Race Report: St. Pat’s Double

This weekend, I needed about 12 miles for my long run and it just happened to coincide with two great races.  I ran the Reston Ten Miler last year so I decided to go with the St. Pat’s Double (plus a few extra) this year.

As a bonus, a friend who is coming back from some health issues asked if I would pace her for a 10/10:30 pace for the 5K.  Normally, I can’t pace for crap but I thought I could keep her pretty close and readily agreed.

I decided to go in to DC early so I could get a good parking spot and pick up my bib plus run my extra miles.  I was able to park right on Constitution Ave., so that was perfect.

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I then ran 3 easy miles, to get my yayas out before meeting up with my friend.  It was a gorgeous morning and I was feeling great as I ran down the Mall to the start!

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I ran up the Lincoln steps. And barely managed to stop myself from accidentally blowing a snot rocket at the memorial.  So classy!

12717965_10153250548022470_4962062803657633518_n.jpg12798868_10153250548147470_788616181143065176_n.jpg There was an Italian gentleman there, recording himself in front of Lincoln. He kept looking at me like I was nuts as I tried to get this shot!

I rolled back in about 15 minutes before the start.  Quickly found my friend, plus a couple more who wanted to come along for the ride, and we confirmed our place in the corral.

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Ready to go!
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He was the cutest dog on the course!

As we were running, I kept an eagle eye on my watch and pulled the group back a bit when ever we started speeding up.  I also tried to encourage them on the hills at the end of the course.  One of the group was clearly struggling but she did not give up!  All three pushed hard to the finish and we had an average pace of 10:01!

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BOOM!
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2 PRs and 3 crushed goals!

I tell you, I was riding high after this!  I grabbed some water and ate a food packet before lining up for the 10K.  I went out a bit faster than I probably should have with the 10K (9:30s) and, at mile 3, I decided to drop out of the group I was in and go my own pace.  I saw some of my super speedy friends out on the course and that was a lot of fun!  At mile 5 (11.5 for the day), my hamstring really started to hurt and I was starting to feel discouraged.  Right then, I looked left and saw “my girls” on the other side of the course and gave a shout out.  They hollered back and that was the encouragement I needed to keep pushing on.  They didn’t quit so I didn’t either!   I finished with a 10:11 average, which was really where I needed to be.

After crossing the finish, I went to get my medals only to find there was a very long line.  I’m not sure why, there were plenty of volunteers, but we were back up into the finishers chute.

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I then went to get some food.  They had (tiny) cups of hot coffee – fantastic! – as well as bananas, granola bars, and Costco blueberry muffins (less than fantastic. I didn’t look up how many calories are in one of those until I shoved it in my mouth.  Over 600!!!)

By that time, I was freezing and ready to go home so I left without tracking down my other friends.  Sorry, ladies, but I was shivering!

Overall, this was a great race!  I loved the fact that they had corrals (Pacers races often don’t).  The medals were cute.  The race shirt was okay (sorry, no picture).  There were plenty of portajohns.  I give this race a solid A- (the lines for the medals and food could have been handled better).

BUT!  The best part of this was my pacing duties.  I absolutely LOVED doing it!  I definitely want to pace more 5K and 10K groups, maybe even longer with some practice.  This, combined with thoughts of my upcoming RRCA certification, is making me think about a lot of things.  I definitely feel a calling for a service role but never found my place.  Maybe I have now?

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Race Report: Across the Bay 10K 2015

Well, last year was such a fun event, we ran across the Bay Bridge again this year!  Seriously, I could pretty much copy and paste last year’s report and call it good 🙂

Differences:

  • The race organizers had the option to have our packets mailed to us this year so we did that and picked our shirts up at the finish.  Luckily, they had our sizes.  I guess they ran out of shirts (Which I thought they might since the volunteers weren’t collecting the bib tickets). I also heard stories of some people not receiving their bibs but can’t confirm that. We had no problems in either area.
  • The food at the finish had problems – moldy bagels and bruised/old bananas.  I was still happy with the pretzels, though!  There were also a lot of food trucks so people had options. It’s not like we were stuck in a food wasteland.
  • There were about 6,000 more runners this year and it was pretty obvious.  Parking was a big mess, again (but not for us!) and some people were turned away because they missed the last wave.  Very disappointing for them.
  • There were two water stops – one at the top and one right before the shore – and hydration vests were allowed this year.  If you do this race, it is cupless but they rigged up PVC pipe and had a long row of “drinking fountains” along with the spigots to fill your bottles so no one went dry.
  • Personally, I finally learned my lesson and wore a very short sleeve shirt and light capris with a visor and no knit hat.  So much better!  The arm sleeves were off before the first mile marker.
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Still a bit sharky, even without the hat
  • There were a ton of photographers and we will get our pictures for free!  I can’t wait to see them!
  • No aborted selfie attempts at the top.

Similarities:

  • Great view!
The morning sun is not our friend at this race
The morning sun is not our friend at this race
  • Great running company!
  • Great weather!
  • A lot of fun!
  • Still no sharks 😦

Results:

I have been trying to break an hour for the 10K distance for A LONG TIME.  Like, over a year.  I would get ohsoclose but no cigar.  Ms. S knew I was gunning for a PR but I was worried about her lungs (it was chilly at the start and very windy at the top of the bridge) so I had no idea how things would turn out.  I decided to just run and see what the morning brought.  Well, we started off nice and strong up the 2 mile incline (again, it didn’t feel that difficult) and then picked it up for the descent.  The section after we hit the other shore and had to cross over the highway was a suffer-fest again and was pretty bottle-necked but we keep the pedal down and…. 55:41!!  That’s an 8:58 average, boys and girls!!  I still can’t believe we did that!!

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Thank goodness for the running store tent that had rollers for us to use. We may have enjoyed ourselves a bit too much 🙂
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That’s better!

We have already signed up for year 3, because we need to finish our medal puzzle, naturally!  We’re not quitters! 🙂

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Race Report: 10K Across the Bay 2014

So, late last year I saw something on Facebook about an inaugural 10K across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  I have traveled that bridge many times and thought it would be a hoot so I signed up – and convinced one of my adventurous “not a runner (but secretly am)” friends to join me.  And promptly forgot about it because it was over a year away!

Then the emails started rolling in. Boy, did they.  Because it was the inaugural race and they were expecting 20,000 runners AND they were shutting down half of a major artery to the Eastern Shore, the race organizers were trying to be as careful and cautious with the planning as they could.  The sent out more email blast than any other race I have ever done.  A few times I thought I had my dates wrong because they were talking about the race-day details in mid-October! They even brought in Dave McGillivray, the race director of the Boston Marathon, to direct this race!

The onslaught of emails was a bit much but, apparently, needed as everyone many individuals started panicking about parking and basically broke the race’s Facebook page…  I, however, had purchased a parking pass ages ago and knew to pick it up when we got the packets and managed to stay sane. Sometimes being able to read and follow directions helps! Due to weekend conflicts, I asked my husband to pick up our packets for us.  He was there right when it opened at noon on Friday and was in and out very quickly.  He did not look around the expo very much so I have no insight there.

My friend and I were inexplicably placed in two different waves, even though we gave the same finishing time, so we decided to drop back to the later wave since it is a bit of a hike to Annapolis and a little more sleep is always good.  We met up at 6:15 and hit the road.  We decided to park at the second largest lot at Anne Arundel Community College.  It was a good call that we chose AACC over the Army-Navy Stadium.  I think things were more congested there.  As it was, we pulled right in, quickly found a spot, donned our shark hats, and immediately boarded a waiting bus.

Hats from Crochet by Sweat Pea -  they were super cute and we received a lot of compliments!
Hats from Crochet by Sweat Pea (https://www.etsy.com/shop/CrochetBySweetPea) – they were super cute and we received a lot of compliments!

We were shocked by how easy the parking/shuttle was!  The bus took us the 15 minutes to the starting area and we were dropped off in front of a huge group of portajohns.  No lines!  We quickly stopped (there were some short lines when we exited due to more buses arriving) and then made our way to the water.  There was a photo op with the race sign and the bridge in the background but the morning sun was right behind us.  I hope the professional photographer had better luck than the guy who took pictures with my phone!

So bright!
So bright!

We then decided to wander to the start, even though it was only 8:10 and we weren’t due to start until 8:30.  The group moved up a bit and the next thing we knew we were going over the starting line!  Whoops!  That is the first time I have “accidentally” run a race!

The course is short because I didn't have my watch ready when we crossed the start!
The course is short because I didn’t have my watch ready when we crossed the start!

There was a little 3/4 mile loop and then we were on the bridge and heading into our 2 mile hill.  Honestly, it wasn’t that horrible, but I was glad to hit the top!  We paused at the top to try to take a selfie but my camera crapped out 😦  We cruised at the top for a bit (and I swear mile 3 was long) and then started the slow descent to shore.  There was one water stop with huge cisterns but it was a cupless race so I think a lot of people still had plenty and not many stopped.  There were also portajohns and I thought about stopping, just for the novelty 😉

We hit land right before mile 5 and then ran on a side access road for a bit.  It was pretty beat up in spots and my broken toe was not happy with that part – I apologize to my fellow races for dropping the F bomb 😦  We then ran across an overpass over Rt. 301 and we were done!  I was dragging a bit by the end and didn’t really believe the support crew when they said the finish was “just around the corner” but, lo and behold, it was!  And I was very happy to see it!

The finish was super well organized!  We received our medals and then water and a space blanket before heading to the finisher area.  They had bananas and bags of snacks that included Snyder’s pretzels, a bagel, and a Nature Valley granola bar.  The finisher’s village had a ton of food and beverage stands – including hot coffee! – and they also had a live band playing and a “finisher’s” gear store.  The line in the store was long and the merchandise didn’t really catch our eyes so we decided to head for the shuttle bus.  We were expecting a long line but we walked right onto the bus and away we went!  It took a while to cross back over the bridge due to one side being closed but it was fun to say “hey, we just ran this!”

It's a puzzle piece. Now I MUST run it next year!
It’s a puzzle piece. Now I MUST run it next year!

Good

Parking was super easy and only cost $10

The shuttles were numerous and clearly marked

Very organized finish

Cute shirts that run true to size

A TON of safety personnel on the course

The view was spectacular!

No sharks! 🙂

Areas for Improvement

It would have been nice if there had been some music on the course.  If I had been running by myself, it would have been pretty dire.

I hope they consider a gear drop and/or allow for CamelBaks/backpacks next year.  At lot of people bought shirts at the finish so they would have something dry to put on.  The space blanket was nice but it would have been better if I could have just stuffed a shirt into my CamelBak and, bonus, not have to carry a handheld bottle for 6 miles.

Things I Did Wrong

I overdressed.  I wore a long sleeve shirt and capris and I was regretting the shirt before mile 1.

I forgot my sunglasses and didn’t wear a visor.  Duh!  I was running east.  In the morning. Over water.  I’m very lucky I didn’t get a headache.

I forgot to take my electrolyte tablets and felt pretty pukey by mile 5.  It was surprisingly warm.

I stopped to take a failed selfie and missed breaking an hour by 17 seconds.  Gah!

Overall

So much fun!  I would definitely do it again next year, if I can score a spot.

[Holy crow! I just looked at my detailed results and we passed 1017 runners and were only passed by 16!  I’m in the top 25% for my age and 30% overall!!]

Going Out With a Bang

I’ve been messing around with my left foot since late in my marathon training.  I don’t remember when it started but it was shortly before my 20 miler.  I did everything you are supposed to do for plantar fasciitis.  I stretched, rolled my calf, iced, massaged my foot, wore supportive shoes (as much as I could) and some days it was better but then there were days like last Thursday.  It was killing me!  I could hardly walk most of the day and my commute to work was miserable.  I finally decided to see a podiatrist and, after yelling at me, he put me on a one month running restriction.  He also told me to get a pair of Super Feet insoles.  I asked if that meant the Turkey Trot on Saturday was off and he rolled his eyes and muttered about how much he hated treating runners.

Now, this Turkey Trot was very important to me.  It was being held on Little Runner’s birthday.  We have been talking about it since we ran it last year and were both VERY excited to do it again.  The doctor said that I had a moderate case of PF with no signs of rupture. I talked it over with my husband and decided to go ahead with the trot, AMA (against medical advice). 

I was anxious going in.  My legs have felt like lead weights since the marathon and my five mile trail race two weeks ago was rough.  I felt like I was going in slow motion even though I was running as hard as I could.  Needless to say, I spent a good deal of time Thursday night fretting over it.  This was also to be my first repeat course so I really wanted to do better than last year.  Nothing like some internal pressure!

Saturday morning was chilly but we bundled up.  Little Runner had a lot of fun on his mile run (as long as the wind wasn’t blowing in his face!).  He had originally wanted to run it alone but I asked if I could join him as I was running along the side, cheering him on, and he happily agreed.  I really enjoyed being with him and using it as my warm up!  He did have a strong solo finish, though.  After all, he’s “a big kid now and needs to do these things on his own”.  Man, he cracks me up!

Our Little Turkey
Our Little Turkey

My 10K start was shortly after that.  I was wearing my new insoles, which bugged me a bit, but I had a friend running with me so I tried to just focus on the chit chat and not pay attention to my feet.  My friend is pretty speedy but she said she wanted to just hang with me.  We started out pretty fast (for me) and I was a little concerned but I knew we’d settle down once my legs figured out what I was doing.  About halfway into mile 2, I told her that I was feeling pretty good so I wanted to try to get a sub 30 minute 5K – one of my goals for the year – but would likely settle in to a 10:30 pace after that.  I passed the 5K mark at 29:09!  That was a HUGE PR for me! Over 3 minutes off my previous times!  And the real shocker was that I felt good and really didn’t want to slow down!  We kept going at the same pace and I was able to maintain it while talking and kidding around until the last mile when we hit a hill.  Even then, we didn’t slow very much (but I did shut my yap so I could focus on breathing).  I really couldn’t believe it.  My final time was 1:00:29, almost 9 minutes faster than last year’s race, with an average pace of 9:37.  That’s like Kenyan fast for me!  I still can’t believe it!

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Why yes, I do have my head shoved up a turkey butt
Why yes, I do have my head shoved up a turkey butt

This was the first race where I was actually middle of the pack instead of bringing up the rear.  My overall time was exactly 51% of the field.  What a hoot!

So, LR and I had a fun morning and I achieved the goals that I set for myself – but now I’m paying for it.  My foot is much more sore than it was so I’m settling down and will seriously rest it.  LR and I do have our 5K in two weeks but we are doing that at a “fun” pace with much walking.  That may delay my healing again but I don’t think it will be by much.  In the meantime, I’ll be focusing on my core and upper body and, when I’m cleared, I’ll be back out on the roads.

I can’t wait!!