Monday, May 27, 2013

Cotton Row Run 2013 Race Report--Monday, May 27, 2013

The Cotton Row Run morning started with a tight schedule and an early start!  I had to make it to a picture of my racing team at 6:15 a.m.  The lot I usually park at charged for parking this year, so I had to park further out and walk with the kids (Rick had arrived at 5:30 to set up the start and finish line).  We met for the picture, and then I left to go warm up with Kylie for the 7 a.m. 10K race.  

Kylie, Julia, and I had done a pretty tough 12+-mile run on the course on May 11 (average pace for my first 10K- around 7:30 and my second- around 7:20), but this past weekend I chose to volunteer at the aid station instead (my team mans an aid station on the course on weekends leading up to the race).  I've been adding some hills into my training and also did one session of speedwork (800s).  I felt somewhat ready for the course, but I've had an awful cold/cough over the past week.  I've been coughing a lot and feeling pretty tired, so I wasn't feeling 100%.  

My race can be summed up with one word: consistent!  I was only 4 seconds off from my time last year.  I find that pretty amazing since I feel like I am not in as good of shape as last year (when I was tapering for the Minneapolis Marathon).  I listed my splits below with a comparison of this year from last (some being only a second apart!).  Note that Cotton Row is known for its huge hill called Mountainwood, which hits at Mile 2/Mile 3. 

Splits (2012 times in parentheses):

Mile 1-6:16 (6:14)
Mile 2-6:35 (6:47)
Mile 3-7:10 (7:09)
Mile 4-7:05 (7:02)
Mile 5-6:30 (6:28)
Mile 6-6:44
.2 1:25  (total-8:09) (8:01)

Overall Time 41:45
seeded 15th--finished 13th female overall
1st in age group
84/2015 place
results here

see previous Cotton Row Run entries here: 2011, 2012

These pictures of the 10K are courtesy of Rick:

Pre-race ceremonies
Huge flag suspended by a firetruck crane
The start!
Rick took these pictures near Mile 6.  


Then it was time to swap roles: Rick warmed up and ran his race--the 5K--at 9:00 a.m.--and I took over watching the kids.  We ate some ice cream sandwiches and bagels while we waited for the race to finish.

Here is Rick finishing the 5K!  

Finally, at 10 a.m., it was time for the 1-mile fun run.  Our kids both did this race.  Rick ran with our son, and I ran with our daughter.  Our son got around 9:00, and our daughter got around 9:30.  Then we grabbed some Gatorade and headed home!  We enjoyed a couple of hours at the pool for a good end to our Memorial Day weekend!

Gatorade at the end of the race

The Five Points of Life Kids' Marathon---Saturday, May 11, 2013

Is it already almost June? I have been neglecting this blog! I haven't responded to the comments, but I plan to soon. I am excited that a new follower posted a comment! Even if I don't respond right away, I always read my comments and love hearing from new followers and my few "regulars" too.

So I will start this rapid catching up with a recap about the Five Points of Life Kids' Marathon held on Saturday, May 11th at 9:00. Before the race, the kids had a couple of months to log quarter miles on these sheets. Mine did this very carefully and thoroughly. I noticed they were asking to go for more walks afterschool (walking counted), and my daughter wanted to walk her brother to school more (instead of riding in the stroller) so she could get more miles! Still, it was a challenge to complete the 25 miles. It is also crazy to think that marathoners run all of that in one morning! Maybe it helped the kids understand how far 26.2 miles really is for us marathoners!

The day of the race, the kids were given a goodie bag and a free shirt. My daughter got her face painted and loved it! Then the kids ran the final 1.2 miles of their "marathon" in the parking lot of our local baseball stadium and finished by going around the field. After almost everyone had finished, a guy told us to get up and "cheer for Sophie!" Apparently, there was a little girl with some physical handicaps that was completing the race today. We all got up and started cheering like crazy. It was amazing to be a part of such a special moment for her.

There was pizza and popsicles for the finishers----and a medal for each finisher too! This event is free, and it's one I definitely recommend if you are local. If I could offer a little bit of advice, I would have them somehow check the log sheets better (they are not required, but for those that do complete them, maybe putting a special stamp on each one to make the kids feel like their hard work was recognized) and to have a clock at the finish line (they told us this was not a race, but my kids still wanted to see what their time was). I find it hard to complain when something is free, though! 

My kids before the race

The start!
Finishing the race

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Run Through The Roses 10K 2013

Results here
I didn't get even close to a PR today, but I still had a fun time in the race and enjoyed some great team camaraderie. 
I like this race because it is the only one in my town of Madison, Alabama.  It is a few minutes from my house versus the 20-30 minutes most other races are from us in nearby Huntsville.  So today I enjoyed staying in the house until about 6:20 for a 7:00 a.m. start.  Just enough time to drive over, park, warm up, and hit the bathrooms.  The weather was a rainy 47 degrees, so I wanted minimal time just standing around.  Brrr. 
Just when I'd parked in the designated church parking lot nearby Bob Jones High School, a man started shouting at me and lots of the other people who were also heading to the race, "Hey!  You can't park here!  We have a meeting at 9:00!!"  He did not seem happy, and I am a rule-follower, so I obliged and got back in my car to move it.  The next closest lot was a little less than 1/2 mile away at Asbury Church, so I parked there and jogged to the start.  I was supposed to warm up with Julia, but that plan got messed up due to the reparking situation.  The good news was that everyone must have been inside staying warm and using the bathrooms, because there was no line for the porta-potties.  I took my time in there (It had a roof and was dry so why not?).
We waited an extra 10 minutes because there was a train along one of the roads that we ran on (we didn't cross the tracks but ran alongside it).  Usually delays are not a big deal.  In the cold rain, it was a different story.  We were all ready to get moving!
Team Unity
I just love the pictures below because they show me in between 2 of my favorite teammates!  On the left is Kylie Lemon, and on the right is Julia Clark.  Both of these women have meant a lot to me, especially recently since they have both become Fleet Feet Racing Team members.  I met Kylie exactly one year ago, at this race.  She was the overall winner and was brave enough to approach me and Julia after the race and ask us to go on a cool down with her.  I remember thinking as we talked, "This girl must think I am so old.  What can we possibly have in common?  She will not like me once she hears that I am a 34 year old mom!!!"  Well, that was not true.  Kylie saw me as a friend and a fellow runner.  In the passing months, we chatted at races and on facebook and eventually began doing training runs together.  SHE, one of the newest members of the FF Racing Team, took it upon herself to unite us teammates together through training runs.  Not me, a charter member of the team.  That humbled me a lot and it made me appreciate this team and the new unity I felt among us even more.
The other thing Kylie did before this race is make a statement that I just loved!  On a training run on the course last week, Kylie remarked, "I want us to have a 1-2-3 sweep.  Any order!"  It was so sweet to hear her add that at the end.  Kylie is a much stronger runner at the shorter distances than me, and she won the race last year.  But she never boasted or bragged that she was going to win again this year.  Yet with this challenge she offered us, I really wanted that "clean sweep."  Then when I got to the race and saw her and Julia there in our matching uniforms, outnumbering the guys from our team for once (this race does not draw many Huntsville runners for some reason), I felt like I belonged. 
We look like we are having so much fun talking in these pictures!
All pictures by James Hurley
Kylie, Katie, Julia

The Race
Mile 1 6:24 This mile felt good, probably because it is a totally flat mile along a usually busy main road for our city, Hughes Road.  It is fun to run in the middle of the road when I am usually on the sidewalk!  The rain had died down during this time, and it was great finally starting after the 10 minute delay.  Below you can see the girls in purple.  From right to left, this is the order we eventually finished in too.  The first place guy, FF Team member Eric Charette, was already out ahead of this picture.  The guy in white between Kylie and me finished 4th.  A guy wearing long black pants and an orange jacket pulled ahead of me in Mile 2 and eventually finished 3rd. 

Mile 2 6:29 Also another good mile for me.  I was pleased with the consistency.  This mile takes us through downtown Madison and alongside the train tracks.
Mile 3 6:54 This mile just started the miserable miles for me!  When I saw the time, I thought, "Wow, I really slowed down here.  I'll just pick it up in the next mile."  But then I just could not!  It had started to rain harder in this mile, and we hit some rolling hills as we headed onto Old Madison Pike.  I guess if I had to say why I slowed, it would be that I have not trained for this distance (and was running much faster than any of my recent training) and the rain bothered me.  But I think it was mostly that I have not been doing enough speedwork. 
Mile 4 6:51 Okay, I picked it up a tiny bit here.  Small victory for me!
Mile 5 7:08 This mile has some rolling hills along Crestview Drive and through neighborhoods leading up to Eastview Drive.  For most of the race, I was going back and forth with the eventual 4th place finisher, the guy in the white shirt in the start pictures.  I kept trying to pass him but then was getting passed right back.  It probably helped keep my pace up, to be honest.
Mile 6 7:19 This mile was very tough.  It has the Eastview Hill called "The Beast" towards the end of it.  I don't do many 10Ks, but I think putting a very steep hill near the end is brutal!  Today I contemplated walking it and felt extremely out of shape as I slowly crept up it.  I had seen Julia right behind me as I turned onto Eastview to begin the climb, and I knew she was closing in (I had long ago stopped even being able to see the first woman, Kylie--she finished in 39:05).  Julia ran a great race and ended up being only seconds behind me at the finish.
.2 1:19 I actually felt great as I went down the hill!  I was calculating in my head, thinking I could possibly still get a 41 something, but as I saw the Mile 6 marker, I knew I didn't have it.  So I ran hard and finished in 42:26---not even close to the time I got last year, but fine for me today.  It was raining, I haven't done enough speedwork to prepare for a 10K race, and last year I was marathon training at this time.  So it's hard to compare times from one year to another, even on the same course. 
overall 42:26 (6:51 pace)
2nd female overall
5th place overall
I would like to say that I felt great at the end and wanted to stay and cheer other runners on, but I actually felt chilled to the bone and a little cranky, so home for a hot shower it was!  Below is a picture of my family, who came to watch my finish.  Awards were over 2 hours later (after the 5K race at 9:00), and luckily for me, Julia was able to pick up mine so I did not stay.
End Result
As Kylie predicted, The Madison Fleet Feet girls did a 1-2-3 sweep this year at the Run Through The Roses!  It felt great to know that we had done it, and I was proud of teammates Kylie and Julia for representing our team so well. 

After not having run a 10K in months, I needed this one to get back into the swing of things and to get a feel for pacing myself for this distance and not a distance of a half marathon-50K (which is all I've raced since November).  And I have some knowledge about what I need to work on before Cotton Row next month.  Hopefully, this will be my only 42 minute 10K this season and I will improve my 10K time as the season progresses.

For all of the Run Through the Roses runners today, I think we should all feel tough in choosing to get out there and run in these conditions!  As a trail runner who has done trail races in the rain, I can say that road running in the rain in much harder!  Braving these elements was challenging.  I feel extremely happy that I am done, inside, and dry now after reflecting on the conditions of this morning's race.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jogging Stroller Run to the Preschool

Delays in my posting come from the crazy pace of the end-of-school and a new school for my kids this fall!  We are embarking on a new adventure in private Christian elementary school.  My days and nights have been filled with applications, interviews, and prayer! 

In the middle of all of this, the bombing of the Boston Marathon happened.  While this event didn't personally affect me, it affected me deeply.  The attack was on my sport, on a race I have had the honor to qualify for and would one day like to run.  Every time I heard the words "Boston Marathon" in the days that followed, I was jarred.  Not only did I feel terrible for the victims and their families, but as a runner, I felt so bad for the people who ran, those who finished and those who could not.  I kept picturing how it would feel to be in either category.  I read many of their stories and am most appreciative of those who gave honest accounts and who revealed their true feelings.  I cried when reading many of the posts.  Now I am so encouraged by how we as runners are uniting against this evil act.

Onto a lighter topic---stroller running to the preschool! 

Today was a nice day for another attempt at this very fun "errand trip."  I attempted it once before, in the fall with my friend, Jane.  This morning I loaded my little girl into the stroller and tucked her school bag in the compartment below.  I checked my watch: 8:20.  That would give me 40 minutes to run the 4 miles to the preschool.  Instead of driving there for 8 minutes (leaving my house at about 8:40), waiting in the carline for 10 minutes, and driving back for 8 more minutes, I would use my time efficiently and be running that whole time!  I would be done with 8 miles by 9:40 when I normally can't start my run until I return home at 9:10! 

I am thankful that the weather is nice enough to do kind of a run, but today's weather was actually a little windy (though warm in the 60s).  My daughter did not complain, but I wish I'd brought a blanket.  I had no trouble getting over to the preschool in less than 40 minutes taking a route through some neighborhoods and along a main road with a wide sidewalk.  I was early enough to walk her in with the first crowd of parents waiting in the lobby.  We both were smiling like we had a secret as we walked into the school.  I told her we'd already had an adventure for the day! 

I headed out alone and with an empty stroller.  I can only imagine how sad I will be as an empty-nester because even leaving my kids on days like this make me feel lonely.  I kept looking down at the stroller and missing my view of her little curls and hairbow.  So I turned on my music really loud and tuned out.  I used the fact that the stroller was 40 pounds lighter to my advantage and did some faster miles on the way home (most miles with her were 8:45-8:50 pace, but I did 7:20s after she was out!).  As I was running past Jane's house, I happened to see her heading out the door for her run, so we were able to run 2 miles together to my house.  I told her good-bye at 9.11 miles on my Garmin, but then I decided to go back out and run to 10 miles on my own.  I used to not care if the Garmin miles weren't even, but Jane says I've come to the "dark side!" 

Here's my cutie as we headed out today.

Tomorrow I volunteer at packet pickup, and then on Saturday I race in the Run Through the Roses 10K.  More on my teammate training partners (and hopefully the other top women at the race!) in a later post!