Wednesday, May 29, 2013

All work and no play

Lousy weather (cold and rainy) and crazy long hours at work have really cut into my running time. Monday I made time to go on a 10-mile run and check out a new running store. The store was closed when I got there, but would hopefully be open on the return trip. My destination was this small, kind of rundown zoo at the top of a hill. I had no intentions of seeing the zoo, just picked it as my turnaround point.

I had 12 ounces of water and was hoping to hit some parks on the way back. It was Memorial Day weekend. The water should be turned on, right? Wrong. Not a working water fountain to be found.

The hill up to the zoo was steep. 1.2 miles of hill. I made it and took a short break while I walked around looking for a water fountain. None to be found. The bathrooms in the little park area outside the zoo were locked. Seriously, what is up with this area?

New running store with WATER!
Then it was time to head back down the hill. I’m not sure which is worse for me, uphill or downhill. Downhill should be easier, but it’s not really. At the bottom of the hill, I swung by the new running store which was open. The owner was happy to see a runner and offered me water. WATER! I looked all around the store. Nice stuff. I don’t need any more running clothes or running gadgets, but I like to look. The store had an Amphipod water belt with four water bottles that I should buy at some point. Summer will arrive and stay eventually and I’m going to need way more than 12 ounces of water for my long runs. And I’ll need new shoes again. The NBs are almost worn out. I thanked the owner for the water and continued my run. I ran along this river walk which is actually quite nice and there were several other runners out enjoying the day. The river walk added a half mile to my run which was fine. I would have liked to have run much farther, but I had too much to do at home.

My next race is June 8th. A 5K to benefit the local humane society. I really need to start pushing myself on short runs if I want to keep my 24 minute finish time. I’d really like to see a 23 minute time for this big race in August. It’s a 5K, but the prize money is good and it attracts a number of elite runners. The finish line is awesome. It’s the kind with a big clock and spectators line it for at least half a mile. And if you’re lucky, the announcer says your name and time as you cross it. Yes, this race has an announcer. How cool is that?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Almost 15 miles

My 5K race on Saturday was good. I finished with a time of 24:34. It was a very flat course that ended on grass. The grass threw my stride off a little, but I finished strong. Any finish time that begins with the number 24 makes me happy. Last year my best 5K time was 26:14.

I think I'm buying one of these
with my next paycheck.

Sunday I decided it was time for a long run. I haven’t run anything over 9 miles since my half marathon. I plotted out a 7.5 mile course that would (or should have) ended with 15 miles if I ran it out and back. I packed my cell phone, $5, my music, and 12 ounces of sports drink. At 3 miles, I passed a park and was really hoping the water fountains were turned on. They were not. That kind of ruined my hydration strategy. 12 ounces was going to have to be enough. 45 minutes into the run, I was thirsty so I took a gulp. After conquering a steep hill, I took another gulp. The temperature was 57 degrees, but it was muggy. By mile 12, I was out of water. If only that park had turned on its water. I guess nothing happens around here until Memorial Day weekend. I managed to run the last three miles with nothing to drink. I knew I wasn’t going to die, but I should have conserved my water a little better. When I reached home, I quickly downed a large glass of sports drink, two glasses of water and a banana. It worked because I felt fine a few hours later. No nausea. Yay!

Somehow my plotted mileage was off just a little. My 15 mile run was actually 14.95 miles. I must have included two trips through the park to get water. There was no reason to run through the park on the way back. Usually I give myself a quarter mile cool-off walk so I’m not sure what happened.

It was a good run. I wasn’t out to break any records. My only goal was to run for 15 miles. And I did. Almost.

14.95 miles, 2:20:57 time, 9:25 pace

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Photos from the half marathon

Just after mile 4.

Just after mile 7.

Coming up on mile 13. Look at those legs!

Just over the finish line with a time of 1:53:06!

Praise for 5Ks

Last year I ran almost every local 5K race that I could. It was my incentive to keep running. This year I decided I would pick one or two a month. Races cost money and require scheduling. My weekends are often busy.

This month’s race was the big half marathon that I ran a few weeks ago. That was all I was planning to run for the month of May. I’ve run a bunch of 5Ks. Do I really need to run any more? Can’t I just go run 3.1 miles if I want to? Well, I certainly can, but it’s not the same as being in a race. Even if I try to run at racepace, there’s a certain energy that only comes from being around other runners all trying to do their best. My only real competitor is myself, trying to break a PR or tackle a tough course, but having people in front of and behind me gives me energy that I never find when I’m just out for a run.

There’s a 5K race this Saturday. A fundraiser for scholarships for a local high school and it’s being organized by the local running club (that I am now a member of) who always do an excellent job. The pre-registration deadline has passed, but I can sign up the day of and I think I will.

I’m not really a social person. I don’t enjoy being with large groups of people, but I really enjoy running with them. How strange.

24.28 miles for the week of May 6th, average pace: 9:05

Monday, May 6, 2013

Proud member of the sub-two club

I run like a girl.
This was my first half marathon and it was awesome.

I wanted to run it in under 2 hours. And I did: 1:53:06.

I started off fast like I knew I would. I ran the first mile in 7:53. I was just behind the front runners so I really had no choice but to run fast. I ran the second mile in 8:12. A little better, but still a bit fast. Mile three was run in 8:23. Mile four and five were run at a pace of 8:28. I was flying and it felt good. I had all kinds of energy, my legs felt strong, and I was barely breathing heavy. So I just kept running. My slowest pace for the entire race was mile 10 where I dropped to 9:06, but by mile 11, I was at 8:46.

The spectators along the course were fantastic. The held inspirational signs, they cheered, they clapped, they rattled those annoying cowbells. It helped a lot. And fellow runners were supportive as well with “nice race” and “good job” as I passed them. And I passed a lot of people, especially on the hills. Running cemetery hill made these hills seem like nothing.

The worst part was the water stations. I should have carried my sports mix, but I didn’t. The water station volunteers were not good at handing out water and when I tried to find some Powerade, I received a cup with barely a gulp in it. At mile 8, I had to walk to the back of the water table to find cups with Powerade in them and then gulped down four of them. Last thing I needed was for dehydration to set in at mile 12. Having lost at least 20 seconds searching for blue Powerade I quickly rejoined the race and caught up to the runners I had been running with. At mile 10 I ran around the people handing out water and went straight for the table. I grabbed two cups of Powerade and one cup of water, gulped them all down, then took off running. Much better and I only lost about 8 seconds.

Somewhere after mile 6 I lost track of the miles. What I thought was mile 7 was actually mile 8. Not a bad thing at all, but just very strange that I was so into running that I lost an entire mile.

At mile 12 I glanced at my Garmin, did a quick calculation, and realized I was way ahead of schedule. Even if I totally ran out of energy, I could still finish the race in under 2 hours. But I never ran out of energy. A surge of adrenalin kicked in around mile 6, and 8, and 12. When I turned the final corner and saw the finish line, I switched into high gear and gave it everything I had. Just a few feet from the finish line I saw a shadow come up on my right side. Determined not to let that shadow beat me, I went into overdrive. Unfortunately, the shadow belonged to a 34 year old male who beat me by 0.01 seconds.

Next thing I knew a woman was putting a finisher medal around my neck. The race was over.

My husband had been at the finish line with a video camera, but didn’t see me until it was too late. I had told him to start looking for me around 1:55, but most likely I’d be coming down the hill around 1:57. He did manage to see me half way down the hill, but the camera wasn’t on and all he got was my back side crossing the finish line. He did get some nice footage at mile 4 and 6 and a photographer at the finish line hopefully got a nice shot of me and shadowboy. I’ll know tomorrow when the photos are posted.

Today the quads are a little sore, but not bad at all. I'll probably go for a short run tomorrow and then start looking for another half to run. That was fun!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Less than 24 hours to go

I picked up my bib at the race expo. There were a million people there. I quickly browsed through the vendor tables, then got out of the chaos. My number is 686. I like it.

I will be wearing pink shorts with green trim, a safety green singlet (it looks more yellow in the photo), and my black and pink NBers.

The mile markers for the course are up. I walked the last mile to the finish line just to remember where the final turn is. The weather is supposed to be perfect, 50s and sunny in the morning.

It's going to be hard to run slow, but I know I need to slow down after the second mile. I plan on starting towards the front because I can't stand all the jostling and shuffling in the back. It's a chip timed race so runners in the back don't lose any time, but I still don't like it. I usually run a fast first mile no matter what the distance.

I'm starting to have doubts about finishing in under two hours, but should be pretty close to that time. It doesn't really matter. I'm just excited that I know I can run the distance.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Just keep running

Just got back from a short 3.42 mile run. I still smile at the thought of anything under four miles seeming short. I wasn’t going to run today, but it’s beautiful outside and I couldn’t resist. I won’t be running tomorrow because tomorrow is rest day. I need to be well rested for Sunday's big race.

Last year at this time I was getting ready for my first 5K race. I had been running since February and I was ready. At the race, I watched the half marathoners come down the hill and cross the finish line (the HM starts at 7:30 and the 5K at 10:00). Some were running as hard as they could and some were just running. I wondered if I would ever be able to run that distance. Well, here I am all ready to run my first half marathon. I like the fact that I’ll be crossing the same finish line and that there will be 5Kers watching me come down that hill, wondering if they will ever be able to complete 13.1 miles. I’d like to tell them that they will indeed. Just keep running.

A year ago, I ran at a pace of around 10:10. Today’s little jog was done at a pace of 8:48. I wasn’t running hard, except for this one short, flat stretch, and had to tackle a few small hills.

I’ve improved a lot in a year. Go me!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Shoes matter

May at last and there are flowers everywhere. I think I can safely say spring is here.

Map My Run claims I ran 118 mile for the month of April. I’ve been training hard for the upcoming half marathon (just a few days away)! For my last two runs, I averaged a pace of 8:54 and 8:58. The 8:58 run included some pretty steep hills. I’ve been limiting myself to five miles, but will probably do six either today or tomorrow. I start a mini vacation tomorrow. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be sent somewhere for work and made sure to take time off around the race. I did not want to be flying the day after running 13.1 miles. My legs get sore enough from just sitting on a plane.

I love these shoes!
I’m very happy about this new speed that I seem to be running. I'm not trying to run fast and am quite surprised when I look at my Garmin and see I am cruising along at a pace under 9:00. 9:24 used to be a comfortable running speed. I think much of it has to do with my New Balance shoes that I bought earlier this year. They are AWESOME! So awesome that I bought a second pair a few days ago. I was hoping to get them in a different color (not black and pink), but other colors were already sold out in my size so black and pink it is. The soles show I am hitting with my forefoot and not my heel. The heel is hardly worn at all. I guess shoes really do make a difference. I will definitely be wearing these for the big race.