Saturday, September 26, 2015

Big Hollow PTO 5K - Race Recap

So the Big Hollow PTO 5k has been on my radar for a few years and just never worked out, but I knew my local Moms Run This Town chapter has talked about it a lot. This year I had it in mind, but in all fairness, I had it in mind last year too and overslept.

But this year, I did not oversleep! It was supposed to be 60s, low humidity, and partly cloudy - my running group said it had some rolling hills but it sounded similar to the difficulty of the Loop the Lakes 5K I ran in April so I figured I could still PR on it; I felt really strong coming out of the hot and heavy parts of marathon training so I figured if I had the right weather I had a pretty good shot at taking some time off my PR.

Pre-warmup selfie!

After a little confusion with road closures and being turned in a circle by the (very nice, actually!) police officer who had the road closed by the startline, I got there at 8:20 instead of my predicted 8am, but was parked, registered, and back in my car by 8:24. Conisdering registration closed at 8:30 I was pretty content! I went off to warm up and to my chagrin the temp display said 72 and it was sunny, but oh well - it was what it was and it was too late to change my mind!

At the start line I ran into a couple wonderful ladies from my running group and to my huge surprise and pleasure - I heard someone call my name and it was Kim! Despite living relatively close together, we rarely end up with races together and the only other time was when she volunteered at the North Shore Half when I ran it while pregnant. And she had Gina with her, who I have so much about on her blog that I got to make a total dork of myself by telling her I knew her, except not! Haha. /socially awkward moment

Anyway, the race started not too long after that and while it was warm I felt pretty good, the humidity was lower than I've been running in. I was planning to try to run 9:20s and figured I could scrape a PR out - it was hot enough that I didn't think I'd get a big one but I thought it would be doable if I didn't go out too fast.

The first mile went pretty good, we turned into a hairpin turnabout before getting back on the main course (which was weird, I hate turns - I always feel like I slow down!). I saw Kim here but it was such a short out and back I forgot to cheer! I hit the mile one point at 9:19 and still felt really strong, like I could pick up the pace - I was momentarily optimistic until I realized that the first mile is relatively flat. (You can see a picture of what we ran up on Kim's race recap. According to my garmin, my normal flat route is hillier - but This was tough for this flatlander!)

The first aid station was at mile 1.25, but I skipped it. I didn't want to waste the seconds to grab water, I could get it after.  Of course at the halfway point we hit a spot marked "5k turnaround" - and ran riiiiight past it. Which was mentally a little unnerving, but we hit the turnaround around 1.75. I did get to see Kim and Gina before that - I cheered for Kim and on I went! Mile two chimed in at 9:31. I was bummed to have lost that much time but it was much hillier and I still felt like I did pretty good. I felt strong, wasn't tapped out but was running hard.

We hit the second aid station around mile 2.4 (same aid station, just hit it a second time) and I skipped it again. I cheered for the ladies in my group I saw still heading to the turn around and buckled down - last mile and I was determined to go a bit faster. Well, mentally. Physically I was giving it what I had, but the 3 mile mark - thanks to all the hills, came in at 9:26. I had thought I had more in me but I'm really not used to running hills!

Final time ended up 28:53, which is 18 seconds off a PR. Not where I wanted to be but considering heat and hills, I'm very happy with how well I ran. And, I got to watch Kim dance Gangam style while we waited for the awards ceremony. (I sent her the pics. She can post them if she wants. It was hilarious.)

And as a great bonus, I took second in my age group! (Kim beat me. By a lot. Maybe some day I'll be fast!)

I took second in my AG, my MRTT chapter leader took 3rd in hers! (Yes, we wore the same shirt. Nope, not planned!)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Indy Women's Half Marathon - Recap

So this weekend my friend April was slated to run her very first half marathon, and of course I was running it with her!

Or at least...that was the plan. But Mother Nature had other plans.

The race was in Indianapolis, about an hour and fifteen minutes away from her apartment. (I'm about 3 1/2 hours from her, so it was a long day for me lol!) We hit the expo the day before to pick up our packets / shirt and it was a decent expo, several vendors and games and freebies and race promos and stuff. I was actually impressed, I've seen big expos for the marathons I did but I think this was the biggest half expo I've ever seen and there were some neat little freebies to pick up too. April won a $5 gc and I got a swim cap at one booth...and no I don't swim, but it struck me as better than the sticker that was my other choice...I think?

The morning of the race we watched the radar a bit nervously, because it was either going to be hot and humid (70 and 84% humidity) or the heavens were going to break over, and while I love running in the rain the radar looked bad. We we got up at 4:45 to be out the door by about 5:30, and made it to the race with plenty of time. Portopotties were perfectly adequate although strangely the sinks provided were out of water, which was weird, but we soon headed to the startline. It was here things went a bit downhill.

At the startline, the opening ceremony was supposed to be at 7:15 but at 7:30, which was the projected start time, we didn't here anything. Nerves had both of us needing to pee, but we weren't sure when or if we were starting the race - there was talk about delaying due to weather but the race officials had AWFUL mics and we couldn't here a thing. Suddenly we heard the end of the national anthem when the crowd turned to put their hand over their hearts and face the flag, and then two minutes later we were off. Or supposed to be - since I hadn't known we were anywhere close to starting, I hadn't started my garmin, and the gps was sluggish to catch. I wished April luck (she run/walks and speedwalks during her walk intervals, I can't keep up with her during the walk bits, so we weren't running side by side) and she took off while I waited for my watch to grab the satellite. It eventually did and I started near the 3:30 pacer, but I tried to settle into a groove.

When we passed the startline portapotties though, not even a third of a mile in, I jumped out of the crowds to pee. I've never done that before but waiting around nervous hadn't done me any favours, and I figured it'd be faster to stop now before I got sweaty or wet from rain since it wouldn't take forever to pull my skirt back up! Unfortunately, the first unlocked potty I tried was actually occupied by a very distressed lady. She seemed so mad at me, but geez! Lock the door! Fortunately it was still a fast stop and I was in and out in less than a minute.

Shortly after we got to slap some in uniform soldiers high 5, which left a big grin on my face - and then it was time to settle in! The first mile clicked in a 11:12, which considering the bathroom stop I was okay with. I am not as fast as I was last year and knew especially with the weather a pr was not in my forecast, but I was determined to give this race a solid effort.

At a mile and a half, the sky broke open and I was thrilled. I love running in the rain, I think I've mentioned that. Around me women moaned and groaned but I loved it, it helped a lot with cooling me off and just felt awesome. Mile two came in at a solid 10:30 and I struck up a conversation with a nearby pair of runners, who also preferred the rain to the heat.

And then the lightning started. It looked distant, but it painted the sky. Within half a mile, the cops on the course we telling us the race was black flagged - cancelled, and seek shelter! Runners on the course  gave a collective groan, we still wanted to go, but they were kicking us off the course. Grumpy, but with lightning still painting the sky, we turned around to run back to the finish line. I texted April to give her the news if she hadn't heard it and kept running, but the cops directed us back to the start in the shortest way rather than back the way we'd run and I got back to the finish line around the 5k point according to my watch.

I get that lightning is dangerous and they had to make the best decision they could. But. Here's where it stops making sense. From here, we were directed across the finish line and through the finisher chute - to collect snacks, medal, and our rose. Nobody was seeking shelter and race officials were still working. Volunteers still super busy. I waited for April to make it back through the chute - about 20 minutes after me, I think - and activity showed no signs of dwindling. Photographers were still out taking pictures even. It was pouring, and lightning did flash occasionally, but if this was dangerous enough to bag the race - why was the finish line village still there?

But either way, once April was through we made the driveback to Indiana and decided we still wanted to earn our medals, so we'd run them when we got back to her place. Well...eventually that was decided. She was understandably bummed and a bit grumpy and it took a bit to talk her into it. But eventually we did get out there, although after 5k she decided that we were just going to walk instead of do the run/walk intervals. With the race gone I figured as long as we got in the miles we were good - and I found out that when dragged, I can walk a 14:10 mile. Who knew!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Training recap

And the capstone week for Milwaukee is in the books! I took a meandering path this training cycle because of Alaska thrown in the mix, but I got there and had a solid week!

Here's how it went -

Monday 9/7 - rest. I was planning to run when my husband got home from work, and he had to work late. Oops. I'll run T/W/Th this week instead I guess, and try to fit two runs in the weekend if I can..although with the holiday, not optimistic...

Tuesday 9/8 - 3m @ 11:41p in 79* and 90% humidity. The real-feel was 88 for this run. Yuck! I kept it slow and did what I needed to in order to finish, and promised myself - no more hot runs because the heat wave was supposed to break the next day! 

Wednesday 9/9 - 3m @ 10:16p in 72* and pouring rain. I love running in the rain! It's honestly my favourite thing ever. Especially when it's 70* - it feels like running through a shower! This was supposed to be a 6 mile run today but due to child issues I could only squeeze in 3 miles while I had my husband home for lunch. I figured I'd do 6 the next day.

Thursday 9/10 6m @ 11:56p in 69*and 82% humidity. This stroller run was SO hard! And I think I know why - my tires are out of air. Oops. It's the first time I've used this since spring. We're going to take it to the gas station and reinflate the tires this weekend. Hopefully the stroller run will be much easier next week!

Friday 9/11 - 6m @ 9:52p in 64* and 72% humidity. This run went amazing! It would have been better if it rained like it was supposed to but it was breezy and overcast and my last mile was my second or third sub-9 mile since I hurt my knee. AMAZING! I felt so strong, like I could have kept running for miles, too. 

Saturday 9/12 - 4.54m @ 11:33p in 62* and 50% humidity. This was supposed to be my 20 miler - my capstone run of marathon training, the pièce de résistance. And the weather could not have been more gorgeous. Overcast, no humidity, and low 60s. SO PERFECT. But the baby started waking me up at 4am, I woke up with a migraine, and my husband was doing furniture moving because we were getting new couches so when I couldn't run in the morning and then didn't get home until 4, which is late to start a run like this. (I've done later, but I hadn't planned on missing the whole day with him.) I tried - I really did - but my legs felt so dead. By 3.5 miles in I was thinking about quitting because my legs felt like we were at the end of a long run...not the beginning. But he didn't answer the phone. I took it as a sign to keep going and did another mile...and then called it. This was not working. I was in tears because I didn't understand what was wrong. I was hydrated, I was fed, and the weather was perfect. I was also panicking. If I didn't get my 20 in - I'll have only done one real long run (when did I stop considering 12miles a long run?!) since Alaska. How was I supposed to do Milwaukee like that?! 

Sunday 9/13 - 20m @ 11:15p in 60-68 with negligible humidity. I was so nervous going into this run. What if it failed too? What if I couldn't get it in and I was doomed for Milwaukee? What if it being so much sunnier and warmer meant I death marched? The what-ifs plagued me and I stalled getting out the door, but finally made it out the door and just...ran. I slowed down the first couple miles out of nerves, running them in the 12ish range out of paranoia that I ... what? Blazed in speed and burned myself out in my attempt at a long run yesterday? I dunno, but I soon relaxed and settled into an 11ish pace, right on target. It was sunny which felt warm but the breeze mostly kept me cool and with all the experience from the summer I had running warm, it was okay! I'd been thinking about fueling issues I had during Alaska and Kim's advice about thinking I was underfueled, and changed my usual fuel strategy - I switched to gels and took one every 5 miles. And for the most part - this run went really well. I had plenty of miles right on target at 11, I had plenty sub-11s ranging from 10:30 to 10:50, and I had a couple 12s when I took a walk break. But for the most part, this run went really, really well and I think it was a great high note to start taper on!

Total: 42.54 miles run and tons of miles walked. I forgot to mention this but I totalled up my walking miles two weeks ago and realized I'm walking 20-30 miles a week...walking to parks with the kids, walking for different errands, and just walking to go for family walks because we usually do a 1-2 mile family walk each night with the kids and I usually do a 2 mile walk with the baby every morning because he gets antsy if we stay inside too long. I wasn't walking any unlogged miles last year so I do wonder how that will affect Milwaukee since I plan to try to taper those too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Training recap - catch-up edition!

Whoops, I haven't posted a training log in a few weeks - it's because I wasn't running as much at first after Alaska as I recovered, and then I was trying to figure out if I was winging things or on a training plan or what I was doing - but I've figured it out now and will be posting about that soon. In the mean time so I don't lose the data (I reference last year's training cycle data so much more than I ever thought I would!) I better put this stuff down!

So the last few weeks -

Monday 8/17 - rest (travelling back from Alaska)

Tuesday 8/18 - rest (still travelling back from Alaska...)

Wednesday 8/19 - rest (actual rest, I was home!)

Thursday 8/20 - 1.5m @ 11:45p in 72*and 51% humidity. This was supposed to be a 3 mile recovery run - my legs felt heavy but I cut it short because my calf still ached like it did from the last few miles of the Alaska marathon. Jerk! :(  

Friday 8/21 - rest. Planning not to run until the Fort2Base and hope it is better!

Saturday 8/22 - rest.

Sunday 8/23 11.8 @ 11:17p. Fort2Base! I didn't write down the humidity but it was supposed to be wasn't. Oh well! On the plus side, the calf behaved just fine - a little tired in the first mile, but I was soon to sweaty and cement-legged that I didn't even notice it. Haha. Definitely was not recovered from the legs felt so heavy and did not want to turnover at all.

Monday 8/24 - rest. Decided to take the week off after realizing how much my body needed rest.

Tuesday 8/25 - rest (

Wednesday 8/26 - 3m @ 9:58p. Supposed to be resting but I took advantage of my husband being home to go get fitted for new shoes, since my reeboks were sending definite signs they were worn out and the model I use changed from neutral to stability. The heck?! Got Brooks Glycerin 13s and...I am in love. I forgot to even write down the weather. Lol!

Thursday 8/27 - rest. My calf felt fine and my legs were moving yesterday but I decided not to run days in a row...this is still supposed to be a week off...ish...

Friday 8/28 - 3m @ 11:07p. Ran this at a very easy pace and I .. didn't write down temperature data. GG me.

Saturday 8/29 - rest.

Sunday 8/30 rest. I thought of running today but not to...we had a family day instead and it was awesome.

Monday 8/31 - rest. I was planning to run when my husband got home from work, and he had to work late. Oops. I'll run T/W/Th this week instead I guess, and try to fit two runs in the weekend if I can..although with the holiday, not optimistic...

Tuesday 9/1 - 3m @ 11:30p in 70* and 94% humidity. I kept it easy, it was hot and humid!

Wednesday 9/2 - 5m @ 11:43p in 80* and 60% humidity. This was meant to be 5 miles but I was super struggling. When my stomach started cramping at 4.96m I was like, eh 5 is good enough. Not like me, but I also figure I'm still recovering from took almost a month after the 50k last year to find the guts to run longer than 3 last year so I figure I'm still ahead of schedule! 

Thursday 9/3 - 3m @ 10:03p in 74*and 70% humidity. Isn't it funny how some days you crawl and some days you fly? Today, I felt like I could go on forever.

Friday 9/4 - rest.

Saturday 9/5 - 16m @ 11:44p in 84* and 89% humidity. It did drop down to 75 by the end of this run but it was still hot, and I will admit, I fought with myself to finish it...I kind of wanted to cut it at 14. But I really wanted to get at least 2 3-hour+ runs in before Milwaukee or I figured I really wasn't going to be any better trained for Milwaukee than I was for Alaska, and since I have a half on 9/19 and should really be tapering the week after, I really needed this weekend to be one of those runs. My only solace was that I knew the weather was going to be drastically cooler the following week - and to be honest, I felt pretty strong for this run!

Sunday 9/6 rest. Well sort of rest. Definitely no run, but we walked around the Renaissance Fair for hours in 91*. Cross training?

So that's the past few weeks for me. Being able to pull out a strong 16 miler despite the abysmal weather helped my confidence a lot. Hopefully this weekend, when it's supposed to be a high of 62, I can rock a 20 and start counting down to Milwaukee!!