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Abington Police Community Partners 5K Race Recap

 

Yesterday, I ran the Abington Police Community Partners 5K in my hometown of Abington, MA.  Since I started running 3 years ago, this is only one of two races that I have run all 3 of those years. Not only do I love running it because it’s in my hometown, but they made a beautiful little course out of it.

Tara and I did what we typically do and stayed at Julie and Dan’s house on Friday night. They only like about 10-15 minutes away from Abington so it’s really nice to be able to sleep in a bit before heading to the race. Unfortunately, we didn’t get in until around 8:30 Friday night so I missed the early bib pick-up. This meant leaving around 7:00 to get my bib when they started giving them out at 7:15. In hindsight, I could have left a little later, but it worked out fine.

 

 

Once I got my bib, we just hung out in the car for a while to stay warm. It wasn’t super cold out, around 60ish degrees, but very cloudy so it wasn’t super warm either. The rain held off, so I was happy about that.

 

 

 

I had two goals going into this race: 1. Not to walk at all and 2. Keep a steady pace.

#1 shouldn’t have been an issue, but there is one hill on Centre Ave that always forced me to walk it. #2 was a general rule because I tend to get swept up in the pace of those around me and if I start out too fast, I never get into a proper rhythm.

 

 

 

The course starts out in front of the police station, loops by the junior high, through the cemetery, back out to the police station right around the halfway mark then loops around Island Grove back to finish at the station.

 

 

 

I am very pleased to say that not only did I meet both of my goals, but I set ANOTHER new 5K PR. I had told you I just set a new one a few weeks ago at a different 5K, but I now have a new one again! I’m super excited!

 

 

 

 

That is the face of a very happy Courtney right there. I refused to look at my watch the entire time I ran because I didn’t want to get thrown off by it at all. I maintained a comfortable, but pushing, pace and figured I’d let the chips fall where they may. Not only did I set my new 5K PR, but I also beat my best time at this race by almost 2 1/2 minutes! And at the end, they had cupcakes with glitter on them. Glitter!

 

 

I’m still riding the high off of this race since yesterday. I know that I can push myself out of my comfort zone and even though some days I don’t feel like I’m doing enough, I know everything I’m doing is helping make me better.

 

 

 

 

 

18 Comments »

Surftown Half Marathon Recap

The short recap: I did it! I ran my first half marathon and finished with (a tiny amount of) time to spare!

Want more details? Well, read on!

Sunday started super early with my normal race routine. I usually wake up about an hour before I want to be up and out of bed (in this case, 2:30am) and chug a glass of water. I go back to sleep for another hour until my second alarm goes off. Who really gets up at 3:30am? I’m insane. The weather forecast was looking absolutely beautiful and it definitely did not disappoint.

 

 

It was chilly at the start. We got there just after 6am and right before the sunrise. It was just as beautiful as last year. It’s hard to beat a sunrise on the beach, no matter how cold. For the race, I was wearing my Unleashed Team t-shirt and compression shorts and calf sleeves. My legs were fine, but I was glad I brought a hoodie to wear prior to the start. I kept it on as long as I possibly could and gave it to Tara right before I went to the start and that worked out perfectly. Once I took it off I was freezing, but warmed up quickly when we started running.

 

 

Now, the day didn’t start out as I’d hoped. I woke up with a super tight right hamstring (which is not the bad one!). I tried rolling it out before we left the house, but it did nothing more than hurt me instead of feeling better. I decided I’d hit up the free massage tent the race was offering before the start to see if they could loosen me up. It helped a bit, but not in the way I hoped, so I just figured I’d hope for the best.

 

 

My friend Amy from Unleashed was also running this race. She got there a bit late, but it was right after I got my massage. I wanted to hit the portapotty one more time, so Julie and Tara told me she had gotten there and gotten in line. I found her and waited with her and tried to warm up a bit, then we thought they were starting the race! Turns out we had about 5 minutes, but basically by the time the line finished, I had come out of the stall and they WERE started! I saw tons of people running by. I quickly tried to get my stuff sorted, phone on and ready to set off Runkeeper and got my Garmin looking for a satellite while I hurried over to the start. We managed to get right in at the end (which is where I would have been anyway). I was able to start my Garmin right at the line, but we were running directly into the sun and I was having trouble seeing my phone screen, so I spent the first 1/10th of a mile or so fighting with it – hence why I never saw Tara and Julie (or heard them since I had turned my headphones on).

 

 

At the last minute (meaning race day), I made the decision to change my intervals on Runkeeper. The whole time I trained, I did 4 min run/2 min walk. Doing it this way, I was sometimes well under the 13:30 pace cut-off I would need to finish on time, but then others not so much. I decided I would need to run longer than I was (which I would do during training, but not consistently). I ended up setting the intervals for 6 min run/2 min walk and if I could do more towards the beginning, I would.

After the fiasco getting my phone set up, I just told myself to calm down and find a good rhythm. I tend to get caught up in the speed of a race start, but the good thing was that all the speedy people were long gone by the time I got over to the start line. This left the people who were mostly around my pace anyway, so that was a good thing about getting to the line late. I saw these two women in front of me who looked like flags (red tshirt, blue tutu with white stars), so I decided I would try to keep them in front of me as long as possible. After a few miles though, I ended up passing them and then stayed in front of them. I lost them for the remainder of the race by mile 3 or 4 and never saw them again. Then there was red shirt man. We slingshotted each other almost the entire race and he told me towards the end that he kept me in front of him as his lead to follow. He ended up beating me though, because towards the end I made two pits stops to pee. I was glad I’d built up some spare time!

 

 

I was able to maintain my 6/2 for probably 8 or 9 miles. It was around this point I started to hit a wall, and hit it hard. We were away from the gorgeous beach views on pretty well-traveled roads and there was no pack to look at ahead or anything. It was very mental from that point on. My pit stops came around 11.5 and maybe 12.5 miles? Or a little sooner? I’m not sure, but towards the end. Oddly enough, I almost didn’t fuel at all and still felt strong for the most part. I had brought a sleeve of Shot Bloks with me, but never even opened them. They were offering Gu on the course, but I don’t like gels. The only thing I ingested along the way was water and two small half-full cups of Gatorade. I was surprised, but I had fueled well before the race (banana, bagel with peanut butter, coffee) so I figured I just had good stores built up!

 

 

Like I said, I built up a nice little cushion for myself and it was very much needed towards the end. Between the pits stops and not being able to maintain a run for very long, I was getting very nervous about beating the 3 hour course limit. Once I passed 12 and looked at my watch, I figured I had it in the bag (I think it showed 20 minutes?), however I walked way more than I planned. I just couldn’t find enough oomph to switch back to the run and when I did, it was for very short bursts. When I rounded that last corner, I told myself I was going to walk to a hotel sign I could see in the distance, and then said I NEEDED to run to the finish because I was cutting it very close.

Shortly after the sign, I picked it up and then I noticed my friend Amy running towards me to run me in. I can’t even tell you what a welcome sight she was. And then I saw Julie and Tara off to the side who had been waiting with her. I got a high five from Julie on the way by and managed to pick up the pace the tiniest little bit to get across that finish line. I also got my first ever shout out at a race! The guy at the end said something about me finishing and “for the Unleashed Team” which I thought was fun to throw in there. So cool to hear!

 

 

I grabbed a water from the people at the end of the finisher chute, proudly took my medal and put it over my head. I couldn’t wait to get out of there to find Tara and my friends and get some hugs! It felt so good to be done! My body was very angry so I just kept moving to get to the beach and go stand in the cold water. It felt so awesome after that!

 

 

After my quick trip in the water, we said our goodbyes to Amy and I shuffled my way over to look for food. The bananas didn’t look great, I didn’t like the bars they had and the only other option was clam chowder (yuck!). I got a clam chowder and gave it to Julie and then we went to check out the merch tent. I got a cute bumper sticker and a finisher tshirt for $5 on clearance! It doesn’t have the year on it, but that’s OK. It was only $5, so you can’t really complain. I was hopeful to get another massage, but they were already broken down and done for the day so that was a huge bummer. After we made our purchase, we headed over to the car so I could stretch before driving home, where I would promptly foam roll and lay in my recliner for the remainder of the day watching the Patriots and our DVR (hey, I earned it!).

 

Course map from race website

My Garmin data

 

Overall, I thought it was a great race. They DEFINITELY made an improvement over last year that I noticed. Each time they have this race, it falls during Fall Fest and there is a carnival set up in one of the beach parking lots. Last year, it was in the lot closest to the start, so we had to park farther down the beach and walk up. The registration was also set up in a parking lot across the street from that. This year, they had the volunteer lot where the registration was last year, plus the carnival was farther down the beach. This meant the parking was right next to the registration area and all the tents and portapotties were all in the one lot. One complaint though – they still need more portapotties. It was set up MUCH better than last year (in clear groupings with signs showing where to form lines), however there just aren’t enough. This is why there were still long lines again right before the start this year and I missed the actual start of the race.

I think the improvements were great this year, but the volunteers were even more awesome. They were all cheering us on and stayed there until the very end and that’s very much appreciated! There were even still multiple photographers still on the course as us back-of-the-packers came in for the finish. I tried to smile through the pain to get some good race photos, so we’ll see what I get!

I’m really proud of myself for not only finishing, but actually meeting my goal of being an “official” finisher by beating the 3 hour time limit. My official time from race website: 2:59:10! I also didn’t finish last, which is a nice bonus.

Thanks for all the well wishes and support along the way! It’s meant the world to me.

 

 

 

 

32 Comments »

5K Foam Fest Race Recap

For some reason, I’m having a hard time writing this recap for the 5K Foam Fest I ran on Saturday. I remember how much I loved it in 2013, as only my second OCR race ever, and it’s disappointing to see how it turned out this year.

I feel the best way to do this might be a comparison to last year and then I’ll get into the obstacles themselves. I should mention, however, that this is the first OCR that I’ve completed every obstacle. Now some people might say it’s such a froo froo course that it’s not hard to do, but for me and my fear of heights, a couple were scary. Yes, some of the obstacles were silly and easy, but there were real ones in there and I’m proud of myself, regardless.

I don’t have a lot of pictures. Spectators could really only see/take pics of one obstacle and I don’t carry a camera with me during races. I’ve also been holding out writing this because I was hoping I’d have the pro photos by now, but no such luck.

 

2013: Parking on site – $10

2014: Parking in a lot in NH, shuttle bus ride was 15-20 minutes – $10. In addition to this, the street address given for parking got us lost while using the GPS on our phone. It took us to a dead end road with at least a dozen other people that were turning around in front of or behind us. I didn’t have any waits for the buses since I had an early heat (8:50), but others who ran later had waits of more than an hour each way for the buses.

 

On the bus ride there with our photobombing friend

We make good use of our bus time – on the ride back

 

2013: only 2 visible obstacles for spectators and one of them was deflated and unable to be used by the time I got there

2014: only 1 visible obstacle

 

2013: picnic tables scattered around for spectators to sit and chill

2014: no seats except for one small area with like 8 chairs

 

Julie chilling in the “spectator lounge”

 

2013: no food/drink allowed – bags were checked at entrance

2014: no food/drink allowed – no one was checking anything

 

2013: Registration line was seamless. I don’t remember waiting long at all.

2014: Registration was a nightmare. I waited in line no less than 30 minutes. The lines were arranged by alphabetical order, however there was nothing pointing you in the right direction. It wasn’t until I was in line for 10 minutes or so that I even realized this so I luckily got to move to a shorter line. You were supposed to have your ID ready to check your registration and also give you a band for your free after-race alcoholic beverage of choice. The girl never once looked at my ID, just highlighted my name in a big binder, gave me a bib, gave me a band and told us to only take 2 safety pins. Are you serious? You think a bib will stay on in a mud run with only TWO pins? And they were crappy pins at that.

 

Trying to figure out what to do with the 10 minutes I had left to warm-up before my heat started once I got through the awful registration line

 

2013: Finish line was spectacular. You finished on an obstacle (giant slip n slide), someone handed you your medal, you were funneled into a line to take a professional photo in front of a large banner then someone gave you your tshirt.

2014: This finish line was very anticlimactic. Instead of there being an obstacle right at the finish, the last obstacle was at least 100 yards from the finish line so you did the Death Drop and then just ran to the end. When you got there, nobody handed you anything except a protein bar. They had a tent with tables set up with medals and tshirts laid out, so everyone just took their own. There were no volunteers there when I went through, but at least I’m honest and only took 1 of each. From what I heard, later waves didn’t get medals. In addition, that “professional photo op” from the year prior? Well – that was in front of the changing tents. Not only do I find that disturbing because if you took it at the right angle you might see in the crack in the tent, but we also didn’t realize this and went to walk in to change and were scolded for trying to enter on the wrong side while they were taking pics.

 

Our sprint to the finish line

 

2013: They had lame ass hoses hooked through a PVC pipe with holes poked in it and called it a “shower” to rinse off. It wasn’t rinsing anything off, but luckily the Merrimack River was right behind the venue and came in handy when everyone just jumped in fully clothed to clean themselves off.

2014: Fully excited about using that river to clean off again, I was saddened to see that they blocked off the entrance we used last year to get to the river with portapotties. I thought maybe I could find another spot to get through, but I wouldn’t have been able to anywhere else. At least this year they had regular garden hoses that had at least some water pressure.

 

See that big beautiful river? Yeah…no access this year.

 

2013: Course map released on website inaccurate.

2014: This is the only thing the same as last year – inaccurate yet again.

 

2013: Only 1 obstacle technically not completed. I couldn’t do the walls by myself. The other that I didn’t do (Death Drop) was because it was deflated by someone wearing cleats or carrying keys. I was secretly happy because I didn’t want to do it. The nice thing was we got a $20 coupon code for 2014 registration due to this issue.

2014: The wall this year were more ladder-like, so I was easily able to scale it. Since I completed every obstacle, this meant I needed to do the Death Drop and it was just as horrifying as it sounds for me personally. It’s like 3 stories high and almost a vertical drop.

 

After the race, the same afternoon, I had sent them an email asking if they wouldn’t mind sending me the list of actual obstacles that they set up and the order they were in. I’m having trouble remembering everything since the foam ones are all so similar, but to date I’ve never received any sort of acknowledgement they received my email, so I’m just going to wing it.

Here is the list of obstacles, in the best order I can remember:

 

The start is always fun running through the cascading foam

 

Uphill run right at the start

 

Ladderish Wall Climb

“Chamber of Foam” – basically just a bouncy house filled with foam

Aqua Lily Pads – foam pads over a small pond that you had to run across without sinking in and falling into the water

Trip Wire – a bungee rope course to go over/under

Body Washer – another foam chamber with inflatable poles that move around as you walk across the bouncy platform

Electric mud – which wasn’t electrified. This was a good thing because the ropes were SO low to the ground you couldn’t help but hit every single one as you crawled under it in the mud.

Slip N Slide

E-lemon-ator – a Mike’s hard lemonade (race sponsor) obstacle. It was essentially just inflatable hanging lemons, but they didn’t swing or do anything on their own and there was no one there to swing them at you if that was their purpose.

A-frame cargo net climb

Over/Unders through a water-filled inflatable pool

Monkey Business – basically a sideways cargo net climb

Mud pit

Spider web forest – more bungees in between trees you had to climb through/over/under

Death Drop – probably about 3 stories high, giant inflatable slide that you end up in a pool of water at the bottom, if you make it to the end, which I didn’t. I had to walk the last 30 ft or so but that was OK. I didn’t really want to come shooting off the end anyway.

 

See that tiny person on that GIANT slide? That would be me.

 

SO happy that the Death Drop was over!

 

I may be missing an obstacle or two or five, and they’re most likely in the wrong order, but there you have it.

 

I’m 99.9% sure I will never do this race again.

 

 

 

 

24 Comments »

Abington PD Community Partners 5K Race Recap

Yesterday was my 7th race of the year, for my #14in2014 – the Abington Police Community Partners 5K in my hometown of Abington, MA.

It looked like it was going to be a washout, but we completely lucked out with the weather. Friday night after work, Tara and I packed our bags to stay with Julie and Dan for the weekend. Whenever I have a race up in MA, we try to make that one of our “friend weekends” and stay with them. We hadn’t seen them since Easter so it was nice to hang out. We didn’t get up there until about 8:30 Friday night and just had dinner and hung out for a bit before getting to bed around 10. You know, with a race the next morning and all. Normally, when the four of us get together, we stay up and talk about ridiculous things until who knows when. You wouldn’t realize we talk to each other literally almost every day.

Saturday morning, I got up around 5:30 to get race ready – coffee, breakfast, water, etc. It was pouring rain when I got up and I planned for the worst (having to run with my rain jacket on and no phone/music). The plan was to get Tara up at 6:00 and then Julie and Dan up at 7:00 and we managed to follow it and get out the door by 7:30 for the drive over.

I needed to be there before they closed the road around 8:00 and to pick up my packet since I couldn’t get to early packet pick-up in time. This wasn’t an issue at all and there were hardly any people there when we arrived. As we were driving there, it had been drizzling and by the time we arrived it had all but stopped raining completely. By the time the race started, there was no rain and the sun was even trying to peek through! It was super humid (around 96% humidity), but only around 62* so it was mostly comfortable until I started running and then I ended up getting soaked in sweat. Blech.

 

Tara and I pre-race

 

The course itself is really nice. No one has ever heard of Abington when I tell them where I’m from. It’s a small town with currently around 15-16,000 people (around 13,000 when I grew up there). The race starts right in front of the police station, goes up to one of the main roads, down behind the junior high, through the cemetery, back out to the police station which is about halfway (and where the water stop was), then around Island Grove which is our local lake or whatever you want to call it. We then finish right next to the police station in the parking lot. It’s a gun timed race with no chips, so they just write down your time when you cross the finish line. I hate that, so I’m going to use my Garmin time.

 

 

 

 

I was VERY pleased with my time (which was technically 35:52:54 on my watch itself, but uploaded as 35:53 above). It was only 54 seconds slower than my time last year. Considering this is the first race where I’ve almost run the entire thing again (dealing with all these stupid injuries), I was completely excited to get such a great time. It felt good to be able to feel a little bit of my endurance come back. I did still walk 3-4 times, but for shorter increments. I feel like when I do run, I’m faster than I used to be which is nice since I’m not training to be faster.

 

Oh you know, just checking my time while the blood works on leaving my face

 

I love having people there to cheer me on. Of course, my lovely bride is my biggest and best cheerleader, but I like having my friends there, too. That’s the nice thing about having races closer to them.

 

 

 

I’m definitely chalking this race up as a win. Now, I just need to keep myself healthy for my big goal #1 for 2014 – Tough Mudder. Less than two weeks now!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 Comments »

Newport 10 Mile Race Recap

Sunday was race #5 for my #14in2014 – the Newport 10 Miler. This was also the longest distance I’ve ever run in my life and my first attempt at it. Prior to the race, I’d only run 7 miles as part of my training plan.

Going in to this race, I had no time aspirations. My endurance has suffered a lot over the last 6-8 months due to constant injuries. I haven’t been able to run 3 days a week, every week, for at least 3 miles like I was last summer. I’ve been doing a run/walk plan of 4 min run/2 min walk for a while now and was really just going in to this to cover the distance and finish, not win any awards. I’ve still got a massive competitive streak though, so I really just aim not to finish dead last so I don’t beat myself up.

On Saturday, I got a message from a friend of mine I’ve known since college. We’re Facebook friends, but hadn’t seen each other in probably 12 years. Since we were both doing the race, she wanted to meet up before the race so we made plans. It was really great to see her and nice that she finally got to meet Tara. We hung out pre-race and chatted, warmed up, made our portapotty runs and then lined up to start together. This is where that story ends because she is MUCH faster than I am! She got a new PR of 1:22:50. See? Speedy!

 

The two of us heading out of the Fort to line up

 

All week long I had watched the weather for this race. Normally I don’t obsess this much for a race, but when I knew I’d be out there for more than 2 hours, I reallllly didn’t want it to be in pouring rain. At the beginning of last week it showed somewhere around 60* and 0% chance of rain. By Saturday morning, it showed 30-40% chance of rain straight through 6pm Sunday! We ended up lucking out with the weather, for the most part. At the race start, it was chilly, but not super windy and no rain – just clouds. Around the halfway point of the race the sun even peeked through for maybe 15 minutes or so. It then got cloudier and cloudier, plus the wind started picking up something fierce. By the last mile, the wind was so bad right next to the water that it was almost pushing me backwards! The sprinkles didn’t start until we were leaving, but never really amounted to any rain of any sort until long after we’d gotten home.

 

 

Now let’s get down to the meat of the race – the running itself. I went in with my 4/2 plan, but didn’t end up paying attention to it. I decided watching my Garmin for my intervals would cause me to look at my overall time too much, so I decided to try doing a song for song interval (run one whole song, walk one whole song). This worked out pretty well and allowed me to not focus solely on my overall time. Sometimes I did a little less or a little more depending on if there was an uphill or downhill and used it to my advantage.

The course itself was gorgeous. We started out in the parking lot at Fort Adams, headed out onto Ocean Ave and just kept following that beautiful coastline. Once we’d run out the coast, we ended up on Bellevue Ave where the famous mansions are located. After we cruised through some side streets, we finished back inside the actual Fort, which was pretty cool.

 

From race website

 

They started the race by firing a “cannon”. The DJ then started by playing Follow The Yellow Brick Road as the lead-off song, which I thought was hysterical! I started out OK, but the first mile was almost all uphill which was a quick energy zapper. I wasn’t sure how my stomach would react with this type of distance (plus nerves), so I had only an English muffin with PB and jam, plus a banana and coffee around 4:30am (race start was 8am). I brought my handheld water bottle, which has a small pouch attached, so I stuffed some Shot Bloks in there to use throughout the race. I didn’t really know how to fuel myself properly during the race, so my plan was just to wing it based on various things I’ve read online, plus I knew there would be Gatorade at the mile 6 and 8 water stops.

 

 

They had water stops every 2 miles which I thought was great, too. I definitely didn’t drink enough because I never even finished my handheld and it’s not all that big (8 oz maybe?). I had two half cups of Gatorade and 4 of the 6 Shot Bloks. I ended up stopping at the portapotties at miles 4 and 8 so I definitely appreciated that they had them out at all the stops. I’ll definitely need to figure out fueling in the next few weeks considering how fast Tough Mudder is coming up and that it’s probably 10-12 miles (on a mountain!). That will be a big issue if I don’t figure it out.

I definitely enjoyed the scenery on this run. It’s really hard to have a tough run with views like this:

 

 

I felt pretty strong through about mile 7 and then sort of hit a wall. Each step seemed tougher and each time I ran seemed shorter and shorter. I think the last 2 miles took more out of me than the whole previous 8 did. The last mile was VERY hard due to the wind pushing us backwards for almost a mile, but then we got to round that corner and finish inside the Fort and it was like heaven being able to just stop moving for a minute. I had been nervous if I slowed too much or quit walking for a few minutes that I wouldn’t beat the 3 hour time limit. As it turns out, my official time was 2:19:52 so I was pretty happy with that.

 

 

Pros:

  • Early packet pick-up Friday and Saturday
  • A nice quality tshirt, along with a sticker and a few snacks as part of the swag
  • Beautiful course
  • Water/portapotty stops every 2 miles that remained fully manned and stocked until us slow pokes ran through

Cons:

  • Parking. It’s not really the fault of the organizers, but there is limited parking space at the Fort, so the parking started ½ mile from the start and just kept getting further back the later people got there until people were parking on the streets! Luckily we followed instructions and showed up early so we weren’t terribly far away.
  • Vendors/food table at finish. This was a BIG disappointment for me personally. I don’t know if they ran out of food, or didn’t feel like sitting around in the cold wind, but when I finished multiple vendors were already packed up and leaving and there was NO food in sight except some guy selling kettle corn (which I hate). There was not a bagel in sight! Tara told me while she was waiting she saw people getting food and giving it to their kids and stuff. I was so exhausted and emotional that I burst into tears because my legs were cramping as soon as I stood still and I couldn’t even get a freakin’ banana!!
  • Disorganized start. They had us all milling around inside the Fort for registrations/packet pick-up as well as portapotties. The start, however, was outside in the Fort parking lot. There was no signage about this so when someone randomly starting shouting through a (not loud enough) megaphone, we all sort of just walked out of the fort, but didn’t know where to go for the start line. Once we got out there you could hear better because the DJ used the PA system to line us up, but it was a slight bit confusing.
  • Age groups. Both myself and at least one other person I know were put in the wrong age group because they changed our age. I’m 34, but I was put in the 35-39 age group. I don’t care that the age is wrong, but what if I was a serious competitor and wanted to really see how I did against my peers? I would have no idea because they put me in the wrong bracket. This is really just a minor thing, but still worth mentioning I think.

 

I would definitely do this race again in the future simply because of how awesome the course was, but I will definitely be working on my fueling procedure and my training.

 

 

 

 

27 Comments »

Face The Music Friday #28

Fitness this week:

Saturday – Run the Reservoir 5K race + 1.5 hour trail running “class”

 

 

 

Sunday – Rest

Monday – Chiro appointment (more about that soon)

Tuesday – PT stretches and rest

Wednesday – Short run

 

 

Thursday – 1 hour Unleashed OCF class

Friday – PT stretches and rest

 

I’m a little bit crazy, as you can tell by Saturday. My hip has really been bothering me, so I’ve been limiting my running. I could totally tell when I ran on Saturday, too.  My endurance isn’t worth anything right now. I think I walked more of that race than I ran…but I did it and didn’t feel too bad afterwards. I’ll eventually have a race recap at some point. Tara caught the cold that I’ve finally gotten rid of and didn’t want to hang around (which I don’t blame her at all!) so we headed home. It was then I realized I could make the trail running class if I left right away, so I grabbed the address of the high school that we meet at, changed into my trail shoes and took off. Let me tell you, I felt like a joke.

The people in the class were all really fit people and even some elite racers, along with a second trainer. I COULD NOT keep up. I was so winded and kept ending up at the back of the pack the entire hour and a half class. Even if I was up to my fittest last year (in terms of running endurance), I couldn’t keep up with the pace they were running. We started at the high school to “warm up” by running through the woods, then up and down repeatedly through a ravine, then over next to the stadium where we went up and down a really steep hill for 5 minutes. Then we ran over to the bleachers where we proceeded to run up and down them the entire length of bleachers (on the bleachers, not steps). Some squats thrown in for good measure, then we took off behind the bleachers running down a hill into a clearing where we did some burpees. Then “sprinted” (yeah right) back up the hill we ran down a minute ago before we headed into the real woods where we’d be running.

Very steep terrain and not so much of a “trail” is what I recall after that. Up and down lots of hills (as you can see by all the squiggles on my Garmin picture). I was ready to quit about 15 minutes in, but I figured if I couldn’t keep up, I would just walk up and down the huge hill in the middle while they ran in and out of the woods. I was wheezing at that point, which I’ve never done and could have been cold-related. I did eventually suck it up and rejoin the group, but felt bad because anytime he stopped to regroup and do a head count, they would be doing push-ups or squats or burpees while they waited for me. I still had to do some, too, but they had to do a lot more because of the waiting so I felt really bad about that.

I ended up making it through, but I seriously overtaxed my hip and have been paying for it all week. It was feeling a little better mid-week, so I decided to do that short run on Wednesday to test it out because I have my first ever 10K on Sunday!! The run felt pretty good and the pain actually went mostly away while I was running. I’m nervous about Sunday due to the huge inclines, but I’m pretty sure even with a good amount of walking I can beat the time cut-off. I have one hour to get to the “last chance” point before I’ll have to get a ride back. I think it’s totally d0-able.

On another note, I have to admit I’ve been a really bad blogger friend. I’m so overwhelmed lately I haven’t been spending as much time online. I’m trying to reset myself basically. I’ve been working on my eating this week, which is going great. Next week I’ll be adding my strength training back in, possibly more running as well, too. I need to buckle down. I only have less than 2 months until Tough Mudder! So yeah…I haven’t been reading most blogs, definitely not commenting at all and not even bothering trying to write my own. If you’re still around to read, thanks for sticking with me.  🙂

 

Since I’ll be doing a good amount of this on Sunday, I thought this song was fitting for this week.

Running Up That Hill – Placebo

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Turkey Trot 5K Race Recap

On Thanksgiving morning, I had my first ever Turkey Trot 5K to run. Being my first year running, I signed up for a lot of races. I wanted to experience all sorts of different types, in different cities, so I could find out things I liked or didn’t like about a race or location. I decided as part of this inaugural year of running that I’d sign up for the local holiday races: the Monster Dash, Turkey Trot and Jingle Bell Run (coming up on 12/8).

All week I was watching the weather to see what we could expect on race day. We had a nasty storm coming at us on Wednesday so I was hoping it wouldn’t shift and change to Thursday. Luckily, it stayed on schedule and while the weather wasn’t any fun to deal with on Wednesday, at least I didn’t have to run in it! Instead, we had reallllly cold temps and gusty winds, making it feel even colder. Bright and sunny though…bright. and. sunny. See that “feels like” temp? Yep. It felt like 22*.

 

 

Being that this would be the coldest race I’ve ever run in, I was concerned about how much to layer (or not). I ended up wearing my capri pants with my compression sleeves, which kept my legs warm other than the tiny slit on my ankles. On top, I opted to go with a tshirt underneath a pullover. Prior to warming up a few minutes before the race, I also had a jacket over that (which was great until I took it off!). I made sure I brought gloves and also a warm headband that covered my ears. Boy, was I thankful for those last 2 things!

 

 

Turns out I had planned it perfectly! I was so, so cold at the beginning, even while I was warming up, but by the finish I was pretty warm, almost hot. Poor Tara was numb by the time I finished. Guess that’s the price of being a professional sherpa.

 

 

I didn’t realize it when I signed up, but this course would be exactly the same as the course I ran in May as part of the Navigant Running Festival. And then someone at my job, that was also running the Turkey Trot, reminded me of how hilly it was! Oh man! I went in dreading it, but figured I would just go slow and steady. They were really good about getting us started right at 10am so that everyone could get to their family gatherings, which I certainly appreciated.

 

 

At the beginning is a short downhill, but then we go around the corner and over the highway and there it is: the first gigantic hill! So rough starting out that way, but it was a good confidence booster for me. Being that I hadn’t run in about 3 weeks due to my IT band, I figured I’d be walking early on. Surprisingly, I made it up that first hill by just taking it slow. I’m not gonna lie, it felt pretty good passing people that started out fast and couldn’t handle the hill.

A big bummer about this course is that it’s very industrial. We go by Interstate 95 and then lots of industrial buildings. We barely go through any residential neighborhoods, which could also be boring, but are still better than staring at brick warehouses and semi trucks. I definitely don’t think I’ll be signing up for any races on this course again anytime soon. I like races with at least partial nice views!

Once I got up that huge first hill, I kept my pace steady. Once I saw that first mile marker, I knew I’d gotten through the toughest part (for me, anyway). I though, hey, maybe I could run the whole race. Around mile 2, I had a pretty stiff calf, but it wasn’t painful so I kept going. I didn’t feel very fast, but I felt solid which made me really happy. What made me even happier was the big downhill toward the end that I knew was coming up, our reward for going up it at the beginning! I let my legs move a little quicker going down that hill and felt awesome.

It was around this time that Frankenstein appeared. I’ve nicknamed him this because of the way he runs and because he’s a really tall, square-headed dude. This man drives me insane!! I’ve probably done 5 or 6 races that he’s run in also and we must go pretty close in pace because he’s always near me. What drives me nuts about him is the fact that he will sprint (kind of) for maybe 50 feet, then stop and walk. I have no issue with the method if that’s what works for me, but what makes me cuckoo bunnies is the fact that when he stops to walk, he’ll do it DIRECTLY in front of someone running and that person is usually me. Ugh!

What brought me great joy is that at the bottom of that hill, right around the last corner, I saw him just ahead of me again. At the end of every race I run, I give it all I have left in the tank for that last 100 yards or so. This race being no different, I stepped on the gas and passed him…along with about 4 or 5 other people.

 

Here I am, about to pass “Frankenstein”

 

I felt so awesome and couldn’t wait to see my time. I stopped my Garmin at 34:58!! I couldn’t believe it!! My official chip time is listed at 34:59 so it was pretty spot on. This is a course PR of 1:42 from the other time I ran it in May (36:41) and my second fastest official 5K time overall!

 

 

I’m definitely paying for it today with soreness, but I like to blame it on all the driving we did visiting family and friends right after the race all day. I feel like a beginner runner again but it was well worth it!

 

 

Overall, a good race, but a crappy location. A plus at the start was being able to use indoor plumbing and being able to hang out inside the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center to stay warm prior to the race. This was also a negative because that meant around only 6 bathroom stalls for all the women to use which meant a long line. There also seemed to be some disorganization at the finish line on where to get water or a banana. They weren’t together and it was just set up really awkwardly. Other than that, no real big complaints to be had!

 

 

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Sunny September Saturday

Today was race 1 of 5 in the next 5 weeks – the NK5K. I couldn’t have asked for better weather for running. Temps in the mid 60s and a nice breeze with bright sunshine. It was a perfect weather day.

We got there around 9am and it seemed a little disorganized. It was in Tara’s hometown and her high school so we knew how to get there easy enough, but no idea where to go from there. They were just wrapping up the kids fun run so we went to that area to check it out because I saw tables from the parking lot. Turns out those were the post-race food for the 5K. We ended up in the school cafeteria after asking somebody about where to pick up bibs.

After we got that all sorted out, we played the waiting game, as always. This is my time to people watch and psych myself up for the mobs of runners that I’ll be stuck in the middle of for a little while. Right before we lined up to start, I saw an old friend I used to work with that I hadn’t seen in probably a few years. Nice surprise!

After the race!

She gave me the heads up before the race of a brutal gradual hill that we would have to run so I was prepared. The race got going at 10am and I felt good. Very comfortable start. I felt like I settled into a pace pretty well and tried to not pay attention to other people because it tends to mess up my pacing.  I used my Runkeeper app to keep track of the distance and pace (finally remembering for once to turn it on at the start).

I felt good until around mile 2 when my stupid knee starting acting up again. I don’t know what’s going on with it but it’s really annoying me. I kept going at my regular pace and it was OK until we were almost at the very end. We were rounding the last corner when it started hurting so bad I nearly stopped to walk. Since I was so close to the end, I always like to pick up the pace to finish strong. I found that when I went a little faster that it eased up a bit. I ended up finishing in 35:21. Not my fastest, but with the hills I was pretty happy with that time.

I was pretty excited at the end because I was all by myself and all of a sudden I saw a green shirt out of the corner of my left eye. She was going pretty quick and finishing fast so I decided to sprint along side of her across the finish line. It was great, I think we crossed at the same time. She actually came up to me a minute later and, with a tap on my shoulder, I turned around and she gave me a high five. It was great and made me feel really good. Thanks green-shirt girl!

After the race, I said goodbye to my friend and went off to find a shady patch of grass to stretch on. I grabbed a post-race banana and drank my chocolate milk and we headed home.

After a quick visit home, we headed out to Barden Orchards to pick some apples. I can’t remember if I’d ever been fruit picking before but it was sort of fun. I probably would have enjoyed it more if my knee wasn’t so sore, but it was still a nice time.

We were a little put off by the prices for the stuff in their farm store so we decided to stop off at another Farmer’s Market that we know is more reasonably priced and a favorite of ours. Plus it was on our way home-bonus! We bought some fresh veggies and I also had my first taste of gelato (coconut-yum)!

Apparently, gelato makes me pensive

Since we got home after our farm adventures, we’ve just been trying to relax because my knee is a joke. I’ve had ice on it and been keeping it up most of the afternoon, plus some ibuprofen…so we’ll see. Hoping it works itself out because I’ve got four more races coming up and don’t want to be wasting registration money!

Just for good measure…one of my adorable babies.

Racing makes Flynn sleepy. I think I shall join him soon.

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