Summer Goals

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I’ve spent the last 6 months or so cruising my short to mid-distance runs in the 9s.  I will get close to 8 and then have to back it off.  I really want to hit a 25 minute 5K this summer but that means a pace of 8:02 (28:12 is my current PR) so I have decided that I want to work on my speed this summer.

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Ol’ Will is full of it

This morning, my first mile was 8:49 (Great!) but then I started burning out and ended up walking a big hill in mile 4 so my average pace was 9:41 (not as great).

They say that in order to run faster, you just have to run faster (helpful!…) but I’m having a hard time coming to terms with being that uncomfortable.  So, what to do?  Maybe get on a 5K plan (gah), definitely add in more speed work, and see if I can squeeze out two 8 minute miles in a row and then try to snag a third.  Supposedly, I did that when I ran a 10K last year (Across the Bay 10K) but I believe their course was short.

Here’s an interesting list of tips on how to run faster.  I already know that my core needs work so I’m hitting that hard in my cross training.  I’m also trying to focus on “quick feet” moves.  I am curious to see how effective they are.  Even if they help me get into the high 8s, I’ll be pretty happy.

Here’s to summer goals!  What will you be focusing on this summer?

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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?

Race Report: Prison Break Dash 5K

So, when we left off, I had just run the MC 17.75K with a crappy hip and lots of hills.  On Sunday, Little Runner and I ran the Lorton Prison Break Dash with some friends. It was his second 5K and was being held on the grounds of the old Lorton Penitentiary (now an arts complex).  Costumes were encourages so, of course, we were happy to oblige!

Packet Pick-up, SWAG

We arrived early enough to get our packet before the race.  They had the option of doing it the day before but I didn’t think it would be a problem – and I was right.  We received our packet in a re-usable cloth “back sack” (what the heck are those things called? It’s not substantial enough to be a back pack).  We also received a cotton race shirt (LR’s is waaay too big for him.  They didn’t have kids sizes even though the 5K is open to 7+).  We then went to the timing tent and received our timing chip (on a neoprene strap).   They had various photo ops with a line up backdrop and ball and chain, etc.

Start

The race consisted of a 10K, 5K, and kids dash.  There was a slight delay because a Prius was blocking part of the course in the parking lot but we started reasonably on time. The 10K runners started first with the 5K runners split into three waves.  We were in the last wave, and that was fine.

Course

The course took us around the complex, past the old guard towers, up two hills, and back. It was fun to run past the old guard towers and some of the old prion buildings.  It was a bit crowded in some spots when the stroller runners were acting a bit crazy and then the 10K runners, on their return lap, shared the course with us.   There was one water stop at mile 1.5 that we hit twice.  My 10K friends said that was the only water for the entire course.  Not great, considering it was pretty warm that morning.

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Finish

The pain in my hip/back from Saturday was almost unbearable and it was hotter than we had thought it would be so I was getting a bit concerned about LR.  We walked quite a bit on the second half of the course but he perked up when we hit some shadows coming back into the complex and ended up finished strong.  Our time was 41 minutes.

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We immediately found water and he was very pleased with the free ice-cream truck that was on site 🙂  I had half a banana but they also had PB&J sandwiches, granola bars, and fruit snacks.  There were a few other vendors but I didn’t see what they were since we had found shade and LR was too hot to move.  They also have free massages, which was a nice touch for a small race.

Good

Family friendly

Novelty race

Good after race support

A ton of volunteers on the course

Quick timing results

Free pictures

Not as Good

The two way traffic on the course wasn’t handled well

Not enough aid stations for the longer course

Overall

This is a little race that grows a bit each year.  I give it a solid B and would do it again next year.

 

 

 

Race Report: Surf n Santa

I owe you all a race report!  We’ve had some “weather” where I am and that seems to have thrown the whole region off its axis.

Anyway, Saturday was the Surf n Santa 10 Miler, Frosty 5K, and Rudolph 1K in Virginia Beach.  Little Runner and I have been anticipating this race fore-ever!  This was to be his first 5K (the Commitment Day Death March on Jan. 1 doesn’t count!) With my foot still acting dodgy, I wasn’t sure but I really didn’t want to disappoint him.  I didn’t think we would be running that hard so I popped some ibuprofen and prepared to lace up!

I adore the J & A Racing events but they are all in the southern part of the state and traffic is always a bear so we decided to go down on Friday morning so we could actually enjoy the beach and not be stressed.

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Beautiful!

Brilliant idea!  Our hotel overlooked the ocean – it was the same one we used for the Virginia is for Lovers 14K – and they had holiday lights set up along the boardwalk that we could see from our balcony.

While Friday was beautiful, the above mentioned weather was making its move that night so Saturday was cold, wet, and windy!  Bleck!  Luckily, our costumes were fairly warm.

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The Gingerbread Boy and the Fox!
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“Run, Run as fast as you can!”

Little Runner rocked his Rudolph 1K and he proudly told me that he didn’t go as fast as he could because he wanted to save some energy for later!

Our race began promptly at 8 am.  LR was whining a bit in the start corral – we were wave 4 – and we had an incident with the M&M candy cane he was carrying but things settled once we started moving.  I know I sound like such a gushy mom but he made me so proud!  He ran almost the entire time with just two brief walk breaks (one to eat the Mike and Ike’s from the candy stop) and we spent the entire time making up alternate holiday songs* and fantasizing about swimming in giant cups of hot cocoa.  The race started at the convention center, wound through a few side streets, and then went along boardwalk for about half a mile before turning back toward the finish.  The boardwalk was the worst because of the strong wind and blowing rain.  We started mile 3 shortly after turning from the beach and LR was beginning to tire.  Instead of giving up, he started shouting motivation slogans! “Don’t give up now!”, “Don’t quit”, “Keep going!” One of the runners by us asked if he could follow her on the 10 mile course and keep shouting that at her.

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Wet and happy!

We finished in 44 minutes and yes, hot chocolate was had with our lunch.

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Double Bling, Baby!

Registration and Packet Pick Up

J&A races are relatively inexpensive and never have registration problems.  They also have a very smooth pick up process.  We received personalized bibs and very nice race shirts, cotton for the 1K and tech for the 5K.  The 10 Miler had a race hoody that I LOVED!  They also had Santa hats and jingle bells for free.

Expo

There is always a little expo that consists mostly of  booths for other J&A races as well as some on the Outer Banks.  There was some gear, a bank, and a few other random booths.  We did finally get some running themed Christmas ornaments (I have one as my profile picture on Facebook) so I was happy.

Course Support

There was one water/Gatorade stop for the 5K and a candy stop with Mike and Ike’s.  There weren’t many spectators due to the weather but there were a lot of volunteers and two groups of professional carolers.

Finish

The finish was inside the convention center so we were immediately in a dry, warm space. There were even bleachers for our support people! There was water, power bars, and bananas in the chute with hot soup for the runners.  They also had three free beers for all runners (of age)!  I think that’s the most I’ve ever seen! My only complaint is there was a very loud band playing on one end of the exhibit hall and it was impossible to hear anything.

Final Grade

A+ I loved this race so much for many reasons!

*Dashing through the streets

With a 5K bib in hand

Through the rain we’ll go

Laughing across the land!

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!

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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!!

Race Report: Crystal City Twilight 5K 2013

I decided a few months ago to sign up for the Crystal City Twilight 5K.  I have never done an evening race before and thought it would be fun.  I also had my eye on a 30 minute 5K PR this month!

After I ran a very nice 6 miles after my 10K last week, I decided to tack this 5K onto the end of the day after running 12 miles in the morning.  The weather was decent and I was averaging 11-12 min/mile on the (well groomed) trail so I thought I was on track for my PR.  It started raining around 5 PM but the skies cleared by 6:30 so we we decided to stick to the plan.

Right exactly when the race began, the skies opened up and we were subjected to torrential rain for the first 10 minutes.  Seriously, they couldn’t have coordinated it better if they tried!  Luckily, my family made the best of it by ducking into a nearby yogurt shop for a little treat.  The runners weren’t as fortunate.  My first mile, I was running partially blind because it was raining so hard but I was able to make out the people ahead and stayed on course.  My first mile was 9:20.  Then the rain stopped.  And I was hot and wet. And my glasses steamed up like crazy.  I literally couldn’t see a thing.  I had to stop repeatedly to wipe them off because I was terrified of dropping them if I did it on the run.  The dark plus fogged over glasses and the train tracks we obviously ran by as a freight train rolled through created a sensory nightmare for me.  I was very agitated and even felt mildly claustrophobic.  My second mile was 10:20 and my third was 11:30. Overall pace of 10:35.  No PR for me.

I don’t know what it is but this is the second bad race I’ve had with Pacers.  I can’t put my finger why, though.  The Pacers races do draw a very different crowd than what I’m used to (super high tech race gear, all sorts of crazy warm up drills, etc.) and I just don’t feel like I’m with “my people” there.  Luckily, there are enough other local races that I won’t miss too much by not running theirs.

I did learn a few things at the race, though:

Always wear wool socks and use Body Glide, even if it’s a short race, if there is even the HINT of rain or puddles.

Always bring a water bottle for afterwards, even if it is a short race.

Know your comfort zone.  If it was dry and I had brought my Knuckle Lights, I would have had a much better race because I’m used to early morning runs like that.  Total dark and wet, not so much.

I still think I could have nailed my PR.  Luckily, I have more opportunities ahead!

I wore an Athleta tank, Champion compression-ish shorts (I don’t know if they are true compression shorts but those babies don’t move! I love them!), thin (non-wool) sock, and my “current’ pair of Saucony Ride 5.

Pros

Inexpensive registration

Nice race shirt design

Super easy packet pick-up at the Pacers running store

Start/Finish near a variety of stores and restaurants so the family has a place to wait

Food tent with pretzels, bananas, and Lara bars.  There were also vendors with free Coco Vita and other items.

Cons

The course map wasn’t even close to accurate.  I still have no idea where we were running!

I couldn’t find the water at the finish

Pretty crowded field (1900 finishers) and we were all in one massive corral

Overall

B – but I won’t be repeated this one.