race recap: shamrock shuffle 10k

This race was a great learning experience. I did know a lot of them before, but ignored them rather than realize I was setting myself up for failure (or a half assed race).

When I first signed up for this race in December, I was thinking that March was going to be a cold month, so a race starting at 10am would be no big deal. Especially since it was in Madison (over an hour away), and that way we could easily drive there in the morning and not spend the money on a hotel room. About a month ago, it was still cold and Sister and I were in Target and saw some St. Patty’s Day t-shirts. They were lightweight cotton longsleeved shirts. I figured I would end up being cold wearing it, but that would just make me run faster, right?

It ended up being almost 80′.

I still wore the shirt.

Stupid.

The race started out fantastically. I felt good, I felt fast (I even knew I was keeping a good pace due to my Garmin – love this thing). There was a hill early on that took a lot out of me – I walked up some of it but still averaged that mile in a really good time. Most likely too good of time for how my training has been going. My watch ticked mile 2 in a similar, but not quite as fast of time. That’s when I saw Sister. Standing off to the side looking for me and then was just shaking her head. I couldn’t hear what she was saying at first due to my headphones, so I came out of my running zone to find out what was wrong. She was having a really bad side cramp and I tried to motivate her to keep running, making her at least make it to the half way point so she wouldn’t quit out on the race. We ran/walked that next mile and got to a water station and the halfway point. I could tell at that point that I wasn’t going to get my PR in the 10k today anymore, so I gave up. I passed the halfway point in 31:38. Sister said I could go on ahead without her, but she wasn’t looking too good and I couldn’t in good mind leave her on the course that wasn’t too supported. Plus, I was hot, sweaty and not sure if I would have even been able to keep up the pace and would have just been angry that I didn’t set a PR.

I shouldn’t have given up, but things were against me (weather, clothing, lack of water, motivation) and I wasn’t prepared. I also realized that I hate the 10k distance. In my mind it is “only” 6 miles, but that is a long time to keep up a good pace. Will I do this race again next year? Absolutely. But I will only do the 5k. I could have totally sprinted the 5k to make it in under 30 minutes and felt a hell of a lot more accomplished than I do now.

So what happened after the halfway point? We walked back. Yup, walked. 3.1 miles. Crossing that damn finish l line in 1:14:14. My new PR for the slowest 10k race I’ve done. At least I made Sister sprint the last .1ish of a mile to cross the finish line super speedy, passing three people who had been struggling around us. That .1 of a mile I’m kind of amazed about – we ran that in 6:45 pace and it felt great haha.

Even with only running two to three miles, I felt wiped after the race – I think more mentally exhausting than anything else ;). Yes, I was disappointed by not being stronger during the race, but it just wasn’t my day. And now looking back one week later? I’ll be back next year running a kick ass 5k if all goes as planned!

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nashville 2012: week 6

Holy cow, my Nashville training is officially half over. Where does the time go?!

Sunday: Yoga Body Bootcamp™
Monday: 4 mile run + workout A
Tuesday: Yoga Master Class
Wednesday: 4 mile run + workout B
Thursday: workout C + yoga
Friday: REST!
Saturday: Shamrock Shuffle 10k

This week can be summed up in one word. SWEATY. I don’t think I have ever had a sweatier week, and it is all thanks to three very sweaty yoga sessions, and weather that is super unseasonably warm. I’m currently typing this wearing shorts and a t-shirt… it’s March 18th. My body is not used to this!

Anyways, yoga was wonderful this week. Tuesday’s Master Class was so sweaty and we did a lot of fun poses that I had never done before – so twisty and balancey – definitely a nice change from the usual flow!

My 4 mile runs were the first weekly runs with my new Garmin. Being more aware of my pace has definitely helped me push myself, and realize my two natural paces are either 10 minutes per mile, or 11:30. My recent runs have been around the 11:30 pace and feeling sluggish, but I was able to finish these both closer to 10 and feel the same, if not better, than I had with the slower pace. It is feeling much better to push myself on my training runs rather than lug along!

Workouts A, B & C for the Best Body Bootcamp were very similar to the first week of workouts, but upped with the intensity and reps – it was awesome! I am already feeling stronger and week 3 and 4 look killer, it should be fantastic ;). Definitely the push I need to get in a weight training routine!

My Saturday race… well, that didn’t go too well but I’ll write more about it in a separate race recap post.

Six weeks down – six weeks to go! Now time to go set out some shorts for my run tomorrow morning… ;).

race recap: walt disney world 1/2 marathon

I can’t believe my first half marathon is OVER! Training seemed to fly by and the past week has just flown. We woke up at 2am to drink coffee (lots and lots of coffee!), eat something (half a bagel with PB2) and get dressed and ready to catch our shuttle.

We got on the one from our hotel (a perk of staying at a Disney property!) at 3:50 and headed toward the parking lot of Epcot where the start/finish line was. It took about 30-40 minutes to drive the short distance. The roads were packed with half marathoners. We were urged to take Disney’s own transportation, but for people staying off-property or who live in the area there wasn’t a way to take it. When we finally got to the area, we got off the bus and walked close to 10 minutes to find the port-o-lets. Too much coffee! Each port-o-let had a huge line, so we got in one and made our way up. Mom came with us for this part. Originally we were thinking we would need sweaters in the morning from the chilly air, but not this morning!

When it was closer to 5, mom left and headed to the spectator spot at Cinderella’s Castle. She got a ChEAR squad package that let her have special access to front-row viewing. I think she’s glad she did that, and got a t-shirt and blanket to wear as well! There was a spot for bag drop-off. We didn’t need to do this since mom would be at the finish, so we passed on by and headed into the cluster of people ahead. There were more port-o-lets on this side with even longer lines, and somehow we funneled through them in the crowd to start getting into the corrals. This walk was super long! Along the way we got on an off ramp with more port-o-lets and decided to take the opportunity to go again before waiting to run.

We finally got to my corral (I was C, Kinley was B but decided to hang back to run together). At 5:30 the wheelchairs went and then were followed every 7 minutes or so by another wave. We took this time to take a few pictures, obviously :). They had large screens up so we could watch Donald and the gang count down for each corral. Each corral got a countdown, and each corral got a fireworks show. Of course the first fireworks were the best and biggest, and scaled back from there. In no time, it was corral C’s turn and we were off! We were stuck in a hoard of people, not able to keep anything better than a 12:30 average, below what we were wanting. Some were dodging left and right, weaving in between runners, but that was difficult then we were running together and didn’t want to sprint to pass by others. We thought it was going to thin out, but it never did…

The first part of the race went pretty well except for incredibly slow. Probably why it felt okay! It was all on roads/highways so there was no scenery until we reached mile 5 – 5 1/2 and got to Magic Kingdom. We had to go through a few tiny doorways to navigate around to actually get in the park, that caused even more traffic back-up. I loved running through Tomorrowland. It was still really dark out and it was nicely lit up with a ton of music blasting – just what I needed to give me motivation! (Side note: I decided to run without music for this race and I never missed having it! I still had my iPod on to track my time and splits but only looked a few times since it was clipped on my bra.)

Right before getting to the 6 mile mark, it was time to run through Cinderella’s castle! This was a really neat experience and definitely the highlight of the run. Right after we got through, we managed to spot mom yelling at us from her ChEAR squad station and decided to go over by her to get a picture of us. We were stopped for a couple of minutes and I also handed her my back bib because I had already sweated through it – whoops!

After the short diversion, we went on our way again through Frontierland and then out of the park. Again. The next 6 miles were on a highway and/or a backlot of Magic Kingdom. It was tough. After the 10k point I realized no race I had ever done is further than that, so I was headed somewhere I had never been. The miles between 8 and 11 are the dimmest for me, I think I was partly zoning out, largely freaking out, and tired from navigating through all the people. At one point along this stretch Kinley asked if we wanted a picture with Chip and Dale. Even though it would have been nice to stand and wait in line and rest a bit, the line was also 10+ people deep so it would have meant making it to the finish even later. I tried to not be concerned with time during my training runs, but I still had some expectations. Within the first mile of the race I dropped all expectations and just wanted to cross the finish and get my medal, but I thought stopping at Chip and Dale would have made the last stretch harder than it already was going to be.

Lovely Disney decided that at the 10 1/2 mile point they would send us up three hills, that would last for a good mile and a half to the finish. I remember Kinley and I were headed up the exit ramp and she looked over and said if we picked up our pace we could finish in 2 1/2 hours. That was tempting and even though I had nothing left in me, I prepared to run up the hills at a faster pace than the rest of the race. It was tough, and I was mentally and physically drained. I knew I could cross the finish, but I didn’t think I could make it in 2:30. I stopped and walked to catch by breath a few times, but I managed to keep my legs moving. The last half mile was in Epcot and I barely remember running this at all. I got really cold and shaky and felt lightheaded and the finish line was not getting any closer. There were so many twists and turns I kept thinking “at the next one, I’ll see the finish!”, but it never happened. There was no long straightway to the finish, only one filled with twists and turns. Right before the finish line came up, Kinley grabbed my arm and practically pulled me across the finish line. We somehow managed to get the exact same time. 2:30:54. With 6 seconds to spare in the 2:30’s.

Once through the finish line, I was real lightheaded and tried to keep my legs moving to go forward to get some nutrition and one of the blanket things to help me warm up and get rid of my chills. We stopped by the medical tent to see if they had Powerade, but they only had water and no salt packets or any electrolyte recovery anything. We kept on our way and I had to stop along the side for a bit, being yelled at to “keep moving” from one of the volunteers. Sorry guy, but if I move I might pass out so just give me a second. I got my race medal, and yelled at Kinley to get her own when she was about to walk away without one. Dork.

We then encountered multiple huge lines of people waiting for food. We passed these by, but I grabbed an orange while walking – sorry to bud in front of you person, but all I wanted was something fruity and to get out to sit down. We saw mom in the distance and were yelling at her, and she was looking in every direction that was not us, so we had to get out quickly so we wouldn’t lose her. We got there, and I promptly sat down and ate a couple slices of my orange. I was feeling weird, and not really like I wanted to be eating so I just sat there for a bit, looking at my medal :).

We took a few finisher pictures here too since we went around the Disney photographers to avoid yet another line. I still can’t believe I have finished a half marathon. It seems surreal and if I wasn’t in a huge amount of pain today I wouldn’t believe it :). Once we got back to the hotel, mom went and checked at our cafe to see what they could make gluten free. Turns out they could make special Mickey waffles with Bob’s Red Mill mix! They also used applesauce and apple juice (probably for kids with dairy allergies too). Disney is awesome with allergen-friendly cuisine and we will definitely have to go back for these waffles again!

With the race starting around 5:45 for us, finishing by 8:20 and getting back to the hotel by 9, we still had most of the day ahead of us!

race recap: festival foods turkey trot

I have wanted to participate in a Turkey Trot for longer than I’ve been running. They had one in my hometown that people I knew from High School did and I always thought it sounded like a fun way to spend the morning of Thanksgiving! I seem to remember looking at the Festival Foods Turkey Trot last year as another race to do, but with only choices of a 2 mile fun run or a 5 mile timed run I didn’t want to do either – I didn’t see the need to drive to run 2 miles when it was un-times, and I was definitely not ready for the 5 mile! Oh how a year changes everything!

Luckily my half marathon training plan fit quite well with the Turkey Trot.  I do my weekly runs on Monday and Thursday, so I would have had to do a run anyways. My plan called for 4 miles, but really what’s another mile on top of that? The weekend plan helped as well because I would only be running a 5k on Saturday so Thursday ended up being my longest run of the week. We ended up at the Fond du Lac Turkey Trot – 20 minutes from the parents house so we drove home on Wednesday night and stayed over.

The run started at 8, so we decided to just leave around 7:30 and not worry about getting there super early. I woke up at 6, had coffee and one rice cake with PB2. I wasn’t sure what to wear for the race – I decided to wear pants, a tank top and a zipper sweatshirt (note: WAY too much clothing!). I ate another rice cake with PB2 right before heading out the door.

The race began at the high school and fortunately was easy to find! They had race packet pickup the day prior, but we couldn’t get ours then so once we parked we ran into the gym to get our timing chips, shirts and race bibs. We also stopped by the bathrooms quickly as we heard the 5 minute warning. Kinley sprinted over to the car to drop off our shirts at the car – there’s nothing like starting off a race in a rush, right?! And then we headed to the starting line. There weren’t many runners so we made it in plenty of time and were fairly close to the front of the pack!

And we were off! Sister naturally sprinted ahead but I lagged behind in attempt of pacing myself. Unlike at Sugarmill, we could wear iPods so I had my Nike+ going and a single song playing on repeat. I have been obsessed with this one song since I first got it and figured it would be a nice way to zone out while running! I hit 1 mile after exactly two rounds of the song – this was my first time having any idea what my pace was but I couldn’t rememeber how long the song actually was but I knew it wasn’t over 5 minutes, so I was doing pretty well!

I hit 2 miles after two more rounds of the song and my pace kept slowing minimally after that, but I was okay with it – especially since I got past the weird sprinter who would stop and walk backwards, and then sprint ahead – she was driving me NUTS! I had to walk for a bit around mile 4. I knew the end was near, but my legs were tired and I needed to deep breath a few breaths before I got going again.

The course end got there quickly. I turned a corner and I saw it up ahead. I tried to quicken up my pace to finish and I did enough to get past a few more people. Needless to say, I was shocked when the time said 48:xx when I was nearing the finish line – finishing 5 miles under 50 minuetes was excellent for me!

Official finish time: 48:49.

Just should have left the long-sleeves at home… 😉

 

race recap: old koloa sugar mill run 10k

We happened to find a run/walk that was happening when we were going to be on the beautiful island of kauai.  The Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run had a 10 mile, 10k and 5k option.  Sister and I opted for the 10k and the parents were talked into participating in the 5k ;).

It’s the end of week 4 of marathon training for me, which means I am 1/3 of the way done – absolutely crazy since it seems like no time has gone by!  I knew this race was in our plans when I made it so I included it on my training plan.  This 10k was my third 10k overall, and the 2nd since I have started my training.  With being somewhat discouraged at my time for the last run, I needed to rethink my priorities and remember that it is not about speed at this point for me, but just the fact that I am/will be running longer distances than I ever have before and I know that is going to wear on me and my legs.

I wanted this to be a stress-free run and finding out the course was no earphones helped quite a bit since I left my entire iPod at home – so I wouldn’t have music or my Nike+ to figure out my pace.  On the way to the race I did think it would have been nice to have, but it was too late at that point so I would just go technology free for the 6.2 miles!

In the morning I had a pre-race breakfast of rice cakes, pb2 and strawberry-guava jam (so good!) and some Kona coffee.  I got up almost 2 hours before we had to leave to give me time to get ready, eaten and settled before setting off for the race.  We left at 6am and had a half hour drive to the sugar plantation.  We got there right on time and found a spot along with all of the other runners.  We had plenty of time to stand around, take pictures and use the restroom before we had to line up by the starting line.

 

Once we were ready to start I took off, attempting to keep it easy and start out slow so I wouldn’t lose steam halfway through like I did during the Haunted Hustle.  I did start slowly, but then I heard someone with Britney blaring out of their phone for the “no earphones” rule and had to speed up to get by.  There was no way I was going to be able to run to crackly Britney when the sights were to pretty – I just wanted to zone out in peace!  Around the 3rd mile the course took us past the Old Koloa Sugar Mill.  The run was rising at that point so it made pictures a little tricky (although these pictures are all from Sister since I left my new camera in the car so I wouldn’t end up dropping it!).

It was around this time I ended up running by 2 ladies who were going just a bit quicker than me.  I figured it would be helpful to use them to help me pace to see if that would motivate me and help me push to the finish, especially since I was running in a brand new location and climate.  A little before the turnaround point I passed one of the ladies but still had a bit to go on the other.  I obviously had no idea what pace I was going or what they were going (or if they were even good at pacing themselves haha).  It went back and forth a bit for me and the one, and then I passed her one more time and she said “good job”, which ended up being the last time either one of us passed one another.  Now it was time to go after the other lady.

I know I was probably pissing her off because after the half way I ended up taking a few walking breaks, and then start running.  This method actually made me faster than the second lady when I was running, but slower when walking so it went back and forth a bit (sorry lady!).  I eventually came out with about a mile of the race left to go and she didn’t pass me again.  The course itself was hilly and quite sunny, I was breaking a good sweat and was definitely working hard but knew my speed was not very fast and I was definitely nearing the end of what I had in me!

With around 1/4 mile or so left to go, Sister actually came running the other way since she it a ton faster than me, and ran with me at that point to help with the motivation.  Jingle lady then came up – I had first heard her at the beginning.  She had a Nathan water belt on and what sounded like a dollar worth of pennies rattling in it.  I knew I was not going to run near her so I wouldn’t get annoyed, but I REALLY wanted to beat her.  I somehow managed to say this to Kinley and she asked if I wanted her to push me to the finish and take her out.

Well, she definitely pushed me and more so than I actually needed to beat the jingler, but I felt better pushing myself so much at the end!  The timing system was so old school at this race, just a one time start and then you handed the bottom part of your number to someone at the end to record.  I don’t think they’re even posted online and I am in no hurry to look, and really have no motivation to look either since it was definitely my slowest 10k.  No need for records when you’re running in paradise, right??

After the race I refueled with some pineapple (my first since getting here somehow!), and plenty of water.  We headed to the car at that point to get home and eat some breakfast to continue refueling and recovering!  On the way, Sister and I grabbed Starbucks iced coffees and a container of Horizon organic chocolate milk.  We split the chocolate milk between the two cups and I think we’re both hooked on our new favorite coffee drink!  Similar to an iced mocha but without a ton of the fake ingredients and sugar that are put in the regular syrups.

Even though it was a fairly slow 10k, I still checked off a race completed in Hawaii and feel pretty good after the fact (well actually I am exhausted beyond belief but I think that has more to do with the rest of the activities done today that I will post about next!).

race recap: haunted hustle 10k

Have you ever heard of negative splits?  Well, during this race I managed to have positive splits.  Positive meaning not ideal.  I definitely learned a thing or two this race that will hopefully help me in my future races :).

First thing’s first.  My time – better than the Bellin 10k, but I am disappointed that I didn’t do better because I know that I could have done better.  Oh well, time to move on.  I finished in 1:02:58, averaging 10:13 per mile.  Bellin was 1:04:03, averaging 10:19 per mile.  Not much of a difference, but one thing that was a whole lot different was my splits.

Bellin 10k

Haunted Hustle 10k

I did so much better for the first 4 miles and then just absolutely crashed.  I know it was a fueling issue.  As in, I didn’t.  Not a good idea.  The main reason I didn’t fuel is because I haven’t had time to train while fueling.  Since my month hiatus from running due to the tendonitis in my foot, and beginning training for my half marathon last week, I haven’t gotten up to a distance that I have had to fuel for in quite some time.  I know you shouldn’t need to fuel for a 6 mile distance, but I know it would have helped my performance.

Anyways, back to the beginning since that is a better place to start!  My costume turned out so cute – I loved it.  And mine and Sister’s coordinated so well!

Obviously, I’m the good witch :).  We stayed in a hotel that was less than half a mile from the start/finish line so it turned out perfectly.  We didn’t have to drive, and I was close enough to go back for my post-run food between the time I got back from the 10k and Kinley got back from her half marathon.  The race was in Middleton, WI and this adorable pumpkin tree was in the middle of the strip mall that was on the way from our hotel and the starting line.  Someone loved our costumes and offered to take our photograph together – so nice!

Kinley insisted that we got to the start line by 7:15, even though her race didn’t start until 8 and mine didn’t start until 8:30.  Definitely going to hang out in the hotel longer (and eat later) next year if we do it again to help with the previously mentioned fueling issue (I ate two rice cakes with PB2 and jelly around 6 or 6:30 I want to say?).  Anyways, we at least got cute pictures before even though I was absolutely freezing and shivering for over an hour.  I was so glad I picked up the pink gloves from Target the night before!

We watched the marathoners take off at 7:30, and then tried to stay warm by a heater until Kinley headed off.  She left with the half marathoners at 8 and then I proceeded to go use the port-o-potty and stand by a heater until 8:20 when I lined up with the other 10kers.  Costumes progressively got more elaborate with the decrease in distance so almost everyone was pretty dressed up for the 10k.  I definitely do not blame the marathoners for not wanting to worry about a costume while running oh-so-many miles!  I can’t believe the Wicked Witch was able to keep her witch hat on for (almost) the whole time.

At 8:28 or so (not to be exact), the National Anthem was sung and then the fire truck siren went off to signal the start of the race!  This is when I did not take my time getting started and basically bolted out of the start.  Not good pacing, but was successful in finally feeling warm for the first time since 7am!  The race never felt easy, but that is what I was expecting since I wanted to do good and was not going to look at my iPod to see my pace.  After this race, I definitely want to look into purchasing a Garmin to help with my pacing and be able to accurately gauge how I’m doing and to avoid going too fast at the start.  At the halfway point I was definitely feeling it and was ready for it to be over.  Somehow I managed to make it to 5 miles and that’s where it got really tough.  The last mile was a loop, so I was seeing those nearing the finish when I still had a mile to go.  It was so taunting!

I also got a complete sense of accomplishment when I saw a the timer only say 55 or so minutes and I thought I somehow managed to run ridiculously fast.  I have no idea what was with the timer but it was a complete letdown!  I was like dying at the finish and was spacing out when the person with the medal was asking what race i was in haha.  I was sooo thirsty, I grabbed a cup of water, downed it, and then filled it up with the most delicious grapes I have had in so long!  I also grabbed an orange wedge and went to find a bottle of water.  I sat down for a few minutes after walking for a bit and tried to stretch, but there wasn’t really a good place to do so.  I ate my orange and most of the grapes and then walked back to the hotel to get our protein bars, more water, the camera, and then go back and hopefully see Kinley finish.

Well, I missed the finish since she PR’d, that ridiculous witch.  And then we walked over to get finisher pictures!

We also had a mini-photo shoot by some benches on the way back to the hotel.  When we got to the hotel, we ate some hard boiled eggs that we grabbed from the breakfast spread and my Luna Protein bar (new favorite!).  Also chugged a few Camelbaks!

The race was fun, but definitely not what I was expecting.  I wished I felt better about my race but just can’t get over the letdown and my lack of preparation, that was both in and out of my control.  For my next race, I absolutely need to not rush out of the starting line.  It was part being absolutely freezing (as I had been waiting for almost an hour and a half in only a t-shirt, and part adrenaline.  I also wanted to run my fastest and wished I could have maintained my sub-10 minute miles.  I also need to be sure to not eat so far in advance.  This was definitely part of the fueling during the race problem since I may have not needed to worry about that if I still had a little something in my system.

Lots of lessons learned, but a new tutu and race medal to show for it!  Less than two weeks until my next 10k in Hawaii, but that will be in a completely new climate so need to work on having ZERO expectations.  We also signed up for a Turkey Trot in Fond du Lac, WI the day of Thanksgiving.  A nice + easy 5 miler… right??