridge Run in 6:20.

I wasn’t feeling bad during the Double Bridge Run, but I didn’t feel amazing either.  To be honest, I had hoped I would feel amazing and have a magical race.  I didn’t feel awful, but I did not feel as though, I had cut miles and tapered.  My calves were extremely stiff.

Double Bridge 15k me running

My husband was still several feet in front of me.  As we climbed the bridge hill during the Double Bridge Run, I knew exactly what he would do. He was going to power up the crest of the hill and surge downhill and leave me.  He did just that, and I was proud because I knew he was going to have a great race.  I found myself alone during the Double Bridge Run with two women directly ahead. I ran mile 4 in 6:27 and passed the remaining two women.

The fifth mile of the Double Bridge Run was boring.  It was the last mile of the 3-mile bridge, and I was running alone.  Just me, staring out over the water looking for manatees.  It was windy but not bad, and I ran it in 6:18.

As we entered land, my body began to feel worse.  I became and stiffer.  Typically in the 10-13.1 mile distance,  I end up feeling better towards the end.  I’m not a fast race starter, and I’m not a runner who “counts down” miles.  So when I didn’t feel great at mile 6, I knew immediately it was going to be a pain train finish of the Double Bridge Run.

Double Bridge 15k me running

We passed the 5k race start, and they were chanting “first lady”.  All I could think was WTF, how did this happen.  I thought there must have been a couple of women out of my line of sight.  I had looked at race results of the Double Bridge Run from the previous years, and female overall had sometimes won in 55.  Despite feeling stiff for the Double Bridge Run, I tried to focus on the finish.  I crossed mile 7 in 6:23.

The second bridge of the Double Bridge Run also brought a drastic banked turn which felt extremely uncomfortable.  I can run uphill, and I can run downhill but running up banked hill always seems to shred my legs.  It did in the Philadelphia half marathon, and it did during the Double Bridges 15k.  That mile hurt, a lot. I crossed mile 8 in 6:28 and thought: “just one mile to go.”

During the final mile if the Double Bridge Run, a police motorcyclist approached me and told me to show my bib so he could radio to the front.  My bib was directly on my top but because it was windy, it was hard to read the numbers.  I honestly didn’t have any energy at all, and the police officer weaving in and out because he could not see my bib was the last thing I wanted to entertain.  I just wanted to finish.  I knew the second place woman was quickly approaching.

Double Bridge 15k me running

She caught me around mile 9 of the Double Bridge Run, and I tried desperately to hold on.  I didn’t feel great, and my legs were stiff.  I had led the race for the last 5 miles and wanted to hang on.  Unfortunately, even with powering my strongest, it didn’t happen.  She outkicked me in 9.2 out of a 9.3 race and broke the tape for the Double Bridge Run.  I finished the last .3 in a 5:50 pace. I won’t pretend as though I’m satisfied to be outkicked in the final strides of the Double Bridge Run, but she was faster that day.  I gave the Double Bridge Run everything I had!

Double Bridge 15k me running

Double Bridge Run Thoughts:

There were a lot of minor issues that happened during the race.  I’m happy with it and how I performed under the conditions but I was hoping for a faster time which I do believe I’m capable of.  I ran Broad Street at a 6:11 pace.

While the Double Bridge Run went pretty well under the cold conditions, I don’t believe it yet shows where my fitness is.  My calves were stiff the entire race and didn’t feel as though they had their usual “pep”.  Luckily, the Double Bridge Run was just one of many races in my 2017 Goals.

Questions for you:

Have you run over a bridge before? Have you done the Double Bridge Run? 

Have you been to Pensacola? 

Running, Training

Donar Dash 5k (20:21)

I’m not sure why this race report was so difficult to write.  As I mentioned in my training log, I’ve had a hard time not comparing myself to running a few months ago.  A few months ago I was effortlessly cranking out workouts and 5ks below 19 minutes.  Then injury hit and now I struggle my way through a local 5k.  It’s hotter weather, and I’ve lost fitness after healing from an injury.  Specific to this race, I spent long days beforehand on my feet.  We had our annual sale at work, and it was the busiest few days of the year.  Why I decided to race a 5k is beyond me…

With that, I arrived around 7:30 on Saturday morning in Wilmington.  Throughout the 30 minute drive, it was sunny, down poured and then just cloudy and muggy.  I signed up for the race and did a short warmup.

I chatted with a few people at the race start. I didn’t recognize anyone, but it happens. I decided to run in a sports bra which is something I rarely do.  It was so hot; I wanted to feel as cool as possible.

The race started, and I found myself as first woman overall.  There were a few men around me.  We went around the stadium and then back into the downtown.  It felt like the first mile was taking forever and I ran it in 6:25. I was a little disappointed since I had run the first mile of my trail five miler in 6:30.  My goal was just to finish healthy, so I don’t know why I cared that much.

During the second mile, I found myself alone. We went along the riverfront and then back around the start and finish. Passing the finish around mile 2 of a 5k is always rough, but I just zoned out and focused on the finish. I ran the second mile in 6:37.

donar dash

The third mile went up a minor hill and back towards the start. I was riding the struggle bus all the way up the hill. My legs felt as though they had no pickup. I passed two men on the downhill who turned around and outkicked me in the homestretch.  I finished the third mile in 6:35 and crossed the finish in 20:21.

I can’t say I’m particularly proud of this race but it was a good baseline to where my fitness is right now.  When I started running a lot of 5ks last year, I was running anywhere between 20-20:30 too.  I’m hoping I’ll gain my fitness back in less time than it took last year but if I don’t…I don’t.  It’s mentally tough not to compare yourself to previous running goals, times and experiences.  I know I’ll eventually get back there if I train appropriately.  The ultimate goal is to stay healthy.

Questions for you:
Is it hot where you are?
Do you typically know people at local races? 

Running, Training

United Medical 5k (19:59)

Last weekend I went to Delaware to race another 5k. My plan was to take the race out slower, stay consistent and not positive split. I normally don’t have a “race plan” but last week I did! My last several races have ranged in pace with my first mile about a minute faster than my last mile. My goal for this 5k was to stay consistent and not range from 6-7 minute miles in a 5k.

I arrived to the race at 7:30 and did a longer warm-up than normal. My warm-up is definitely something I’m still trying to figure out. I’m not exactly sure what works best for me in short distances. I also hadn’t slept well the night before so I wasn’t sure how the race would go.

I got to the starting line and by 8:30 and we were off.

There was a man who sprinted out in front of everyone. He was wearing blue jeans and a long sleeve shirt. I assumed he probably wouldn’t be able to keep a 5:30 pace for the entire race in blue jeans but you never know. By the half mile point he started to walk.

During the first mile I found myself as 6th person overall and first women. I stayed with a pack of men the entire race and started to slowly pick them off. My first mile was 6:23. My goal was to run even 6:27 miles (a 20:00 minute 5k).

During the second mile I slowly began picking off some of the men. There aren’t many races I completely zone out but this was one of them. It honestly felt like a 20 minute blur. I passed two men who I have seen at several races.

Around mile 2 we passed the finish line and looped into a nature preserve. Seeing the finish line around mile 2 was rough!  I began to just focus on two men in front of me. I crossed the second mile in 6:27. I hoped I would be able to maintain that pace and not positive split anymore.

During the third mile I focused on finishing strong.  I reminded myself to keep my arms engaged.  I passed the two males I was focusing on around 2.5. After that my only goal was to finish under 20 minutes.

Since I did not take the race out as fast, I didn’t fade! Who knew?

I definitely felt I was finishing much stronger then previous races. It was my fastest third mile of a 5k in a while. The two men I passed ended out kicking me in the last 100 meters. My kick for this race was the best it has been for a while but their kicks were both better! I didn’t let them passing bother me though.

I finished the last mile in 6:22 and the 5k in 19:59 and 1st women overall. I was happy with my efforts because I set out to do exactly what I wanted. I kept my splits consistent and finished my last mile the fastest. My endurance is slowly building but I still don’t feel that my turnover rate is where I want it to be. I know that will come with more speed work. I think adding some sprints will help with that as well.

me 5k

Questions for you:

Do you generally run consistent 5ks or positive/negative split them?

What is your ideal warm-up distance?

Reads, Running

Existing in Real Life

My 5k last Sunday was cancelled.  I was really irritated at first but then quickly realized it wasn’t a big deal.  I had found out the night before, it was icy and it was not the safest road conditions .  Though I had spent essentally the later half of Saturday resting and relaxing (ie: I literally layed on the sofa for a solid 7 hours watching TV) it wasn’t as if I had been training for any remote amount of time for it.  It was a 5 dollar Winter series 5k.   It would have been a nice and slightly dangerous speed workout but it wasn’t the end of the world.  Oh well we saved ten dollars and a diner meal (let’s be honest) by it being cancelled. 

I do realize bigger races have been cancelled, NYCM in 2012, several Texas and Southern marathons last year due to ice but we as runners must realize that there is a life outside of running.  It stinks when a road race is cancelled or the weather conditions are not optimal.  It also makes you realize that you should be able to have other aspects of life to fall back on.  I’ve always been an avid believer that you cannot put all your marbles into one category.  Whether that is running, your job, a hobby, BLOGGING, you must have other things to fall back on.

First, I cannot fathom training for a marathon only to have it be cancelled.  For that matter I couldn’t fathom training for a half marathon only for it be cancelled.  I am now lucky that there is a 5k almost every weekend somewhere around me so I have multiple options if one or more is cancelled.  I haven’t had that option except for living at home with my parents and honestly it is a great option to have.  For someone who thrives on racing most weekends, I love the opportunity to race multiple times a month (when the wallet allows).

Am I disappointed this particular race was cancelled?

Yes of course but I didn’t let it ruin my day.

This goes along with bad races.  I’ve had my fair share of bad races.  A year ago I ran the distance series and also a 5k that were point blank terrible.  I was pretty heart broken in both cases.  I had put some good training in for both races and either blew up or just had a poor race.  At the time I questioned myself as a runner.  I was upset, devastated and felt terrible for myself.  I threw myself a short lasted pity party post race.  Then I got over it and realized I am a collection of different things.

Now I look back in the last year and see how far I’ve come.  I think it’s important for us as athletes and human beings to realize: yes running is great but it shouldn’t control your every move and emotion.  I know I’ve consistently said that but it something I truly believe.  I believe everyone should have an “outside life” of running and multiple interests.

Questions for you:

Have you ever had a race cancelled?

What are you interested in outside of working out or blogging?

Some interesting things I enjoy doing: painting and sketching, tutoring and looking at high fashion or upcoming styles.  I also like to critique NJ diners but that is another story…