Sunday, October 28, 2012

Another 5K PR: I Could Get Used to This!

I ran the Spooktacular 5K in cold and windy conditions on Saturday, October 27, 2012.  This race held my old 5K PR (20:01).  It is a fairly flat course and at a good time of year for running fast.  The weather is cool, and marathon season has begun.  Many people dress in costumes for this race and run just for fun (like my friend Julia who dressed up as a nose!), but there are also plenty who race more seriously instead.

So I got a 19:33 today!  Now that I have gotten two 5K PRs in two weeks (19:40 last week), I don't know why it took me so long to get these lower times.  Why did I stay at the 20 minute range for so long?  I think a part of why I am doing well right now is that I am looking at these races as "last chances."  I am trying to give them all I've got.  

I am vain.  I did not want another bad race picture (see my last two entries!), so I managed to watch my form and give a smile to our great local photographer, Gregg Gelmis, who is always out at the races taking pictures.  I really like the picture he took (see below) which was taken at Mile 3 when I was feeling VERY tired!

Mile 1--6:12  I intentionally went slower than last week's 1st mile.  I knew that was a bad idea last week and I wanted more even splits today.  Trailed behind same two girls--Candace and Kathy plus newer-to-Huntsville runner Kylie.

Mile 2--6:25  Windy and alone for this section.  Hard to stay motivated!

Mile 3--6:16  Was asking myself, "How bad do you want this?" because I really wanted to slow down.  I kept trying to catch Kylie (who was being paced by her husband) to no avail.

Finish time 19:34 (19:33 chip time) 6:18 pace 4th OA Female 

Rick also PRed today, and we brought our kids and tried out some new babysitters who met us at the race.  

I would love to work on whittling this time down even more, but I am not sure how many more 5Ks I will be doing in the next few months.  The next PR I would LOVE to beat is my 10K time.  It is the only one from my days before having kids that I haven't beaten on this side.  I would also love to get where I feel good while running one of these things.

Start line (I am to far right behind mustache guy :))
All photos by Gregg Gelmis of We Run Huntsville
I am smiling at the camera---not wanting any more bad picture of me!!!!
(near left about 3 rows back)
Finishing a PR 5K!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Baltimore Race Pictures

So I'm not really thrilled with any of these pictures, though I wish I was.  It would be fun to buy a picture from my PR marathon, but I have a weird expression or just look awkward in most of these.

This was taken as we were walking to the start line.  You can see how cold we are by our red noses and how my arms are sort of frozen in place in front of me like that.  We probably should have worn clothes to throw off after the start.  It was in the 40's.

This one is my favorites.

WHY am I smirking like that????  And I look sloutchy or something.

That is better.  

The skin on my cheek is all saggy here!!  I think this is around Mile 20 since I am holding what looks like a Gu.

I managed a smile!  Feeling TIRED here.

And now the finish line photos.  WHY did I think to raise my arms like this???  I look like I am in a stick up!  Look at that chicken skin hanging down....hmm, note to self: do NOT raise your arms again in a finish photo AND let's work on toning those arms!

And that's about it!!  Not my best race photos.  

I am beginning to think about my fall line up: Spooktacular 5K this weekend, Huntsville Half November 10, and Rocket City Marathon (pacer) December 8.  I have to come up with a training program that combines all of those.  This week I've been taking it VERY easy.  I'll be ready to train harder next week!  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Another PR--Liz Hurley Ribbon Run 5K

I ran the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run 5K on Saturday, October 20, 2012.  See my entry here about last year's race. My situation was pretty much identical to last year's.  Like last year, I was running as part of my preschool work team in honor of two breast cancer survivors at my school.  Also like last year, I had just done a marathon a week earlier (Chicago last year and Baltimore this year).  So I was going into the race pretty unprepared to race hard, but still willing to give it my best effort.

I started the race with Candace and Kathy, two girls from my Fleet Feet team.  Liz Hurley herself started the race and took some pictures with all of us women at the start line (the men's race was earlier).  What a sea of pink!

Candace, Katie, Kathy
All pictures courtesy of Gregg Gelmis with We Run Huntsville.

Liz Hurley at the race start (We are directly behind her in this picture.)
In the first mile, I ran with Kathy.  Candace had the lead.  After hearing the split for the first mile, I slowed a little, knowing that the third mile was harder since it had an uphill.  I wasn't going to be able to keep up that pace.  Kathy passed me and eventually one more female--someone we didn't know--did too.

Start line (we are in the middle, front row)
Kathy and Katie
I pushed hard in the 3rd mile after cresting the hill.  I didn't know if I could PR today or not, but I knew it was a possibility.  I gave it my all and look very serious and determined in these photos.  I am very near the finish line in these.

It looks like I am about to suck my thumb in this one!
When I saw low 19 on the clock as I approached, I knew I had done it!  I crossed the finish line in 19:40 (chip time).  I am very surprised that I was able to PR today given the conditions.  Kathy pointed out to me that the Spooktacular 5K held next weekend is a much faster course and a better one to PR at.  So maybe I can beat this time next weekend!  I am happy to see my 5K time finally getting lower into the 19's. According to the McMillan Calculator, my 3:12 marathon translates to a 19:42 5K.  Pretty close!  So now two new PRs, one week apart!

Mile 1 6:01
Mile 2 6:37
Mile 3+.1 7:05 (6:26 pace)
19:40 6:21 overall pace
4th overall female, 2nd in age group

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Baltimore Marathon 2012 Race Recap

Start Line
It was a cold morning (low 40s), and Rick and I huddled in our car for awhile before getting out.  We made it to the finisher's area to drop off gear and use the porta-potties a little less than an hour before the race. We waited until the last minute to drop our gear since we each only had a singlet and shorts to start in. We were freezing!  We walked with the crowds to the start area--about a 1/2 mile or so.  The start area was just crammed full when we got there, and we had to squeeze into the start area and were tightly packed in. We were somewhere around the 3:20 pacer but couldn't advance at all.  People were shoulder-to-shoulder.

Miles 1-9 
7:04, 7:07, 7:25, 7:13, 7:05, 7:15, 7:03, 7:07, 7:13--Easy Running
Once the race started, I knew I wanted to make sure I was closer to the 3:10 pace group.  I hadn't intended to run with them, but I started with them.  Their first mile was fast--7:04--but I still didn't drop back.  I enjoyed the company and the knowledge that we were running an even pace.  These first few miles were easy and relaxed, and we fell into a nice rhythm of pace miles mixed with slightly faster ones.  I was not bothered by the elevation gain in the first 3 miles.  I fueled at Mile 5 and 9, trying something I learned from Tia.  I was wearing a pace bracelet marked with the miles I was supposed to fuel at.  I usually don't fuel so early on in the race, but I wanted to see if it would help me at the end.  I used Sportbeans as fuel (4 packs total) and intended to use 2 Gus provided along the course.

Miles 10-18 
7:13, 7:31, 7:05, 7:03, 7:16, 7:16, 7:16, 7:15, 7:15--Amazingly Even Splits!
I am impressed by how even our splits were for most of these miles.  We found a good rhythm and stuck with it.  I remember seeing Rick and Teddy around Mile 11 as we crossed going to/from the Under Armour facility (the race's main sponsor).  They saw me with the 3:10 pace group, and I saw them together (I wasn't sure they would be able to find each other in all of the congestion at the start line).  Rick and I were both happy for each other.

Miles 19-26.2 
14:55 (2 miles), 7:37, 7:52, 15:07 (2 miles), 8:15, 8:56 (26 +.2 miles)--Finishing Strong?
I know with 2 combined mile splits it makes it hard to see how I did for this section, but I think the fastest mile for the part was around a 7:30 with the rest being closer to an 8:00.  This section was hilly (up to mile 22).  At Mile 18, the pace group cruised on, and I stayed a little behind them so that I could slow to fuel.  They had been talking about how much time was banked (30 seconds or so), so I know I could stay a little behind them and still get a 3:10.  I never saw the course Gu at Mile 12, so I hadn't taken anything since Mile 9.  I took some Sportsbeans and tried to hang on.  I just could not.  I struggled with the hills.  I was also bothered by seeing LOTS of people passing me near the end.  Rick later told me those were half marathoners, but, at the time, I thought I was getting passed and it made me feel very slow!  It is such a mind game in those last few miles.  I also noticed that I could not eat at the end.  I took some more Sportsbeans and a Gu somewhere in those last few miles.  I could not choke down the beans and spit them out onto the road.  I have to work on fuel at the end of the race.

So in the 20's, I knew I did not have the 3:10 once I started seeing my pace bracelet's times and not seeing the now-vanished 3:10 pacers.  I was okay with it at the time but still disappointed.  I started going through all of the "What if's" in my head.  NOT a good way to pump myself up for the finish.  When I finally saw the finish area, I was very relieved.  I crossed the line in 3:12 something, a new PR but short of my goal of a 3:10.  My calves started cramping and I felt a huge desire to lay down on the ground, so I did.  And I sat.  Yes, I know how bad that is, but it felt better than standing.  Shortly after I convinced myself to stand up, I saw Rick.  He'd gotten a 3:15.  I felt bad when he asked how I did, and I said, "3:12" and he said, "Awwww" and made a little face.  I wanted to be able to say 3:10.  He wasn't trying to make me feel bad; he was just showing the disappointment he felt in knowing I was disappointed.

We grabbed a free beer and headed over the pick up our official time from the TMobile station.  After we got our gear bags, I quickly took a couple of Advil and put on warm clothes.  I felt MUCH better then, and my calves felt better too.

Thoughts After the Race
I ran a 3:12:31 on Saturday in the Baltimore Marathon.  Rick and I talked afterwards, and we both met what we'd call the "A-" goal for ourselves at the race.  I am incredibly thankful for a great race and another PR; in fact, I'm so amazed that God would give me another race like this just one year after the Chicago Marathon.  Two years of PR marathons separated by all that's happened this year--wow.  I thought Chicago was the race of a lifetime for me, but now I realize that I might still have even faster times in me!  I missed my goal of a 3:10, but this experience has only made me want it more.  I will take what I've learned from this race and use it to drive my next training program.

Thanks for sticking with this to read this all.  The encouragement of my friends (both local and all over the nation) means so much to me.  You all are holding me accountable for something I might never do without your advice, encouragement, and support.  I hope one day to get that 3:10 and to share that experience with you all!

Now stay tuned for some of the WORST marathon pictures of myself I have even seen!  I have the most awful expressions and positions in these.  They are so awful they are funny!

Baltimore Marathon 2012 Trip Recap

Baltimore Marathon 2012 Trip Recap---Race Recap to Follow!

Thursday, October 11, 2012
We headed up to Nashville at 5:20 a.m. (only 20 minutes behind schedule!) to pick up Monika, Rick's sister-in-law.  After that, it was a long day in the car.  We always like to pack a picnic lunch and eat and play at a park the first day we travel, since it saves money and burns some of the kids' energy.  Rick found a good one, the Warriors' Path Sate Park in Tennessee.  There was the strangest exhibit from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.  Just look at the Mr. Tumnus statue below!  Finally, we reached the hotel near 9:00 p.m.  What a long day on the road!

Beautiful leaves along the way
Mr. Tumnus statue at the park
Great park with huge playground for the kids!
Friday, October 12, 2012 
I was going to get up and run 2 miles today, but Rick used today as another rest day so I decided to as well.  That made 2 rest days before the marathon.  We made it to the Expo at 10 a.m.  The kids had the best time walking around and getting free stuff!  It was a little annoying to have to walk through all of the vendors twice just to get our numbers and shirts.  They had them on opposite ends presumably so we'd have to go through twice.  Then we headed to the Port Discovery Children's Museum for hours of fun!  We love visiting different children's museums on each trip we make.  This one was great but way too crowded with field trips in the morning hours.

Our family at the finish area (near expo)
Port Discovery Children's Museum
We enjoyed visiting some of the tourist places around the Inner Harbor for the rest of the afternoon.  We went to the Top of the World and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse.  Ours kids found many things  in the city to be fascinating--the birds (pigeons and sea gulls), the boats, the street performers, riding in the fast elevator to get to the observation level, etc.

Going to the "Top of the World"
Great views of the city!  
We carbo-loaded at Noodles and Company with our good friends, Teddy and Angie, and their children.  It was a noisy, busy, and fun night, and it didn't leave me much time or energy to be concerned about the race.

My pesto and mushroom pasta dish
Saturday, October 23, 2012

I will do a recap of the race in my next entry, but here is a picture of us after we finished the race.

State #22 completed!
We headed back to the Inner Harbor for another afternoon of fun.  I wasn't sure how my legs would feel in the paddle boat, but they were fine!

Street performer with a huge crowd!
Dragon paddle boats
Flag in the harbor
Sunday, October 14, 2012

We headed home around 5:30 a.m. our time (they are an hour ahead), and we repeated the all-day car trip home.  We were all VERY glad to get home around 8:00 p.m. that night!

Here is my info from the race:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New PR!

For now, a quick update---Baltimore Marathon 2012

I was listed 15th woman and 2nd in my age group, but someone must have been disqualified or something because I am listed 14th now!  See results here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Last Long Runs--12 and 8 Miles in the Taper

Long Run 
Friday, September 28, 2012 
12 Miles With 4 at Pace

I did this 12 mile run with 4 pace miles since Rick was going out of town and I didn't have days to do the runs separately (the plan called for a 4 mile pace run the day before the 12 mile run). Rick suggested doing the pace miles in the middle, but I liked them at the end.  The pace miles were 7:12, 7:11, 7:11, 7:01, and 7:13 (for .73).  This was a good run but a little boring since it was laps in the dark.

Long Run 
Saturday, October 6, 2012 
8 Miles with Single Jogger

I didn't really choose to do this run this way, but it worked out fine.  I was really excited when Rick agreed to run his 4 miles with me on my 8-miler.  He was going to push the kids in the double stroller.  I was loving the leisurely pace our Saturday morning was taking (we had 12 combined miles of running, and sometimes we have to fit in almost triple that).  Right as we got ready to go, the weather got yucky (rainy and cool), and we don't have a rain shield for the double stroller.

I still wanted company on my run!  I am getting lonely on my runs.  My son agreed to come with me in the single stroller since it has a nice rain shield.  He hasn't been on a run in awhile, and he really wanted to go. He now weighs 50 pounds, and I am feeling it in my upper body today still!  But it was a great fall run with him, and I'm pretty happy with my times.  I was going for a 7:15 in that last mile---so close!  Average was 8:09, a decent pace for a long run and fine during the taper.

Last short track workout tomorrow and then a heavy taper with 2 2-milers and 2 rest days!!  It feels crazy to have only that left.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Baltimore Marathon Preparation

Here is the link to the Baltimore Running Festival website which includes the marathon and the various other events for this coming weekend.  The marathon is 5 days away, and I am at work packing and tapering.  Just trying to be prepared.  Here are some of the things off of the website that I found to be useful.

The Elevation Chart 
Quite a bit of climbing for the first 3 miles and Miles 15-21 or so.  But let's focus on the positive---look at those downhills!!

Pace Group Info 
(not planning to run with one, but it's nice to know their strategy)

3:10 Pace Group:
Close to even splits will be the order of the day. We will run no more than 20-30 seconds faster in total over the first 3 miles heading to Druid Hill.
From there it will be some minor give and take within miles with the goal to hit the mile markers from 8 to 26.2 right on the number.   We will run the
hills on the second half at even splits (7:15) and enjoy our downhill finish holding pace as group members sail ahead to the finish!

Top Women in 2011
(click on picture to enlarge)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Doubts in Myself

I was talking with some friends of mine while running, and the topic of blame came up.  When you don't do well in a race, do you tend to blame other things--like the weather or the course, or do you "own up" to the failure?  I think I do some of both.

I definitely can find reasons to blame myself if I don't do well.  The task of training rested on my shoulders over the last 10 weeks.  I did many things well, but I see lots of things I didn't do so well either.  Over the past few days, I've had a running list in my head of all of the things I don't think I did right this time around during training.  I guess this is the list I will pull from to get my excuses if I don't do well next week!

1. Lack of hill training.  My training program called for 6 hill workouts, and I did a grand total of 2 of them.  And the course I am running has two sections of big uphills.  I don't think that is smart.  One of the only workouts that I skipped this time around was 7xhills, but it was when Rick was out of town so I felt like I had an excuse.

2. Shortened training schedule.  I started training with only 10 weeks to go until the marathon, so I just omitted the first 7 weeks of training.  I wasn't doing nothing, but I wasn't doing the quality workouts that the plan called for either.  On bad days I question whether not doing those 7 weeks will come back to haunt me.

3. Running roughly 10 less miles per week than called for by the program.  I could not run on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I settled for doing workouts on the elliptical machine.  That cut my mileage by roughly 10 miles a week.  And that made my highest mileage week only in the 40's.  That seems like too little to me, but I know that most of the rest of the runs were good, quality miles.

4. Not running a single 20-miler all the way through.  I mentioned this a couple of posts back.  I really think allowing myself to stop in these runs could be a problem for me race day.  I haven't forced myself to push through a long run.

5.  Eating issues during the run.  I have struggled with being able to eat on runs and having similar fuel to race day to train with (I actually don't know what is on the course--they just sent us a change--and I don't know what I will carry yet or when I will plan to eat it.)  So race day, I will be winging it and hoping my stomach doesn't revolt.  I've developed a pickier stomach more recently and have had to force things down in races and runs.  A smarter strategy would have been to test different foods/drinks out during my long runs.  I failed to do that.

I feel better just sharing these things.  No training plan is perfect, but I do see these flaws in mine.  I like to think I am really tough and disciplined, but some days I question whether I really am disciplined enough to be a marathoner.  I would like to follow a training program all the way through and also practice race day fueling more next time I train.  I think this would help me feel more prepared and quiet some of these pre-race nerves.