Tag Archives: PR

Community Christian 5K Recap

15 Sep

Yesterday, I ran my first race since June 2012, when I ran my first (and only) full marathon. I can’t run nearly as far now as then, but I’m faster!

The night before the race, Emma had her worst night of sleep in months. She woke up every 2-4 hours, which is very abnormal for her. The only nice part about it was that she was in a good mood whenever she woke up – instead of crying, she’d just lay in her crib and talk (aka. ‘squawk’) to herself. My longest stretch of sleep was 4 hours. After being up with her 4 times, I asked Travis to get up the last time so that I could stay in bed for another 40 minutes.

Anyway, not quite the way you want to prepare for a race but oh well. I had a cup of coffee and cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter before the race, dropped Emma off at my friend’s house, and made it up to the race site about 20 minutes before the race started.

It was a very small race so it only took me about 5 minutes to get my packet and go to the bathroom. I found my friend Cathy and her husband James just a little before they asked the runners to move into the street where the start line was. Then they said the start was still 15 minutes away so Cathy and I did a slow jog around the block to warmup.

My goal for the race was to at least run faster than an 11:00/mile pace, and if I beat my previous 5K time of 33:43, that’d be great too. Cathy wanted to see if she could beat her husband so we agreed to not run together.

I thought about taking my phone so that I could keep track of my pace and the mileage, but in the end, I decided to just enjoy the race and push myself by feel.

Finally, the race started and we were off. I settled into a nice, strong pace and kept Cathy and James in my sights for about the first .5 mile. Then they were gone. I kept running strong. I was pushing myself, but not too much. It was downhill, which was nice, but I knew that meant an uphill later so I couldn’t go too crazy.

I had no idea how far we had gone, but I figured it had to be close to a mile at least. I ran past the aid station (stopping for water would have just thrown off my pace) and then saw a sign that said Mile 2. ‘Holy cow!’ I thought. ‘That’s the quickest 2 miles I’ve ever run!’ It didn’t quite seem right, but if it was, I was going to kick this 5K’s butt!

Around a corner, there was another mile sign. It also said Mile 2, with an arrow to the right. Um, what? I took a right and found the uphill. I walked a bit at the top of the hill and was told by a flagger that first time through, we had to do another loop. Second time, go straight.

On my second loop, I saw the Mile 1 sign, which I had missed before. So I was just now coming up on Mile 2. That made more sense.

We passed the aid station again and were directed by another flagger to turn right for Mile 3, making a smaller loop than the first time, but not too small to miss the hills! I walked a bit again at the top, so I could catch my breath.

Even though it was only 65 at the start, the sun and (rare) humidity made it really hot. I was getting tired, and couldn’t accurately judge how long we had left. But I kept pushing it, reminding myself that I wanted to beat my old 5K time, and that I hadn’t been pushing it for 2 miles only to give up at the end.

We passed a different school and I thought we were getting close, but I saw runners far ahead of me… climbing another hill. Bummer.

I muscled up the last hill long enough to see one of Community Christian’s buses, so I knew where we were – and that the end was close! I crossed the finish line strong and grabbed a water, banana, and half a bagel from the volunteers.

I felt confident that I had made my goal of running faster than an 11:00 pace but had no idea of my time. I found Cathy and James, and we stood around talking until they posted the times. James had beaten Cathy, but she wasn’t too upset. Men…

Finally, the times were up. I finished in 31:52! That’s a pace of 10:17/mile, I later figured out, for a new 5K PR! YAY! I was very happy with that. Cathy finished in 29:50 and James in 26:19.

This was my first time doing a really small race (there were about 130 runners), which I’ve always wanted to do because I figured I’d at least have a shot at placing in my age group (which is now 30-39! I feel so old.) But when I looked on their website, it said they would award ‘the fastest in each age group’, which I took to mean only THE fastest (one person). I was mistaken though, and I got 3rd place in my age group. So I actually got a medal! YAY again! (Cathy got 2nd place in our age group. The 30-39 Female winner finished in 25:12.)

So my first race back was a success AND fun. I’m glad that I didn’t take my phone. The mile signs kept me guessing, and I ran on feel not on time, so I didn’t get discouraged.

About the race itself – it was the inaugural race, and a small one organized by parents instead of race professionals, but I was very impressed. They had a decent website, with all the pertinent information included. They sent out a pre-event email with lots of details. There were a ton of volunteers and even though the course could have been a little confusing, their flaggers were very helpful and it wasn’t confusing at all. The course was also USATF-certified and they posted a course map online (though I didn’t realize that before the race). We were instructed to park in the Target parking lot, and they had a shuttle taking people to the school (even though it was only like 2 blocks away). And the race proceeds benefit the school, which is where Cathy and James’ kids go. I would definitely do this race again!

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Me and Cathy

I’m unfortunately not going to be able to do the triathlon relay this coming weekend (long story) but I’m already looking forward to doing another race. I’M BACK BABY!

And quick sidenote, this is my 700th post!

Race Recap: Platte River Half Marathon

15 Apr

Welp, third fourth time’s the charm. I finally beat my previous PR of 2:30:52 by coming across the finish line at 2:24:34 (unofficial), an average pace of 11:03!

I am beyond thrilled that I achieved my goal and am surprised at how well this race went mentally, but it was a tough race. I think my mental game is what saved me and turned this into my new PR. But I’ll start at the beginning.

And by beginning, I mean last night, because I think my dinner might have had something to do with how things went today. I got home from the Women of Faith conference around 6:30 (I’ll post about that later) and was starving. Travis was too and of course, his first suggestion was Mexican (always is!). After my less than enthusiastic reception of that idea, he mentioned that he’d like a steak so we went to Texas Roadhouse. Except everyone and their grandma was there, so we ventured over to Lonestar Steakhouse, which was much less crowded.

We ordered their 2 for $25 deal, which included an appetizer, 2 entrees + 1 side each, and a dessert. In short, a lot of food. The appetizer was spinach and artichoke dip (delicious!), I ordered the Bourbon salmon for my entree with a baked sweet potato (Travis got steak with green beans), and cheesecake for dessert. Everything was delicious… as was my $4 GIANT margarita. It was pretty weak as far as margaritas go (which was good because I’m totally a lightweight) but I left the restaurant feeling a bit more full than I wanted to (and I even took 1/2 of my meal home with me!).

When we got home, I checked the weather report and it said 40 degrees, rain and 25 mph winds from the NW. We would be running north so this was simply perfect weather (ha, not!). I was trying to stay positive as I grabbed my winter and spring running jackets, my 2XU compression tights, a long-sleeve shirt, a t-shirt, my running hat, and Smart Wool socks. I got everything else ready – race directions, course map, gels, Camelbak, coffee for the morning – and went to bed around 9:30.

Usually on race morning, I get up right when my alarm goes off because I’m nervous or I realize that I’m not going to get any more sleep anyway. Not this morning. I thought through what I had to do and calculated how long it would take me, so that I could stay in bed as long as possible. I reset my alarm clock and went back to sleep (kind of). Finally, I got up at 6:30.

I looked outside to this:

A little snow, but SUN! Maybe the weather wouldn’t be as bad as they said…

I got dressed, did my hair and makeup, packed my bag (makeup remover wipes which are great for wiping all the salt off my face after the race, flip-flops and a tangelo for post-race), and made my breakfast. I had eaten our last blueberry bagel yesterday morning so I ended up making an unconventional combination of asiago cheese bagel and peanut butter (maybe another contributor to how the race went?).

Pooches were all cute and cuddly:

We left around 7:20 and I drank my coffee as we drove down to the race. Packet pickup went very smoothly and I was in and out in about five minutes… leaving us with over an hour to kill. We used the bathroom 3 times. I ate my bagel. We observed a water spillway (Travis is always interested because that’s what he works on at his job) and a mural painting of historic Littleton.

Finally, it was time to go.

There were 3 waves, starting a minute apart – the first was for runners expecting to finish under 1:50, the second for those finishing under 2:10, and the third for the rest of us. The first 2 miles were through downtown Littleton and then we made our way to the greenway trail that follows the Platte River (the same trail that we ran on for the Snowman Stampede).

My legs felt strong and I couldn’t really tell whether or not I was running too fast or right on pace. I didn’t catch the first mile marker but I heard Garmins around me beeping, so I clicked my watch. 10:48. Maybe a little fast, but not crazy.

I felt the same for Mile 2 but then, my stomach started hurting. It didn’t go away at Mile 3 or Mile 4. At Mile 4.5, I decided to take my first gel to see if it would help. It made things worse by giving me a horrible side stitch.

This is where my mental game changed. I repeated to myself:

I refuse to walk. I have worked so hard to get here, and I will not let my stomach, my foot, the weather, or anything keep me from a PR.

My pace slowed,  but I kept running. The pain didn’t go away. So I prayed, Lord, please take away this stomach pain so that I can run this race.

He didn’t answer immediately but by Mile 6.5, the pain had subsided considerably. I picked the pace back up and passed a bunch of people.

That’s also when the wind started to pick up. By Mile 9, the wind was whipping. The mile marker signs were blown over, cups and sand were blowing everywhere, my hat almost flew off several times. But I was determined, even though my stomach was acting up again. I took my second gel and powered on.

The miles kept ticking down. My legs felt fantastic the entire race. There wasn’t any point in the race that they, or my lungs, felt like the limiting factor. It was all my stomach.

Finally, we got to the big hill. The wind was so strong that it almost blew us into the fence as we ran up and over the railroad yard. I didn’t stop running on the hill, and once I got to the top, I knew the end was near so I kicked it. We ran down and turned the corner… there was the finish. I was SO elated. I was going to make it. I was going to PR. Finally!

I kicked it a little too eagerly and felt like I was going to puke as I made my way down the finish chute. I glanced at my watch. I could even beat my unofficial PR from last weekend! So I kept running, toeing the line of running as fast as I could without puking.

Victory!

That was me trying to not throw up as I waited to have my chip removed (and being thrilled that I PR’ed!)

Poor Man GPS Splits:

1 – 10:44
2 – 10:38
3 – 10:41
4 – 10:58
5 – 11:12
6 – 11:29
7 – 7:03 + 4:03 (11:06)
8 – 10:50
9 – 11:18
10 – 11:22
11 & 12 – 22:37 (11:18 avg)
13 – 11:35

1st half = 1:12:46
2nd half = 1:11:48

Unofficial Time = 2:24:34

Even though the course was a net 120 feet loss, the course has quite a few underpasses, meaning downhill and uphill. Those hills weren’t too bad, but the overpass at mile 12 was a doozy.

After I got my medal, I met up with Travis and Heidi (who also ran the race) and we went in search of food. The post-race food was spread around the block… literally. Down one street were apples, bananas, fruit strips, and mini Clif bars. Down the other was the lunch, which I heard included hamburgers, breakfast burritos, fish tacos, and other stuff.

Honestly, absolutely nothing sounded good. I didn’t feel hungry. The wind was still whipping while the temperature cooled off. And the lunch line seemed to be several hundred people long and not moving an inch (what was up with that?). Standing in line, in the cold, for a lunch that I wasn’t even sure I wanted (usually I give it to Travis but he had picked up McDonald’s…naughty) wasn’t particularly appealing. So we ended up just leaving. Part of me wanted to get the lunch just so I could say I had gotten my money’s worth for the race.

I wasn’t hungry when I got home either. I took a long, hot shower, drank an Athlete’s HoneyMilk protein drink, and knew I should eat something else, and actually felt hungry, but everything sounded unappealing. I forced myself to eat a bowl of cereal, called my mom and then finished reading The Tipping Point (great book!).

After a trip to Sports Authority, a walk with the pooches, and some other hodge-podge eating, I’m now blogging and will enjoy a glass of red wine shortly. I wish tomorrow was Sunday instead of Monday!

………………………..

Overall, the Platte River Half Marathon was very well-done. They were very organized, started on time, the aid stations were well-stocked (though I didn’t use any of it), had lots of volunteers and portapoos and the t-shirt and medal are cute.

The shirt is a long-sleeve too, which I’m excited about.

The only small complaint I have is about the lunch line – I don’t know why the line was so long, or what we were waiting for, but it seemed kind of ridiculous for tired, hungry runners to have to stand in such a long line for their food. Otherwise,  I would definitely recommend this race!

……………………

Are you hungry after long runs/races? 

Race Recap: Greeley Sprint Tri

13 Jun

That was my face getting out of the swim.

Already, you can tell the race went well.

But let me back up. I did my second open water swim practice on Saturday afternoon at Big Soda Lake Beach again. This time, there was only one other (real) swimmer there using the lap lane so I didn’t have to worry about running into someone else. I put my pool tactics into practice and the swim actually went very well. I was swimming relatively straight and was relaxed. I {almost} panicked after my first length because I feared getting out of breath but I just slowed my stroke down and took longer breaths. I did 8 lengths, which I calculate to be about 640 meters (each length is about 80). I went to bed that night feeling more optimistic and less scared.

Race morning came early at 4:00 am. I woke Travis up (we had discussed the need for his prompt rising, which he did – I was so proud and grateful), then took a quick shower, got dressed, and put my hair up and lotion on my arms and legs where I anticipated no body marking to be. As I’ve mentioned before, lotion helps wetsuits slide off easily but it also makes body marking rub off. So I use regular lotion (to avoid weird tan line blotches) and just put the lotion where I know there is/will be no body marking – on my arms from right above my elbow down and on my legs minus the back calves. But I forgot to put on Body Glide before getting dressed, which I was painfully aware of during my post-race shower. Chafing – ouch!

Since it was so early, I wasn’t that hungry when I woke up so I put peanut butter on 2 bagels (one for me, one for Travis) and packed that, along with 2 yogurts and some grapes, into my lunchbox to eat on the 1-hour drive up to Greeley. I also decided that it was long enough until the race (we weren’t scheduled to go until 7:30) that I could venture to drink some coffee. We were pulling out of the driveway (after returning once to retrieve our phones) at 4:40.

We arrived at the race site at 5:45, after some arguments over roads being closed and wrong directions (sleep deprivation = snippyness). I got my packet quickly, set up my transition area, near D (my racing friend), Michelle, and Susan (who both work with D at the racing company I worked for last year). For both of them, this was first triathlon and they were a little nervous about the swim.

I appreciated having the extra time waiting around because I feel so much more mentally prepared and peaceful when I have more than enough time to get everything together – even though its probably a little boring for Travis. I remembered to tape my Shotbloks to my bike, had time for a 10 minute jog to warm up, and used the restroom twice. So far, so good.

Swim

Five minutes before transition closed, I discovered that because the lake was so small (see picture above) and the swim start was a time trial instead of a wave, the warm up time was over when transition closed. Meaning I had missed the warm up time. Crap it! There went my strategy for the swim… Even though the water was about 10 degrees warmer than the Boulder Res, I was still worried I would get in, get out of breath with the cold water, and be toast.

As we waited around 20 minutes for the Adult Age Group to start, I had decided to go use the bathroom when I heard the announcer say that the Age Groupers could get in the water and warm up while we were waiting. I chose warming up in the water over going to the bathroom, which I believe was a good, but not ideal, decision (more on that later). The water was actually fairly warm and I was feeling good about the swim.

After warming up, we waited another 30 minutes to start due to timing issues (since I was a race timer last year, I can’t really be mad – it’s complicated and messy.) Finally, almost an hour later than planned, the Age Groupers started going. The order was Men, oldest to youngest, and then Women, oldest to youngest. So I was in last 30 or so people to go.

Finally, it was my turn. When they told me to go, I waded down the rubber mat into the water (this was a man-made lake, so the drop-off was pretty steep) and then did the breaststroke for about 10 seconds, letting the water get back into my wetsuit before putting my face in the water.

Then I started swimming. The first 100 meters were great – I felt totally relaxed and at ease. I can totally do this! I thought to myself.

Then I started noticing water getting in my mouth when I turned to breath so I started swallowing when I should have been breathing out underwater. My breathing got slightly off and I was tempted to panic. Why am I doing this again? Since when do I like swimming? As I rounded the second far buoy and started making my way back, I had the thought, “Why would I ever want to do an Olympic triathlon? I can barely stand 500 meters, let alone 1500!” I was able to mostly keep my cool through the whole swim and slowly, the yellow ducks marking the swim exit came closer and closer. I actually made it the whole way swimming! I did it! I did it!

Now you can see why I was smiling and giving a thumbs up when I came out of the water. The swim was OVER!

Official Time: 13:19

T1

The race organizers had wetsuit strippers on hand but I don’t have that much difficulty getting mine off myself so I declined their offer of help. Like usual, I pulled my wetsuit down to my waist during the run to my spot, then pulled it all the way off at my bike. Both Michelle and Susan, who had started the swim after me, were both at their bikes already! Those little speed demons! I was glad that they had survived the swim though. (Susan later told me that it was a horrible experience and she didn’t think she’d ever do another one. I can relate to that feeling!)

I put on my socks, shoes, race belt, helmet and sunglasses, grabbed my bike and was off.

Official Time: 2:06 (gotta love those smaller transition areas!)

Bike

Just like at the Boulder Sunrise, I was pleasantly surprised by how good my legs felt on the bike. I passed quite a few people and definitely pushed myself (maybe a titch too hard). I ate my Shotbloks around Mile 4. The only noteworthy thing about the bike was how bad I had to pee for the last 3 miles. It was seriously painful. I had had to pee since before the swim took off. I now wonder why I didn’t run to pee then, since we stood around waiting for almost an hour. I had contemplated peeing in my wetsuit but didn’t want to do it standing around and couldn’t do it while swimming. I contemplated peeing on the bike but that’s just gross. So I resolved to pee (in a portapoo) when I got back to transition.

Official Time: 35:19 (17 mph average)

T2

After racking my bike, taking off my helmet and grabbing my hat, I made a mad dash to the bathroom. I stopped my watch while I did so, in order to know how long my bathroom pitstop took me when compared to the official time. It probably cost me about 45 seconds. But it was totally worth it.

Official Time: 1:38

Run

Once again, I was confronted with sluggishness on the run, most likely caused by going too hard on the bike. The way out was almost all slightly uphill, so that didn’t help either. I had to stop and walk a couple of times because my heart rate was around 175, which it should have been around 165. The run course also meandered a lot with dog legs so I felt like it went on forever. I felt like I was running very slow and was so ready for the race to be over, although now that I see my running pace I’m not that disappointed – sub-10:30 is pretty good for me lately. Finally, there was the finish line – a giant gorilla!

Official Time: 32:03 (10:21 pace)

Overall Official Time: 1:24:24

Overall Watch Time: 1:23:09

Gender Placement: 74/121

Division Placement: 10/15

I like to think that if we hadn’t had to wait around so long for the race to start, I wouldn’t have had to pee and my Watch Time would be the Official Time, making this race my new PR! (My last race at this distance was only a 350 m swim and I did it 1:23:40). Because it doesn’t really matter one way or the other, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

As far as the race itself is concerned, I think this is a great, very well-organized local race (it’s put on by the Greeley Triathlon Club). The website is informative and has course maps for the swim, bike and run. The race director sent out 2 emails before the race with information about where to park, race day timeline, etc. You get a t-shirt (very cute!), finisher’s medal and towel, plus water, a protein drink, and free burrito post-race. They play good music and the transition area, finish line and swim start are all located in the same general area, so it has a cozy atmosphere. I would recommend this race!

What I Learned:

1. I need to work on my Bike/Run transition.

Even though I have done more running than either swimming or biking in my “racing career,” the run is definitely where I’m struggling the most and not living up to my potential. And I’m pretty sure it’s because my brick workouts in preparation for these races were pretty wussy. For my future bricks, I am going to hammer it on the bike and then run, to get used to the feeling I have during racing (the only other alternative is to not go as fast on the bike and I don’t like that!)

2. If I’m serious about doing an Olympic distance, I’ll have to do the breaststroke.

Doing freestyle for an entire Olympic swim scares me enough that if my only options were that or not doing the race, I’d choose to not do the race. Doing freestyle makes me feel like I’m all alone in a watery world and it’s also harder for me to breathe calmly, especially after swallowing water or running into someone. I am glad that I now know how to do the front crawl (in case of a pool swim, like the Leadville Tri-It-High) but the breaststroke is definitely my most natural swimming method. Plus, I was actually faster doing the breaststroke. Seeing how sore I was after the Boulder Sunrise, I’ll definitely have to slowly transition back into the breaststroke. I’m still going to do plenty of the front crawl during practice, though, because I’m loving the definition in my arms!

3. I need to get me some Athlete’s HoneyMilk.

They were handing this out at the finish line and while I normally shy away from anything even remotely sugary for a good 3-4 hours after a race (even chocolate milk is too much), I decided to take a chance on this protein recovery drink. I’m glad I did! Not only did it not upset my stomach, the Honey flavor was delicious! I think I’ll buy some of this for after intense workouts and races.

What’s Next:

I think I have finally convinced Travis to do a triathlon! We just need to get him a road bike, some tri shorts, a swimsuit, and he’ll be set! (Sportsbasement.com, here I come!) So we may do a different race than the Leadville Tri, since that one is a pool swim and Travis would prefer to try his hand at open water. But I’ll gladly change plans if it means Travis will do a race!

I’ve looked for other Olympic distance triathlons in the Denver region and it appears that the Steamboat Springs Tri on August 28th is the only option for when I’ll be in town. So I’m still planning on that. I also created my new Olympic training plan last week:

{UBW stands for Upper Body Weights – though I might do some Lower Body Weights too. We’ll see. I adapted this training plan to come up with this schedule.}

This plan is subject to change, since I calculated that each week involves 7-8 hours of training – pretty much double what I have been doing. I’ll talk more about my philosophy of training in a different post but for now, I’ll say that I need to have a good balance that involves time with God and my husband. I’ve over-trained before and it resulted in me doing nothing but training, working, eating, and sleeping. Not again.

If I do need to cut back, I’ll do one long and one short workout of each discipline a week, plus one day of strength training.

Last but not least, I have decided to discontinue my triathlon training blog and merge all of my triathlon-related posts into this blog (note the tagline changed to “A Twenty-Something’s Thoughts on Life, Health and God). I started my other blog in 2009 because I felt like this blog’s focus wasn’t physical health, but spiritual health. But as my friend Cathy has been discovering and sharing with me, our spiritual health and physical health are intertwined. And because I love training for endurance races and believe that God has given me that passion, I want to try to show what it looks like to glorify God through personal excellence in a sport (and world!) that is so often rife with pride and selfish ambitions. (But I’m definitely a work in progress, so bear with me!)

Plus, it was too hard to maintain 2 blogs. 😉

That’s all for today!